Climate justice: the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed ENvironnement JEUnesse’s application for authorization

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28 juillet 2022

Montréal, 28 July 2022 – This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application for leave to appeal filed by ENvironnement JEUnesse on February 11. The Quebec Court of Appeal had also rejected ENvironnement JEUnesse’s Motion to institute a class action against the Government of Canada for the insufficiency of its actions in the face of the climate crisis.

The organization, represented by the law firm Trudel Johnston & Lespérance (TJL), filed an application on November 26, 2018 to act on behalf of all Quebec youth aged 35 and under. ENvironnement JEUnesse considers that the Canadian government is violating their rights to life, security, equality and to live in a healthy environment, fundamental rights protected by the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and Freedoms. The application to the Supreme Court was made in the context of conflicting judgments on the issue of the justiciability of climate change remedies in Canada.

The Court leaves many important questions unanswered, including whether or not the Canadian government is violating youth fundamental rights to security, to equality and to live in an healthy environment.

Catherine Gauthier, designated member of the class action and special advisor to ENvironnement JEUnesse adds: « if the decision rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada is not the one I was hoping for, the class action will nonetheless have been a formidable tool for raising awareness and educating the public on the right to a healthy environment, on the protection of the environment, the respect of biodiversity and the fight against climate change. »

Environmental education and youth engagement are at the heart of ENvironnement JEUnesse’s mission, which offers activities and programs, particularly in the educational sector.

For more information on the stages of the collective action, other actions in Canada and victories around the world, consult the fact sheet.

For more information on ENvironnement JEUnesse’s activities and programs, visit our webpage.

For more information

About the lawsuit

On November 26, 2018, ENvironnement JEUnesse, represented pro bono by Trudel Johnston & Lespérance, filed an application for authorization to institute a class action on behalf of all young people aged 35 and under in Quebec against the Government of Canada. The class action seeks a declaration that the Government of Canada’s conduct in the fight against climate change violates the rights of young people and an award of punitive damages.

About ENvironnement JEUnesse

Created in 1979, ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) is an environmental education organization that aims to raise awareness of environmental issues among young people in Quebec, to equip them through its educational projects and to encourage them to take action in their community.

About TJL

Trudel Johnston & Lespérance (TJL) is the Canadian law firm that has won the most class actions on the merits since its founding more than 25 years ago. TJL is currently leading some 50 class actions, notably against the tobacco industry and against pharmaceutical companies selling opioids. It has also led several environmental class actions. In 2014, TJL obtained an injunction to protect the St. Lawrence beluga whales against the Energy East project. His team conducts numerous public interest lawsuits in which it acts pro bono, as is the case for ENvironnement JEUnesse.

For more information:

ENvironnement JEUnesse