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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 6, pp e353–e354 | Cite as

The right to a healthy environment: A prescription for Canada

  • David R. BoydEmail author
Invited Commentary

Abstract

This invited commentary summarizes the need for stronger Canadian environmental laws and policies. The environmental burden of disease in Canada is substantial. In part this is due to environmental laws and policies that are significantly weaker and less effective than corresponding rules in other wealthy industrialized nations. One promising approach is recognition of the right to live in a healthy environment. In particular, constitutional recognition of this right in 100 nations has led to stronger environmental laws, better enforcement of those laws, enhanced public participation in environmental decision-making, and superior environmental outcomes (e.g., faster progress in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions). In light of Canada’s weak environmental record, this potentially transformative approach is particularly promising.

Key Words

Environment environmental health public policy 

Mots Clés

environnement santé environnementale politique publique 

Résumé

Notre commentaire invité résume les raisons pour lesquelles il faut renforcer les lois et les politiques environnementales du Canada. La charge de morbidité des maladies d’origine environnementale au Canada est considérable. Cela s’explique en partie par des lois et des politiques environnementales significativement plus faibles et moins efficaces que la réglementation correspondante dans d’autres pays riches industrialisés. Une approche prometteuse pour rectifier la situation est de reconnaître le droit de vivre dans un milieu sain. La reconnaissance constitutionnelle d’un tel droit dans 100 pays a entraîné des lois environnementales plus strictes, une meilleure application de ces lois, une participation améliorée du public aux décisions environnementales et des résultats environnementaux supérieurs (p. ex., des progrès plus rapides dans la réduction de la pollution de l’air et des émissions de gaz à effet de serre). Vu le piètre bilan du Canada en matière d’environnement, cette approche potentiellement transformatrice est particulièrement prometteuse.

References

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EnvironmentSimon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada

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