Ecojustice Blog – Healthy communities Posted on July 24, 2019 (updated: September 30, 2019)

Taking action on Volkswagen for their emissions-cheating cars

Devon PageLawyer
A Volkwagen vehicle stopped in traffic on a Toronto street.
Photo by Michael Swan via Flickr | CC-BY-ND-2.0

Volkswagen put Canadians’ health at risk with their illegal emission-cheating cars and Minister Catherine McKenna doesn’t appear to be doing anything to hold them to account.

Today, Ecojustice lawyers launched a lawsuit to force the Minister to take the investigation into Volkswagen seriously.

You may remember that in September 2015, the world found out that Volkswagen had installed illegal software in its diesel cars, allowing them to pass emissions testing by misrepresenting how much pollution they typically emit. The company’s unlawful action resulted in 30 times the approved level of nitrogen oxides spewing from these cars, posing a threat to human health. About 105,000 such cars with 2.0L diesel engines were imported and sold in Canada based on fraudulent regulatory submissions, all of which is illegal.

Ecojustice and Environmental Defence triggered the Minister to launch an investigation in 2017, after Volkswagen and its Canadian dealers quietly began reselling 2015 model year diesel cars equipped with an illegal “defeat device” to cheat air pollution laws.

Since July 2017, the federal government have been investigating Volkswagen but their probe seems to have come to a halt. The United States and Germany have aggressively pursued and prosecuted Volkswagen on this issue — to the point that the company voluntarily paid billions in fines in the United States. It is hard to understand why it is taking so long for Canada to investigate a self-confessed polluter.

Emission-cheating cars are a danger to human health. A recent study suggested links between illegal Volkswagen cars and low birth weight and acute asthma attacks in children.

We’re taking the Minister to court to force her to live up to her obligation to protect Canadians, the environment, and enforce the law. But we can’t do it without you. By making a gift to Ecojustice today, you can help make sure Volkswagen pays for its environmental crimes.

Build the case for a better earth

Thanks to the support of people like you, Ecojustice goes to court to protect what we value most — the air, land and water that sustains all life. Make your gift today and support bold litigation for a brighter environmental future.

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