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Press Release: A National Strategy to Address Environmental Racism (Bill C-230) will be forwarded to second reading by Lenore Zann on Dec. 3, 2020

Press Release

Subject: A National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism (Bill C-230) Moves to Second Reading in the House of Commons on December 3, 2020

On Thursday, December 3, 2020, the MP for Cumberland-Colchester will be putting the federal private members bill A National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism (Bill C-230) forward to second reading in the House of Commons. She introduced it in the House of Commons on February 26, 2020: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-1/bill/C-230/first-reading

Environmental racism refers to the disproportionate location and greater exposure of Indigenous, Black, and other racialized communities to polluting industries and other environmental hazards. These toxic burdens have been linked to high rates of cancer, reproductive diseases, respiratory illnesses and other health problems in these communities (Bullard, 2002; Fryzuk, 1996; Gosine & Teelucksingh, 2008; Waldron, 2018). 

From the decision approximately 60 years ago to offload pulp mill effluent into Pictou Landing First Nation’s once pristine Boat Harbour, and toxic landfills and a dump placed in the African Nova Scotian communities of Shelburne, Lincolnville, and Africville, to mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows First Nation, petrochemical facilities in Chemical Valley in Ontario and in British Columbia, the legacy of environmental racism can no longer be ignored (Waldron, 2018).

Bill C-230 is asking the Minister of Environment & Climate Change to develop a strategy that must include measures to:

  • Examine the link between race, socio-economic status, and environmental risk. 
  • Collect information and statistics relating to the location of environmental hazards. 
  • Collect information and statistics relating to negative health outcomes in communities that have been affected by environmental racism. 
  • Assess the administration and enforcement of environmental laws in each province and
  • Address environmental racism including in relation to:
    • possible amendments to federal laws, policies, and programs. 
    • the involvement of community groups in environmental policymaking. 
    • compensation for individuals or communities. 
    • ongoing funding for affected communities and
    • access of affected communities to clean air and water.

On December 3, we are asking members of all five political parties to unanimously pass a bill that would make Canada an international leader on addressing environmental, social, and public health issues that impact Indigenous, Black, and other vulnerable communities across Canada. This has become even more urgent in 2020 amidst the epidemic of anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism and the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted these communities. 

The Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities and Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) led by Dr. Ingrid Waldron and the Black Environmental (BE) Initiative led by Naolo Charles support the passing of this bill in the House of Commons. 

To find out more about how you can support Bill C-230, please visit the ENRICH Project website here: https://www.enrichproject.org/about/billc-230/

Respectfully,

Ingrid, Naolo and partners
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Ingrid Waldron, Ph.D. 

Director, The ENRICH Project

& Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University

www.enrichproject.org, Email: iwaldron@dal.ca

Naolo Charles 

Executive Director, Black Environmental (BE) Initiative 

www.beinitiative.com

Email: ncharles@beinitiative.com: ncharles@beinitiative.com

ENRICH and BE Initiative are projects on the MakeWay shared platform.

Partner organizations in support of this bill:

Manvi Bhalla (she/her), President & Co- Founder, Shake Up The Establishment

Maggy Burns, Interim Executive Director, Ecology Action Centre 

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