“Environmental Racism” regulation likely to be adopted in Canada

Bill C-230 would require the Canadian government to collect data on “negative health outcomes in communities that have been affected by environmental racism”.

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The Bill is sponsored by Liberal MP Lenore Zann. 

On June 21, 2021, the Bill passed through the House of Common’s Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development and will likely be headed for a vote in the house during the fall of 2021. 

The Bill would require the Minister of the Environment to “develop a national strategy to promote efforts across Canada to redress the harm caused by environmental racism”. 

Bill C-230 requires the “strategy” to include measures such as the examination of “the link between race, socio-economic status and environmental risk”, the collection of “information and statistics relating to the location of environmental hazards” and “relating to negative health outcomes in communities that have been affected by environmental racism”. 

Concretely, the Bill would also require the Minister to “address environmental racism in relation to (i) possible amendments to federal laws, policies and programs, (ii) the involvement of community groups in environmental policy-making, (iii) compensation for individuals or communities, (iv) ongoing funding for affected communities, and (v) access of affected communities to clean air and water.”

With the Liberal Party currently in power, the odds of passing Bill C-230 are considerably high. Only the Conservative Party of Canada has opposed the Bill in committee. The Bloc Quebecois has given the Bill its support following an amendment that limited the jurisdiction of the federal government in provincial fields of competence. 

“We’re really pleased to see this, and we’ll be supporting the Liberals”, Bloc MP Monique Pauzé said in committee. 

“Environmental racism” is a relatively new term coined by left-wing activists who believe minorities are affected disproportionately by environmental damage. 

While it has been a common understanding that lower-income communities are often more affected by environmental externalities than higher-income communities, the link between ethnicity and the environment is a new product of identity politics. 

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