November 2014 Bulletin

New CELA report: Canadians need better radon protection

CELA released a report in time for Radon Action Month, that concludes that Canadians need better legal protection from cancer-causing radon. The report analyzed policies and laws across Canada and found a patchwork of unenforceable guidance and inconsistent rules.

Radon is an odourless, colourless gas. Arising from the natural breakdown of uranium in the ground, it can enter our homes, schools, workplaces, indeed, any indoor environment.

The report found that although provincial and territorial governments were modernizing radon provisions in Building Codes to reduce risks in construction and renovations, existing homes were not exempt.

We also found confusion and uncertainty about radon rules for workplaces and found little to no recognition of radon risks in current home energy efficiency measures. The full report with all 14 recommendations or the executive summary can be downloaded from the CELA website.

Take action on radon: Ask your MP to support a tax credit

The federal government has repeatedly said that all homes should be tested for radon to help prevent radon-induced lung cancer. We couldn’t agree more. Continuing the great work begun in the National Radon Program, the logical next step is a tax credit to pay for radon remediation. See our Action Alert for information and links about your radon test. You can make a difference by writing to Finance Minister Joe Oliver (reach him here), Health Minister Rona Ambrose (reach her here), and to your MP (find your MP). Ask them to support the Green Budget Coalition call for a radon remediation tax credit.

Green Budget Coalition recommendations for Budget 2015

CELA contributed several items for this annual Green Budget Coalition submission of federal budget recommendations. The report provides a detailed analysis of high priority environmental issues ranging from energy innovation and climate change leadership to conservation commitments and healthy communities. CELA also assisted with recommendations aimed at improving environmental health equity, strengthening the chemicals management plan and clean air regulatory agenda, protecting Canada’s fresh water and amending the Income Tax Act to provide a tax rebate for radon remediation. CELA Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan co-chaired this year’s coalition.

CELA’s 2014 Annual Report released

You can download CELA's latest annual report from our website. The report includes highlights of our work for the past year, with information on our litigation, law reform and public legal education activities.

Groups call on Dominion Colour to stop producing and exporting leaded pigments

CELA joined other organizations in calling on Canadian-based Dominion Colour Corporation to stop producing and exporting lead-based pigments for use in inks, paints, plastics and ceramics. Lead exposure causes serious harm to children and has led more than 120 countries to create the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint. The Canadian Paint and Coatings Association and the International Paint and Printing Ink Council have expressed support for the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint.

SPOTLIGHT: Water Sustainability

Groundwater and surface water resources continue to be at risk of degradation and depletion from threats such as agricultural runoff, sewage overflows, leaking waste disposal sites, excessive water-takings and invasive species.

Since its inception in 1970, CELA has worked on water issues at the municipal, provincial, national and international levels. We have an excellent collection of resources on effective and enforceable laws and regulations to protect water sustainability available for researchers and the public.

"A sustainable supply of clean and plentiful water is needed to ensure public health, protect ecosystem integrity, and provide socio-economic benefits," says CELA counsel Rick Lindgren. "In addition, CELA believes that access to clean water is a fundamental human right."

Faces of CELA: Rizwan Khan

Meet one of CELA’s counsel and hear his thoughts on Canada's environmental regulations.

What do you do at CELA? I'm a contract lawyer hired from time to time by CELA to undertake law reform projects, draft legal opinions, and support the staff lawyers on some of their files.

What brought you to CELA? I articled at CELA as part of the Law Society of Upper Canada's licencing process for lawyers. CELA was a great fit because of my background in the physical sciences, and ongoing interest in issues of social justice and law reform.

Why did you get involved in environmental law? The practice of environmental law is probably the most natural extension of my education and interest. The environment and its regulation is also one of the most pressing issues faced by people from all walks of life, whether they are aware of it or not. The environment is where the most dramatic changes are taking place and environmental laws are where the most reform is needed to address those changes for the well-being of everyone,especially the most vulnerable to those changes.

What’s the most important regulation you’d like to see in Canada? There are a number, however, right now I am working on possible changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act or its regulations that would reflect the advances made around the world in the informed substitution of toxic substances with safer alternatives.

When you’re not at CELA, what do you like to do? I have a daughter, so much of my time is spent with her.