March 2014 Bulletin

Environmental groups call for action on pesticides

Four major environmental organizations are calling for action by the federal government on pesticides suspected in killing bees. In a recent media release, CELA’s client the Sierra Club of Canada Foundation, and three other groups, state that over a decade is too long to wait for action. In a letter sent this month to Health Minister Rona Ambrose they point to multiple legal notices issued by her department under the Pest Control Products Act requiring the production of scientific studies to evaluate the chronic toxic effect on bees of clothianidin pesticide products (one of the group of neonicotinoid pesticides). The notices refer to the lack of these studies as a “critical data gap in the risk assessment” of these products. The organizations are demanding action on a Notice of Objection filed last September with the Minister that sought an independent review panel to evaluate the evidence about the clothianidin pesticides.

LIEN celebrates 10th anniversary & calls for affordable energy

The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by issuing a letter to all of Ontario`s provincial party leaders, urging them to support a province-wide low income energy rate affordability program. Since its inception LIEN has advocated for a comprehensive solution to energy poverty. Despite excellent progress, Ontario is still missing an Energy Rate Affordability Program to make sure that electricity bills are within reach for low income consumers. LIEN advocates a province wide program that sets a threshold of six per cent of total household income as the maximum amount that low-income consumers should have to pay for their total energy bills – for heating and non-heating energy uses. Above that threshold, difficult choices have to be made between food, rent, electricity, medication and other essentials.

CELA responds to proposed Fisheries Act exemptions

This month, CELA joined other environmental groups across Canada in opposing federal regulations which, if passed, would exempt countless companies, water bodies and industrial discharges from the anti-pollution provisions of the Fisheries Act. The legal, technical and policy reasons for opposing the regulatory exemptions are described in a recent CELA blog by Richard Lindgren and CELA’s written submission to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Grassy Narrows First Nation starts CELA-assisted project

The Grassy Narrows First Nation recently commenced threat identification work related to its CELA-assisted community source protection project to mitigate threats to source water. The community-implemented project, assisted by CELA's Christopher Waffle, is organized in three stages, which includes identifying threats to source water, setting goals for the community’s source water, and developing a source protection plan. In the final stage, the community implements the plan. This initial threat identification work is being funded by Tides Canada.

CELA responds to consumer safety draft framework

CELA has been closely following the federal government’s actions towards modernizing consumer product safety legislation. We have supported many long-overdue measures. However, the proposed framework has some loopholes we felt needed closing. We made our concerns known that the draft framework should include more direct links to the Chemicals Management Plan, recognize real-world circumstances of multiple chemical exposures in evaluating evidence, in addition to addressing fetal vulnerability and the international implications of risk assessment decisions.

CELA staff contribute to recent publications

CELA staff members Kathleen Cooper, Kyra Bell-Pasht, Ramani Nadarajah, and Theresa McClenaghan recently published the article "Seeking a Regulatory Chill in Canada: The Dow AgroSciences NAFTA Chapter 11 Challenge to the Quebec Pesticides Management Code" in the February 2014 edition of the Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal.

Our Executive Director, Theresa McClenaghan, also published the article "Precautionary Principle" in the March 2014 edition of Springer Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, edited by Alex C. Michalos.

GreenProsperity.ca launches action agenda

CELA is one of 19 Ontario environmental organizations that have created an action agenda that would make the province a world leader in the new green economy.

Support the upcoming Manitoba pesticide ban

The Manitoba government is soon expected to introduce a lawn pesticide ban. No matter where you live in Canada, please send an e-mail urging the government to pass the pesticide ban right away -- to protect you, your pets, and your kids.

Coalition encourages passage of anti-SLAPP bill

Twelve well-known organizations joined together to sign a joint statement to all MPPs urging the passage of Bill 83, also knows as the anti-SLAPP bill, which helps safeguard the public's right to participate in matters of public interest.