A Toxic-Free Ontario ~ CELA releases a Toxic Use Reduction Model Law

Aug 26 2008

The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) today released its model toxic use reduction law. For the past year CELA has worked with other environmental, health and worker groups to frame a model law to reduce our use and reliance on toxic substances in manufacturing, workplaces and consumer products in Ontario. “Concerned parents, workers, and consumers in Ontario support widespread reductions in use and emissions of toxic substances,” stated Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “Toxic use reduction legislation will fill a major gap in Ontario, making our homes, workplaces and environment safer places to be.” CELA patterned the model law, titled the Ontario Toxic Use Reduction and Safer Alternatives Act, 2008 (linked below) on the success of similar programs in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California, as well as in the European Union. (See also the Ontario government's Discussion Paper, entitled Creating Ontario's Toxics Reduction Strategy, released this weeek for public comment with a deadline of October 11, 2008). “With a toxic use reduction law, Ontario would reduce and prevent many unnecessary, involuntary exposures to harmful substances,” said Sarah Miller, Project Coordinator. The benefits of a toxic use reduction law would include:

    •      Reduce exposure to toxic substances and prevent health risks such as some avoidable cancers, respiratory illnesses and developmental impacts,
    •      Reduce workplace exposures to toxic substances,
    •      Reduce volumes of toxic waste needing disposal,
    •      Save companies expenses by requiring safer alternatives and more efficient processes,
    •      Reinforce the power to prohibit the most harmful substances, and
    •      Create incentives for the development of new green technologies.

Since Premier McGuinty announced the government’s intention to act on toxic use reduction last fall, CELA has worked closely with its community partners and in dialogue with the Ministry of Environment staff and advisors to update them on their development of this Model Law. CELA also today released a detailed background report on which the Model Law was based (linked below). For more information please contact: Theresa McClenaghan, theresa@cela.ca , 416 662-8341 or  Sarah Miller, millers@lao.on.ca, 416 960-2284 ex.213