Toronto, Ont. – We are glad to see the government reaffirm its commitment to the environment and climate change in the Speech from the Throne. In particular, we welcome the promise to ban harmful single-use plastics next year and ensure more plastic is recycled, and the commitment to modernize the two-decade old toxics and pollution prevention law, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. We’re also happy to see commitments to immediately bring forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal and legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. We are also pleased to see the promise to introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before the end of this year.

However, Canada has been promising climate action for years now, yet we continue to fall further behind in meeting our existing targets. There is still no vision for how Canada gets off fossil fuels or transforms our economy and energy system. The government declared a climate emergency more than a year ago, and the impacts of climate change have become impossible to ignore. Lives are on the line right now. Those already facing severe climate impacts – especially the most poor and vulnerable – cannot wait another five years of nice words and underwhelming action from Canada.

Although today’s Speech from the Throne hits the right notes, the implementation of these promises will be what matters most, including in the upcoming economic update. All government spending on recovery and stimulus must align with a climate-safe future. Support for clean technology should not go towards the industries fueling the climate emergency. The commitment on plastics must translate into regulations that prioritize reuse over recycling, and use the federal government’s legislative authority to harmonize performance standards from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

We look forward to working with the government to develop transformative climate action, a circular economy for plastics and a stronger approach to protecting Canadians from toxic chemicals.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

-30-

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Barbara Hayes, Environmental Defence, bhayes@environmentaldefence.ca