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press release

All parties involved in VW emissions-cheating must be investigated

January 25, 2021

Environmental groups back in court to argue for transparent investigation of environmental crimes

Toronto, Ont. – Environmental groups are at the Federal Court of Appeal today to make sure the Minister of Environment and Climate Change carries out a complete, thorough and transparent investigation of any Volkswagen agents and subsidiaries who have played a role in the Dieselgate emissions scandal. 

Ecojustice, on behalf of Environmental Defence staff, has requested that all parties involved in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal be properly investigated for their actions. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), Canadians have the right to demand an investigation into those who have been involved in criminal pollution. 

In January 2020, VW AG, the auto manufacturer’s parent company, was fined $196.5 million by the federal government. However, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has given no explanation as to why VW’s agents and subsidiaries have not been charged or if they were even investigated. 

The import and sale of VW’s emissions-cheating cars put the health of Canadians at risk. Studies suggest that excess emissions from cheating diesel vehicles increased harmful pollutants in the air, which may have contributed to higher rates of asthma and low birth weight.  

Randy Christensen, Ecojustice lawyer said:

“Canadians have the right to demand an investigation into companies who break the law and put the health of Canadians at risk. This is a right that is guaranteed to us by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 

“So far, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has not provided a satisfactory answer as to why they are not pursuing an investigation into VW Canada, its subsidiaries and agents. 

“All parties involved in the emission-cheating scandal must be properly investigated and held to account for their role in these environmental crimes.”

Muhannad Malas, Environmental Defence Toxics Program Manager said: 

“The Volkswagen emissions scandal is among the worst environmental crimes ever committed in Canada, yet the government’s investigation and prosecution process raise questions about why the government minimized the charges it laid and refused to be transparent about the scope of its investigation. We are in court today to demand answers and appropriate action.”


Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca) is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities