In the modern era, environmental degradation is one of the most significant threats to human well-being and therefore to human rights. Biologically, the right to a viable environment supersedes all other human rights, including the right to life itself. It is not surprising, then, that the vast majority of nations with modern bills of rights have incorporated some form of environmental right or obligation into their constitutions. Respect for the environment is a fundamental value in Canada yet our constitution is silent on environmental rights and obligations. This article will argue that a limited right to environmental protection can nonetheless be found in existing Charter rights, while a more robust, comprehensive environmental right may be found in section 35 and/or may exist as an unwritten constitutional principle. The author concludes that an explicit amendment may be desirable in order to obtain the myriad benefits of constitutional environmental protection that have been documented globally.
Collins, Lynda M..
"Safeguarding the Longue Durée: Environmental Rights in the Canadian Constitution."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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