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e-4318 (Environment)

Initiated by Teegan Walshe from Qualicum Beach, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

  • Children born in 2020 will face on average two to seven times more extreme weather events than their grandparents. In a 2021 report in The Lancet, 83% of children worldwide reported that they think people have failed to take care of the planet . Those most affected by climate change are the youngest generation, as they will live to see the worst effects of the crisis; and
  • Youth discussion has proven crucial to successful climate action and policy creation. However, dozens of climate-related decisions are made without input from youth. Statistics around the world show that if youth were making these decisions, the outcome would be different. Children under 18 are not legally allowed to vote, and are therefore without legal voice or accurate representation in Parliament.
We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to
1. Require all Members of Parliament, regardless of party lines, to consult with a secondary or elementary school leadership, student council, or environmental youth group of their riding (i.e. under-18 youth representatives), before Parliament holds the second reading of any bill that directly affects Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions; and
2. The purpose of the consultation will be to listen to the viewpoints of those directly affected by the specified bill, but who do not already have representation in Parliament.

Response by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Kevin Lamoureux

Thank you for raising this important issue. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting our natural environment, fighting climate change, and making Canada more resilient to the threats posed by extreme weather. Canadians depend on our natural environment for jobs, clean air and water, and for a sense of place in the world. However, the risks to our environment have never been greater. Climate change threatens nature, our communities, and our economy.

For these reasons, the Government of Canada has taken significant action to protect the environment, conserve nature and biodiversity, and respond to the threat of climate change. The Government has established a federal pollution pricing system, established the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan that outlines a sector-by-sector roadmap to achieve Canada’s 2030 target of 40-45 per cent reduction in emissions, put Canada on a path to planting two billion trees, released its first National Adaptation Strategy, and has worked with provinces and territories towards a goal of zero plastic waste by 2030. The Government has also introduced legislation to enshrine certain nature and biodiversity commitments that Canada has made internationally into Canadian law.

The Government of Canada recognizes that youth have a critical role to play in climate action. They are important agents of change, with innovative ways of thinking. Canada’s Youth Policy and the State of the Youth Report identify Environment and Climate Action as a key priority for youth. The Government of Canada considers youth perspectives as vital to ensuring that the country's transition to a prosperous and low-carbon future is sustainable and inclusive. Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991 and implements it through various laws, policies, programs, and initiatives across federal, provincial, and territorial governments. This commitment includes ongoing monitoring and reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, ensuring Canada's efforts on environment and climate change align with the Convention's principles.

In July 2023, Justice Canada launched the Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) tool and e-learning course. The purpose of the CRIA tool is to assist public officials in considering the impacts of a new law, policy, program or other initiative on children. While primarily aimed at federal officials, this tool can equally be used by other governmental or non-governmental organizations, or by others who want to assess the impact of an initiative on children’s rights. The CRIA tool is grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and is complementary to and supports Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus), which serves as a framework to contextualize the range of personal attributes such as sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability and ensure that these factors do not limit success and inclusion. The Government of Canada has been committed to using GBA Plus in the development of policies, programs and legislation since 1995.

Established in August 2022, the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council is a group of young Canadians who are passionate about protecting the environment and taking climate action. To date, the Youth Council members have contributed to and/or participated in several domestic and international events and negotiations, including the 27th and 28th sessions of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, New York Climate Week/United Nations General Assembly side events, and the United Nations Water Conference in New York. The Council has provided non-partisan advice on diverse policy issues, including the National Adaptation Strategy, pathways to net-zero, climate communications, plastics pollution and the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-4), environmental literacy, environmental justice and environmental racism, Indigenous science, the Science Horizon Youth Internship Program, and on the 2023 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada.

The recently adopted Cabinet Directive on Strategic Environmental and Economic Assessment (SEEA) modernizes environmental and economic analysis in the development of policies, programs, and regulations intended for Cabinet or funding consideration. The directive supports decision-making by highlighting the economic and environmental impacts of federal proposals in a clear, consistent, and comparable way. This will provide the timely and high-quality information necessary to support the federal government in achieving its goals in a variety of areas, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity, and promoting economic growth.

Open for signature
February 24, 2023, at 10:11 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 26, 2023, at 10:11 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Lori Idlout (Nunavut)
June 6, 2024 (Petition No. 441-02540)
Government response tabled
July 17, 2024
Photo - Gord Johns
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia