April 2017 Bulletin

(Photo credit:Billy Wilson/Flickr)

News & Activities

Comparing carcinogen reporting thresholds

CELA has prepared a comparative analysis of pollution data collected under the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) with pollution data reported under statutes administered by certain U.S. states. This submission was made to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development as part of in its review of CEPA 1999. It compares the thresholds of on-site releases to air for dozens of carcinogenic substances between Ontario and New Jersey. The comparison shows that where the reporting thresholds are similar, Ontario’s were more than 300 times greater than those of New Jersey.

Addressing endocrine disrupting chemicals

CELA made a submission called “Scientific Justification to Address Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): A Roadmap for Action” to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that is reviewing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The submission contained a roadmap to address EDCs outlining several recommendations, including improvements to identify and evaluate EDCs during assessments, expanded monitoring programs on EDCs, and requiring the government to conduct economic cost analyses on EDCs in Canada.

Calling for a triclosan ban to protect human health

CELA submitted a statement supported by over 20 organizations in calling for the Canadian government to prohibit triclosan in all consumer products to protect the environment and human health. We expressed our support for the government’s decision to add the substance to the Toxic Substances List in Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA, 1999). To date, the government’s proposal to use Pollution Prevention Plans to address triclosan has been inadequate, as current plans will not stop the release of triclosan in industrial effluent or from the use of hundreds of personal care products.

Green Budget Coalition presentation on 2017 Budget

CELA is a member of the Green Budget Coalition, comprised of 17 Canadian environmental organizations. Each year the GBC puts forth a set of recommendations for the federal government’s budget. A presentation outlining the GBC’s 2017 recommendations and the federal budget announcements relevant to First Nations and infrastructure is now available for download.

(Photo credit: Dominic Ali/CELA)

Strengthening the proposed risk assessment of pesticides

CELA joined other organizations in responding to the Proposed Cumulative Risk Assessment Framework for federal regulation of pesticides in relation to human health. While recognizing the limits of the risk assessment paradigm, we welcomed the proposed framework as progress toward implementing a long overdue legal requirement to consider cumulative effects when evaluating the health risks of pesticides. Our response also offered several recommendations related to effective and timely implementation, applying a more precautionary approach to identifying and assessing groups of pesticides for cumulative assessment, expanding the framework to address environmental risks, and related recommendations for applying a more robust approach.

Emergency Planning at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station

CELA and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick made a submission to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) about the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station’s application for a five-year renewal of its operating licence. CELA made several detailed submissions and multiple recommendations for the CNSC to consider, including examining the Point Lepreau plant safety routines, emergency preparedness plans, and public safety information.

Strengthening the City’s Proposed Dry Cleaning Solvent Disclosure Program

CELA responded to Toronto Public Health’s proposal for a point of sale display program for dry cleaners. The proposal builds on the City’s Environmental Reporting and Disclosure Bylaw and is aimed at informing the public about the potential chemicals that they are exposed to from dry cleaning. We made several suggestions that would strengthen the proposal, such as ensuring the signage program is adequately resourced for enforcement and compliance, and promote the use of “wet cleaning” as the environmentally friendly option. CELA also recommended delisting “carbon dioxide” as a green option for drycleaning.

Improving energy regulation in Canada

As part of the federal review of the National Energy Board, CELA provided an in-depth report to the NEB Modernization Expert Panel commenting on how international best practices in the fields of energy regulation and environment decision making could inform a modernized NEB’s mandate and governance.

On the CELA blog

Great Lakes, No Clouds
(Photo credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr)

Greater investments are needed to protect the Great Lakes

CELA executive director Theresa McClenaghan and Environmental Defence Water Program Manager Ashley Wallis wrote a blog post calling on the governments of Canada and the United States to ensure federal funding for freshwater protection and restoration of the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River Basin. The basin is one of the world’s largest sources of surface freshwater and provides drinking water to more than 45 million Canadians and Americans. It’s also home to more than 260 species of fish and boasts a $6 trillion economy. But recent federal budgets of both countries have glossed over the ecosystem’s importance.

Encouraging radon policy advocacy in the child care sector

Among the many tasks that child care professionals must address to ensure the safety of children in their care, radon is not included. We are working with the child care sector to encourage their advocacy for updating child care licensing rules to require radon testing and mitigation in child care facilities. CELA senior researcher Kathleen Cooper weighs in on how we can better protect children from radon exposure.

Upcoming Events

Port Colborne Ontario ~ Canada ~ Point Albino Lighthouse ~ Lake Erie”
(Photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo/Flickr)

Aquahacking Challenge comes to the Great Lakes (Ongoing)

CELA’s Anastasia Lintner joined the advisory committee for the 2017 AquaHacking challenge hosted by the De Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute. This is the third edition of a hacking challenge dedicated to water conservation through technology and innovation, and this year’s focus will be on Lake Erie. Organizers are calling on water students/experts, hackers, engineers, and other creative minds to work as a team for 10 weeks to develop functional, marketable innovations to help solve Lake Erie’s water issues. Participants have the opportunity to win up to $75,000 in cash prizes, join a spot in a recognized accelerator/incubator, or win professional services. Aspiring hackers can contact claudia@aquahacking.com for more information.

Ontario Climate Consortium’s annual symposium (May 12)

CELA Counsel Barbora Grochalova will be part of a panel on “Addressing Challenges Faced by Low-Income Communities” at this year’s Ontario Climate Symposium. The symposium aims to engage discussions among researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners about the future of Ontario’s society and economy as it collectively addresses climate change through mitigation and adaptation.

The People’s Great Lakes Summit (May 16-17)

CELA’s Healthy Great Lakes program will host the inaugural People’s Great Lakes Summit in Toronto. Five volunteers on the Healthy Great Lakes Advisory Committee are instrumental to planning the event, including:

Lawrence Gunther is the founder and President of Blue Fish Canada, the creator of the documentary “What Lies Below”, and the host of Blue Fish Radio, a podcast dedicated to the future of fish and fishing.

• George Henry is an elected Councillor of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. He has 40 years of experience in First Nation Governance, and is an Elder for the Council In Environmental and Traditional Wisdom. He is participating in CELA’s Law Foundation of Ontario-funded source water protection for First Nations project. He has been very involved with Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority on source water protection for years and is currently involved in addressing the algae threat in Lake Erie.

• John Jackson is a long time water activist and advocate for public engagement and is widely recognized for his Great Lakes policy expertise. He is a longstanding CELA board member and member of the International Joint Commission Great Lakes Water Quality Board.

• Samantha Restoule recently joined Ontario Rivers Alliance’s Board of Directors. She is a member of Dokis First Nation from Sudbury, recently graduated from Laurentian University, and works in the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives at Nipissing University.

• Allison Turner, from Channahon, Illinois, is a Purdue University graduate and a current Master’s student at the University of Waterloo. Her Master’s research examines decision-making on the Detroit River Area of Concern and she intends to defend her thesis this summer. Allison is a Fulbright grant recipient, an international Ontario Graduate Scholarship recipient, and a two-time Udall Scholar.

LIEN conference (May 17)

The Low Income Energy Network’s Annual General Meeting takes place in Kingston, Ontario on May 17. This year’s theme is Shedding Light on Ontario’s Energy Sector. Each year LIEN’s annual meeting provides an opportunity to build knowledge and insight about essential energy issues and empowers low-income communities by giving them the tools to engage more effectively with policy-makers.