Recommendations for strengthening Bill C-28, updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
David Suzuki Foundation and partners
Partners: EcoJustice, Breast Cancer Action Quebec, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Environmental Defence
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. Sources of pollution and our scientific understanding of risks have changed considerably over this time. The David Suzuki Foundation and partners welcomed introduction of Bill C-28, which begins to address key issues identified in the House of Commons environment committee’s 2016-17 review of CEPA. It would also recognize for the first time in Canadian law the human right to a healthy environment.
However, several aspects of the bill need to be strengthened. This letter outlines our initial recommendations. We urge all parties to prioritize Bill C-28 for debate and to co-operate to enable its referral to committee for consideration of strengthening amendments as soon as possible.
Recommandations pour renforcer le projet de loi C-28 visant à actualiser la Loi canadienne sur la protection de l’environnement
Le 13 avril 2021, le gouvernement fédéral a présenté le projet de loi C-28, proposant des modifications à la Loi canadienne sur la protection de l'environnement (LCPE). Cette loi fournit un cadre législatif permettant au gouvernement fédéral de prendre des mesures pour protéger l'environnement et la santé humaine contre la pollution et les substances toxiques, mais la loi n'a pas été modifiée de façon significative depuis plus de deux décennies.
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The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, a cornerstone pollution-prevention law, is out of date.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.