Environment category description.

National Energy Board

A series of changes to the NEB Act in 2012 limited the scope of the National Energy Board’s project reviews and public participation opportunities. The Board also exercised its discretionary authority to apply these new provisions in ways that effectively silenced many environmental and Indigenous peoples’ voices in these proceedings.

Public Science

The previous federal Conservative government waged a systematic assault on public science. ​The assault included the natural and social sciences. It was not restricted to government scientists, but ran the full gamut of organizations connected to scientific research: government departments, at arms-length government funded organizations, organizations that funded other research, universities, NGOs and individual researchers who obtained grants through one of the funding agencies, and even included a UN convention conducting research relevant to climate change.

Environmental groups in Canada

From 2006-2015, the Conservative government defunded and attempted to discredit leading and respected environmental research and advocacy groups. Environmentalists were portrayed as a threat to Canadian security. Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act confirm that the RCMP and CSIS were monitoring environmental groups opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Environmental Defence

Environmental Defence Logo

Environmental Defence is one of Canada’s most important environmental organizations. It has charitable status. In early 2011, it started to undergo a routine audit by the Canada Revenue Agency. Towards the end of the year, the auditors indicated that the audit was nearing completion and that there were no major concerns.

Polar Environment Atmosphere Research Laboratory

PEARL – the Polar Environment Atmosphere Research Laboratory – is Canada’s northernmost facility carrying out research on atmospheric conditions and on how climate is changing in one of the most sensitive regions of the planet.


In 2012 Andrew Frank, former staff of ForestEthics, alleged that staff within the Prime Minister’s office had labeled ForestEthics an “enemy of the people of Canada” and threatened to jeopardize its funding relationship with Tides Canada, a charitable foundation.

Physicians for Global Survival

Physicians for Global Survival

In 2004, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) initiated an audit of Physicians for Global Survival (PGS) with respect to its charitable activities.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation

Sierra Club Canada Foundation logo

In December 2012, a pro-oil sands lobby group named Ethical Oil with close ties to the Conservative government filed a complaint with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) against the Sierra Club Canada Foundation (SCCF). The objective was to trigger an audit from the CRA and, potentially, the loss of charitable status for the Foundation.

Scott Vaughan

Scott Vaughan

On April 1 2013, Scott Vaughan resigned two years before the end of his term as Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Aboriginal communities and environmental groups

Aboriginal communities and environmental groups

Since 2006, according to documents obtained through the Access to Information Act, Aboriginal communities and environmental groups have been under a special program of government surveillance, and the information was shared among security agencies, government departments and industry about groups that oppose resource development projects.