MPs pass first major update to Canada’s most important environmental law in more than two decades
Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act, has passed third reading in the House of Commons and we all made this happen.
Important environmental change only comes with a major fight over years, often decades. Breast Cancer Action Quebec has been working for better toxics regulations for almost two decades.
Working closely with different networks of groups, including women’s groups and community groups across Quebec and environmental groups across Canada, and with your unfailing support, we have all helped make stronger toxics regulations a reality.
Just a very small sample of our fight for stronger toxic regulations
Among its provisions, Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act :
● Introduces long-overdue updates for the control of toxic substances and dangerous chemicals, including requiring that priority be given to prohibiting the most hazardous substances. The bill also updates the framework for assessing and managing toxic substances and improves transparency and accountability.
● Recognizes the right to a healthy environment for the first time under federal law. The legislation establishes a new duty for the government to uphold the principles of environmental justice, intergenerational equity, and non-regression — ensuring environmental protections cannot be rolled back. It also requires the federal government to consider the cumulative impacts of toxics, and their effects on vulnerable populations.
There are certainly disappointments with the Bill. You can read the backgrounder of the Coalition for Action on Toxics regarding the improvements and limits of the bill here.
And a law is only as good as its implementation. So there is much more to be done. But for now, we will take a breath and analyse what lies ahead. And then roll up our sleeves and get back to it. We will keep you informed and will need your support every step of the way.
Our deepest thanks.
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With your support BCAQc is working hard to get vital information about environmental and chemical links to breast cancer to the public, and we now know that our message is being heard.
There are many ways you can be involved: volunteer, write a letter to the editor, book an educational workshop for your school, community group or work place. Engage with us, follow us on social media, share your opinions and ideas – take BCAQc’s message to your community! Be a voice for a change!