Peter A Allard School of Law

The Youth Climate Litigation Wave: Part 2 – La Rose

The Centre for Law and the Environment’s four-part series, The Youth Climate Litigation Wave, will cover four leading cases from Canada and the US in which youth are demanding climate accountability and action from their government. Each session in the series will delve into a particular case and attendees will get to learn about the case from both a lawyer and plaintiff involved in the case. Attendees can join the session in person at Allard Hall or join the webinar virtually.


About La Rose v. His Majesty the King

In October 2019, fifteen youth plaintiffs from across Canada filed the La Rose lawsuit, claiming that the federal government of Canada is contributing to climate change. The case argues that the youth are already being harmed by climate change and the federal government is violating their rights to life, liberty, and security of the person under section 7 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for failing to protect essential public trust resources. The youth plaintiffs also allege that Canada’s conduct violates their right to equality under section 15 of the Charter because youth are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change.

The lawsuit asks the Federal Court of Canada to declare that the government’s conduct violates the Charter and the government’s public trust duties and order the government to prepare and implement a climate recovery plan to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions and decarbonize Canada’s energy system in line with what scientists say is necessary to stabilize the climate system and protect the rights of youth.

The youth plaintiffs and their attorneys are currently awaiting a court ruling form the Federal Court of Appeals on whether the case will proceed to trial, a result which will likely be known by the time of the session.


About the Speaker

Chris Tollefson

Chris is the founding principal of Tollefson Law and a Professor of Law at the University of Victoria. Since 2016, he is also the founding Executive Director of Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), Canada’s first charity dedicated to educating and training aspiring environmental litigators. Chris combines teaching and research on environmental issues with counsel work for various public interest environmental clients. This counsel work has included appearances before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and various environmental regulatory boards and tribunals. He was counsel to BC Nature and Nature Canada during both the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline hearing processes.

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