On November 7, 2019, the National Association of Women and the Law (“NAWL”) and Friends of the Earth (“FOE”) filed a Memorandum of Argument of the Proposed Intervenor in the Climate case being appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) by the Provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan. The FOE and NAWL were successful in security standing before the SCC to participate in the appeal of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act case, scheduled to be heard in March 2020.
On January 27, 2020, NAWL and FOE filed its factum as intervenors agreeing with the Saskatchewan and Ontario Courts of Appeal that the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (“Act”) is permissible under the Peace Order and Good Government (“POGG”) clause set out in section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867.
In its factum, NAWL and FOE seek to have the SCC apply a flexible, purposive interpretation of POOG that upholds the provisions of the Act. The position of NAWL and FOE is that such an interpretation would neither impact nor deprive the provinces of constitutional jurisdiction or impact their ability to enact laws relating to greenhouse gas emissions that do not conflict with the provisions of the Act. NAWL and FOE support his position on the basis that such an outcome would provide for a mutli-facted approach in response to climate change and that such an approach is necessary to support substantive equality of women and girls.
“The division of powers should be interpreted in a way that is equality affirming and thereby aligned with foundational constitutional and Charter values,” stated Suki Beavers, Executive Director, National Association of Women and the Law. “In this case, it means recognizing that cooperative federalism allows both Parliament and provincial Legislatures to enact laws to address climate change, and advance climate justice for women and girls.”