HALIFAX — The Environmental Bill of Rights introduced in Nova Scotia today signifies an important step toward national recognition of the right to the healthy environment, representatives from Ecojustice and the David Suzuki Foundation say.
“Environmental rights are human rights,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, Ecojustice lawyer. “This is a concept that transcends political lines, and we commend the members of the Nova Scotia legislature for this clear demonstration of their commitment to environmental rights and a more just society.”
The bill, which was introduced in the provincial legislature on Thursday, includes a range of provisions, including measures that would expand public consultation in environmental assessments, and allow residents to sue over violations of environmental rights.
The bill also includes measures that would require the provincial government to share environmental data online, and establish an Environmental Commissioner.
It would also legally recognize a substantive right to a “healthful” environment — setting a powerful example for other Canadian jurisdictions to follow.
“From coast to coast to coast, the overwhelming majority of Canadians want to see our right to a clean and healthy environment recognized, respected and fulfilled,” said Alaya Boisvert, manager of Blue Dot Government and Partner Relations with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Nova Scotia’s proposed environmental bill of rights is evidence of the incredible groundswell of support for environmental rights, which has ignited a movement throughout the country.”
Ecojustice and the David Suzuki Foundation are partners in the Blue Dot Movement, a national campaign to advance the legal recognition of every Canadian’s right to a healthy environment. Thousands of Canadians have mobilized to urge their governments to take action in support of environmental rights. And to date, more than 130 municipalities, representing 12 million Canadians, have passed declarations in support of the right to a healthy environment.
“Nova Scotia’s bill is the second environmental rights bill introduced in Canada in the last six months, and an indication of the growing strength of the environmental rights movement in Canada,” Mitchell said. “Globally, environmental rights have gained recognition faster than any other human right in the last 50 years, and Canada is ready to join the conversation. When it comes to environmental rights it’s not really a matter of if, but of when.”
Kaitlyn Mitchell, Lawyer | Ecojustice
647 746 8702
Alaya Boisvert, Manager of Blue Dot Government and Partner Relations | David Suzuki Foundation
604 562 2779