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Implementing the Right to a Healthy Environment – Consultation April 2024

With environmental disasters threatening life, health, and the natural systems that sustain us, it might seem rather late in the day to introduce the Right to a Healthy Environment in the newly amended Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).

Better late than never! Today’s question is, “how should this work?” The Government of Canada wants your thoughts on the Implementation Framework.

The framework will give meaning to a right to a healthy environment in the CEPA context for individuals in Canada. In addition, the implementation framework will elaborate on principles to be considered in the administration of CEPA, such as the principles of environmental justice, the principle of non-regression and the principle of inter-generational equity.

See HERE for Prevent Cancer Now’s submission

Thank you if you joined in this consultation

The scale of chemical pollution swamps our outdated, ineffective one-at-a-time assessment protocols.

  • Chemical management under CEPA must be more nimble and efficient, using comprehensive science and laboratory methods. Regulatory changes must not make things worse. This is the Principle of Non-Regression.
  • Waiting until harms are confirmed before banning a chemical is unethical, impractical and contrary to public health. New approaches must be adopted to address groups of substances based on chemical structures, before resorting to counting bodies. These approaches must consider vulnerable populations, with sub-optimal living spaces, hazardous work, depleted biological capacity and reserve to detoxify or compensate for toxic exposures, and/or inherited genetic traits predisposing to many environmentally linked conditions, including cancers.
  • All science, globally, must be leveraged to make best choices. Canada must improve its data collection and availability, to measure pollutants in air, water and food, and in populations, but other jurisdictions such as the U.S.A. have richer data resources to leverage. We can only manage what we measure. Biomonitoring and health surveillance of vulnerable communities who have been and continue to be disproportionately exposed should aim to reflect/reconstruct past exposures as well as the present ones. There are many research strategies Linking Environment and Health.
  • The Framework should create rapid, continuous improvement with pollution reduction and safer chemicals in commerce. Principles of Essentiality and Substitution must be instituted, along with a Climate Lens.
  • Anthropogenic electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are a rapidly escalating air pollutant. It is increasingly urgent to assess and regulate EMFs related to telecommunications and electrification, and to implement superior, safer technologies. The Principle of ALARA—As Low As Reasonably Achievable—is relied upon in radiation safety.

We contributed to the shaping of the Implementation framework for the Right to a Healthy Environment, under the newly amended Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Your voice makes a difference!
In 2023 Canadians spoke up about electromagnetic fields (EMFs) impacting biodiversity, and the federal government heard! EMFs are now mentioned in the Milestone document, and concerns were reiterated in the subsequent consultation.

Following up on your submission

If you don’t hear back from your MP, you can leave a phone message.

When you do receive a response from your MP, WRITE TO THEM AGAIN, referencing their letter or call, and reiterating your concerns and views. These second letters have a powerful impact in terms of how politicians assess the level of public concern about specific issues!