Take Action on Bill S-5

This week, Bill S-5, government legislation that modernizes the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) will begin to be reviewed by the House Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (ENVI) where it must be strengthened by MPs.

A modernized CEPA with a stronger legislative framework for assessing and controlling toxic substances – including greenhouse gasses (GHGs) –  and protecting the right to a healthy environment is an urgent priority.

Bill S-5, introduced in the Senate in February 2022 offered a roadmap to overhauling CEPA. The bill passed with amendments in the Senate in June of this year. But more is needed. And it will require the cooperation and support of all federal parties to see a strengthened Bill S-5 now make its way through the House of Commons before becoming law in 2023.

Will you help us get a strengthened Bill S-5 over the finish line?

There are several things you can do to ensure the government keeps its promise of a modern CEPA.

  • Contact your MP with the message to make CEPA reform and a strong Bill S-5 a priority.
  • Send a message to ENVI members asking for a robust study of the bill and strengthening amendments
  • Write Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault & Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos and tell them a strengthened Bill S-5 is needed now
  • Let the Prime Minister know the bill needs strengthening for passage into law in 2023

When you send your message, please include a link to our briefing note which outlines our priority amendments to strengthen Bill S-5:

You could also consider the following:

  • Write an op-ed or send a letter to the editor of your local paper
  • Talk to your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours, and ensure they know the importance of a strengthened CEPA in this session of Parliament.
  • Take one minute to fill out our action on Bill S-5 and share it with your friends and on social media channels: https://act.cape.ca/newmode_bill_s-5_en

CEPA has not been significantly amended for more than two decades, despite the five-year review time frame that the Act is supposed to adhere to and the reality that sources of pollution and our scientific understanding of risks and impacts on communities have changed dramatically in the time frame since its last major update. In fact, scientists recently warned that between climate change and pollution, a “planetary health boundary” — the limits within which nature can support human activity – has been crossed.

The bottom line message right now is this – and you can ask your MP to share this with ENVI members too:

We are encouraged that Bill S-5 to reform CEPA is progressing through Parliament at last and urge the ENVI committee to not settle for half-measures.

We encourage the committee to strengthen key provisions in Bill S-5 as set out in our brief, and to not miss the opportunity to deliver on the promise of protecting the right to a healthy environment and effective action on toxics.

Strengthening key provisions in Bill S-5 is an opportunity that cannot be missed to deliver on protecting the right to a healthy environment and effective action on toxics. We must all hold the government to account for its commitment to modernize the Act, to develop an environmental justice strategy & to identify, and prioritize the clean-up of contaminated sites in area where Indigenous peoples, racialized and people with low incomes live.

Thank you for taking action for modern environmental health protection and environmental justice.