Several professors from the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa intervened in the References re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act before the Supreme Court of Canada. Learn about their experiences and discover the arguments they made on behalf of their clients in a series of videos on the topic.
In this post, we meet Professor David Robitaille who represented the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement (CQDE) and Équiterre as an intervener. He argued that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act should be considered a valid law adopted under federal jurisdiction to ensure the peace, order and good government (POGG) of Canada, based on the national concern doctrine. Professor Robitaille emphasized the importance of federal intervention to address greenhouse gases.
The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is an act of the Parliament of Canada that set a minimum national standard on greenhouse gas pricing to reduce emissions in Canada and fulfil the country’s commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Some Canadian provinces challenged the constitutionality of the Act, taking it to the Supreme Court of Canada and arguing that it was beyond the jurisdiction of the federal government to impose a national standard on greenhouse emissions because natural resource regulation under the Constitution falls under provincial jurisdiction.
On March 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada, in the landmark decision References re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, ruled that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is a valid exercise of federal powers. The Court found that Climate change is an existential threat to human life and that the issue must be approached as a matter of national concern through coordinated national and international efforts.