Greenpeace Canada v. Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks; Lieutenant Governor in Council

Year opened: 2018
Status: Open
Jurisdiction: Canada
Principle law(s): Environmental Bill of Rights
Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016
Ontario Regulation 386/18; Bill 4
Cap and Trade Cancellation Act
Ontario Regulation 386/18
Mitigation/adaptation: Mitigation

Summary

Environmental groups filed suit against the Ontarian government, alleging the government failed to meet legal requirements for public consultation on regulations that would end Ontario’s cap and trade program and a proposed bill that would undercut the province’s legislative regime for combatting climate change. Plaintiffs argue that both the regulations and bill violate requirements under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) for public participation in the development of environmentally significant regulations and legislation.

The lawsuit concerns Ontario Regulation 386/18 filed on July 3, 2018 by the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks. The government did not conduct a public consultation process and filed a claim that the 2018 election was “substantially equivalent” to the 30-day consultation process required by law. Plaintiffs argue that the government was still required to undertake public consultation for the regulation under the EBR and that the regulation is ultra vires because it contradicts the purpose of the “Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act,” the enabling act for this regulation. The lawsuit additionally concerns “Bill 4, the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018” filed on July 25, 2018. This bill would repeal the “Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016” which includes greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Plaintiffs argue that this bill would have a significant environmental impact because it would repeal existing greenhouse gas emissions targets without establishing new targets. If there is a significant environmental impact, then the government must undertake the mandatory notice and comment process required by the EBR.

Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief and ask the Court to quash the regulations. The case is tentatively set for expedited hearing on September 21, 2018.

Core objective(s): Whether regulations and legislation undoing Ontario’s cap and trade program illegally failed to comply with requirements for public consultation
Category:
Side A: Greenpeace Canada (Ngo)
Side B: Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks; Lieutenant Governor in Council (Government)
Decisions(s):
  • Undecided (Superior Court of Justice)
Case document(s):
Keywords: Ontario, government, cap and trade

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