30th May 2023, the House of Commons passed Bill S-5, which updates the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) for the first time in 20+ years.
This crucial legislation now returns to the Senate for a final review before it becomes law.
As Canada’s cornerstone environmental law, CEPA is meant to protect the public from dangerous chemicals and toxic pollution, but it was languishing in the past. Meanwhile, the day-to-day threats to people’s health — for instance, in the form of ‘forever chemicals’ linked to cancer — worsened.
While Bill S-5 is not a cure-all, it does introduce some important changes such as strengthened control of toxic substances. It also recognizes the right to a healthy environment for the first time ever in federal law.
More than 31,000 Ecojustice supporters lent their voice to this campaign, calling on political leaders and keeping CEPA reform alive — even after the 2021 federal election almost saw it off. This important moment is a testament to all of us.
I want to be honest with you. Life for people in Canada won’t change overnight — nor will Bill S-5 save those already suffering the health impacts of CEPA’s failures.
That’s why Ecojustice is in it for the long-haul. Thanks to the dedication of supporters like you, we’ll continue using the law to secure a safer environment for everyone.
Dr. Elaine MacDonald,
Healthy Communities program director, Ecojustice