Are there laws and policies that guide against the impacts of climate change in Canada? Definitely, there are. There are several Acts passed into law in this regard, and they include:
Environmental Protection Laws
The Department of the Environment Act: Enacted in 1971. This Act established Environment and Climate Change Canada as a department within the Minister of the Environment’s portfolio responsible for preserving and enhancing the natural environment’s quality. It provides meteorological services and coordinates policies and programs to achieve environmental objectives.
Water Governance and Legislation: Canada’s coastal and inland waters are shared responsibility between federal, provincial and territorial governments and several federal departments. The Canada Water Act and the International Rivers Improvement Act (IRIA) are two significant pieces of water legislation administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard are also mandated under the Ocean’s Act to develop a national oceans strategy and a system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Lake of the Woods Control Board Act: First enacted in 1921, this Act defines the purpose and powers of the Board to regulate water levels in the Ontario, Manitoba and United States water system including Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul, and the Winnipeg and English Rivers. Environment and Climate Change Canada represents Canada on the Board.
Weather Modification Information Act: Weather modification includes any activity intended to change the atmosphere to influence weather conditions artificially. This Act allows the federal government to set requirements for reporting such activities.
Pollution Prevention Laws
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999): This Act is the cornerstone of Canada’s environmental legislation and an essential part of Canada’s broader legislative framework to prevent pollution and protect the environment and human health. The link includes information about CEPA 1999, including summaries of the Act and links to other pieces of legislation that contribute to environmental protection in Canada.
Fisheries Act: Although the Act is administered by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change is responsible for the Fisheries Act sections that deal with water pollution. Along with CEPA 1999, this Act plays a significant role in protecting the Natural Environment’s quality.
Antarctic Environmental Protection Act (AEPA): The purpose of this Act is to protect the Antarctic environment from potential adverse environmental effects resulting from Canadian activities in the region. It helps fulfill Canada’s obligations under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol).
Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act: Under this Act, Environment and Climate Change Canada assists Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AADC) in administering regulations dealing with waste from natural resources.
Sustainable Development Laws
Federal Sustainable Development Act: Under this Act, the Environment and Climate Change Minister is responsible for developing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. The Minister is responsible for setting out goals and targets for all federal departments and must provide progress reports every three years. The first federal strategy was adopted in 2010.
Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology Act: This Act establishes the Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology to fund the development of technologies that provide solutions to issues related to climate change, clean air, water and soil quality. The Ministers of the Environment and Climate Change, Industry and Natural Resources recommend members to the Board of directors.
(As culled from https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/corporate/transparency/acts-regulations.html)
Bill c-230 ( Bill c-226)
The National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism (Bill C-230) is a policy we can’t but mention. Although yet to be passed into law, it will be deliberated upon March 22, 2021 month at the legislative level. This Bill entails that the Minister of Environment & Climate Change develops a strategy that includes measures to:
Analyze the connection between socioeconomic status, race and environmental risk.
Gather statistics and data that point at the location of environmental hazards.
Collate statistics and data that have to do with adverse health effects in Black, Indigenous and racialized communities.
See to the regulation and execution of environmental laws in each province.
Take care of issues relating to environmental racism by amending federal laws, programs and policies, involving community groups in policy and decision making concerning the environment, compensating and funding affected communities and individuals and making clean water and air available to affected communities.
Bill C-230 died on the order paper when an election was called in August 2021. Elizabeth re-introduced the bill as her own PMB in the 44th parliament, building on the work of MP Zann and environmental justice advocates.
Elizabeth May’s Bill is now C-226: An Act respecting the development of a national strategy to assess, prevent and address environmental racism and to advance environmental justice.” ( Culled from https://elizabethmaymp.ca/francais-bill-c-226-national-strategy-respecting-environmental-racism-and-environmental-justice-act/)
SCAN supports Bill c-226 as it will start addressing an issue long been ignored at the local, national and global levels. Let us work together to make sure that this Bill is passed. You should find out more and show your support.
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