Canadian government sued for climate inaction
Steph Deschamps / December 17, 2023
The Canadian government will finally stand trial for climate inaction, the country's courts have ruled, following a complaint lodged four years ago by a group of 15 young environmental activists.
The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that a trial must be held to determine whether the actions of Justin Trudeau's government violated the rights of the young plaintiffs under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to a ruling made public on Thursday.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, the burden of consequences will disproportionately affect young Canadians," wrote the Federal Court of Appeal in its decision, consulted by AFP. The court added that "climate change has dramatic and rapid consequences for all Canadians, particularly for aboriginal and northern communities ».
In October 2019, 15 young people, aged 10 to 19, had filed a complaint against the Canadian federal government, which they claimed was contributing to global warming by failing to implement an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2020, a Federal Court judge had initially dismissed their claim, a decision overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal on Wednesday.
"It's the least we can do to have a trial to discuss what is an existential threat," Albert Lalonde, one of the plaintiffs and an environmental activist now aged 21, told AFP.
"This action goes beyond the federal government. It should send a message to all provinces that inaction can have legal consequences," said a press release from the David Suzuki Foundation, one of the environmental organizations supporting young people.
Elsewhere in the world, numerous lawsuits have been brought to force governments to take action against the climate crisis, notably in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and France.