Climate change is a national emergency, and Ecojustice is fighting to ensure the federal government has the ability to respond to that emergency.
The law is clear: Protecting the environment is a shared federal and provincial responsibility. Provinces across Canada should be required to work towards implementing a fair system that holds polluters to account for putting communities and the climate at risk by increasing greenhouse gas pollution in our atmosphere.
Canada won’t be able to meet international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if provinces are allowed to opt out of taking action. Climate change will affect the health and security of all Canadians, and there’s only a short window of time left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone in Canada deserves the security of stable climate.
We are representing the David Suzuki Foundation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation because we believe that climate change is a national emergency. When the provinces fail to act, the federal government must be empowered to take action to address the climate emergency. Moreover, Indigenous peoples’ constitutionally-protected rights demand that all levels of government take steps to protect their traditional ways of life from the worst impacts of climate change.
Ecojustice lawyers previously represented their clients as interveners in the Ontario and Saskatchewan legal challenges of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. In both cases, the courts confirmed the federal government has the power to step in when the province fails to effectively tackle climate change — the Supreme Court of Canada is slated to hear this case in spring 2020.
A win in this case will see the Alberta Court of Appeal reinforce legal precedent and uphold the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and the federal government’s authority to establish minimum national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.