In 2016, our community came together to make big changes happen. From safeguarding fresh water to slowing urban sprawl and getting toxic chemicals out of the products we use, you helped us ensure that our environment and the health of Canadians were protected. You joined us in saying no to fossil fuels and yes to modern, clean energy. You stood alongside us in our fight to reduce carbon emissions and build a clean economy.

None of our work would be possible without you.

Read More in a Letter from our President and Executive Director


Climate & Clean Economy

Rising temperatures, increased flooding, and shrinking glaciers tell us we urgently need to take action to fight climate change. We know that what is good for the environment is also good for the economy. That’s why we are working to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and build a low-carbon, clean economy in Canada.

Safeguarding Freshwater

Water is vital to all Canadians. That’s why we work to keep Canada’s waters clean and safe by fighting pollution, strengthening Great Lakes protection, and working with communities to ensure our beaches and marinas are sustainably managed.

Kicking Out Toxics

Toxic chemicals, many with links to serious health issues like cancer, asthma and reproductive failure, continue to be found in products Canadians use daily. That’s why we’re working with the federal government to strengthen our toxics laws and educating Canadians on what they can do to avoid harmful chemicals.

With the support of thousands of Canadians, this past year we helped to get microbeads banned in Canada and atrazine — a pesticide in our surface and drinking water — placed under a special federal review.

Creating Livable Communities

Farmland, water and natural areas are under threat from sprawling development, stressful gridlock is worse, and commute times are getting longer. It’s clear that protecting Ontario’s Greenbelt and creating liveable communities is more important than ever.


We wouldn’t exist without you. You signed petitions, donated your birthday presents, attended our events, wrote and called the government and financially supported our programs.

Everything we do is made possible because of your generosity, enthusiasm, passion and dedication.

And, you inspire us to continue our work to improve the health of Canadians and the Environment.

An Evening of Inspiring Change

Our 2017 Gala featured a thought-provoking conversation with Anthropocene Project creators Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier. Led by executive director, Tim Gray, the discussion explored how Environmental Defence’s efforts to make meaningful change dovetail with the work of these three incredible artists who have brought the beauty, scope and scale of massive change to photography and film. Thank you to our sponsors and guests for your unwavering commitment to inspiring change.

See the video


Award in honour of the recipient’s service to protecting Canada’s environment

Heather Bastien will always be remembered as one of Ontario’s greatest Aboriginal cultural heritage landscape champions.

Together with Luc Laine, legal counsel and a few dedicated archaeologists, Heather’s efforts resulted in the protection of dozens of significant Huron-Wendat villages and burials, including Skandatut, a large 15th century village site in Ontario’s Greenbelt.

When she was asked what preserving Skandatut and its ossuary meant to her, she said, “We created a permanently protected cultural heritage landscape in the Greenbelt. Preserving Skandatut, our ancient capital and burial ground, is a great legacy for all Nations.”





ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE is a team of passionate, creative, and talented people devoted to making positive change happen. Our staff and board work hard every day to protect Canada’s environment and human health. But we don’t do it alone. We have an expert advisory committee that offers ideas, advice and feedback to help us develop our campaigns, and we have celebrity partners and a social media team that helps us get the word out about our programs.


It takes all of our dedicated team working together in our office to deliver the outcomes we’ve shared in this report. The program, engagement and communications staff (tackling the issues) along with our finance, development, and administration teams (backbone) come together and deliver the change we have committed to our funders and supporters. And of course, we need the space (keeping the lights on) to brainstorm, plan and implement.

To quote author, activist and humanitarian, Dan Pallotta:

“Our generation does not want its epitaph to read, ‘We kept charity overhead low.’ We want it to read we changed the world.”


A BIG THANKS to all of the individuals and organizations who generously supported our efforts between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. Together, we accomplished incredible feats, including securing a federal commitment to protecting charities from harassment and the launch of a new standard to protect natural areas from the impacts of aggregate extraction. And with your continued support, we know that we can accomplish even more this coming year.

See the complete list here.