Staff Blog

Protecting the Great Lakes

This summer will be a tough time for the Great Lakes. Media in the U.S. and Canada reported that there will be a significant algae bloom in Lake Erie this year. Although it will be smaller than the one in 2017, there’s still cause for concern.

Taking Back Lake Ontario: The Gord Downie Pier Opens in Kingston

 I was one of the several hundred people who recently attended the official unveiling of the Gord Edgar Downie Pier at the newly restored Breakwater Park in Kingston.

View from Gord E. Downie Pier at Kingston’s Breakwater Park (photo by R. Lindgren).

Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario, local to global

In most parts of Ontario in the first week of July, the hot humid heat wave that hung over the region for days was unbearable. Many had the option of turning on our air conditioners or escaping to summer cottages for the long weekend. But for the most vulnerable among us, this was not an option. In Montreal, 53 people died from the heat.

Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario - Federal

I’ve prepared a series of four related blogs on the question: where do we go next on climate change action in Ontario? See the introductory blog, and the related blogs on provincial action  and local action.

Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario - Provincial

I’ve prepared a series of four related blogs on the question of where do we go next on climate change action in Ontario? An introductory blog, a blog on federal action, and a blog on local action.

Climate Change - How do we move forward in Ontario - Local

I’ve prepared a series of four related blogs on the question of where do we go next on climate change action in Ontario? See the introductory blog, and the blog on federal action and provincial action.

Canada’s Impact Assessment Act: Myth vs. Fact

In late June, Canada’s much-hyped Impact Assessment Act (IAA) received Third Reading in the House of Commons. The proposed law has now been referred to the Senate for review during the fall session.

Control of Toxic Substances at the Crossroads in Canada

In upholding the constitutionality of federal toxic substances law over 20 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada reaffirmed that protection of the environment is one of the major challenges of our time.

Time to Beef Up Toxics Reduction Measures

Red tape reduction, not toxics reduction, is alive and well in amendments to regulations promulgated in April 2018 under Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act. To understand why, it is necessary to briefly review the history of this once promising provincial environmental law and the steps that should be taken going forward to revive it.

The 2008 Discussion Paper

Accessing Environmental Justice: The 10th Anniversary of the Landmark Lafarge Decision

Gord Downie and Mark Mattson (Lake Ontario Waterkeeper) with staff from CELA, ECO and Ecojustice during a break in the 2008 Divisional Court proceedings. Photo: David McRobert.

Environmental Class Actions: The Need for Reform in Ontario

In a previous blog, CELA reviewed the public policy basis for enabling people to commence class actions in cases involving widespread harm to the environment or public health.

To date, however, it appears that relatively few environmental class actions have been brought under Ontario’s Class Proceedings Act (CPA) since the legislation was passed over 25 years ago.

The Walkerton Tragedy: Lessons Learned and Unfinished Business

In May 2000, seven people died, and thousands of people fell seriously ill, after consuming contaminated drinking water supplied by a municipal drinking water system in Walkerton, Ontario.

On the 18th anniversary of this tragedy, it is appropriate to reflect upon some of the lessons learned from this public health catastrophe, and to identify further steps that are necessary to prevent a recurrence of this event elsewhere in the province.

Assessing Canada’s Impact Assessment Act: Boon or Boondoggle?

[NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Lawyer’s Daily website published by LexisNexis Canada Inc. on April 11, 2018]

Since the 1970s, an environmental assessment process has existed at the federal level to gather information and make informed decisions about the biophysical and socio-economic impacts of diverse types of projects, such as mines, energy pipelines, and radioactive waste facilities.

Guest Blog: An international plastics treaty could avert a "Silent Spring" for our seas

An international plastics treaty could avert a "Silent Spring" for our seas

File 20180208 180841 sxk7nf.png?ixlib=rb 1.1                          

Greening Federal Environmental Law: An Overview

The Government of Canada has recently revealed a sweeping package of legislative reforms that, if enacted, will significantly change several of Canada’s most important environmental statutes.

For example, in early February 2018, Bill C-68 was introduced for First Reading in Parliament. This Bill is intended to “modernize” the Fisheries Act, and restore “lost protections” in the Act that had been removed by the previous government in 2012.

48 Groups Demand Ontario Action on Environmental Bill of Rights Reform

Almost exactly seven years ago to the day, CELA filed a detailed Application for Review of Ontario’s decades-old Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993.

Guest Blog - People’s Great Lakes: Heal, Connect & Protect

People of diverse backgrounds, occupations, positions, experiences and histories gathered together for two days in Toronto (ON) for The People’s Great Lakes Summit 2.0: Planning Policy Action to collaborate and network to understand how to restore and protect the Great Lakes. At the event, I immediately flagged the word restore – how can we restore the Great Lakes? To what end are the Great Lakes restored? What does restoration look like?

Time to embrace a difficult conversation – reducing road salts use in Ontario

Last month, I participated in The Great Lakes Chloride Forum in Toronto. Having previously worked on the road salts file more than a decade ago without seeing any meaningful change in public policy, I was cautiously optimistic about this renewed interest. And, having had a discussion about road salts anchored by WWF Canada at The People’s Great Lakes Summit in May, I was excited to see the conversation continue.

What could Budget 2018 mean for Canada’s environment?

Canada is consulting on Budget 2018. So too, is the Canadian Environmental Law Association and 18 other leading Canadian environmental organizations who have headed to Ottawa, as the Green Budget Coalition, to tell our Ministers, Members of Parliament and Privy Council what we recommend for people and the planet in 2018.

Toxic Torts Update: Ontario’s Class Action Law under Review

Since the 1970s, CELA has called for class action reform to enable individuals to bring civil claims on behalf of large groups of people whose health or property has been adversely affected by polluting activities.

Other stakeholders, academics and entities – including the former Ontario Law Reform Commission – also advocated the need to enhance access to justice, ensure judicial efficiency and deter harmful conduct by establishing an effective class action regime.