November 2016 Bulletin

Tell Premier Wynne you want a 100% renewable Ontario!

Speak out for a clean, green energy future! CELA is working with other organizations including the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Greenpeace and many others, to show that there's broad public support for shifting Ontario to 100 per cent renewable energy. Tell the Ontario government that you want a clean, green future — not yesterday’s nuclear and fossil fuels. Let's make a 100 per cent renewable Ontario a reality. Please sign this petition.

Making a submission to TPP public consultation

CELA partnered with Ecojustice to make a submission to a House of Commons public consultation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). We expressed our concerns about the inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement provisions that significantly impede the ability of sovereign governments to make decisions in the public interest. Additionally, we pointed out that the language of the TPP's Environment Chapter is unenforceable and doesn’t cover both federal and provincial environmental laws. The TPP also limits citizen complaint provisions, and should be strengthened to include environmental protections as strong as those in other trade agreements such as NAFTA.

CELA endorses submission to the co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review

As a member of Green Communities Canada, CELA endorsed submissions on the draft plans and regulation of the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review that are focussed on urban stormwater. This submission also addresses the integration of water resource and natural heritage systems planning with land use planning to ensure future water sustainability and security in Ontario.

Green Budget Coalition recommendations for Budget 2017

CELA’s Theresa McClenaghan co-chaired this year's Green Budget Coalition, an association of 17 leading Canadian environmental organizations. Each year the GBC examines the most pressing environmental and sustainability issues in Canada. It then provides a consolidated set of recommendations to the federal government on strategic fiscal and budgetary opportunities. The final GBC recommendations for Budget 2017 are available in English and French.

Proposed ethanol refinery is dead

The Oshawa Port Authority recently announced that a private company’s proposal to construct an ethanol refinery on federal lands will no longer proceed. Since 2008, CELA has represented Friends of Second Marsh. Our clients have participated in various proceedings under federal and provincial environmental laws in order to address concerns that this industrial facility may cause adverse effects upon the nearby--and provincially significant--Second Marsh Wildlife Area on the Lake Ontario shoreline. In the past, other stakeholders including Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, local residents and municipal officials, have opposed the controversial project.

Submissions on Aggregate Provisions and species at risk provisions of the Four Plan Review

CELA made a submission to the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs on species at risk and habitat protection and Aggregate policies and their interaction with natural heritage and prime agricultural land. Our submission includes several recommendations to strengthen land-use regulations outlined in various plans, such as the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and Niagara Escarpment Plan.

RentSafe's multi-stakeholder roundtable a big success

A RentSafe Roundtable was recently held in Hamilton, Ontario. The meeting brought together a province-wide group of stakeholders to hear about the baseline research findings on tenants’ experiences in unhealthy housing conditions. Stakeholders also learned about the capacity of Ontario’s health and social services sectors to adequately respond to complaints by tenants across the province. Participants discussed recommendations and potential collaborations to address tenants’ rights issues. An evening forum was also held on November 22, National Housing Day.

Strengthening Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights

CELA counsel Rick Lindgren and executive director Theresa McClenaghan made a submission to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. The document outlined several ways that the Environmental Bill of Rights could be reformed and improved for the future. The nine recommendations include amending the EBR to address broader legislative purposes and prescribing a number of additional ministries, statutes and instruments, among others.

CELA renews CEPA concerns in latest Standing Committee submissions

CELA's made its eighth submission in November 2016 to the Parliamentary Standing Committee reviewing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Our submission provided new data to substantiate earlier concerns raised about the ineffectiveness of the Act in controlling releases of toxic substances, including carcinogens, to the environment. The submission highlights emissions data from 2006-2013 to demonstrate these problems. CEPA is the primary federal law in Canada for protecting human health and the environment from toxic substances.

Photo credit: Magnetawan River by Margot Poepjes

CELA’s latest Annual Report is now available

CELA released our 2016 Annual Report detailing our activities for the past year. It can be downloaded as a PDF from our website. To request a print copy, please contact Andrew Pickles.

New TPP book features chapter by CELA counsel

CELA counsel Jacqueline Wilson contributed a chapter to the The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Canada: A Citizen's Guide. Edited by Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew, the book explores various aspects of the largest regional trade and investment agreement that Canada has ever negotiated.

Resetting federal environmental assessment law

CELA Counsel Rick Lindgren made a preliminary submission to an expert panel on the the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The Expert Panel’s forthcoming report on federal environmental assessment offers an important opportunity to develop new legislation that establishes robust, credible, participatory and evidence-based EA processes focused on sustainability. The submission provides recommendations on issues such as the appropriate triggers for applying federal EA processes, the scope of federal EA requirements once triggered, and the need for independent EA decision-making upon satisfactory completion of the information-gathering stage of federal EA processes. Presentation slides about this submission are available.

Playing radon roulette

Joining Take Action on Radon at its November Radon Action Month launch, CELA encouraged Canadians to write their federal MPs and the Finance Minister to seek support for a radon mitigation tax credit. Elevated radon levels in homes are estimated to occur in half of all federal ridings but we take particular aim at 93 ridings where over 10 per cent of homes are estimated to have above-guideline levels. CELA also continued work on our Radon Policy Challenge with a webinar for the child-care sector to encourage radon testing and advocacy for stronger legislative protections.

Although Radon Action Month is ending, it isn’t too late to act. The simple three-month test should be done during the winter months when homes are more tightly sealed. Watch this PSA and find details about test kits and a list of certified radon mitigators at Take Action on Radon.