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Environmental Rights

Elements of an Effective Environmental Bill of Rights (David R. Boyd)

Abstract

The goal of an Environmental Bill of Rights (“EBR”) is to ensure that the right of every person to a healthy environment is respected and protected. An EBR prioritizes the values of sustainability, transparency, accountability, and democracy. Canadians could be empowered, through EBRs, to play a stronger role in shaping the government decisions that affect the environments in which they live, work, study, and play. An EBR would also facilitate improved implementation and enforcement of existing environmental laws and regulations, leading to cleaner air, safer water, and healthier people and ecosystems. While lacking at the federal level, five provinces and territories have some modest form of environmental rights legislation. However existing environmental rights laws in Quebec, Ontario, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have significant weaknesses that undermine their effectiveness. Drawing on Canadian and international experiences, this article identifies key elements that should be included in a legislated Environmental Bill of Rights in order to ensure that it achieves the fundamental objective of fulfilling the right of all persons to live in a healthy environment.

Citation

Boyd, David R. Elements of an Effective Environmental Bill of Rights. Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, Jul 2015, Vol.27(3), pp.201-252

Author(s)

David R. Boyd

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