Moving the needle on CEPA modernization: Key provisions in Bill S-5
David Suzuki Foundation and partners
Authored by: Lisa Gue, Elaine MacDonald, Cassie Barker, Jennifer Beeman, Jane E. McArthur
Partners: EcoJustice, Environmental Defence, Breast Cancer Action Quebec, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Bill S-5 is an important step toward modernizing CEPA. It was introduced in the Senate in February 2022, and then in the House in September 2022. Senate and House committees studied the bill and passed amendments that improve its core provisions, addressing some, though not all, of our recommendations.
While Bill S-5 does not address all aspects of CEPA in need of modernization, it makes important progress in relation to recognizing the right to a healthy environment, and updating Canada’s legislative framework for assessing and managing toxic substances.
Re: Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act
This brief outlines comments from five organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation, on key features of Bill S-5 and provides recommendations for improvements.
Strengthening CEPA to support a substantive right to a healthy environment
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, a cornerstone pollution-prevention law, is out of date. Government has committed to modernizing it to better protect people and the environment. Complementing and reinforcing other important CEPA reforms, applying a human rights lens to the process for regulating toxic chemicals represents an essential paradigm shift that will modernize and strengthen Canada’s approach to environmental protection.
Recommendations for strengthening Bill C-28, updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
On April 13, 2021, the federal government introduced Bill C-28, proposed updates to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. CEPA provides the legislative framework for federal action to protect human health and the environment from pollution and toxics, but the law has not been significantly amended for more than two decades.