September 2013 Bulletin

Environmental groups demand Health Minister Rona Ambrose take action on bee-killing pesticide

Several of Canada’s leading environmental organizations have called upon federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose to reconsider Health Canada’s decision to reapprove a pesticide — severely restricted in Europe — for use on fruits, potatoes and turf, and linked to massive bee die-offs in Canada. View today’s media release.

Lawyers from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Ecojustice have filed a Notice of Objection with the health minister on behalf of Sierra Club Canada, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, David Suzuki Foundation and Équiterre. The objection concerns Health Canada’s recent decision to renew the registration for clothianidin, a neonicotinoid pesticide toxic to bees, which the groups say should be banned in Canada.

Over the past two years, massive bee die-offs reported in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec were linked to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. The Notice of Objection outlines legal arguments for taking stronger action and the growing body of scientific literature documenting the adverse effects of neonicotinoids on the foraging and homing behaviour of bees, as well as metabolic, immune and reproductive functions.

Just how much nuclear waste does OPG want to bury next to Lake Huron?

CELA has spent two years in intense preparation for a recent public hearing into the environmental assessment of Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) proposed “Deep Geologic Repository” at the Bruce Nuclear site near Kincardine, Ontario. The public was told that the proposed facility would receive operating and refurbishment radioactive wastes from the Bruce, Pickering and Darlingtion nuclear plants. However, as described in our media release last week, just prior to the hearing outset, the public has learned that the volume of waste planned for the site has apparently doubled, adding about 130,000 cubic metres of additional radioactive waste from decommissioning. This contradicts what OPG said in its documents for the last six years.

As a result, over 25 environmental groups have asked the Joint Review Panel to suspend the hearings until OPG clarifies the actual volume and types of radioactive wastes it plans to store at the facility. Public consultations have been underway since 2007 on a smaller dump for less radioactive waste.

“This approach amounts to project splitting which is not a permissible way to do Environmental Assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act,” said Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “This environmental assessment is for the whole life of the project and must include the entire project as reasonably anticipated.” CELA filed the formal procedural request on behalf of multiple organizations last week. Follow the hearing details here:

For more information: Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel 416-960-2284 ext 219 or

CELA's recommendation for improving Ontario's nuclear emergency planning

Along with other environmental groups, CELA sent a list of several recommendations to Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur, outlining our concerns about Ontario’s nuclear emergency plans. Our recommendations ranged from developing an emergency plan based on real-world experience, increasing community engagement and strengthening evacuation plans, among others.

CELA's submission to improve Ontario's solid waste management

CELA counsel Richard Lindgren penned a blog post about Ontario's struggle to deal with its solid waste. Lindgren's post explains how CELA worked with other environmental groups to make a written submission to the Ontario government that outlines some concerns about Bill 91, and offers recommendations to strengthen the Bill and improve the related Waste Reduction Strategy.

CELA's comments on Ontario's long-term energy plan

CELA strongly supports Ontario’s coal phase‐out plan, and keenly anticipates the day in 2014 when there will be no more coal‐fired electricity generation in the province. But there's still long road ahead before the plan is implemented. We made comments on the latest plan that will strengthen and improve it. We outlined several concerns, including the importance of incorporating renewable energy and addressing energy poverty among residents that will safeguard Ontario's long-term energy future.

Shut Down Pickering petition

CELA is a co-sponsor of the “Shut Down Pickering" petition. Our goal is to get 10,000 people signed on. Please join us!