Canadian Youth Sue Federal Government for Contributing to Climate Change, Endangering ‘The youth assert that the climate change impacts they are experiencing infringe their rights to life, liberty, security of the person and their right to equal protection under the law under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.’
“As youth, we have dreams for the future. Without a stable climate, our generation will not fulfill these dreams. My government should not be standing in the way of our dreams.” – Lucas, 15 years old and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit from Ottawa, Ontario
News from Our Children’s Trust – Canada
Posted October 25th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Canadian youth, ages 10 to 19 years old, filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Canada, alleging that the Canadian government causes, contributes to and allows dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions, and is thus responsible for the specific, individualized climate change impacts they are experiencing.
The youth assert that the climate change impacts they are experiencing infringe their rights to life, liberty, security of the person and their right to equal protection under the law under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as their rights as beneficiaries under the Public Trust Doctrine.
Climate change harms that the youth are suffering include aggravated health conditions from increasing wildfires, smoke, and extreme temperatures; property damage and threats to personal security due to sea level rise, erosion, floods, and extreme weather events; loss of cultural traditions, activities and heritage; and the hazardous conditions in the Arctic and Northern Territories caused by rising temperatures and thawing permafrost.
The lawsuit asks the Federal Court of Canada to declare that the government’s conduct violates the Charter and the Public Trust Doctrine and order the government to prepare and implement a climate recovery plan to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize Canada’s energy system in line with what scientists say is necessary to stabilize the climate system and protect the rights of youth.
Our Children’s Trust (ourchildrenstrust.org) is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations.
We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100
Here is an accompanying News Release on this Lawsuit from the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver, B.C. –
October 25, 2019
15 Canadian youth launch Canada’s first federal youth climate lawsuit to protect their Charter and public trust rights
The case, La Rose et. al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, seeks to hold Canada accountable for contributing to dangerous climate change and discriminating against youth
VANCOUVER — Today (this October 25th, 2019, 15 young Canadians from across the country filed a lawsuit against the federal government of Canada for contributing to dangerous climate change.
The case argues the youth are already being harmed by climate change and the federal government is violating their rights to life, liberty and security of the person under section 7 of the Charter and for failing to protect essential public trust resources.
The youth also allege that their government’s conduct violates their right to equality under section 15 of the Charter, since youth are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change.
The youth, from seven Canadian provinces and the Northwest Territories, are represented by the law firms of Arvay Finlay LLP and Tollefson Law Corporation, and are supported by the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), David Suzuki Foundation and Our Children’s Trust.
The lawsuit calls on Canada to cease violating the youth’s Charter and public trust rights and prepare and implement a plan that reduces Canada’s GHG emissions in a manner consistent with what best available science indicates is needed for the federal government to protect young Canadians, do its fair share to stabilize the climate system and avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
Joseph Arvay, Q.C., co-counsel for the plaintiffs and partner at Arvay Finlay LLP, said:
“The Courts in this country have demonstrated a willingness to take on some of the most important societal issues of our day when the governments have engaged in conduct that put at risk the constitutional rights and freedoms of minorities and marginalized and vulnerable people.
We are hopeful that they will likewise recognize that it is their role in our constitutional democracy to require the government of Canada to cease its dangerous conduct and require it to take significant steps to eliminate the existential threat that climate change poses to our children and youth.”
Sierra, 17-year-old plaintiff from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, said
“One of the reasons I want to be a part of this case is because I recognize that in order to make the changes we need to in time, we need to take action on every level. This case is my opportunity to take my activism from the streets into the courtroom so that we as youth can demand that our government stop violating our rights.”
Lucas, 15-year-old plaintiff from Ottawa, Ontario, said:
“As youth, we have dreams for the future. Without a stable climate, our generation will not fulfill these dreams. My government should not be standing in the way of our dreams.”
Sadie, 13-year-old plaintiff from Calgary, Alberta, said:
“I fight the climate crisis because I want my future to be a good one. I want a home for humanity and for all of the animals that are and will be on the brink of extinction.”
Stephen Cornish, David Suzuki Foundation CEO, said:
“This case moves the youth climate movement from the streets to Canadian courts for the first time – with the aim of forever changing how we govern, how we run our economy, and how we protect and preserve a safe and liveable climate for future generations. While this lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal actions filed by youth against their governments across the planet, it is the first federal youth climate litigation in Canadian history, marking a major milestone in Canada’s youth climate movement. The David Suzuki Foundation is grateful to support such an important case, its legal framework, its plaintiffs and how its story is told.”
Andrea Rodgers, Our Children’s Trust Staff Attorney, said:
“Canada is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions and it’s time they are held accountable for contributing to dangerous climate change. These brave youth join others, like the 21 plaintiffs in the Juliana v. United States case, who recognize that when governments take actions that harm and discriminate against them, they can vindicate their fundamental rights in a court of law.”
Allie Ho, 17-year-old organizer with Vancouver’s Sustainabiliteens said:
“In the last year, the youth climate justice movement has grown exponentially. Hundreds of thousands of us have taken to the streets, making our voices unignorable. By bringing our demands to the federal courts, this lawsuit creates another path to ensure that the government prioritizes climate justice.”
Click here to – Read the Statement of Claim.
The David Suzuki Foundation ( davidsuzuki.org ) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Our Children’s Trust ( ourchildrenstrust.org ) is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100.
CELL ( pacificcell.ca ) is a nonprofit society incorporated under the laws of British Columbia, and a federally registered charity. Its mission is to train and inspire Canada’s next generation of public interest environmental litigators by providing junior lawyers and law students the opportunity to gain hands-on litigation experience working as part of a team on carefully selected and closely supervised public interest environmental cases.
To watch and hear Swedish climate action activist Greta Thunberg speak to people attending climate strike rally in Vancouver, B.C. this October 25th, click on the screen below –
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For More News And Commentary From Niagara At Large – An independent, alternative voice for our Greater Bi-National Niagara Region – Become A Regular Visitor And Subscriber To NAL At Www.Niagaraatlarge.Com .