Watch this exclusive conversation moderated by youth climate activist Emma Lim, founder of the #NoFutureNoChildren pledge, and featuring key figures in Ecojustice’s most ambitious climate lawsuit to date.
You’ll hear directly from two of the seven young climate activists (see their bios below) who launched a constitutional challenge against the Ontario government for its failure to take action on the climate crisis. They’re joined by members of their legal team, including lawyers Danielle Gallant (Ecojustice) and Spencer Bass (Stockwoods LLP), who put this youth-led climate litigation in a global context and explain how it could set a precedent that changes the future of Canadian law.
Seven young people, backed by Ecojustice, are suing the Government of Ontario for weakening its climate targets because it will lead to widespread illness and death, violating Ontarians’ Charter-protected rights to life, liberty, and security of the person.
As young people, the applicants say they and people like them will bear the costs of climate inaction more than previous generations.
The Ford government passed the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act in 2018. The Act repealed what were considered to be relatively strong greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020, 2030, and 2050. The government then replaced these targets with a single, significantly weaker 2030 target.
This weaker target will allow more greenhouse gas emissions to be emitted, further contribute to dangerous climate change-related impacts such as heatwaves, floods, fires, and poor air quality that will harm the health of Ontarians.
Young people are especially at risk when it comes to climate threats because these risks will increase in the coming years if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.
That’s why seven young climate leaders, backed by Ecojustice, have courageously stepped up to the plate to fight for a safe and healthy future — starting with a safe climate. Learn more about the case here.
Danielle is a member of the Quebec Bar and is fluently bilingual. She holds a Licentiate in Civil Law (LL.L.) and an Honours Bachelor in International Development and Globalization (B.Soc.Sc.) from the University of Ottawa, where she graduated Summa cum laude. She recently completed her Master’s in Global Sustainability and Environmental Law (LL.M.) at the same university, during which she focused her research on the human rights impacts of environmental issues and on climate change litigation. She is now a proud member of Ecojustice’s Climate Change team.
Shaelyn is one of seven young people taking the Ontario government to court for weakening its climate targets. Shaelyn grew up in Rama First Nation and her family are Algonquin from Timiskaming First Nation and of European Descent. She is Caribou Clan and resides in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough). Shaelyn is the office and SDG Project coordinator at the Kawartha World Issues Centre.
Zoe Keary-Matzner may be growing up in Canada’s biggest city, but she says she’s always felt a connection to nature — and she’s concerned about how climate change will impact the places and activities she loves. Zoe loves hiking, but fears a rise in Lyme-disease-carrying ticks. She loves playing in the snow, but is worried about changing winters. And she wants to study animal behaviour as an ethologist one day, but she’s scared about what biodiversity loss will mean for her career plans.