In January 2020, Ecojustice appeared in Supreme Court of Canada as an intervenor in a reference case brought by the Government of British Columbia.
The B.C. government asked the court whether it had the legal ability to amend its Environmental Management Act to better protect against diluted bitumen spills.
Diluted bitumen (dilbit) is toxic and spills can cause substantial, long lasting harm to communities and the environment.
Ecojustice lawyers intervened in support of B.C.’s right to amend its law. Ecojustice also used a novel argument to go a step further and insist governments at all levels have a constitutional duty to protect the environment.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decided to dismiss the case from the bench, meaning it issued its ruling immediately after hearing oral arguments. It did not issue a written decision.
This move upheld an earlier B.C. Court of Appeal ruling and ended the province’s bit to amend the Act.