Media Release: Federal Budget 2023

Toronto – The 2023 federal budget is an important step in accelerating Canada’s transition to a low-carbon future and the protection of freshwater across the country. Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is pleased to see significant investments in freshwater, renewable electricity, and healthy communities.

“Protecting current and future generations within Canada and worldwide requires transformational change,” said Theresa McClenaghan, CELA’s Executive Director. “This budget is a significant downpayment on a sustainable future for our children”.

The budget includes important forward movement on establishing the Canada Water Agency, including its central location in Winnipeg, as well as commitments to strengthen the Freshwater Action Plan and introduce legislation establishing the Agency as a standalone entity. CELA supports the federal investment in advancing science and knowledge on freshwater, and the distribution of those funds to a range of high-priority watersheds across the country, including the Great Lakes.

CELA appreciates the government’s investment in restructuring our economy to align with a low-carbon future and the transition to clean energy. Investment in renewable electricity will ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. However, CELA remains concerned with the diversion of climate resources to nuclear energy; nuclear energy is not the solution to climate change and carries its own risk in terms of environmental contamination, accidents and nuclear waste.

CELA is also concerned that the federal government may be inadvertently undermining international non-proliferation of nuclear weapon agreements through its explicit support in the budget of nuclear fuel processing. CELA will be responding separately to the government’s expected publication of its new nuclear waste and decommissioning policy when it is released.

CELA notes as well the budget’s significant ongoing investment in First Nations housing which is critical for the environmental health of First Nations communities. CELA also looks forward to continuing to engage in the development of a new Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act in the coming months.

The federal government’s support of Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy is critical. CELA hopes for a positive outcome in the House of Commons later today should there be a vote on Bill C-226, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy to assess, prevent and address environmental racism and to advance environmental justice. CELA will continue to support this Bill as it is considered by the House and Senate.

CELA continues its call for prioritization of environmental justice in all government initiatives and programs and looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the government to prioritize considerations of anti-racism, equity, and inclusion as part of a comprehensive approach to incorporating environmental justice across the federal government.

CELA is a long-time member of the Green Budget Coalition and advocated for the adoption of GBC’s Recommendations for Budget 2023.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director, Canadian Environmental Law Association or 416-960-2284 ext. 7219

Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is a public interest law clinic dedicated to environmental equity, justice, and health. Founded in 1970, CELA is one of the oldest advocates for environmental protection in the country. With funding from Legal Aid Ontario (LAO),  CELA provides free legal services relating to environmental justice in Ontario, including representing qualifying low-income and vulnerable or disadvantaged communities in litigation. CELA also works on environmental legal education and reform initiatives.