Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Reference

Reference cases delineating the constitutional jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments to act on climate change

CELA represents Environmental Defence and the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in two provincial references that challenge the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. Climate change is a serious equity issue and disproportionately harms low-income people. CELA intervened to argue that the law is constitutional either under the criminal law power, or under the trade and commerce power, which would preserve the jurisdiction of both the federal and provincial government to act on climate change.

In 2019, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and the Ontario Court of Appeal have both upheld the federal carbon pricing law as valid legislation under the "national concern" branch of the federal "Peace, Order and Good Government" power under section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867. In addition, the carbon levies imposed under the federal law were upheld by the courts as valid regulatory charges, not taxes.

Media Releases and Blogs

Webinar April 11: Who has jurisdiction over carbon pricing in Canada?
CELA in Court Today on Federal Carbon Pricing Matter
CELA statement on Ontario's Climate Change Plan regarding low-income communities
Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario, local to global
Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario - Federal
Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario - Provincial
Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario - Local