Download PDF
September 18, 2023

Canada Will Hold Information Sessions in October 2023 on Right to a Healthy Environment Amendments to CEPA

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

As reported in our June 23, 2023, memorandum, on June 13, 2023, Bill S-5, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act, became law. The bill made a number of changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), including recognizing that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment as provided under CEPA. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) will hold information sessions in October 2023 for those interested in learning more about the right to a healthy environment amendments to CEPA. The English session will be held October 3, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EST), and the French session will be held October 4, 2023, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EST). To participate in a session, contact Canada at More information is available on ECCC’s website.

Canada intends to develop an implementation framework by June 2025 through “robust engagement, with opportunities to continuously improve the framework over time as experience and views evolve.” According to Canada, engagement opportunities will be available to all interested people in Canada, with a particular focus on communities that may face disproportionate environmental and health risks. The framework will be a roadmap that sets out how the right will be considered when administering CEPA and will include:

  • Foundational principles, such as environmental justice, intergenerational equity, and non-regression;
  • Mechanisms that support protection of the right (for example, making sure people living in Canada can access information that supports decision-making under CEPA to be able to participate more fully in decisions that may impact the right to a healthy environment); and
  • Relevant factors to consider in interpreting and applying the right and determining its reasonable limits, such as social, health, economic and scientific considerations.

Canada intends to publish a discussion document in winter 2024 that will provide an overview of key concepts and elements that will help it develop a draft implementation framework. There will be a 60-day public comment period.