West Coast reacts to statement by Minister Guilbeault on possible nature law

Federal biodiversity accountability law a “must” for addressing the nature crisis, environmental lawyers say

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/VANCOUVER - Environmental lawyers are applauding a proposition made by federal environment Minister Steven Guilbeault today at the United Nations biodiversity conference (COP15) in Montreal that Canada adopt a new law safeguarding biodiversity.

“It is great that Canada is playing a strong leadership role in the UN negotiations of a global biodiversity framework,” says Anna Johnston, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, “but the rubber really hits the road when governments turn promises into action on the ground. A biodiversity accountability law is our best means of delivering on those promises.”

Today, the ninth day of COP15, Minister Guilbeault stated that an accountability act is required to enshrine our 2030 nature targets in law. Like the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, a federal biodiversity accountability law should require the federal government to incorporate Canada’s international nature obligations in law, establish detailed plans for meeting those targets, and report on progress to date. Unlike the Species at Risk Act, which focuses on endangered and threatened species, a biodiversity accountability law would help protect all species and wild spaces.

“Biodiversity is critical to our survival,” says Johnston. “We need it for the air we breathe, the food we eat and the medicine we need. And yet one in five species is at risk in Canada, and things are getting worse. We can’t afford to cross our fingers and hope – we need a law that holds government to account for protecting species and ecosystems.”


For more information, contact:

Anna Johnston, Staff Lawyer (in Montreal)
ajohnston@wcel.org, 604-340-2304