COVID Recovery or COVID Cooptation? Understanding Bill 197

Is Ford using the pandemic as his chance to destroy laws that protect Indigenous sovereignty, defend environmental safety, and uphold our right to say no to extractive projects in Ontario?

We have until November 10th to have our say about it!
Keep reading for more information, or click here to take action NOW!

On July 8th, 2020, the Ford government introduced Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economy Recovery Act, an omnibus bill changing many facets of life in Ontario. Just two weeks later, with zero opportunity for meaningful public input as required under the Environmental Bill of Rights, this bill was passed into law.

Schedule 6 of the bill makes major changes to how environmental assessment happens in Ontario, as well as to what kinds of projects need to follow the rules of transparency, consultation, and evidence-based practice required under the Environmental Assessment Act. But have you tried actually reading the thing? We did, and… to us, it was about as clear as mud.

We reached out to our friends at the Canadian Environmental Law Association to help us understand this law. This week, we’re launching three explainer videos to help pass along what we learned!

Special thanks to Joel Famadico for filming and editing these videos for us!

Are you as confused about Bill 197 as we were? Watch these videos to help you figure out what’s changing, what’s at risk, what’s at stake, and — most importantly — what YOU can do right now to stop this from getting worse.

VIDEO 1: The Legal Breakdown

Confused about what the environmental assessment parts of Bill 197 mean for all of us? We were too. Theresa McClenaghan, Kerrie Blaise, and Rick Lindgren, three lawyers from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, are here to help.

VIDEO 2: An Indigenous Perspective

CELA, alongside a number of other parties, are launching a legal action in the hopes of requiring the provincial government to engage in meaningful public consultation around all environmentally-significant parts of Bill 197.

Mike Koostachin, who’s from Attawapiskat First Nation, is one of the plaintiffs in the action. In this video, Mike shares what he found disturbing about Bill 197, why proper environmental consultation is so important in his community, and what he wants grassroots peoples to know about their sovereignty rights.

VIDEO 3: A Youth Perspective

Cooper Price, a 16-year-old activist with Fridays for Future Toronto, is another plaintiff in the legal action against Bill 197. In this video, Cooper shares why he decided to get involved in the action, and how he feels about Doug Ford making decisions about the environment that will affect his entire future.

There are three urgent ways you can take action right now. 

Click here for instructions!

Want to learn even more?

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