December 13 2022
“On behalf of members, I am writing to voice NUPGE’s support for legislation to strengthen CEPA. We believe that, in the face of the climate crisis, modernizing and strengthening Canada’s environmental protection legislation is critical.” — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President
Ottawa (13 Dec. 2022) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is calling on MPs to update and strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Bert Blundon, NUPGE President, provided recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
Possible changes on the table
The Standing Committee is currently studying Bill S-5, which proposes amendments to CEPA.
CEPA is a crucial piece of environmental law in Canada. It is supposed to prevent pollution and control exposure to harmful substances that threaten both environmental and human health. And yet, the legislation hasn’t been updated since 1999.
NUPGE joins the call for CEPA reform
Many environmental and civil society groups have long called for CEPA to be reformed. At NUPGE’s Triennial Convention in June, delegates passed a resolution in support of updating CEPA.
“On behalf of members, I am writing to voice NUPGE’s support for legislation to strengthen CEPA,” Blundon wrote in a letter to the House environment committee. “We believe that, in the face of the climate crisis, modernizing and strengthening Canada’s environmental protection legislation is critical.”
Drawing on NUPGE and CELA research
Blundon referred to a research report, which NUPGE co-published with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), called Workers’ Environmental Rights in Canada. The report looked at existing laws in Canada and identified opportunities for advancing the environmental rights of workers. It included recommendations for amending CEPA, in particular.
In the letter, Blundon reiterated the report’s recommendations. He urged MPs to enshrine the right to a healthy environment and to ensure the right is enforceable. He also called on the committee to further strengthen amendments in the area of pollution prevention, pointing to more recent analysis from CELA on Bill S-5.
“This is necessary for protecting environmental and human health, especially for vulnerable populations, including workers,” wrote Blundon.