On February 8, 2024, the Government of Canada announced that it is conducting a consultation to determine how the right to a healthy environment will be implemented. The opportunity for public input is open until April 8, 2024.

We have written two previous blogs on this topic: Canada Re-introduces Legislation to Amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act, receives Royal Assent.

As part of the implementation process, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada are seeking feedback on a discussion document related to the implementation framework for this right under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).

The discussion document serves as a foundation for engaging stakeholders in the development of an implementation framework. The document outlines how the right to a healthy environment will be considered within the administration of CEPA.

Key concepts explored include environmental justice, non-regression and intergenerational equity. In addition, the document addresses procedural duties relevant to protecting this right, as well as social, health, scientific and economic factors that may influence reasonable limits.

The process also confirms Ottawa's commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which will be implemented in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous communities.

Informing the draft implementation framework

Input and perspectives provided in response to the discussion document will guide the creation of a draft implementation framework. This framework will define how CEPA's provisions related to the right to a healthy environment will be rolled out. The draft framework is scheduled for public comment in fall 2024, allowing further input before finalization by the Ministers of Environment and Health in June 2025.

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