Skip to main content

Canada Judge rejects young Quebeckers’ lawsuit seeking federal climate change action

A Quebec environmental group says it will appeal a decision last week rejecting its attempt to launch a class-action lawsuit against the federal government for what it says is a failure to combat climate change.

Superior Court Justice Gary Morrison delivered his ruling Thursday, emphasizing that the cause of environmental protection was of undoubted importance but raising doubts about the nature of the class seeking damages.

The action brought by the group ENvironnement JEUnesse would be on behalf of Quebeckers 35 and younger, whom lawyers argue are being deprived of a right to a healthy environment and will suffer the effects of global warming more than older generations.

Story continues below advertisement

It was seeking $100 for each Quebecker in that age bracket – but given that doling out an award estimated at $340-million would have been complicated and expensive, the proposed action suggested the money be spent on measures to curb climate change.

In the decision, Justice Morrison said members of the class would have to be 18 or older.

He also said excluding those older than 35 appeared to be a “purely subjective and arbitrary choice” by the organization.

“Although the mission and objectives of [the group] are admirable on the socio-political level, they are too subjective and limiting in their nature to form the basis of an appropriate group for the purpose of exercising collective action,” Justice Morrison wrote. The group “can be the ‘voice’ of young people,” he added, “but it does not have the authority to change the legal status and powers of minors.”

The organization countered in a statement there is an trend internationally that says children must have access to justice on the issue of climate.

Catherine Gauthier, the group’s executive director, says it will appeal the decision.

The group is being represented pro bono by Trudel, Johnston & Lesperance, a well-known Montreal class-action firm.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter