CELA Celebrates Toronto’s Leadership on Community Right-to-Know Bylaw

Polling Shows Strong Support for Similar Provincial Action

Dec 04 2008

Toronto – CELA today congratulates the City of Toronto for outstanding leadership. With an overwhelming majority, City Council yesterday passed a Community Right-to-Know by-law the central part of their new Environmental Reporting, Disclosure and Innovation Program. This By-Law will greatly expand the number of companies that must publicly disclose information about their use and release of toxic substances. “We hope Toronto is the first of many communities in Canada to respond to public concerns about the use and release of toxic substances,” said Sarah Miller, a researcher with CELA.

“Experience in other places confirms that similar right-to-know results in dramatic reductions in the use of toxic substances. Community right-to-know is a crucial first step in achieving toxics use reduction. Innovation and substitution with safer alternatives follows in its wake,” Ms. Miller said.

CELA has participated in a multi-year effort with colleagues in environmental, labour, medical and health organizations that make up the Occupational and Environmental Working Group of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition, to see this progressive by-law enacted.

Our work with the City of Toronto bylaw runs in parallel with advocacy directed at the Provincial government to act on toxic use reduction. In recent polling conducted by our colleagues at the Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division, results show that a large majority (over 75%) of Ontario residents recognize that toxic chemicals are in their environments and personal care products and a vast majority (96%) support a Provincial government strategy to reduce toxic chemicals in Ontario. Most (67%) say the current economic situation has not caused them to re-think this support. (Polling results)

“We have drafted a model Ontario Toxic Use Reduction and Safer Alternatives Act to enhance the commitment the Province has made to introduce their pollution prevention legislation early in 2009,” noted Joe Castrilli, CELA Counsel.

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For more information:

Sarah Miller, 416-960-2284, ext. 213 millers@lao.on.ca
Regarding the polling results, please contact:
Christine Koserski, Media Relations, Ontario Division, Canadian Cancer Society: (416) 323-7030 or ckoserski@ontario.cancer.ca