To effectively combat the climate emergency, we need to take unified, urgent, and ambitious climate action to reach net-zero by 2050.
That’s why the federal government introduced the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act in 2018 — the law is a backstop aimed at provinces that fail to implement a comparable emissions reduction strategy of their own.
In response, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan all launched separate constitutional challenges of the Act, claiming that it was an overreach of federal powers into provincial affairs.
Courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario upheld the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and confirmed the federal government has the power to step in when the province fails to effectively tackle climate change. Meanwhile, Alberta’s court delivered a split (4-1) outlier decision that sided with the province.
All three provinces appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).
Ecojustice lawyers represented the David Suzuki Foundation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation as interveners in all three lower court proceedings and again before the Supreme Court of Canada in Fall 2020.
The three-year battle over the federal backstop culminated with the SCC handing down a landmark climate decision in March 2021, ruling that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is constitutionally-sound and essential in the fight against the climate crisis.