April 2015 Bulletin

ACTION ALERT: Show your support for restricting neonic pesticides in Ontario

May 7th is the deadline for responding to Ontario's consultation on a regulation to restrict neonicotinoid ("neonics") pesticides. CELA supports this regulation that will classify treated seeds as pesticides and aims to dramatically reduce the use of three neonic pesticides on corn and soy crops. You can show your support by using this handy online form created by our colleagues at the David Suzuki Foundation.

CELA reacts to 2015 Ontario provincial budget

CELA welcomed confirmation of the Ontario Electricity Support Program in the 2015 Ontario budget. This program will provide relief to low-income families suffering from “energy poverty” where too much family income is eaten up by energy costs. Other highlights of the budget include confirmation of the province’s plan to put a price on carbon and fight climate change, major progress in funding transit infrastructure and increased support to the Ontario Legal Aid program.

Canada misses UN deadline for carbon reduction efforts

As part of the ongoing United Nations climate negotiations, Canada should have announced its carbon pollution reduction plan in March. Alas, it did not. As a member of the Climate Action Network, CELA wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper to offer recommendations on what a Canadian plan could look like. We made a number of recommendations such as calling for carbon pricing for polluters and halting subsidies to the fossil file sector. Ideally, the plan would be ready for the upcoming Paris climate negotiations.

Groups urge Ontario leaders to pass proposed regulations

Along with a coalition of environmental organizations, CELA urged Ontario Premier Wynne and other political party leaders to pass key environmental legislation currently before the House. The proposed legislation includes Bill 9, Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act, 2015; Bill 52, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015; Bill 66, Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015; and Bill 37, Invasive Species Act, 2015.

40 organizations call for stronger Great Lakes protection

Forty tourist, health, faith-based and environmental organizations are collectively showing their support for the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act. The groups sent a submission to the Ontario government calling for the quick passage of the proposed Act. If passed, the new law would allow government to set science-based targets to address the most severe threats to the Great Lakes and would empower local groups to develop solutions to protect their community’s water.

Environmentalists concerned about Bruce Power's ties to CNSC

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) ambiguous regulatory requirements put Ontarians at risk, said environmental groups including CELA. The organizations recently presented their concerns at hearings on Bruce Power’s request to continue operating the Bruce nuclear station. Both CELA and Greenpeace made detailed submissions at the hearings that chronicled the gaps and loopholes in CNSC safety standards.

CELA files formal request to limit Bruce Power’s licence

CELA and Greenpeace Canada formally asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to drop the five-year licence requested by Bruce Power for the Bruce A nuclear station, and instead grant them a licence for only two years. Bruce Power has yet to provide the needed safety reviews to support extending the lives of the Bruce A reactors. Using a mechanism in the CNSC’s rules of procedures, CELA and Greenpeace filed a request for ruling which requires the CNSC to either accept or reject the groups’ request and provide reasons to support their final decision on the Bruce Power application.

Tribunal holds public hearing on leaking landfill

A three-week public hearing on the leaking Richmond Landfill Site started in April before Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. The hearing was initiated by an appeal filed in 2012 by the Concerned Citizens Committee of Tyendinaga and Environs (CCCTE), which raised concerns about the inadequacy of environmental monitoring, contingency plans and reporting obligations regarding the landfill site. The landfill was closed in 2011, but will continue to generate contaminated liquid (called “leachate”) for decades. CELA is representing the CCCTE in this matter.

North American groups demand global ban on toxic chemicals

A coalition of health, human rights, environmental justice and conservation organizations across North America are calling on the governments of Mexico, Canada and the United States to ban the use of pentachlorophenol (PCP). PCP has been used throughout the world as an insecticide, fungicide and defoliant. It is currently used as a wood preservative pesticide for utility poles in the U.S. and Canada. Due to its high toxicity and persistence in the environment, PCP has already been banned in many countries. Coalitions in each of the three countries are sending letters in advance of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in May 2015 demanding support for a global ban on PCP, as well as two additional substances recommended for global elimination by a UN expert committee(also known as the POPs Review Committee). [Photo by Axel Drainville/Flickr/Creative Commons License]

BLOG: The alternative fuels environmental three-step: One step forward, two steps back

On our blog, CELA counsel Joe Castrilli explores how mandate letters from Ontario’s Premier could be a recipe for bad environmental law and even worse environmental policy. The Premier's September 2014 mandate letter is a case in point. In this particular circumstance, there is a high probability the alternative fuels mandate conflicts with another mandate set out in the letter: “safeguarding people from toxics”.

BLOG: A balanced federal budget over the long-term

Annie Bérubé, Manager of the Green Budget Coalition (GBC), wrote about the GBC's timely advice to make the necessary investments in protecting Canada’s environment and securing balanced federal budgets over the long-term.

SPOTLIGHT: Acting globally by banning asbestos

Despite the health affects of asbestos, Canada is still a major exporter of the substance. CELA advocates for the integrity and strength of domestic environmental law in light of regional, bilateral and multilateral agreements. We also monitor and respond to international agreements that may affect the different levels of governments in Canada to enforce environmental laws. We have an extensive collection of materials in support of a world-wide ban on all forms of asbestos.