On May 11, 2020, on behalf of Ecology Action Centre, Sierra Club Canada Foundation and WWF-Canada, Ecojustice took legal action against the Canadian government, alleging a failure to properly assess the risks of exploratory drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The application for review asserts that the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada relied on a deficient assessment report in completing its regional assessment of offshore exploratory drilling in the region under the Impact Assessment Act. The complainants contend, among other things, that an increase in offshore oil and gas exploration threatens Canada's commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The complaint seeks an order declaring that the report is not a "regional assessment" within the meaning of the Impact Assessment Act, an order quashing the report and sending it back to the Regional Assessment Committee for the Regional Assessment of Offshore Oil and Gas Exploratory Drilling East of Newfoundland and Labrador to redo the assessment, an order prohibiting the Minister of Environment and Climate Change from making a regulation based on the report to exempt from assessment under the Act certain exploratory drilling activities, and an interim order staying the effect of the proposed regulation. The government filed a motion to dismiss. On June 3, a federal court in Ottawa denied the motion to dismiss, and denied the complainants' motion for an interim order.