June 2014 Bulletin

Improvements needed to nuclear emergency planning in Canada

CELA is supporting a move by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to require mass predistribution of potassium iodide pills to residents around Canada's nuclear plants along with other improvements to the nuclear offsite accident emergency planning regulation. While CELA continues to call for improvements to current emergency planning protocols, such as including preparations for larger accidents, the recent CNSC proposals are an important public safety measure. In a recent blog, CELA’s Executive Director discussed the unfortunate state of current nuclear emergency plans. CELA also recently prepared a recent detailed submission on the CNSC’s proposal for better emergency planning.

Provincial parties and the proposed Lake Huron nuclear dump

Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to bury its radioactive waste below the Bruce nuclear site on the shores of Lake Huron has experienced growing opposition on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. During the recent election, Ontario’s Liberals, NDP and Greens said they were open to discussing the fate of the proposed underground radioactive waste dump, according to the results of a policy survey released by civil society organizations.

CELA joins other ENGOs in recommendations on Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Agreement

CELA and other environmental organizations submitted several recommendations to the Ministry of the Environment expressing support for the implementation of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement. Ontario’s prompt actions are critical for all Great Lakes governments because the Agreement will not be fully implemented until all parties have fulfilled their obligations. Ontario residents have already waited more than 8 years since Ontario signed the Agreement for the government to follow through on its commitments.

CELA’s submission on the federal Energy Safety and Security Act

CELA made a submission to the House of Commons focusing on the liability aspects of the Bill which takes different approaches between offshore oil and gas liability compared with nuclear liability. We recommended that the Bill be amended to bring suppliers and contractors into the liability framework in the nuclear sector, just as it does in the offshore oil and gas sector. We also suggested removing the cap on liability so that nuclear operators and others in the supply chain are liable for consequences of the negligence beyond the proposed $1 billion insurance.

CELA addresses Ontario’s substitute fuels proposal

CELA made a submission outlining our concerns to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment about its proposed regulation to substitute burning certain “alternative fuels” instead of coal in Ontario’s energy-intensive industries.

New recommendation for proposed Great Lakes Protection Act

Along with Ecojustice and Environmental Defence, CELA sent several recommendations to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act.

CELA staff lawyer Joe Castrilli wins award

CELA staff lawyer Joe Castrilli was recently awarded the 2014 Award of Merit from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The award recognizes individuals who work outside the water community and have demonstrated outstanding service in support of the principles of the AWWA in respect of protection of drinking water. The AWWA recognized Castrilli for his work in the early 2000s when, as a member of the private bar, he served as counsel to the Ontario Water Works Association, a Section of the AWWA, and provided support characterized by the AWWA as "invaluable" during the Walkerton Water Crisis. He received his award on June 9th at the opening general session of the AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition held in Boston, Massachusetts.

Strengthening Canada’s boil water advisories

CELA made a submission comparing recently published draft federal guidance for issuing boil water advisories to the system Ontario implemented after the Walkerton Inquiry. CELA's submission included suggestions to strengthen and improve the process of issuing and rescinding boil water advisories in Canada.

Who should pay in public interest cases?

When an environmental class proceeding is unsuccessful, should the representative plaintiff have to pay the defendant’s legal costs? if so, what’s an appropriate amount? CELA Counsel Richard Lindrgren examines these questions in a recent CELA blog post.

Challenging Toronto City Council’s proposal

CELA joined more than 60 civil society organizations to express concern about a Toronto City Council proposal that would end the exemption for non-profits to register with the Lobbyist Registrar, and require “grassroots campaigns” to register with the Registrar. This change would have negatively affected the capacity of the non-profits to communicate with both Councillors and city officials and also had potential to curtail civic engagement that might impede the operation of civil society in Toronto. This concern was addressed, and Toronto City Council ruled in favour of the civil society groups.

2014 Provincial Election - Where the parties stand

During the recent Ontario election, the Ontario Environmental Priorities Initiative (of which CELA is a member) compiled commitments found in the platforms of the four major parties that address the key environmental issues facing Ontario. We also sent these parties a questionnaire seeking more information on their positions on these issues. A scorecard was issued on how well the groups felt the parties had addressed the issues.