Lacombe County employers including Dow Chemicals and Nova Chemicals are seeking a judicial review of the decision to add ‘plastic manufactured items” to a list of toxic substances backed by the provincial government in Alberta.  

“Alberta is intervening in a case brought to the federal court by the responsible plastic you use coalition that includes Dow Imperial Oil and Nova Chemicals. The parties are seeking a judicial review of the decision to add plastic manufactured items to a list of toxic substances specified in schedule one of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The original applicants brought their case to the court on several grounds, but the constitutional argument boils down to this: that regulating plastic manufactured items as toxic substances falls outside the federal government's jurisdiction over criminal law matters. This is properly a provincial regulatory matter and not a federal criminal matter,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. 

Kenney argued that plastic does not have take toxicity as a substance like arsenic and that plastics will need to continue to be used for carbon reduction goals. 

The provincial attorney general has filed notice with the Federal Court of Canada that Alberta will make submissions in a case arguing that a decision by the federal minister of health and the minister of the environment and climate change to list “plastic manufactured items” as “toxic substances” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act was unconstitutional.

The Ministry of Energy has indicated the label could put more than $30 billion at risk in the petrochemical sector. Kenney says by labelling plastic items as toxic the federal government has shown that it is not interested in an evidence-based approach when it comes to energy transition. 

“The federal government has ignored all opposing evidence, as well as the innovation that we are seeing in the industry, including the development led by provinces and the industry of a circular economy for plastics where they are recycled and where they re-enter the market,” said Kenney. 

Kenney will also be sending a letter to other premiers asking them to take similar action. 


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