The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Perspectives on Bill C-28 and the Proposed Changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA)

Webinar hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Nature Canada.

Webinar originally aired on Thursday July 8, 2021.  Scroll down to view the recording.

The federal government released Bill C-28 (the Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act) on April 13, 2021 proposing amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Bill C-28 represents the first time changes to CEPA will be considered in over 20 years. As Canada continues to see increasing impacts to the environment and to the health of Canadians from toxic substances and genetically engineered organisms, the introduction of Bill C-28 represents a unique opportunity to assess the changes needed to CEPA to address current and future challenges related to toxic substances, genetically engineered organisms and access to public engagement in legislations.


The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) recently conducted a webinar series on CEPA, our country’s main environmental legislation used to evaluate and manage substances. In this webinar series, we explored how CEPA can be strengthened to protect vulnerable communities, including children, women of childbearing age, workers, people of low income, and Indigenous communities from toxic exposures, using improved, modern approaches to advance prevention strategies from hazardous substances. CELA and Nature Canada partnered on the final webinar of the series: Are Canada’s Environmental Laws up to the Challenge? Protecting Communities, their Rights and the Environment from the Threats of Biotechnology.

During this webinar, participants learned about the key changes proposed in Bill C-28 and what further changes to CEPA are required to protect the environment and the health of Canadians.

The speakers’ panel for this webinar included:
Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation – Lisa Gue provided a perspective on the environmental rights provisions in Bill C-28 and next steps in the legislative process, as well as related measures in Bill C-230, the National Strategy Respecting Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Act.  Her presentation is available for download here..
Anne Rochon Ford, Nail Salon Workers Project: An initiative of the Parkdale-Queen West Community Health Centre- Anne Rochon Ford provided comments on proposals related to vulnerable populations and how these proposals may address the challenges facing vulnerable groups, particularly workers, from toxic substances. Her presentation is available for download here.
Joseph Castrilli, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) – Joseph Castrilli provided perspectives on a range of issues covered in Bill C-28 including proposals to Schedule 1-List of Toxics Substances of CEPA (Virtual Elimination and high concerned substances), right to a healthy environment and vulnerable populations, and citizens’ rights and public participation.  His presentation is available for download here.
Hugh Benevides, advisor to Nature Canada – Bill C-28 proposes only minor changes to Part 6 of CEPA (dealing with products of biotechnology). The public needs to be informed of proposals to introduce new genetically-engineered animals in Canada and participate in their assessment, in order to protect their wild counterparts. CEPA reform also needs to be better aligned with Indigenous rights and impose a burden on proponents to demonstrate both that new living organisms are needed, and not toxic. His presentation is available for download here.

The introductory and concluding slides, including contact information and resources links, is available for download here

Recordings for the 2020-2021 CEPA webinar series are available here -:

Contact: Fe de Leon, Researcher, CELA, (email), 416-960-2284 ext 7223 (phone)