February 2016 Bulletin

Helping to make Ontario’s cap-and-trade program fair

As part of the recently unveiled 2016 Ontario budget, the government announced plans for a cap-and-trade program. CELA prepared a briefing note that detailed our concerns about such a program. We expressed our firm belief that a carbon pricing regime must protect low-income communities from the double burden of disproportionate climate impacts and regressive carbon pricing. We also emphasized that any program must be based on the polluter pays principle in order to allocate responsibility to entities that control the sources of emission.

Reinstating “danger” in the Canada Labour Code

For many years, the Canadian Labour Code (CLC) included a strict definition of the word “danger” that protected the health and safety of federally regulated employees. However, the previous government drastically amended the CLC by narrowing the definition to address only immediate or acute hazard. Based on years of our research on toxic substances, CELA is urging the current Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, to reinstate the previous definition of “danger” to protect the health and safety of federally regulated workers against present and future chronic disease or illness, including reproductive damage.

CELA releases the RentSafe legal aid clinic survey

CELA coordinated the 47-page RentSafe survey that assessed the nature and frequency of low income tenants' inquiries and requests to Ontario legal aid clinics for assistance on housing conditions that may affect health such as mould, lead, pests, pesticides, renovation fumes, etc. The survey found that pests, mould and structural issues are the issues most frequently encountered in the work of respondents. Furthermore, 86.9 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that effective implementation of local bylaws, such as property standards bylaws, is essential to resolving tenants' indoor environmental health issues. RentSafe is a collaboration led by the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment (CPCHE), of which CELA is a founding member. The project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Spread the word about the Ontario Electricity Support Program

As a founding member of the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN), CELA has advocated for financial support to help families with limited income pay for electricity. In January 2016, the Ontario Energy Support Program (OESP) was launched. Unfortunately, the OESP has not received many applications from the estimated half million households that are eligible for the program. We strongly encourage the media and everyone in our network to spread the word about this money-saving program to families that may be eligible. For more information, please check out this two-minute video.

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Blog: Canada’s pesticide management regime is letting us down

In a guest post for the CELA blog, Dr. Elaine Macdonald and Charles Hatt from Ecojustice weighed in on a report from the Federal Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development that found Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is failing to protect Canadians and our environment from the risks of pesticide use.

Blog: 30 in 30: Confessions of a CELA Lifer

Rick Lindgren takes a humorous look at 30 milestones that have defined his 30-year career with CELA. (We look forward to hanging on to him for another 30 years!)