April 2018 Bulletin

Photo: Dominic Ali/CELA

News & Activities

European Union bans outdoor uses of bee-harming neonic pesticides

The European Commission recently voted to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that poses a threat to pollinators and other species, by the end of 2018. This decision is a victory for the bees and the environment. Environmental and health groups urge Canada to follow and end all uses of these harmful pesticides.

CELA appears before Standing Committee on Bill C-69

CELA recently appeared as a witness before the federal Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to explain our concerns and recommendations about the proposed Impact Assessment Act in Bill C-69. In conjunction with this testimony, CELA prepared a short presentation, a detailed brief and an online article to describe how and why the Act must be substantially re-written in order to regain public trust. CELA has also prepared a comprehensive clause-by-clause chart comparing the proposed Act to the current statute, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

Bringing Canada’s chemical regulations in line with the EU’s own

CELA and Environmental Defence made a submission regarding the Regulatory Cooperation Forum established in chapter 21 of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). We believe the forum should improve environmental protections and public interest regulations in the EU and Canada. We made several recommendations to improve Canada’s management regime under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) by adopting the more precautionary aspects of the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regime, especially since CEPA is currently under review.

CELA intervenes in Divisional Court on contaminated sites case

The Divisional Court of Ontario granted CELA and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper leave to intervene in a case involving the jurisdiction of the Director of the Environment Ministry to order corporate appellants to delineate contamination which has migrated off site. The case centres on an interpretation of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). CELA’s factum examines contaminated site legislation in other provinces. The case will be heard in Toronto’s Divisional Court in May.

Photo: Billy Wilson/Flickr

Establishing freshwater priorities for Ontario

CELA joined 20 environmental organizations in calling for targets, timelines, and investments that will protect and restore Ontario’s water. We made 13 recommendations the provincial government could take to protect drinking water, such as eliminating all boil water advisories by 2022, ensuring real-time public notification of sewage spills, and dedicating 15 per cent of infrastructure funds to implementing living green infrastructure.

Improving Ontario’s proposed Watershed Planning Guidance

CELA made comments to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change regarding the proposed Watershed Planning Guidance (EBR Registry Number: 013-1817). Although the proposed guidelines are a crucial step toward ensuring integrated watershed management is fully implemented in Ontario, they need to be improved and re-circulated for further public comment before finalizing. We recommended that Ontario government align municipal boundaries with watershed boundaries, consistently apply the principles in watershed and subwatershed planning, and clarify the target audience for the planning guidance.

Photo: Dominic Ali/CELA

Calling for an end to lead in ammunition and fishing gear

Although the federal government plans to reduce Canadians' exposure to lead, it has overlooked the negative impacts of lead ammunition and fishing gear. CELA joined numerous environmental, health, and indigenous organizations and multiple scientists and medical experts in calling on the federal Minister to end to the use of these forms of lead in Canada.

CELA's comments on proposed 10-year licence of Bruce Power

In 2017, Bruce Power submitted a 10-year licence application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) that would allow it to refurbish and extend the operating life of the Bruce A and B reactors until 2064. If granted, it would be the first time in Canadian history for a nuclear facility to be refurbished without undergoing a federal environmental assessment. CELA's submission asked the CNSC not to grant a licence exceeding five years, arguing that a 10-year licence would allow Bruce Power to undertake actions with a projected operating date to 2064, while being non-compliant with several regulatory standards at the time of licensing. We also pointed out that Bruce Power has not aligned its emergency response plan with the province's emergency response plan.

Calling for a limit to 10-year CNSC licences

CELA joined nearly 30 public interest groups and community organizations calling on the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to rethink its 10-year approach to licensing and reject a request by Bruce Power for a decade-long licence. Bruce Power wants to rebuild three reactors over a 10-year period while running aging reactors beyond their design life. Two reactors are scheduled to undergo reconstruction work simultaneously. These complex activities are extremely risky and require commensurate oversight. A 10-year licence would reduce public oversight, reduce the frequency of public hearings and increase the conditions where regulatory capture could take root and perpetuate complacency on nuclear safety.

Oxford County Court House (Woodstock, Ontario) Photo: C Hanchey/Flickr

Landfills and Land Use Planning

CELA recently represented the Oxford People Against Landfill (OPAL) Alliance in a public hearing held by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). Oxford County had passed an official plan amendment (OPA 197) that restricts the siting and development of new landfills that intend to import waste into the county. However, OPA 197 was appealed to the LPAT by a private landfill proponent. After several days of hearings, the parties settled the appeal, and the LPAT modified and approved OPA 197.

Critiquing the proposed Part II Order Requests

CELA made a submission to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change regarding the proposed Operational Policy on Submission of Part II Order Requests under the Environmental Assessment Act (Registry Notice #013-2099). We questioned several parts of the proposed policy and concluded that it does not break new ground, provide any additional clarity, or improve upon the Part II descriptions in the current suite of Class EAs in Ontario. We also outlined a number of flaws in the proposed policy: it does not specifically require the Minister to provide written reasons for decision, it is descriptive of the status quo, and does nothing to fix or improve the widely criticized Part II process under Class EA, and the policy does not suggest approximate timelines for making the ministerial decision to grant/refuse Part II order requests.

Presentations

Bill 139 land use planning reforms

CELA counsel held a webinar on Bill 139, which replaces the Ontario Municipal Board with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The new legislation came into force on April 3, 2018, making significant changes to Ontario's land use planning regime. The presentation used in the webinar video on Bill 139 is available for download.

Collaborative advocacy to reduce heath risks in housing

CELA is a founding partner of RentSafe, an initiative led by the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE) that addresses housing-related health risks facing low-income tenants. RentSafe recently held a workshop and presentation at the Eastern Region Clinic Training Conference, Kingston, Ontario, on collaborative approaches to solving housing health risks that can be downloaded here.

Video

TVO “The Agenda” interview with Miriam Diamond

CELA board member and University of Toronto earth sciences professor Miriam Diamond appeared on TVO’s flagship current affairs program “The Agenda” to discuss the growing problem of electronic waste in Ontario.