Staff Blog

Herb Needleman – a public health hero

One of my heroes died last week. Dr. Herbert Needleman has inspired me since the early 1980s when as an undergraduate I first learned of his work on the effects of lead on children’s brains. His groundbreaking study published in 1979 measured lead in the shed baby teeth of low-income children, finding an association between what were then considered to be very low levels of lead exposure and negative impacts on brain development and functioning.

Committee report recommends major reform of Parliament's control of toxic substances

If the recommendations of a Parliamentary committee are adopted by the House of Commons, Canada will move closer to enshrining environmental rights, substituting safer alternatives, and strengthening protection of vulnerable populations in the regulation of toxic substances.

The recommendations are contained in a 162-page report released by the House Standing Environment Committee following a year long review of Canada's primary law on toxic substances, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Hefty New Water Charge for Bottled Water Facilities Starts August 1; Meanwhile No Progress is Made Toward Full-Cost Recovery from Other Commercial and Industrial Water Users in Ontario

Effective August 1, 2017, bottled water facilities will be subject to a significantly higher fee for the water they pump from Ontario’s groundwater sources – going from $3.71 to $503.71 per million litres. While Canadian Environmental Law Association is encouraged by the government’s commitment to full-cost recovery in this instance, we remain deeply disappointed by the lack of progress toward expanding the water charges program.

Is Energy East a bad deal for Canadians?

CAREX Canada’s e-RISK tool for policymakers, cancer researchers, and NGOs

CELA has a longstanding and valuable relationship with CAREX Canada, the Vancouver-based national surveillance project engaged in estimating occupational and environmental exposure to carcinogens. Among the on-line tools on the CAREX website is e-RISK, an interactive – and recently updated - tool that lets site users explore the excess cancer risk associated with exposures to carcinogens in the enironment.

Guest Blog - From dialogue to accountability: A call for Canadian leadership on business and human rights

Reposted from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

As members of the United Nations Working Group on business and human rights finish a 10-day visit to Canada, Karyn Keenan discusses what's next for corporate accountability in the country.

Guest Blog: March4Science/Earth Day Address - Parliament Hill, Ottawa

In tenth grade, I watched a documentary about how the organization and movement of the microscopic cellular universe reflects the organization and movement of our galaxy. I was changed forever.

Encouraging radon policy advocacy in the child care sector

As you might expect, child care professionals have busy schedules and a lot of important safety rules to follow. Not included in this work is radon safety but it can and should be. We are encouraging child care professionals to advocate for updating child care licensing rules to require radon testing and mitigation in child care facilities.

Greater investments are needed to protect the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Protection Act Alliance calls on the governments of Canada and the United States to ensure federal funding for freshwater protection and restoration of the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River Basin recognizes the region’s importance.

Science Under Siege at the Commons Agriculture Committee

Pesticide companies are miffed with the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for doing its job. The agency recently completed a scientific review of the pesticide Imidacloprid. This pesticide is one of the heavily used neonicotinoid pesticides implicated in the decline of bees and other pollinators. Looking beyond pollinators, the recent PMRA review found this chemical to be an unacceptable risk to aquatic ecosystems.

Guest Blog: Ontario’s big secret – the real cause of rising electricity rates

Since 2002 Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) price of nuclear power has risen by 60%. And to add insult to injury OPG is now seeking a 180% price increase to pay for the continued operation of its high-cost Pickering Nuclear Station and the re-building of Darlington’s aging reactors.

MPs Vote to Continue Marathon Talkfest as “Strategy” for Disposal of Mercury in CFLs

When I was about seven years old I recall my mother getting very upset upon breaking a thermometer. On her knees and chasing shiny globules of mercury across the kitchen floor, she told me it was poison. Suitably impressed I did not forget. But, she put it in the trash unknowingly allowing the release of mercury vapour into our home until garbage day.

Trash Talk: The Provincial Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario

In 2016, the Ontario Legislature enacted the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act. The overall intent of the Act is to divert more waste materials from disposal, and to ensure that diverted materials are reintegrated into the economy in order to reduce the use of raw resources.

Guest Blog: Phase-in of Ontario's neonic regulation hits new milestone

First report on neonic-treated seed sales measures widespread use

Looking for information about Canadian pesticide use and sales is frustrating. But in a leap forward for transparency, Ontario has published its first report on sales of corn and soybean seed treated with neonicotinoid insecticides ("neonics"), as required by the recently-amended provincial pesticide regulation.

Ontario’s Coal Plant Phase-out Produced Many Health and Environmental Benefits

Guest Blog

Source Water Protection 2.0: Strengthening Ontario’s Drinking Water Safety Net

In May 2000, seven people died, and thousands of people fell seriously ill, after bacteriological contamination of a municipal well that supplied drinking water in Walkerton, Ontario.

Sunny Ways for EAs? The 2017 Forecast for Federal Law Reform

In mid-2016, the Government of Canada established a four-member Expert Panel to undertake cross-country consultations and to provide recommendations on how to fix the broken federal environmental assessment (EA) process.

CELA Applauds Report by Ontario’s Auditor General On EA Reform

Ontario’s Auditor General has recently released her 2016 report, which deals with climate change, environmental approvals reform, and other key challenges facing the provincial government.

Challenging all MPs whose ridings have high radon levels – support a radon tax credit!

Over 600,000 homes across Canada are estimated to have above-guideline radon levels. That’s a lot of houses where lung cancer risk is elevated. It turns out many of those homes are in the ridings of 93 Members of Parliament with sixteen of those ridings of particular concern. But the elevated risk is nation-wide.