The Government of Saskatchewan, with the Government of Alberta, is appearing virtually today before the Federal Court of Canada to seek a judicial review of the federal government’s decision to label single-use plastics “toxic substances” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

“It is our position that the federal government cannot simply declare plastics to be under its environmental jurisdiction,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. “Under the constitutional division of powers, it is well-established that provinces have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate specific industries. Establishing a competing federal regulatory framework in this area will simply create duplication, confusion, and economic harm.”

Saskatchewan will provide a public interest perspective on the constitutional division of powers issue and argue that federal jurisdiction over environmental protection is limited to established toxic substances, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and dangerous industrial chemicals. The province will also argue that the federal government declaration that all “plastic manufactured items” qualify as “toxic” is not supported under federal criminal law powers.

  Alberta and Saskatchewan are exercising their rights under the Federal Courts Act to intervene in this constitutional challenge. Under federal legislation, provinces are entitled to participate and make arguments on constitutional questions without having to apply for leave to intervene.

The challenge will be heard in Federal Court March 7 to 9, 2023, in Toronto, Ontario.