#GenClimateAction: Mathur et. al. v. Her Majesty in Right of Ontario

Mathur et. al. v. Her Majesty in Right of Ontario
Photo by Emily Chan
Program area – Climate Status: In progress
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When the Ford government stepped into office, it unlawfully passed the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act — a move Ecojustice swiftly (and successfully) challenged on the basis that the Ford government ignored public consultation requirements under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.

While our case vindicated Ontarians’ right to be consulted on changes to environmental law, it did not reverse the Cap and Trade Cancellation Actwhich rolled back the province’s relatively progressive climate targets, and allowed the government to replace them with a significantly weaker 2030 target.

This weaker target will allow more greenhouse gas emissions to be emitted, further contribute to dangerous climate change-related impacts such as heatwaves, floods, fires, and poor air quality that will harm the health of Ontarians, and violate their Charter rights to life, liberty, and security of the person.

Young people are especially at risk when it comes to climate threats because these risks will increase in the coming years if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. It’s their lives and lives of everyone who comes after them that will be forced to bear the costs of climate inaction more than previous generations.

That’s why seven young climate leaders, backed by Ecojustice, courageously stepped up to the plate in November 2019, launching a legal fight for a safe and healthy future — starting with a safe climate.

On April 15, 2020, the government filed a motion to strike the case, arguing it should not proceed to a full hearing. The youth applicants countered this motion  in July 2019, arguing that they deserved their day in Court.

This led to a historic win. For the first time in Canadian history, a court recognized that climate change has the potential to violate Charter rights and gave the youth the greenlight to move ahead to a full hearing.

The Ontario government then tried to overturn this ruling, but in March 2021 the Ontario Divisional Court dismissed the province’s request to appeal.

This makes Mathur et. al. the first case of its kind to clear key procedural hurdles and is now moving full-steam ahead toward a full hearing.

At a time when the science says we should be showing greater climate ambition, the Ford government has thrown climate action in this province into reverse.

Ontario’s backpedaling comes at a time when there is a clear scientific consensus and moral imperative for governments to ratchet up their targets to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The science says we must do more to combat the climate emergency, but the Government of Ontario has done the exact opposite at this critical moment. This is unacceptable, as the seven climate leaders at the heart of our latest case assert, unconstitutional.

Our youth clients are part of what we affectionately call Generation Climate Action (#GenClimateAction) — the remarkable young people around the world who have left their classrooms, put their plans on hold, and taken to the courts to speak truth to power about how the climate crisis impacts their future — and Ecojustice is committed to doing all we can to support them.

A win would see Ontario’s 2030 climate target struck down and the court to order the Government of Ontario to set a stronger target in line with what the science tells us is necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We also hope to see the courts recognize that a safe climate and healthy environment are an integral part of our Charter right to life, liberty, and security of the person.

Key developments

Blog

Science is taking a backseat in the Ontario Legislature

As the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged Ontario, cases ballooned and ICU beds filled up. Even in the midst of this crisis, the On...

May 28, 2021

Blog

Earth Day special: Four ways the Mathur et. al. youth climate case is making history

Seven young Ontarians have burst through major barriers in the legal fight for a safer climate future. #GenClimateAction: Seven young Ontar...

April 22, 2021

Press release

Youth climate case forges ahead after court affirms historic decision

TORONTO/TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE HURON-WENDAT, THE ANISHNAABEG, HAUDENOSAUNEE, CHIPPEWAS AND THE MISSISSAUGAS OF THE CREDIT FIRST NATION...

March 26, 2021

Press release

Ontario youth back climate class action out of Quebec

TORONTO/TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE HURON-WENDAT, THE ANISHNAABEG, HAUDENOSAUNEE, CHIPPEWAS AND THE MISSISSAUGAS OF THE CREDIT FIRST NATION...

February 23, 2021

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Environmental law in Canada: three storylines to watch in 2021

It is a new year and the pandemic rages on. Yet hope is on the horizon. As the coronavirus vaccine rolls out across the country and gives...

January 13, 2021

Press release

Victory! Young Ontarians prevail over Ford government’s attempt to shut down climate case

Landmark climate ruling a first for Canadian court TORONTO – Seven young Ontarians have prevailed over the provincial government’s at...

November 13, 2020

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Victory! Youth-led climate case prevails over government attack

Late yesterday we received word that the seven courageous young people Ecojustice is backing in a landmark climate lawsuit against the Gover...

November 13, 2020

Press release

‘We are with you’ – Ontario youth voice support for fellow climate activists

TORONTO - Less than three months after appearing in a virtual court hearing themselves, the seven youth at the helm of an Ontario-based clim...

September 29, 2020

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They’re young. They’re worried about climate change. And they’re asking you to take action on September 25.

On Sept. 25, 2020, young people around the world will participate in a global day of climate action. Ecojustice spoke with three young leade...

September 18, 2020

Blog

Staying alive: 7 courageous young Ontarians appear in virtual hearing to fight for safe climate

We are at a critical, make-or-break moment in the legal fight to protect current and future generations from climate catastrophe. Today, ...

July 12, 2020

Press release

Ontario youth in court to fend off province’s attempt to shut down climate lawsuit

Court conducts virtual hearing to decide fate of landmark climate case brought by seven young Ontarians TORONTO - Seven young Ontarians wil...

July 10, 2020

Blog

#GenClimateAction: Why you’re never too young, too old, or too in-between to join the climate movement

A multi-generational view of the climate crisis – and why anybody, at any age, can be part of #GenClimateAction. Inspired by leaders li...

July 2, 2020

Press release

Ontario youth strike back against province’s attempt to toss climate lawsuit

TORONTO - Seven young Ontarians are fighting to keep their landmark climate lawsuit alive in the face of the provincial government’s attem...

June 16, 2020

Blog

Fighting to keep a landmark youth climate case alive

Ontario wants to shut down a youth-led climate lawsuit. Ecojustice is helping the seven Ontarians leading the case fight back. Last Novemb...

June 16, 2020

Press release

Ontario youth vow to fight off Ford government’s efforts to shut down climate lawsuit

Ford takes aim at youth climate case  TORONTO — The seven young people suing the Government of Ontario for weakening its climate targe...

April 16, 2020

Blog

Seven young Ontarians are fighting to keep their climate lawsuit going

Here’s what you need to know about the government's motion to strike the case The COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on almost every C...

April 15, 2020

Blog

I’m 23 and I’m taking the Doug Ford government to court over the climate crisis

As an Algonquin woman, a young person and a member of the Caribou Clan, I feel the weight of the climate crisis every day. Changing tempe...

March 6, 2020

Blog

Sophia Mathur, 12, is taking the Ontario government to court over climate change

My name is Sophia. I’m 12 years old, and I’m one of the seven young people – backed by Ecojustice – suing the Government of Ontario ...

December 12, 2019

Blog

FAQ: Why we’re backing seven incredible young climate leaders

As many of you have likely read (and watched), seven young people, backed by Ecojustice, launched a lawsuit against the Government of Ontari...

November 29, 2019

Blog

#GenClimateAction: Our biggest climate lawsuit yet

Today, seven young people from across Ontario announced they are suing Premier Ford and his government for tearing up the province’s clima...

November 26, 2019

Press release

7 Ontario youths sue Ford gov’t for weakening 2030 climate target

Lawsuit, backed by Ecojustice, argues Ford’s climate rollbacks violate Ontarians’ Charter rights TORONTO — Seven young people are s...

November 26, 2019

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