TPP will be toothless for environmental protection: study

March 16, 2016

OTTAWA—As the debate heats up over whether Canada should ratify the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) highlights the agreement’s serious shortcomings in protecting the environment.

“Far from being a milestone for environmental protection, as claimed by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the TPP will not safeguard or promote effective environmental protection measures,” says Jacqueline Wilson, legal counsel at the Canadian Environmental Law Association and author of the study Bait-and-Switch: The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Promised Environmental Protections Do Not Deliver

“The language in the chapter is generally weak and unenforceable, and TPP countries are given broad discretion to decide whether and how to act on environmental issues,” says Wilson, whose legal review of the 12-country trade and investment pact also finds:

  • the environmental protection chapter only covers central government laws, which is especially significant in federal states like Canada;
  • the state-to-state dispute mechanisms in the TPP are unlikely to be en­forced for environmental protection and provide little room for public par­ticipation; and
  • public complaint mechanisms are very weak, providing no way for citizens to follow up once a TPP government responds to a complaint. 

“The TPP offers far more protections for investors and corporations than it does for the environment and other areas of public policy,” adds Scott Sinclair, senior trade researcher with the CCPA and co-ordinator of the centre’s series on the TPP: What’s the Big Deal: Understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership

“If trade deals in any way reflect a country’s values or priorities, the TPP demonstrates that effectively addressing climate change and the ecological impacts of increased globalization is not one of them—for Canada or any other participating country,” says Sinclair. 


 Bait-and-Switch: The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Promised Environmental Protections Do Not Deliver is available on the CCPA website:

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Director of Communications, at 613-563-1341 x306.