Follow Us! Like Our Page!

Creating a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment for all: Canada consulting on the right to a healthy environment in federal legislation and engaging on environmental justice and racism

Press Release

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

February 8, 2024

Everyone should have a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment. For the first time ever, the Government of Canada recognizes that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment under the modernized Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

Today, the Government of Canada begins its public consultation on the development of a right to a healthy environment implementation framework under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The Government is also engaging Canadians on environmental justice and racism to address the fact that certain communities have been disproportionately affected by environmental hazards, like pollution, toxic waste, landfills, and dumps.

These initiatives will explore various aspects of environmental equity, including:

  • A study to examine the links between race, socio-economic status, and environmental risks
  • Identifying measures that can be taken to advance environmental justice and assess, prevent, and address environmental racism
  • The importance of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising those of future ones

The public is invited to visit the Advancing Environmental Equity online platform to learn more and to take part in these initiatives. Comments on the right to a healthy environment will be accepted until April 8. The input received will inform the development of a right to a healthy environment implementation framework under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to be published by June 2025, and the development of a national strategy to assess, prevent, and address environmental racism and to advance environmental justice.

Quotes

“Environmental protection should not change depending on who you are or where you live—we should ensure the health of all communities. Decision-making should ensure equal opportunity to all and avoid discriminating underrepresented groups. This national engagement will help us meaningfully and collectively reflect on environmental justice and racism. I am looking forward to advancing together toward a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment, for the well-being of Canadians and of future generations.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Developing a framework to set out how the right to a healthy environment for all people in Canada will be considered under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act will have great impacts on generations to come. Launching consultations is a crucial step to build a framework that will incorporate important feedback from people with diverse perspectives and experiences. Health Canada looks forward to continuing to prioritize actions to promote a healthy environment.”
– The Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • On June 13, 2023, Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act, received royal assent:
    • It represents the first set of comprehensive amendments in over 20 years to reform the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, one of Canada’s core environmental laws.
    • It strengthens how chemicals and other substances are assessed and managed and ensures that we have the best possible tools to protect the health of Canadians and the environment.
  • The Government of Canada will engage with interested persons, Indigenous peoples, partners, and stakeholders through the winter and spring of 2024, with the publication of the Draft Implementation Framework targeted for the fall of 2024.
  • The Canadian Environmental Protection Act has also been updated to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The Advancing Environmental Equity online platform will advance the Government of Canada’s understanding of environmental racism in Canada and gather views from people across Canada and their lived experiences of the issue.
  • On February 2, 2022, the Government of Canada reaffirmed its commitment to advancing environmental justice by supporting private Member’s Bill C-226, An Act Respecting the Development of a National Strategy to Assess, Prevent and Address Environmental Racism and to Advance Environmental Justice.

Related products

Associated links

Contacts
Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
Kaitlin.Power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
media@ec.gc.ca

Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca

ILR5

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More