Toronto, Ont./ Traditional territories of several First Nations including the Williams Treaties First Nations, Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation — Seven young Ontarians who have taken their provincial government to court to challenge its decision to significantly weaken Ontario’s 2030 climate target have expressed their support for the plaintiffs involved in the La Rose et. al. v. His Majesty the King et al. and Lho’imggin et al. v. His Majesty the King cases. Appeals on both these cases are being heard before the Federal Court of Appeal today.
In September 2022, the seven young Ontarians involved in the Mathur et. al. v. His Majesty the King in Right of Ontario made history when their Charter-based climate case was the first to reach a full hearing in a Canadian court. Represented by Ecojustice and lawyers from Stockwoods LLP, this case was heard between September 12-14 before the Ontario Superior Court, and the applicants now await a decision from the court.
These young people are also extending their support to the youth and Indigenous Peoples involved in the La Rose et. al. and Lho’imggin et al. cases.
Shaelyn Wabegijig, 26-year-old Anishinaabe activist from the Caribou Clan, said:
“It is so inspiring to me as a young Indigenous person who has gone to court for action on climate change to see other youth and Indigenous Peoples also using this as a tool in the fight for our shared future.
“All governments must be held accountable and listen to Indigenous knowledge, climate science and young people. It is time to face the realities and lived experiences of the climate emergency.”
Danielle Gallant, Ecojustice lawyer, said:
“Like in many places around the world, it is young people and Indigenous Peoples who are leading the fight against the climate emergency in Canada.
“Throughout the globe, legal challenges of governments’ climate action have become a powerful tool for youth and Indigenous Peoples to demand change.”
In Mathur et. al. v. His Majesty the King in Right of Ontario, seven young people, backed by Ecojustice, are suing the Government of Ontario for weakening its 2030 climate target because it will lead to catastrophic climate change and widespread illness and death, violating Ontario youth and future generations’ Charter-protected rights to life, security, and equality. Lawyers from Ecojustice and Stockwoods LLP are representing the youth applicants
In La Rose et. al. v. His Majesty the King et al., 15 young people from seven provinces and one territory claim the government of Canada is contributing to dangerous climate change. The case argues that the youth are already being harmed by climate change and the federal government is violating their rights under Section 7 and Section 15 of the Charter and under the public trust doctrine. They are represented by the law firms of Arvay Finlay LLP and Tollefson Law Corporation, and are supported by the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), David Suzuki Foundation and Our Children’s Trust.
In Lho’imggin et al. v. His Majesty the King, two houses of the Wet’suwet’en filed a legal challenge alleging that the Canadian government’s approach to climate change has violated their constitutional and Charter rights. The plaintiffs contend that they have experienced significant warming effects on their territories and expect to experience negative health impacts due to climate change. They further assert that Canada’s historical treatment of Indigenous Peoples and ongoing racial discrimination exacerbate the psychological and social trauma caused by climate change.
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