Support Bill C-226: Canada’s environmental justice law

Father and child walking in lakeside sunset juxtaposed with water pollution greyscale image

Join us in calling on the Senate to pass Bill C-226, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy to assess, prevent and address environmental racism and to advance environmental justice.  

Sign the petition

At West Coast, we believe that environmental justice requires addressing environmental racism. We have been following and supporting Bill C-226, which requires the Minister of the Environment to establish a national strategy to assess, prevent and address environmental racism and advance environmental justice. Now you have the opportunity to let the Senate know that you support passing the bill into law.

Environmental racism refers to the disproportionate harms caused to Indigenous, Black, and other racialized communities from polluting industries and other environmental hazards. It also refers to the systemic racism embedded in our environmental laws, policies and enforcement, as well as the exclusion of communities of colour from environmental decision-making. Bill C-226 acknowledges the reality of environmental racism and seeks to create a national strategy to promote environmental justice. 

If Bill C-226 becomes law, it will be an effective tool to address environmental racism faced by many communities across the country. For more details about the bill, scroll to the bottom of the page.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-226 in March 2023. The Senate has completed second reading and the bill was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. After the Committee’s study, the bill must be approved by the Senate before it can become law – so it is important for senators to hear your support. 

West Coast Environmental Law is promoting this petition in collaboration with David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and other partners. 

The petition will be submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environmental and Natural Resources, Senator Mary Jane McCallum (the bill’s sponsor) and other senators. 

Join us and sign the petition today!

About Bill C-226: 

If Bill C-226 passes, the following would be required of the Minister of the Environment:

  1. National Strategy: The Minister must develop a national strategy to promote efforts across Canada to advance environmental justice and to assess, prevent and address environmental racism. 
  2. Consultation: The Minister must consult or cooperate with any interested persons, bodies, organizations or communities which includes other ministers, representatives of governments in Canada and Indigenous communities. The Minister is required to be consistent with Canada’s framework for recognition and implementation of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Minister must include in the National Strategy: 

  • A study that includes an examination of the link between race, socio-economic status and environmental risk as well as information and statistics that relate to the location of environmental hazards. 
  • Specific measures that can be taken to advance environmental justice and assess, prevent and address environmental racism (see Bill C-226 for complete details). 

The National Strategy would need to be tabled in Parliament within two years from the day on which this Act becomes law.  

Background and Timeline of Bill C-226: 

  • 2020-2021: MP Lenore Zann introduced the first iteration of this bill (Bill C-230) in February 2020, as a Private Member’s Bill. After amendments, the bill passed at second reading with support from the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois. When the federal election was called in 2021 the bill died on the order paper. 
  • February 2022: Green Party MP Elizabeth May introduced Bill C-226 in the House of Commons.  
  • March 2023: The House of Commons completed Third Reading, moving the bill to the Senate.
  • October 2023: The Senate completed Second Reading on October 26, 2023. Bill C-226 was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
  • Current: We are now waiting for the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources to complete their review of the bill and produce a final report.   
Shawn Smith, Staff Lawyer