March 2016 Bulletin

Improving the proposed Waste-free Ontario Act

Along with Toronto Environmental Alliance and the Citizens’ Network on Waste Management, CELA responded to Ontario’s proposed new act (Bill 151) to reduce and prevent the creation of waste. Our recommendations for strengthening the legislation include adding appropriate definitions of key sustainable phrases and concepts. The bill would enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA) and the groups want more information in associated RRCEA policy statements and a clear timeframe for their development.

Strengthening the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act

CELA made several recommendations on ways to improve the proposed Energy Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015. Along with other public interest organizations, we opposed amendments that would concentrate power for long-term energy planning with the Ministry of Energy. We asked the government to maintain the Ontario Energy Board's review of long-term energy plans and conduct environmental assessments of those plans.

Raising awareness of the dangers of radionuclides

Radionuclides are radioactive isotopes that are created by nuclear reactors and can cause lung and bone cancer, as well as leukemia and lymphoma. Despite the danger to public health, they haven’t been classified as a “chemical of mutual concern” under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. CELA has actively worked towards raising awareness of the dangers of radionuclides and along with more than 100 groups we have called for the designation of radionuclides as a Great Lakes “chemical of mutual concern.”

Nuclear hot spots in the Great Lakes Region

Download your very own JPEG of this updated map showing the nuclear hot spots in the Great Lakes Region by the Citizens Clearinghouse on Waste Management and Great Lakes United.

Waukesha's application to divert water from Lake Michigan

The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, has applied for a diversion of Lake Michigan water. This proposal is a test for the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact because Waukesha is a community that can ask for an exception to the ban on diversions. The decision here will set a precedent for all future similar proposals. Along with nine public-interest organizations and individuals, CELA has asked the Regional Body to reject Waukesha's proposal because it does not meet the strict requirements of the Compact.

Improving emergency preparedness for radioactive materials

CELA's Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan and counsel Erica Stahl developed a presentation explaining the Ontario government’s current provincial emergency plan. The plan is currently undergoing revisions, and we hope to strengthen it in order to protect the health and safety of Ontario residents in the event of a future accident.

Modernizing the Nuclear Safety and Control Act

Along with several other organizations, CELA called on PM Trudeau to initiate a public review and modernization of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA). Modernization the NSCA is urgently needed due to the lack of institutional independence by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and lessons learned from Japan's Fukushima disaster. Over the past several years, the independence of federal environmental agencies, including the CNSC, has been seriously eroded.


A path for Canada to halt climate change

CELA joined dozens of organizations in signing a letter to PM Trudeau and the provincial Premiers suggesting several ways that different levels of government could usher in a new era of renewable energy in order to limit the effects of dangerous climate change.

Responding to proposed microbead regulations

CELA joined other groups in making recommendations to regulations that would limit microbeads in personal care products. The regulations were issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a result of a science review of the impact of microbeads on the environment, Environment Canada concluded that microbeads are toxic. We made several comments and proposed recommendations to strengthen the draft regulations. CELA researcher Fe de Leon has been retained as a member of the Chemicals Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Council. CELA is an original member of the CMP SAC since it was first established 2007 and this is our third term on the council.

Updating Canada’s Fisheries Act

CELA joined West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) and more than 40 organizations in requesting that the minister responsible for fisheries and oceans initiate a two-phased approach for updating the Fisheries Act. As a first step we suggested that the ministry restore previous habitat protections in the Fisheries Act, and that the DFO improve the monitoring and enforcement of all provisions. We also recommended that consultations and deliberations incorporate other safeguards into the Fisheries Act with a view of completing the process within two years. Additionally, we called for the Act to ensure healthy fish populations and habitat in order to sustain treaty and Aboriginal rights in perpetuity.


Recovering mercury from compact fluorescents

CELA is calling on the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Canada-Wide standard on Extended Producer Responsibility for mercury-containing compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL). Although the amount of mercury in CFLs is a small proportion of overall mercury emissions, when CFLs are broken the resulting vapour can come into direct contact with people. Millions of these products have been sold and used across Canada, yet current efforts to educate the public on the risks and protective measures haven’t been effective. CELA researcher Kathleen Cooper wrote a blog post explaining the need for policy action to protect future generations of Canadians.

BLOG: Does Ontario’s cap-and-trade plan give too much away?

CELA counsel Erica Stahl contributed a blog post outlining some of the shortfalls in Ontario's draft cap-and-trade legislation, known as Bill 172. Recently released for public comment, the proposed legislation falls short. It would be stronger if it provided mechanisms to protect low-income communities from the effects of climate change and the costs of fighting it.

CELA has moved!

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Our new address is:
Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)
1500-55 University Avenue, Toronto, ON M5J 2H7
Tel: 416-960-2284, 1-844-755-1420 Fax: 416-960-9392
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