February 2014 Bulletin

Experts call for home radon tests

Pointing to startling statistics on lung cancer risks, child health and other experts in Canada are ramping up calls for families across Canada to test their homes for radon gas contamination. They recommend testing for radon in homes and other indoor environments. Taking such a step is as important as installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Indoor exposure to radon is world’s second leading cause of lung cancer. On average, 1 in 15 Canadian homes have a high level of radon gas in the air. At least one in 20 non-smokers living in a radon-contaminated home for a long period can expect to develop lung cancer. Worse still, A smoker’s odds of lung cancer from living long-term in a high radon-contaminated house is 1 in 3. Outreach and public education materials encouraging radon testing are available in many languages. View detailed media release in English and French.

 Celebrating the EBR’s 20th Anniversary

This month, CELA staff celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) at a conference in Toronto. Hosted by Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, the event featured past and present Ministers of the Environment, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) staff, as well as various stakeholders and environmental lawyers who discussed the successes and challenges of using the EBR to protect Ontario’s environment.

The ECO has also released new materials that highlight the EBR’s track record, and identified potential EBR reforms for the future. The ECO has also added an EBR section to the “Environmental Beginnings” website which includes audio recordings from former Environment Minister Ruth Grier, former CELA Executive Director Paul Muldoon and CELA lawyer Richard Lindgren explaining the EBR’s early origins and development.

Sharon Fleishman retires from CELA

CELA recently said goodbye to our hardworking friend and colleague Sharon Fleishman who retired in January. Sharon had been with CELA since 1987.

Over the years, Sharon provided administrative support to four of CELA's executive directors, including Toby Vigod, Michelle Swenarchuk, Paul Muldoon and Theresa McClenaghan in addition to CELA’s staff and Board of Directors. She has the unique distinction of having worked at several of our office locations including Queen Street West, College Street and our current home on Spadina Avenue. (In the photo above, Sharon is seen in our College Street location, circa 1998.)

Sharon was involved in providing support to CELA's teams working on larger campaigns such as addressing the environmental impacts of trade agreements, reform of land use planning, initial passage and subsequent reform of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and revisions to the Pest Control Products Act, among others. She was also involved in several long-running cases, including the Supreme Court of Canada intervention in the Hudson Bylaw case, the well-known Harvard oncomouse case that sought to patent life forms, and the Walkerton Inquiry, in addition to many more.

We’ve been fortunate to have her as part of our team for as long as we have, and wish her the very best in her retirement.