Formalizing the right to a healthy environment in Canada


so for instance if we look at air
pollution, substances emitted to air can cause serious health effects
respiratory effects, reproductive effects and certain types of cancers just to
name a few And the most recent government
estimates are that approximately fifteen thousand Canadians die prematurely each
year due to air pollution alone Where the government’s, whether it be federal or provincial, have only encouraged companies to comply but never enforce
the law, the laws that do exist we just don’t have the choice to remain
comfortable or safe because we’re not and let me just say that I think it’s
highly timely for you to consider the possibility of amending Canadian law and
in particular the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to include an explicit
recognition of environmental rights we really felt that CEPA deserved that
assessment it had been nearly two decades since Canada’s cornerstone
toxics legislation had been reviewed it needs cleaning up and it needs reform.
Science has evolved, society has evolved and the environmental rights
issue has evolved and CEPA really is core to that environmental rights
question. This has practical implications for social justice, for vulnerable communities we’re able to say that you will have, for the first time at the federal level, legally binding standards on air and water quality yes if you can strengthen the
legislation you can also weaken it and that’s something we’re seeing right now
in the United States with all our environmental regulations being rolled
back. The advantage of human right to a safe and healthy environment is it puts
it on a higher level. For us in France the right to a healthy
environment is a fundamental inalienable right just the same as a freedom of
expression for instance This is an idea whose time has come
and from a Canadian perspective I think it’s really time for us to stop
dithering and to take the steps necessary to guarantee the right to a
healthy environment to each and every Canadian

Comments 2

  • Awesome! I was recently surprised to learn while reading David Boyd's book "Right to a healthy environment" that CEPA (Canadian Environmental Protection Act) was said to be the "toughest Environmental legislation in the western world" in 1987… [but] is now a joke (Boyd, pg 149).

    Rarely enforced, "the total amount of fines imposed under CEPA from 1988 to 2010 was $2,466,352. By comparison, the Toronto Public Library collected more in overdue book fines during a single year ($2,685,067 in 2009).

    "In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency hammered lawmakers with over $150 million in fines and administrative penalties, and secured court judgements requiring defendants to pay $64 million in fines."

  • The inclusion of the Right to a Healthy Environment as one of our Charter Rights is long overdue in Canada. It appears that you and I (Canadian citizens) have to step up and become more vocal to insure our government understands that getting this done is as important as anything else they are doing – or could do!

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