Sierra Club Canada

Sierra Club Canada (SCC) is a Canadian environmental organization. It is part of the environmental movement.

Sierra Club Canada
TypeEnvironmental organization based in Canada
Legal statusActive
PurposeEnvironmental activism
HeadquartersOttawa, Ontario, Canada
Region served
Official language
English, French

The roots of Sierra Club Canada go back to 1963, when environmentalists in British Columbia affiliated themselves with the Sierra Club of the United States (many of these individuals were prominent in the founding of Greenpeace). Sierra Club Canada became a pan-Canadian organization in 1989, and was legally incorporated as a Canadian organization in 1992.

As of 2010 it has approximately 10,000 members and supporters. Its main office is in Ottawa.


Sierra Club Canada is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, three members of which are elected each year in an election in which all SCC members can vote. [1] Two of the seats are reserved for youth members of the Club.

SCC currently has five Chapters (Atlantic, British Columbia, Ontario, Prairies, and Quebec) and the Sierra Youth Coalition. It has offices in Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria.

In addition, SCC includes several local groups working mostly at the municipal level.

Executive DirectorsEdit

  1. 1989–2006: Elizabeth May
  2. 2006–2009: Stephen Hazell
  3. 2009–present: John Bennett

Affiliates and subsidiariesEdit

SCC is also affiliated with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and the Sierra Club British Columbia Foundation.

The Sierra Youth Coalition is the youth-led wing of the Sierra Club Canada.

SCC is a major member of the Canadian Environmental Network.


Over the years Sierra Club Canada has influenced environmental policy and legislative initiatives. The following list of milestones provides an indication of some of the campaigns that Sierra Club has been involved in, both in coalition with others and as a leading advocate.


  • Reducing smog pollution – Sierra Club Canada initiated and led a joint industry/environmental group coalition that has brought together provincial and federal governments with other stakeholders in a collaboration for a comprehensive federal and provincial regulatory regime to improve air quality standards, an air zone approach to managing air quality, and a multistakeholder Air Quality Council to oversee the regime
  • Raising public awareness about oil sands development - Sierra Club Canada and Sierra Club Prairie raise public awareness about the adverse environmental impacts of oil sands development.


  • Stopping the Digby Neck Basalt Quarry and Marine Terminal - Working closely with local citizens' groups, Sierra Club Canada and Sierra Club Atlantic persuaded an environmental review panel to oppose construction of a basalt quarry and marine terminal, the ships from which would have damaged threatened right whales and damaged a community committed to sustainability. The federal and Nova Scotian governments accepted the panel's recommendations; the quarry and terminal were never built
  • Ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions are assessed in oil sands projects - Sierra Club Canada won a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Canada requiring that greenhouse gas emissions are assessed as part of the federal environment assessment for an oil sands mine, specifically the Kearl Oil Sands Project.


  • The cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia will not include an incinerator for toxic waste, which would have further polluted local communities.
  • The Mackenzie Gas Project has been delayed for five years and may never be built.
  • Federal funding has been committed to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, which is a quarter of the Earth’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforests.
  • Phase-out of a federal tax subsidy to oil sands companies, as well as growing support for a moratorium on new Alberta tar sands projects.


  • The announcement that two million hectares of temperate rainforest would be protected from logging. The Great Bear Rainforest announcement is British Columbia’s decade-long effort that saw blockades, international markets campaigns, and an agreement between as unlikely allies as logging companies and environmentalists.


  • Stopping proposal to transport Great Lakes water out of the watershed via the Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.
  • Achieving the commitment to a minimum of 5 percent mix of biofuels in gasoline and diesel by the end of 2010.
  • The passage of Bill C-15, which is designed to bring an end to the dumping of bilge oil from ships, which results in the deaths of some 300,000 seabirds annually off the coast of Newfoundland alone.


  • Both the Ontario Government and the federal government accepted Sierra Club Canada's position against any diversions from the Great Lakes. The plan to allow diversions was halted. The Sierra Club was the first environmental group to identify the proposed Annex from the Council of Great Lakes Governors as a major threat to the lakes
  • The federal Ministers of Environment and Natural Resources jointly committed to push the car makers to 25% decreases in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, directly in response to a Sierra Club of Canada campaign
  • The British Columbia government received a report from public hearings, chaired by Roland Priddle, clearly stating that British Columbians were massively opposed to lifting the moratorium on offshore oil and gas development. SCC and our BC Chapter had been heavily involved in the coalition opposing oil and gas
  • The Quebec environmental assessment agency (Bureau d'Audiences Publique -BAPE) issued a report harshly critical of the threat to whales from seismic testing – the first step in oil and gas exploration – an issue which SCC had been coordinating and to which we had appeared in order to give evidence. The Quebec government blocked testing at the mouth of the St. Lawrence in the Gulf
  • After years of pressure, the federal government came through with $4 billion for the clean-up of toxic waste sites, with a very specific mention of the need to clean up the Sydney Tar Ponds. By May, the federal and provincial governments signed a $400 million agreement to clean up the notorious 300-acre (1.2 km2) toxic site. SCC has been the only environmental group, national or provincial, championing the plight of the local environment and Sydney residents
  • The precedent created by Sierra Club of Canada's victory in the Federal Court, quashing a permit for a massive mussel aquaculture facility in Cape Breton, was preserved when the company dropped its appeal. Although the aquaculture facility is proceeding under a new permit, it has been forced to adopt a phased approach
  • Nine municipalities drafted pesticide by-laws, and five adopted them in 2004. Often their efforts were supported by our materials and local volunteers. A total of 70 municipalities now have by-laws restricting the use of toxic chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes.


  • Passage of Species at Risk Act
  • Reform of the Pest Control Products Act
  • Pesticide bylaws in 65 municipalities to date
  • Sierra Club successfully intervenes in Supreme Court of Canada which upholds Canadian Patent Board's refusal to patent Oncomouse (Harvard Mouse Case)
  • $4 billion committed to Toxic Waste Site Clean Up in the federal budget
  • Sierra Club was the only intervener in environmental hearings in Fort McMurray appearing to oppose any expansion in the Athbasca Tar Sands.
  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge protected another year
  • Failure of the WTO in September in Cancun
  • Key role in developing a strong new National Forest Strategy

ITER projectEdit

In 2003, Sierra Club Canada lobbied extensively to stop Canadian participation in the ITER project. The SCC, arguing that the research project was a subsidy, influenced public opinion against the project. Canada is now no longer involved in ITER.[1][citation needed]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2007-07-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit