When the Ford government stepped into office it unlawfully passed the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act — a move we 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 Act, which rolled back the province’s relatively progressive climate targets, replacing 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, have courageously stepped up to the plate to fight for a safe and healthy future — starting with a safe climate.
On April 15, the government filed a motion to strike the case, arguing it should not proceed to a full hearing.
To counter the government’s motion, we’ll be heading to court this summer for a hearing to argue that our clients deserve their day in Court and that a case as important as this one cannot be dismissed at a preliminary stage.
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 decided to do less. This is unacceptable, as the seven climate leaders at the heart of our latest case assert, unconstitutional.
They 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.