Media Releases

Animal Justice in Court to Challenge Decision Favouring Plastics Industry

OTTAWA—Animal Justice is appearing before the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge a court decision that favoured the plastics industry, and undermined Canada’s efforts to regulate plastic products under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The stakes are high in this appeal for the millions of animals injured or even killed by plastics released into the environment each year.

In 2021, the federal government classified “plastic manufactured items” as toxic under CEPA— Canada’s keystone environmental law—allowing it to ban harmful single-use plastics like shopping bags, six-pack rings, and stir sticks. The changes to CEPA also allowed for future regulations to tackle other forms of plastic pollution like ghost fishing gear, which makes up the vast majority of large plastic pollution in the ocean, and can entangle and kill animals for decades.

However, the plastic industry challenged the lawfulness of the federal government’s changes to CEPA and unfortunately the Federal Court agreed with industry, finding that the federal government’s decision was unreasonable and unconstitutional.  

The federal government is appealing the Federal Court’s decision, and earlier this year, Animal Justice and Animal Environmental Legal Advocacy were granted intervener status in the case, enabling the two organizations to speak on behalf of the millions of animals harmed by plastic waste annually.

“Animals need all levels of government to take strong, coordinated action to prevent plastic pollution. The outcome of this appeal will have far-reaching implications in Canada’s fight to address the global plastic crisis,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “When considering this case, the Court must not forget about the millions of animals who suffer and die as victims of unnecessary, improperly discarded plastic products.”

The case will be heard beginning at 9:30 am on Tuesday, June 25  at the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa. It will be broadcast online.



Camille Labchuk
[email protected]