Groups urge Senate to reject industry interference and pass Bill S-5 before the summer recess
OTTAWA | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE – Today, the Senate Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV) Committee completes its review of Bill S-5, a long-awaited government bill to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. We, the undersigned groups, are concerned about industry interference after learning that many of Canada’s biggest polluters sent a letter to the Senate Speaker to “urge the full Senate to reverse the amendments introduced by the Committee and pass Bill S-5 as it was originally introduced.”
We are urging Senators to resist industry lobbying that seeks to undermine their committee’s reasonable efforts to strengthen Bill S-5. There is no sound rationale for letting polluting industries reverse the course on efforts to modernize CEPA. The bill now awaits its final debate and vote in the full Senate. We cannot go backwards on CEPA modernization aimed at improving environmental, human health and environmental justice.
We are asking Senators to reject this industry delay-and-dismiss tactic and to vote to send a strengthened bill to the House of Commons before the summer recess. Thousands of people across Canada have called on political leaders to strengthen Canada’s most important environmental law. Millions of people living in Canada will be negatively affected if they do not.
We need a strengthened CEPA to form the backbone of a just transition towards a clean and inclusive economy.
The groups supporting this statement are:
- Environmental Defence
- David Suzuki Foundation
- Breast Cancer Action Quebec
- Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)
- Coalition for Environmental Rights
- Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities and Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project)
- The Canadian Coalition for Environmental and Climate Justice (CCECJ)
- Nature Canada
- Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) – CUPE
- Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN)
- Prevent Cancer Now
- Industry letter to the Senate Speaker can be found here.
- CEPA is Canada’s main law for protecting environmental health, and CEPA has not been significantly amended since 1999.
- In 2017, the House Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development recommended strengthening CEPA, leading the government to introduce Bill S-5. Consideration of these recommendations has now spanned three sessions of Parliament.
- Once S-5 has passed third reading in the Senate, it must also be considered by the House of Commons.
- Joint submission to the ENEV Committee from Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, Breast Cancer Action Quebec and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment on Bill S-5.
- Submission from Nature Canada
- Submission from Prevent Cancer Now