On October 11, an Ontario court determined that Doug Ford’s government broke the law last year when it decided to scrap the cap-and-trade program without consulting the public. The cancellation of the program was deemed to be in direct violation of the Environmental Bill of Rights. However, it seems that neither Ford nor his government will face consequences.
“A suit brought by Greenpeace Canada, represented by Ecojustice, was dismissed by Ontario’s divisional court today. However, the majority of the court agreed that Premier Doug Ford’s decision to scrap the province’s cap-and-trade program in 2018 without public consultation was unlawful,” reads a press release by Greenpeace Canada and Ecojustice.
According to CBC, Ontario's former cap-and-trade system hoped to lower emissions by setting pollution limits for companies in certain industries. The discarded system set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions. However, it also allowed companies below the cap to "trade" their unused allowance to other larger polluters.
CTV reported that two of the three judges sitting on a divisional court panel declared that the Ontario government broke provincial laws in 2018. However, due to the dismissal of the case, the judge’s decision will not be enforced.
Although the government will face no consequences for their actions, the environmental leaders still consider the court’s decision a symbolic victory.
“We launched this case to uphold Ontarians’ legal right to be consulted on major changes to regulations that affect the environment, and although we did not receive the precise outcome we were hoping for, the majority of the court agreed that what Premier Ford’s government did was illegal,” Ian Miron, a lawyer for Ecojustice told Global News.
Ford's government sparked controversy earlier this week after it announced that it would be taking over the responsibilities of rating Ontario movies. The Ontario Film Authority announced the news on their website, stating that they will be relieved of their duties starting October 1.