Media Release

Toxics Reduction Plans Moving Ahead

Dec 04 2009

Toronto - The Canadian Environmental Law Association today welcomed the next step in the provincial government’s implementation of the Toxics Reduction Act with the release of regulations setting deadlines for facilities to track and report certain releases of toxic substances and to make plans to reduce them.

Starting this January, specified facilities must begin to track and report emissions on a list of 47 substances, both to the public and to the Ontario government. Those facilities must also make plans to reduce the use of those toxic substances, and after their plans are done, to start reporting publicly on how much their use has declined. Other substances will be phased onto the list by 2012.

CELA has long called for mandatory toxic use reduction planning and reporting in its advocacy work. “This law gives important information to the public, namely the use of toxic substances in facilities operating in their communities, and those companies’ plans to reduce,” stated Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director of CELA.

Ultimately, this law should lead to significant reductions in use of toxic substances. That also reduces toxic emissions to air and water, reduces toxic waste, and improves employees’ health as well as that of the general public.

The need for a toxic use reduction act was particularly highlighted by the work of CELA and many partners in conducting an analysis of gaps in regulation and law dealing with public exposures to cancer causing substances in 2006. Many environmental laws deal with toxic substances after they are released; few laws deal with the issue of reducing the use of those substances in the first place.

“The fact that this law will now take effect with specific commencement and reporting deadlines is an important next step,” stated Joe Castrilli, counsel with CELA. He was the author of a model law on toxic use reduction for CELA completed prior to the adoption of the Ontario law.

CELA looks forward to continuing to work with government on additional regulations, requirements and implementation of the Toxic Reduction Act. CELA will also continue to advocate for future amendments of the Act, such as a requirement for mandatory substitution of certain very toxic substances with less toxic substances in companies’ processes.

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For more information, contact:
Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director 416-960-2284 ext. 219
Joseph Castrilli, Counsel 416-960-2284 ext. 218
CELA’s work on Toxic Use Reduction in Ontario
The Ontario Environmental Registry

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