Late yesterday we received word that the seven courageous young people Ecojustice is backing in a landmark climate lawsuit against the Government of Ontario will get their day in court.
For the first time ever, a Canadian court has ruled that fundamental rights protected under the Charter can be threatened by climate change and citizens have the ability to challenge a Canadian government’s action on the climate crisis under the highest law in the land.
The news comes almost a year to the day that our youth clients sued the Doug Ford government for weakening Ontario’s climate targets and violating Ontarians’ Charter rights to life, liberty, and security of the person. In its ruling, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice delivered a rebuke of the Ford government’s attempt to shut down the youth-led lawsuit and affirmed that our clients’ case will be heard in full.
According to the court’s ruling: “This case is of public interest, in that it transcends the interest of all Ontario residents, not just the Applicants’ generation or the ones that follow.”
Mathur et. al. v. Her Majesty in Right of Ontario is the only time a Canadian Court has recognized that the harms caused by climate change can engage our Charter protected rights to life, liberty and security of the person.
The Ford government tried to get our case dismissed on grounds that the courts aren’t the right forum for addressing the climate crisis, that climate impacts will play out so far in the future we can’t understand them now, that the climate crisis is so big and complicated that Ontario’s targets don’t make a difference, and that the young people bringing the case can’t represent the interests of future generations.
Thanks to your support, our clients — Sophia, Zoe, Shaelyn, Alex, Shelby, Madi, and Beze — made legal history and prevailed on every one of these grounds. Thank you.
Your support is the reason we’ve been able to assemble a stellar legal team, comprised of Ecojustice lawyers and award-winning constitutional law experts Nader Hasan and Justin Safayeni of Stockwoods LLP, to represent these remarkable young climate leaders in this landmark lawsuit.
And together, we’re determined to keep making history. We’re going to pull out all the legal stops to chart a better path for climate action in Canada — because when it comes to defending the people and places we love, there’s no time to waste. Can we count on you to stick with us?
While the fate of this case hung in the balance, the Ecojustice team forged ahead with gathering evidence and expert opinions to bolster our case. Having now survived the Ford government’s procedural attack, we’re pushing to get to a hearing as soon as possible.
That means that our legal work will only intensify in the coming months, and we’ll need your support more than ever.
P.S. Nerd out with us. Read the court’s ruling here.