Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
Comité permanent de l'environnement et du développement durable
For immediate release
Environment Committee Calls for Greater Protection for the Environment and Human Health from Toxic Substances
Ottawa, June 15, 2017 -
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development today presented a report calling on the federal government to strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to provide greater protection to human and environmental health from toxic substances.
Entitled Healthy Environment, Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the report calls on the government to recognize and protect environmental rights – the right to clean air and water and a healthy and ecologically balanced environment; the obligation of non-discrimination in environmental protection; and procedural rights, including access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
“The Act has now been in place for almost three decades,” noted Committee Chair, Deb Schulte. “It is time to bring it into the 21st century by taking into account new scientific knowledge and evolving concepts in environmental law.”
The Committee made 87 recommendations to the federal government, including prohibiting substances of very high concern unless industry can prove the substances can be used or emitted safely and there are no feasible substitutes; ensuring that vulnerable people are taken into consideration when the government assesses and manages new substances; implementing timelines throughout the Act to oblige action on toxic substances; and facilitating public participation in environmental decision-making and in enforcement of the Act. Some of the recommendations were made by the Committee in 2007.
“Toxic substances are all around us in products we consume or use every day. They pose a threat to our health and to biodiversity,” stated the Chair. “We all need to be better protected, especially vulnerable people and communities.”
Chaired by Deb Schulte, M.P., during the study the Committee comprised: Liberals John Aldag, William Amos, Mike Bossio, Darren Fisher and Mark Gerretsen; Conservatives Jim Eglinski (Vice-Chair), Hon. Ed Fast, Joël Godin, and Martin Shields; and from the New Democratic Party, Linda Duncan (Vice-Chair) and Nathan Cullen.
A copy of the report may be obtained from the Committee’s website.
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