It’s time to strengthen CEPA

“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.

Read the full letter here.


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 425,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.

While our Components are located from coast to coast, the office of the National Union of Public and General Employees is situated on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

We recognize and acknowledge the crimes that have been committed and the harm that has been done.

And, we dedicate ourselves, as a union, to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in a spirit of reconciliation and striving for justice. — NUPGE