Green legislation for environmental justice clears the House of Commons

(Ottawa – March 29, 2023) – By a vote of 178 – 144, Bill C-226, a private members bill to address environmental racism and promote environmental justice has received its final vote of approval from the House of Commons and now moves on to the Senate.

Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada, is the bill’s sponsor. This is the third time Elizabeth May has brought forward Green legislation that has passed into law. The two Green bills that have already become law act on the threat of Lyme Disease and ban the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity.

The bill had originally been presented in the previous parliament by former Liberal MP Lenore Zann. The bill died on the Order Paper due to the 2021 election. Elizabeth May had to start from scratch, introducing the bill over one year ago.

The bill addresses the issue of environmental racism. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has had a major programme in Environmental Justice since 1994. It is clear that Indigenous, racialized and low-income Canadians have a far higher exposure to pollution and toxic waste dumps than white and wealthy communities.

The bill now moves to the Senate where Dr. Mary Jane McCallum (First Nations woman of Cree heritage, unaffiliated senator, Manitoba) will steer the bill through the process there. A large network of NGOs supports the bill, from leading academic Dr. Ingrid Waldron and her network “ENRICH,” the national network acting in solidarity with Kanehsatà:ke dealing with illegal toxic waste dumping in that nation, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Environmental Defence and Amnesty International among others.