May 2015 Bulletin

Toxic pesticide globally banned after unprecedented UN vote

Delegates from more than 90 countries recently voted for a global ban on pentachlorophenol--a proven toxic pesticide and contaminant found in wildlife and human biomonitoring studies worldwide. Canada and the U.S. are the two largest users of pentachlorophenol which is used in the wood treatment of utility poles. The historic vote to add pentachlorophenol for elimination under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants took place at the combined meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva, Switzerland. The delegates of the Stockholm Convention also supported international bans on two other industrial chemicals that harm the global environment and human health: chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene. CELA continues to encourage Canada's federal government to ratify the listing and explore safer alternatives to these POPs.

Calling for an end to the OPG’s Deep Geological Repository for nuclear waste

Along with more than 100 organizations that belong to Nuclear Waste Watch, CELA called on the Government of Ontario to set aside Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal for the storage and management of low, intermediate and high level radioactive wastes at its reactors. A federal Joint Review Panel recommended that the Minister of the Environment approve the proposed repository, despite mounting public opposition and expert evidence at the public hearings about numerous technical uncertainties. OPG wants to construct a series of caverns 680 metres below-surface to store 200,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste. Some of these wastes -– called “low level” radioactive wastes –- do not require extra barriers to shield workers from radioactivity, although they are still hazardous. Elements of these wastes will remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, and some for even longer.

UPCOMING: June 10 webinar explores legal & advocacy aspects of carcinogen exposure

CAREX (CARcinogen EXposure) Canada is a national surveillance project that estimates which known and suspected carcinogens Canadians are exposed to, where in Canada such exposures may occur, and which substances pose the greatest hazard to the public. The ultimate goal of the project is to inform efforts to reduce these exposures and thereby help to prevent cancer.This webinar, presented in partnership with CELA by CAREX Canada’s Occupational Exposures Team Lead Cheryl Peters, will provide a broad overview about CAREX, how the exposure estimates were generated, and how users can conduct custom queries of these estimates. CELA Counsel Ramani Nadarajah will be part of a follow-up panel to discuss potential use of the CAREX data in litigation. The webinar takes place on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM EST. Registration is required.

CELA makes recommendations to improve children’s environmental health

As a member of the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE), CELA provided input to regulatory developments under the new Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA). We are urging the Government of Ontario to promote awareness among child care professionals of simple and low-cost routines to reduce children’s exposures to toxicants and mandating specific requirements to target priority exposures. CPCHE is a national collaboration of organizations with overlapping missions that have been working together since 2001 to improve children's environmental health in Canada.

CELA represents residents’ group in appeal hearing on quarry dewatering permit

Earlier this month, CELA represented residents of the Tyendinaga Township at a six-day hearing against the issuance of a water-taking permit for a local quarry. The hearing focused on the Ministry of the Environment’s 2014 decision to issue a water-taking permit to C.H. Demill Holdings Inc. which allows the company to pump millions of litres of water out of an existing quarry in order to facilitate aggregate extraction below the water table. In 2014, the Tribunal granted the Citizens Against Melrose Quarry (CAMQ) permission to appeal the permit on the grounds that the Ministry’s decision appeared unreasonable and could result in environmental harm. CAMQ filed an appeal requesting the Tribunal to quash or set aside the permit or either impose stricter conditions to protect the environment and its users. After this May 2015 hearing, the Tribunal will make a binding and enforceable decision.

CELA in court to defend Federal Court decision on new build EA

Along with our colleagues from Ecojustice, CELA will be in the Federal Court of Appeal on June 2 to uphold the decision of Mr. Justice Russell of the Federal Court trial division, in which he granted our application for judicial review and rescinded the licenses that had been granted to OPG by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission relating to the new build of nuclear reactors at Darlington. At issue is whether the Joint Review Panel ensured that an environmental assessment undertaken in compliance with the CEAA had been properly conducted. Here's our previous media release about this application.

CELA Executive Director awarded OWWA tribute

Theresa McClenaghan received an Appreciation Tribute from the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA) at its recent 2015 conference. The award recognizes significant contributions to the OWWA as a committee member, director, representative of OWWA or other extraordinary contributions to the association over an extended period. (Photo: Theresa McClenaghan receives the Award of Appreciation from AWWA Vice President Michael Simpson and OWWA Past President Abhay Tadwalkar./Courtesy of OWWA)

SPOTLIGHT: Energy costs and low income Ontario residents

CELA’s website is home to a large collection of materials related to energy conservation and affordable electricity pricing in Ontario. CELA is a founding member of the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) and works with other legal aid clinics, housing advocates, anti-poverty organizations and environmental groups on the ecological and social justice aspects of affordable electricity. Our collection includes detailed reports, responses to consultations and media releases and it is free for the public and researchers.