Staff Blog

Federal Credibility on Radon Undermined by Sluggish Action on Canada Labour Code

We all know about the latency of carcinogens. Many years – literally decades - can pass between exposure and cancer onset. The science is typically highly complex and there is often uncertainty about cause and effect. But for a few carcinogens, including radon, benzene, asbestos, and others, uncertainty has long since been erased. We know they cause cancer and we need to act.

Bill C-69 Update: The Countdown Clock Continues

CELA lawyer Richard Lindgren (L) and Professor Stewart Elgie (R) prepare to testify before the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on April 2, 2019 (credit: Kathleen Cooper)

Q and A with Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Dianne Saxe

Last week, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), Dianne Saxe, issued her final report to the Ontario legislature. The report was especially notable because the ECO was recently eliminated by a change in provincial leadership. CELA caught up with Saxe for a quick phone interview to hear her thoughts about the 25th anniversary of Ontario’s landmark Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) and what the loss of the ECO means to the province.

Financial Incentives for Radon Mitigation: Logical Next Steps for a Priority Indoor Air Pollutant

Among indoor pollutants, radon is a top priority for two key reasons. First, scientific evidence clearly links radon to lung cancer. Second, many Canadians are affected. In Ontario alone, radon causes over 1300 new lung cancer cases per year and 850 deaths.

Pesticides and products liability: American success, Canadian challenge

Article originally published January 24, 2019 online in The Lawyer's Daily

In August 2018, a verdict of a California jury in Johnson v. Monsanto found Monsanto liable to a groundskeeper who said the company’s weedkiller, Roundup (active ingredient glyphosate), caused his cancer. The jury awarded Mr. Johnson $289 million in damages, later reduced to $78 million by the judge on an appeal by the company.

CELA Applauds the 25th Anniversary of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights

On February 15, 1994, Ontario’s ground-breaking Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) was proclaimed into force by the provincial government.

From CELA’s perspective, this proclamation was a long overdue but momentous occasion. CELA had been pushing for an EBR in the 1970s and 1980s, and CELA served as a member of the Environment Minister’s Task Force on the EBR in the early 1990s.

Ontario Axes Independent Environmental Watchdog

NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily website published by LexisNexis Canada Inc. on January 8, 2019

The Ontario government recently passed Bill 57 (Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018), which is omnibus legislation intended to implement the government’s 2018 Fall Economic Statement.

Government's Low Reduction Targets for the Widely Used Antimicrobial Substance Triclosan Continue to Disappoint Environmentalists: Lacks protection for Canadian Lakes, Rivers, and Human Health

Moving Forward on Asbestos in Canada

At the beginning of 2019, new regulations came into effect in Canada that prohibit the import, use, sale, manufacture, and export of asbestos and products containing asbestos. These updated federal regulations mark an important step forward after years of attempts to ban asbestos.

Ontario’s drinking water rules are not red tape

Opinion originally published December 21, 2018 by the Toronto Star.

A fierce debate was recently unleashed in Ontario when the provincial government introduced Bill 66, which is said to be about reducing “red tape.” As soon as someone says those words, most people are all for it. Who hasn’t been frustrated by some long, obscure form to fill out at one point or another?

Sound e-waste management in Canada: Is there room for improvement?

Deregulation Redux: Ontario’s Environmental Laws under Attack (Again)

CELA’s core mandate is to use and improve the law in order to safeguard the environment, protect the interests of low-income and vulnerable communities, and ensure access to environmental justice.

In Ontario, however, it now appears that our main challenge is not to incrementally strengthen provincial laws, but to fend off ill-advised governmental attempts to repeal key environmental statutes and eliminate environmental regulations as “red tape.”

Erroneous message from Canada’s nuclear regulator could allow nuclear energy projects to escape federal environmental assessment

A message about federal environmental assessments is being circulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, one of Canada’s energy regulators, with the potential to undermine the fundamental principles of Canadian environmental assessment environmental assessment law and remove significant nuclear projects from federal environmental assessment review.

Guest Blog: So What If We Lose the Environmental Commissioner?

Background: Ontario is about to lose its independent Environmental Commissioner, as part of cuts announced by the Ford government on November 15, 2018. The details were laid out in Bill 57, an omnibus bill. The government cut three independent watchdogs all in the same announcement; Ontario’s Child Advocate, the French-Language Services Commissioner and the Environmental Commissioner, with some aspects of their work to be passed off to other agencies. The government’s stated rationale for Bill 57 was “to restore trust, transparency and accountability in government.”

Province Proposes to Abolish Ontario’s Environmental Watchdog

Ontario’s Finance Minister recently introduced Bill 57, which is omnibus legislation intended to implement the provincial government’s 2018 Fall Economic Statement.

BLOG – Chronicles from the North

Last month, CELA was excited to announce its expansion of legal services in Northern Ontario. Six weeks into the pilot project, we are happy to share what we’ve heard and how we are responding.

Guest Blog: Does the USMCA offer hope for a revitalized Commission for Environmental Cooperation?

In an earlier blog post, CELA expressed its happiness that the re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), known as the United States-Mexico-Canada-[Trade] Agreement (USMCA), does not include the controversial investor state dispute settlement process.

A First Look at the USMCA - There’s Reason to Celebrate

On October 1, 2018, a new trade deal was announced between Canada, the US and Mexico, replacing the current North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. In the early hours of October 1, the #USMCA twitterstorm began and with it, confirmation that ISDS - the controversial investor state dispute settlement provision in NAFTA’s Chapter 11 which allowed private companies to sue Canada, where $2.6 billion in damages have been claimed to date - had been removed from the re-negotiated agreement.

Pipelines, Environmental Assessment and the Rule of Law

The Federal Court of Appeal recently overturned the Government of Canada’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s proposal to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline system that currently runs from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.

In a lengthy judgment, the Court ruled that the federal government did not fulfill its duty under section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982 to meaningfully consult Indigenous communities and to accommodate their concerns about the project.

CELA Goes North! Public Legal Education Presentations in Thunder Bay and Timmins

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Thunder Bay