Toronto: The Canadian Environmental Law Association applauds the Part II Walkerton Inquiry Report, issued today in Toronto.
“Mr. Justice O’Connor has made significant recommendations for improvement of the drinking water system in Ontario” stated Paul Muldoon, CELA’s Executive Director. “We now look for indication from the government as to when it will begin implementation of these sweeping and specific recommendations.”
When the Walkerton Inquiry released its report in Part I as to the causes of the Walkerton disaster, then Premier Harris unequivocally committed to not only implement every single recommendation of the Commissioner arising out of Part I, but also, every single recommendation to be made in Part II.
“Now that we have the Part II recommendations, we look forward to immediate implementation. All of these recommendations are feasible, necessary, and most importantly, less expensive than the alternative of waiting for any more disasters from Ontario’s drinking water system”, said Theresa McClenaghan, CELA counsel.
Among the recommendations made by Justice O’Connor are:
- A Safe Drinking Water Act
- Mandatory source protection on a watershed basis
- Creation of two new branches within the Ministry of Environment, a Drinking Water Branch and a Watershed Management Branch, along with a new position entitled Chief Inspector – Drinking Water Systems
- A multi-barrier approach to drinking water protection
- $7 to $19 dollars per household per year over 10 years for the one-time costs to implement his recommendations and a similar annual cost to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations
Mandatory abatement and enforcement, rather than voluntary measures
- Strengthened accreditation and training
“The Report’s recommendations, if implemented, could make Ontario’s water protection system one of the strongest in the world. This report directs us back to the wisdom of clear enforceable laws” noted Sarah Miller, CELA coordinator.
For more information:
Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel, 519-442-1589
Paul Muldoon, Executive Director, 416-960-2284 ext. 219
Sarah Miller, Coordinator, 416-960-2284 ext. 213