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press release

Ecojustice at Supreme Court to ensure robust reviews for environmental regulations 

April 25, 2024

The environmental law charity wants to ensure that laws serve the purpose of the environmental protections for which they are written 

Ottawa/traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people — Ecojustice lawyers will be appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada today to ensure that environmental laws are able to protect people and the environment as intended. 

We are intervening in a case on appeal from the Alberta Court of Appeal that is being heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. This hearing will have far reaching implications for the level of judicial oversight that can be applied to Canadian environmental regulations.  

The Auer v Auer case will look at what standards of review should apply to the judicial review of regulations — in other words, how much scrutiny judges across the country can apply when interpreting if a regulation is lawful.  

The key details of many Canadian environmental laws are set out in regulations. Regulations play a vital role in ensuring that the laws we have in place can prevent environmental harm and protect people and the planet.  

We are intervening because we want to make sure our clients and other public interest groups can meaningfully challenge regulations when they depart from the protective intent and purposes of Canadian environmental legislation. 

Lindsay Beck, Staff Lawyer, Ecojustice said: 

“The effectiveness of Canadian environmental legislation depends on actions the executive branch of government takes to implement those laws, often in the form of regulations. We’re asking the Supreme Court to recognize that the judiciary has a role to play in reviewing regulations to ensure they comply with the environmental protection purposes of the law.” 

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.