Groups Support Proposals to Reduce Toxic Substances in Ontario, Expand Federal Limits on Flame Retardants, and Quebec's Right to Ban Pesticides

CELA Bulletin

75: 7-April-2009

Periodic E-News from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

In this issue:

  • Health, Environment and Labour Organizations Support Law to Reduce Toxic Substances in Ontario
  • Environmental Groups Welcome Federal Proposals to Expand Limits on Toxic Flame Retardants
  • Civil Society Groups Defend Quebec Pesticide Ban in Parliament


Ontario Introduces Toxics Reduction Legislation

In a media release today, the Take Charge on Toxics Campaign, of which CELA is a member, hailed Ontario's introduction of legislation calling it a first step towards reducing toxic substances and increasing green chemistry in Ontario. Campaign members look forward to working with the Ontario government to develop an effective law that should reduce the use and release of toxic chemicals, replace them where safer alternatives exist, monitor emissions, report on progress and ensure public reporting through effective labelling and access to a public database.

For more information:

Christine Koserski, Media Relations, Take Charge On Toxics Campaign: 416-323-3070 or
Sarah Miller, CELA 416-960-2284 ext. 213


Take Charge on Toxics
Toxics Use Reduction in Ontario - CELA's on-line collection of resources in support of legislation
Proposed Toxics Reduction Act (information on Ministry of Environment webpage)
Environmental Registry (text of Bill 167; consultation deadline is May 7/09) If link not working, search for item #010-6224.


Environmental Groups Welcome Federal Proposals to Expand Limits on Toxic Flame Retardants

On March 27th, the federal government announced Canada’s intention to follow the European Union in phasing out highly toxic chemicals used as flame retardants in electronics (in line with the ROHS Directive). For over two years, environmental groups have called on the federal government to ban all forms of PBDEs. Canada declared PBDEs as ‘toxic’ in 2006 but associated regulations at that time only addressed obsolete forms of the chemical. Environmental groups include CELA, the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice and Environmental Defence formally objected to the fact that the regulations would still allow the use of DecaBDE, the only remaining PBDE mixture still widely used in manufacturing worldwide. While not a total ban, the federal government is proposing to restrict the use, import, and sale of electronics containing the dangerous flame retardant DecaBDE. This move will eliminate about 80% of DecaBDE uses. The remaining 20% continues to be used mainly on textiles thus continuing to create indoor exposure hazards. Scientific evidence confirms the chemical accumulates in house dust.

For more information:

Elaine MacDonald, Ecojustice (416) 368-7533 ext. 27
Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation (613) 796-7699
Kathleen Cooper, Canadian Environmental Law Association (705) 341-2488
Mike Layton, Environmental Defence 416.323.9521x257


March 27/09 Media Release
Flame Retardants as Problematic as PCBs - CELA's on-line collection about advocacy to ban flame retardants
Flame Retardants - CPCHE on-line collection about toxicity and advocacy to ban flame retardants
Dust - An Indoor Environmental Health Risk - CPCHE on-line collection about dust as source of children's exposure to toxic substances

Consultation documents released March 27-28 (consultation deadline May 26/09):

Canada Gazette Announcement March 28/09
Revised Risk Management Strategy for DecaBDE
State of the Science Report on the Bioaccumulation and Transformation of DecaBDE


Civil Society Groups Defend Quebec Pesticide Ban in Parliament

On March 24th, Équiterre and Ecojustice Canada appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade to defend Quebec’s right to ban lawn chemicals. Joined by the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the groups oppose Dow Agrosciences challenge of Quebec’s ban under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Chapter 11. All five groups called upon the Government of Canada to vigorously defend Quebec’s ban on the herbicide 2,4-D. They also want federal government to acknowledge that it makes sense to eliminate unnecessary chemical exposure to protect human health and the environment.

For more information:

Will Amos, Staff Lawyer, University of Ottawa-Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, (613) 562 5800, ext. 3378
Lisa Gue, Environmental Health Policy Analyst David Suzuki Foundation, (613) 594-5428
Hugo Seguin Collective, Coordinator Équiterre (514) 247-1006
Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director, CELA 416-960-2284, ext. 219 (after April 17th)

More details on-line:

March 24/09 Media Release
Briefing Note
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Dispute Settlement, Chapter 11 NAFTA (Webpage where all legal documents related to Dow Agrosciences challenge will be posted. Currently includes Notice of Intent and Notice of Arbitration, web-posted on April 8/09)
April 3/09 Globe and Mail coverage