Canada must redress environmental racism

r1 Take action – Demand politicians work together to pass Bill C-230 ... r19

Dear Paov,

Decision-makers in Ottawa will soon debate whether to move forward with the National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism* Act (Bill C-230). This is a chance that Canada cannot afford to miss.

Without a strategy to redress environmental racism, polluters can continue to harm marginalized communities without reprieve. By examining the link between race, socio-economic status and environmental risk, communities can have a greater say on the environmental issues that affect them. A national strategy and law against environmental racism could also offer routes for possible compensation for affected communities.

Strong environmental laws can play an important role in community health, but not if they fail to protect racialized communities. Now, the government of Canada has the chance to prioritize anti-racism and address longstanding environmental harms to historically underserved communities.

Bill C-230 can help.

Pollution, toxic substances, and dangerous chemicals are a risk to all Canadians. But decisions made by successive governments at all levels have disproportionately exposed Black, Indigenous and people of colour to these risks — with lethal consequences. Bill C-230 offers a chance for all parties to work together to address this problem.

Write your letter

Please write to your MP, the Prime Minister and key cabinet ministers today and ask them to support the National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism Act (Bill C-230).

The need for environmental justice is urgent – please join us now in calling for a National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism. We can’t afford to wait.

Sincerely,

Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel
West Coast Environmental 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.

Across the country these communities face more extreme environmental burdens from industrial polluters than white Canadians. Toxic chemicals from effluent, fossil fuel projects, logging and pulp mills, as well as over-fishing, grey infrastructure and railways impact the health of communities, and can show up in higher rates of cancer, reproductive diseases, respiratory illnesses and a range of other health issues.

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