The federal government has a right to take national action on climate change — a problem that poses such a genuine threat to Canadians that it can be classified as an “emergency.”

That’s the message the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal sent today when it ruled that the federal government has the power to set a minimum national price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a judicial first, the court found that “climate change is doubtless an emergency in the sense that it presents a genuine threat to Canada.”

This part of the decision is a direct result of the tireless work Ecojustice lawyers put into representing the David Suzuki Foundation on this case — work that is only possible because of supporters like you.

On behalf of our clients, Ecojustice lawyer Joshua Ginsberg argued that the federal government should be able to introduce laws that unite all of Canada in the fight against climate change, specifically because climate change is such a pressing issue that it counts as a national emergency.

While the court found that Canada’s carbon pricing law is not temporary enough to count as emergency legislation, it did agree that climate change itself is an emergency. As a result, Canada will be able to introduce new, time-limited laws to address climate change.

The science tells us that we only have 11 years to ward off the worst impacts of climate change. To do this, Canada must:

  • Update its greenhouse gas emissions targets, which fall short of the international standards set out in the Paris Agreement
  • Commit in law to halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050
  • Enshrine these new targets in laws that empower the public to hold government to account on its climate commitments.

While Ecojustice lawyers processed today’s decision, young people across Canada took to the streets to strike for their climate future. It is with these bold young leaders in mind that Ecojustice continues its fight to combat climate change, both through winning litigation and through pushing for new laws to bring those in-court wins to life.