Province to intervene in federal climate action court appeal

British Columbia will support federal climate action legislation by intervening in court actions in the Saskatchewan and Ontario courts of appeal.

The Saskatchewan and Ontario governments have challenged the federal government’s authority to pass its greenhouse gas pollution pricing act, which would establish a minimum national pollution pricing system. British Columbia has developed its own carbon-pricing systems that exceed the new federal standards.

As an intervenor, British Columbia will argue that both the federal and provincial governments have a role in addressing climate change, but the federal government has the right and responsibility to put a price on carbon pollution while providing flexibility for the provinces to design pricing plans that are equivalent to the federal requirement.

British Columbia will argue that there will be harm to its environment and competitiveness if it continues to act on greenhouse gas pricing and other provinces do not. It will also argue that there will be harm to Canada’s ability to meet its globally important international climate change commitments. The Province notes that the Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly said environmental protection is a matter of shared federal and provincial jurisdiction.

The Saskatchewan case is expected to be heard in February 2019 and the Ontario case is expected to be heard in April 2019.