Ottawa not doing its job to hold Volkswagen to account for diesel dupe: lawyers

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is facing legal action from several environmental groups who accuse the government of dragging its heels on investigating Volkswagen for duping Canadians with diesel engines.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the U.S. in March after software was found in certain diesel vehicles that made it appear as though the cars were producing fewer emissions than they really were.

In fact, under normal conditions the cars emitted 35 times Canada’s legal limit on nitrogen oxides, which have adverse effects on human health and contribute to climate change.

About 105,000 of the rigged vehicles were sold in Canada, and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program underway to buy back and compensate Canadians who owned or leased the cars.

A statement from McKenna says her department is investigating and will take action if necessary, but that investigation is nearly two years old — and two groups, Environmental Defence and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, are tired of waiting.

The organizations filed a lawsuit this week against McKenna to force her to undertake a thorough investigation under the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

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