September 2016 Bulletin

CELA decries Ontario's cancellation of renewable energy procurement

CELA was disappointed with the Ontario government's announcement that it had cancelled 1000 MW of renewable electricity procurement. “With the cost of renewables at an all-time low and decreasing, this decision halts Ontario’s progress toward a 100 per cent renewable future,” said CELA counsel Jacqueline Wilson. CELA will continue to press this government and all jurisdictions to make decisions that lead us to a fully renewable, clean, healthy energy future.

Ontario Ministry Grants EBR Application for Review

In 2014, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) issued an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for a stormwater management system at an industrial property near the provincially significant Second Marsh Wildlife Area in Oshawa. However, the MOECC erroneously failed to post notice of the ECA on the Environmental Registry for public review/comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). In July 2016, CELA and Friends of Second Marsh filed an EBR Application for Review of the ECA in relation to inspection, monitoring, and reporting. In September 2016, the MOECC agreed that a review of the ECA was warranted, and potential improvements to the ECA are currently under consideration.

CELA makes recommendations to strengthen Ontario's air standards

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s failure to assess cumulative effects is a fundamental weakness with the regulatory framework governing air emissions in Ontario. The Ministry's Air Standards/Local Air Quality Regulation External Working Group has established a Subgroup on Cumulative Air Emissions Assessment. CELA counsel Ramani Nadarajah is a member of the subgroup along with representatives from First Nations communities, public health, environmental groups, and industry. This subgroup will propose recommendations, including the key elements that should be included in the assessment of cumulative air emissions by the Ministry.

Provincial growth plan and nuclear plans on collision course

CELA and Greenpeace asked Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro to respect international safety guidelines and restrict population growth around 10 aging nuclear reactors operating in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). “The government’s growth plans put public safety at risk. Encouraging population growth around nuclear reactors makes it difficult to evacuate people in the event of a Fukushima-level nuclear accident,” said CELA Counsel Jacqueline Wilson.

BLOG: We need to talk about CFL mercury exposure

For many years, Hydro One and most other electricity utilities, encouraged customers to change their light bulbs from CFLs to LEDs. However, there’s a serious problem with inadequate disposal/recycling of CFLs, especially since there are significant risks of mercury exposure when they break. In its recent outreach materials, Hydro One fails to encourage its customers to properly dispose of CFLs as hazardous waste. This is a missed opportunity, and a dangerous one, writes CELA Senior Researcher and Paralegal Kathleen Cooper.

BLOG: Why Ontario’s EBR review matters to you

Should Ontario residents should have a legally enforceable right to a clean and healthy environment? Fundamental issues like this are now being considered during the provincial government’s formal review of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), which has remained essentially unchanged since its 1993 inception, writes CELA Counsel Rick Lindgren.

BLOG: Federal EA reforms at crossroads

In recent weeks, the Government of Canada has ramped up the long-awaited public review of federal environmental assessment (EA). But these laudable efforts seem to beg a fundamental question: what exactly is the federal EA review aiming to deliver? CELA Counsel Rick Lindgren examines this topic.

GUEST BLOG: Destabilizing tenancy rights won't fix housing shortage

Jonathan Robinson, JD Candidate, Osgoode Hall Law School contributed a post. The Ontario government is quietly considering making changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, which governs landlord-tenant relationships. The proposed changes were open to public input until June 30th; however the lack of publicity—then and now—is disheartening. Although these changes are pitched as a way to increase housing options for renters, it seems the government believes increased choice must come at the expense of tenants’ rights.

Learn about the legal tools available to your non-profit

Join us on Thursday, October 20, at the Sustainability Network offices in Toronto for a one-day training session about the legal tools available to protect our air, water, land, and human health. The workshop is aimed at non-profits in the environmental field and will be hosted by John Swaigen of Ecojustice who has designed the session to educate nonprofits in the environmental field.