Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights

An Act to enact the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights and to make related amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Linda Duncan  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Second reading (House), as of April 11, 2019

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-438.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment enacts the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, which provides that every person residing in Canada has the following rights:

(a) the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment;

(b) the right to reasonable, timely and affordable access to information regarding the environment;

(c) the right to effective, informed and timely public participation in decision-making regarding the environment, including in relation to any Act of Parliament respecting the environment and any environmental policy of the Government of Canada;

(d) the right to bring a matter regarding the protection of the environment before courts or tribunals; and

(e) the right to request a review of any Act of Parliament respecting the environment, any instrument made under such an Act or any environmental policy of the Government of Canada.

The enactment imposes corresponding obligations on the Government of Canada to take all reasonable measures to give effect to the rights conferred.

The enactment also provides for an application by a person residing in Canada for an investigation by the responsible Minister of an offence under any Act of Parliament respecting the environment other than the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. In addition, it provides for an environmental protection action to be brought by a person in respect of such an investigation as well as an environmental protection action to be brought by a person against a person who has contravened or is likely to contravene an Act of Parliament respecting the environment if certain conditions are met.

The enactment amends the Auditor General Act to allow petitions for the review of any Act of Parliament to be made respecting the environment, any instrument made under such an Act or any environmental policy of the Government of Canada.

The enactment amends the Federal Courts Act to allow an application for judicial review to be made by a person not directly affected by the matter in respect of which relief is sought if certain conditions are met, including the condition that the matter relate to the protection of the environment.

Finally, this enactment also amends the Canadian Bill of Rights to provide that the right of the individual to life, liberty and security of the person includes the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Canadian Environmental Bill of RightsRoutine Proceedings

April 5th, 2019 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-438, An Act to enact the Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights and to make related amendments to other Acts.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to re-table the Canadian environmental bill of rights. While similar measures have been enacted by some of the provinces and territories, no such law has been enacted at the federal level. The bill would enact into federal domestic law international commitments made decades ago by Canada and measures recommended by the special rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council.

First, my bill would enshrine the right of Canadians to a healthy, ecologically balanced environment.

Second, it would enshrine the Government of Canada's public trust duty to protect the environment, including legislating and enforcing environmental protection laws.

Third, it would extend to all Canadians the right to hold their government accountable through access to environmental information, participation in decisions impacting their environment and standing to seek judicial intervention where those rights would be denied.

Enactment of this bill has become all the more critical as environmental rights and protections have been eroded and promised reforms have not been forthcoming.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)