Chemical Valley Charter Challenge
Ecojustice is working to ensure that the human rights of people living in one of Canada’s most polluted communities — Sarnia’s Chemical Valley – are recognized and protected.
Ecojustice is working to ensure that the human rights of people living in one of Canada’s most polluted communities - Sarnia's Chemical Valley - are recognized and protected.
© Garth Lenz
We’re representing Ada Lockridge and Ron Plain, two members of Aamjiwnaang First Nation, as they take on Ontario’s Ministry of Environment (MOE) over the cumulative impacts of pollution from local refinery and chemical facilities.
Our Application for Judicial Review alleges that the MOE’s ongoing approval of pollution in Sarnia violates Ada and Ron’s basic human rights under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – their rights to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right to equality.
Ron Plain has already moved his family off of the reserve out of concern for their health while Ada Lockridge, and about 800 other Aamjiwnaang community members, continue to be exposed to a range of harmful pollutants, including cancer-causing benzene, as well as sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen — chemicals known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular health effects.
Ecojustice previously detailed Sarnia’s pollution problem in our 2007 report Exposing Canada’s Chemical Valley. That publication revealed that 40 per cent of Canada’s petro chemical industry operates within a few kilometres of Aamjiwnaang and detailed the cumulative pollution these facilities release into the local environment.
The level of pollution faced by residents of Aamjiwnaang is like few other places in the country. But a win in our case would be a first step towards dealing with the pollution problem and defending the human rights of Aamjiwnaang citizens, and hopefully, all Canadians.
While countries around the world are strengthening their environmental laws and recognizing environmental rights, Canadians are having to fight harder than ever for their right to breathe clean air and to be protected from harmful industrial activities.
Staff lawyer Justin Duncan shares an update on a lawsuit intended to protect an Ontario community, near Sarnia's Chemical Valley, from air pollution.
Watch this photo slideshow featuring Ecojustice client Ada Lockridge. You'll hear her speak about life in Sarnia, Ontario, and her battle to protect her family from air pollution.