Statement on committee’s recommendation of a right to a healthy environment in response to Canadian Environment Protection Act review

(OTTAWA) – Elizabeth May released the following statement regarding today’s report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development:

“In reviewing the Canadian Environment Protection Act (CEPA), the cross-partisan standing committee has recommended that parliament recognize the right to a healthy environment. This is a significant breakthrough for a country that has not previously recognized this right, and the committee’s combined recommendations would provide much-needed strengthening of CEPA.

“Key recommendations from the report include that the preamble of CEPA be amended:

  • to recognize a right to a healthy environment;

  • to mention the importance of considering vulnerable populations in risk assessments; and

  • to recognize the principles put forward in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“Other recommendations include that the government consider amending CEPA to include the right to a healthy environment in the administrative duties of the Government of Canada; to give greater force and effect to environmental rights; to create better monitoring and reporting of federal-provincial climate agreements; and to require mandatory hazard labelling of all products containing toxic substances.

“The combined effect of these recommendations and others would be a huge leap forward for Canadian environmental protection. It is a shame the Conservative Party has filed a dissent. I would have hoped that post-Harper, the Conservatives would be more open to environmental protections.

“I urge my fellow parliamentarians to review this excellent report and ask Environment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna, to move quickly to draft a bill to adopt all recommendations,” Ms. May concluded.