Ecojustice Blog – Special Update Posted on July 26, 2017 (updated: July 26, 2017)

Let’s get it right: Strengthening Canada’s environmental laws

Josh GinsbergJosh GinsbergLawyer
Parliament Building by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr
Parliament Building by Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

Tell the government where you stand when it comes to making environmental laws stronger

In June 2016 the federal government announced a sweeping review of key environmental laws and called on concerned individuals, communities, and organizations to share their thoughts on how to strengthen them.

We jumped at the opportunity. Ecojustice’s legal experts spend the majority of their time in court arguing over the details of the law. This experience puts us in the unique position to comment on what needs to change to make our environmental laws stronger.

The Ecojustice team has taken part in each step of the review process for the Fisheries Act, the National Energy Board Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Navigation Protection Actwe’ve testified before standing committees, presented submissions to expert panels across the country, and met with legislators and bureaucrats.

Ecojustice climate change program director, Karen Campbell, talks law reform

But that’s not all we’ve been up to. To keep the pressure on our elected officials, Ecojustice teamed up with other environmental organizations and community groups to encourage people like you to call on the federal government and urge them to meaningfully strengthen Canada’s environmental laws.

Your MP cares what voters in their riding have to say. That’s why we’re asking you to send your MP a personalized e-letter that lets them know that you’re paying attention to what they’re doing to strengthen and modernize Canada’s environmental laws.

Every person who stands up and voices their concerns makes our unified call for change stronger. Here’s how you can take action:


Tell your MP: Protect wild fish and their habitats for future generations

Despite being Canada’s oldest piece of environmental legislation, the Fisheries Act does not do nearly enough to protect oceans, water and fish habitat. And it does not address modern realities like climate change and fish farming.

Now’s your chance to ensure the federal government gets the Fisheries Act right and protects wild fish, their habitats and the communities that depend on them.


Tell your MP: Keep Canada’s climate promise and fix the NEB

From our experience working on major pipeline hearings, we know that the National Energy Board (NEB) is riddled with systemic failures —the badly flawed hearings on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project and the recusal of Energy East pipeline review panel are only two examples. As a result of its repeated failures, Canadians have lost trust in the NEB’s ability to review major projects like pipelines. This needs to change.

Now’s your chance to remind the federal government of its promise to fix the NEB and put laws in place for principled, science-based energy decisions that keep Canada on track to fulfill its climate promises.


Tell your MP: I want a next-generation environmental assessment law for Canada

We need stronger, fairer environmental assessment law that respects Indigenous rights and authority, protects nature, and empowers communities. But for this to happen the federal government needs to make some serious changes to the law— like requirements to consider climate change impacts in assessments.

Now’s your turn to urge the federal government to make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix environmental assessment law and achieve a legacy Canadians can be proud of.


Write your local newspaper: Don’t let 99% of Canada’s waterways go unprotected

Amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, now called the Navigation Protection Act, eliminated oversight and approval requirements for work impacting navigation on more than 99 per cent of Canadian waterways. It also axed the requirement for environmental assessment on the remaining waterways. These protections need to be restored.

You can help get the word out by telling your local newspaper why protecting all navigable waters matters.


Then, share these sites with your networks and encourage your friends and family to take action!

Let’s make sure government gets it right

Strong, enforceable and fair environmental laws that are vital to the health of our democracy and nature.

These reviews are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure the federal government gets it right when it sits down to draft amendments to these laws.

Let’s make sure they get the message loud and clear: We are paying attention to what they’re doing in Ottawa and expect them to meaningfully strengthen Canada’s environmental laws so they better protect our communities, the environment, and the climate.

Build the case for a better earth

Thanks to the support of people like you, Ecojustice goes to court to protect what we value most — the air, land and water that sustains all life. Make your gift today and support bold litigation for a brighter environmental future.

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