An Ontario court has found Premier Doug Ford‘s government broke the law by deciding to cut the cap-and-trade program without public consultation.
In a press release Friday morning, Ecojustice and Greenpeace, which brought the suit, said the case was ultimately dismissed but, “The majority of the court agreed that Premier Doug Ford’s decision to scrap the province’s cap-and-trade program in 2018 without public consultation was unlawful.”
The dismissal of the case, however, means the judges’ decision will not be enforced and the government will not have to reverse their decision on cap-and-trade.
Ian Miron, a lawyer for Ecojustice said, “We launched this case to uphold Ontarians’ legal right to be consulted on major changes to regulations that affect the environment, and although we did not receive the precise outcome we were hoping for, the majority of the court agreed that what Premier Ford’s government did was illegal.”
In the 30-page decision, two of three Ontario Superior Court judges ruled the decision was illegal because rules under the Environmental Bill of Rights were not followed.
The bill states the ministry must provide public notice on legislation that could have a significant effect on the environment at least a month before implementation.
“We are pleased that the majority of the court found that the Ford government act illegally in its haste to cancel carbon pricing in this province, even if it declined to make a formal declaration,” said Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Green Peace Canada.
In a statement, Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said he was happy to see the court ultimately dismiss the case, but did not address the court’s view that what the government did was illegal.
“Our government campaigned on a clear commitment to eliminate the cap and trade program that made life costly for Ontario’s families and businesses,” he said.
“Putting an end to the cap and trade program removed a burden from Ontario businesses, allowing them to grow, create jobs and compete around the world. Our draft Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commits to reducing our province’s emissions output to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 without a cap and trade program or a carbon tax.”
Read the full decision:
– With files from Ryan Rocca