Toronto, ON:  Environmental Defence welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement to review Canada’s key environmental legislation and processes. This is a good first step to restore and strengthen Canada’s legal protections for waterways and fish habitat and to take a new approach to reviewing and deciding the fate of major industrial projects.

Many of Canada’s most important environmental laws were weakened under the previous government in an effort to clear the way for pipelines, LNG terminals, and other risky, high carbon and high impact projects. But the plan backfired. Canada’s international reputation suffered greatly and the public lost confidence in government review processes and bodies, such as the National Energy Board. It’s encouraging to see the government taking steps to restore Canada’s reputation and the public trust.

However, fixing Canada’s environmental protection framework requires more than undoing the changes made by the previous government. A modern approach, in keeping with the best science available, is needed to ensure that Canada effectively protects the environment and the health of Canadians.

In particular, this means creating a regulatory framework that ensures Canada only approves projects consistent with Canada’s Paris commitment to limit climate change to well below 2 degrees and to phase out fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – by mid-century.

It also means strengthening the Fisheries Act to ensure the protection of all fish habitat and aquatic ecosystems, and it means ensuring that industrial projects of high and unacceptable risk to the environment and economy can be rejected by review bodies such as the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

The federal government has spoken about building a clean economy. Now Canada needs laws and regulations that ensure it actually happens.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For media requests, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, 416-356-2587 (cell); 416-323-9521 ext. 247; abraude@environmentaldefence.ca