The right to a healthy environment: A prescription for Canada

David R. Boyd


This invited commentary summarizes the need for stronger Canadian environmental laws and policies. The environmental burden of disease in Canada is substantial. In part this is due to environmental laws and policies that are significantly weaker and less effective than corresponding rules in other wealthy industrialized nations. One promising approach is recognition of the right to live in a healthy environment. In particular, constitutional recognition of this right in 100 nations has led to stronger environmental laws, better enforcement of those laws, enhanced public participation in environmental decision-making, and superior environmental outcomes (e.g., faster progress in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions). In light of Canada’s weak environmental record, this potentially transformative approach is particularly promising.


Environment; environmental health; public policy

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