Follow-up petition on Canada’s interpreting of the international version of the precautionary principle within Canadian government departments

Petition: 349b

Issue(s): Biological diversity, Climate change, Compliance and enforcement, International cooperation

Petitioner(s): A Canadian resident

Petitioner Location(s): Victoria, British Columbia

Date Received: 15 August 2019

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: This petition is a follow‑up to petition 349, which alleged that the Government of Canada had failed to implement the precautionary principle for a number of its international environmental commitments on biological biodiversity, climate change, and fish management. This follow‑up petition argues on the basis of federal departmental responses to petition 349 that the government has misinterpreted the precautionary principle as defined in international conventions to which Canada is a party.

The petition cites definitions of the precautionary principle appearing in international conventions on biological diversity and climate change. It compares these definitions with the federal government’s interpretation that was provided in departmental responses to petition 349, and it asks for an explanation of what it claims is a discrepancy between them. The petition seeks further clarification on how the federal government interprets the precautionary principle, asking why federal departments have not been required to “adopt and invoke the international version of the precautionary principle.” The petition also asks about the consequences for Canada if it does not implement the “international version” of the precautionary principle.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Justice Canada