Staff Blog

A Balanced Federal Budget Over the Long-Term

Finance Minister Joe Oliver today announced that Economic Action Plan 2015 will be tabled on April 21, 2015 and reiterated the Government of Canada’s commitment to a balanced budget.

The Green Budget Coalition has offered up some timely advice to make the necessary investments in protecting Canada’s environment and … … to secure balanced federal budgets over the long-term.

Yes, environmental stewardship is not only compatible, but essential for sustaining Canada’s economic prosperity and ensuring balanced federal budgets in the future. T

Keeping Lake Erie Viable as a Source of Drinking Water

  On the weekend of August 3, 2014, the people of Toledo woke up to find they couldn’t use their tap water. Ohio Governor, John Kasich, declared that Lake Erie was not fit to drink, and 400,000 people scrambled to find alternative sources. The reason: cyanotoxins, produced by blue-green algae blooming profusely in Lake Erie.

Theo Colborn 1927 - 2014

I suspect that most of you have heard by now that Theo Colborn died on Sunday at the age of 87. The book that she co-authored, Our Stolen Future, awoke the world to the devastating impacts of endocrine disruptors on wildlife and humans. Many people have referred to her as the second Rachel Carson, whose Silent Spring had woken us to the tragic effects of pesticides. As with Silent Spring, Our Stolen Future drew out the chemical industry in an unsuccessful effort to destroy her reputation.

Ontario Government Introduces Anti-SLAPP Bill

Twenty years ago CELA called for the introduction of legislation to address strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) (See Intervenor: The Newsletter of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Volume 19, Issue 4, July/August 1994). SLAPPs are civil lawsuits that are filed, often by large corporations, against individuals or local citizens’ groups for speaking out or taking a position on a matter of public interest.

Plastic Microbeads in Consumer Products – Growing concern in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin

On every hot summer day of my childhood, I walked two blocks down the street to Lake Ontario and splashed around. On those days, I couldn’t have imagined a future in which the lake would fill up with microbeads, tiny plastic particles that for the last two decades have been accumulating in lakes and oceans around the world. Particles so small they are almost invisible -- tiny but with big effects.

Antibacterial Chemicals are Polluting Our Waterways

Most people are unaware of how widespread triclosan and triclocarban chemicals are in their daily lives. Many products labelled as ‘antibacterial’, ‘fights odours’ or ‘kills germs’ may contain triclosan or tricocarban. In fact by 2001, 76% of commercial liquid hand soaps in the U.S. contained triclosan and a wide variety of cosmetics, drugs, clothes, school products and kitchenware also now contain this antibacterial chemical. Plastic products such as toys, toothbrushes, shower curtains and cutting boards may contain triclosan as well as mattresses, carpets, tents, and even garbage cans.

Federal Government Has Head in the Sand on Fracking and the NPRI

Webster’s Dictionary defines the ostrich as a bird that when pursued hides its head in the sand and believes itself to be unseen. The behaviour, according to Webster’s, is analogous to attempting to avoid difficulty by refusing to face it.

Triclosan and the Great Lakes

Dollars and Sense: Who Pays Costs in Public Interest Cases?

When an environmental class proceeding is unsuccessful, should the representative plaintiff be ordered to pay the defendant’s legal costs; if so, what is the appropriate amount of costs that should be payable?

Nuclear Emergency Planning Exercise at Darlington Message to Public: Trust Us

Giving new meaning to the phrase "trust us," provincial and federal authorities and nuclear operators are conducting a major emergency planning exercise at the Darlington nuclear plant without involving the public, as reported by CityTV on May 27, 2014. There are many things wrong with this picture, but not involving the public is the biggest mistake of all.

Arsenic in Drinking Water: Ontario’s Failure to Endorse Health Canada’s Guideline

Summary: Contaminated drinking water is a threat to public health and quality of life. Despite the fact that most arsenic in drinking water arises from natural sources, it is as important to regulate as industrial sources of any toxic substance. Drinking water contaminated with arsenic has been associated with developmental effects, cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, diabetes and even death.

Ontario's Living List - A Dead Thing?

The MOE Living List Framework Proposal

Fish, Pollution, and The Rule of Law

In Canada, all persons are duty-bound to comply with the laws of the land. No one is above the law, and the “mistake of law” defence has long been rejected by Canadian courts when people are charged with contravening legal prohibitions.

Ontario's EBR Turns 20: Time for Change

A number of key milestones will occur in 2014, including: the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One; the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India; and the 10th anniversary of the launch of Facebook.

2014 will also mark the 20th anniversary of the date (February 1994) when Ontario’s ground-breaking Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) was proclaimed into force.

A Tale of Two Regulatory Approaches: European Commission Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Goes into Effect While in Canada Their Sale and Use Continues

An interesting experiment in contrasting approaches to pesticide regulation is now taking place in Canada and Europe. The European Commission two-year ban on the sale and use, with some limited exceptions, of neonicotinoid pesticides in European Union countries went into effect on December 1, 2013.

The Legal and Regulatory Implications of IARC Classifying Outdoor Air Pollution and Particulate Matter as Carcinogenic to Humans

On October 17, 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized agency of the World Health Organization, announced that it has classified outdoor air pollution and particulate matter as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), following a thorough review of the available scientific

How to say "no" to unsuitable landfill sites in Ontario

In Ontario, no person is allowed to establish, operate or expand a waste disposal site (i.e. landfill) unless an Environmental Compliance Approval has been issued under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

New Nuclear Power Not Needed in Ontario – CELA and Ontario`s Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli Are in Agreement

On the morning of Thursday, October 10, 2013, I found on the front step our copy of the Globe and Mail with the headline, ``Ontario backs away from new nuclear plants: Fresh blow to industry looms, with sources saying province will not spend $10-billion on two reactors.``After I tweeted this story by Adam R

The hard won struggle for Community right-to-know: Toronto’s story

For forty years CEHE partner organization the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) has worked to “protect human health and our environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution and by working to change policies to prevent such problems in the first place” (www.cela.ca). Here Sarah Miller follows the thirty year process that led to a legal breakthrough in the field of environmental health in Toronto.

The Long and Winding Road to Zero Waste

When I first joined CELA in the mid-1980s, an intense public policy debate was well underway in Ontario on what to do with the ever-increasing amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) being generated within the province.However, much of this debate tended to focus on how and where Toronto and other communities should dispose of MSW, rather than on how to prevent countless tonnes of waste from being created in the first place.