December 2017 Bulletin

CELA’s staff and board wish you all the best for the holidays & 2018! (Photo: Pete Lytwyniuk/Flickr)

News & Activities

CELA email phished…please proceed with caution!

Earlier this month there was a phishing attempt from someone using a fake CELA email account to distribute potentially malicious software. Please avoid opening suspicious attachments or clicking links in suspicious emails claiming to be from CELA. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Calling for a proper reform of the Environmental Bill of Rights

CELA was one of 48 organizations that called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to reform Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). The organizations participated in consultations last fall on the long overdue EBR review. However, it has come to light that the Province may focus its recommendations on policy reform rather than amendments to the Act. This response would conflict with the review’s mandate to review the EBR and the regulations under it, not just practices and policies.


Ottawa must reconsider banning all neonics: coalition

CELA joined other environmental organizations in calling for a complete ban on all neonics. The groups issued a media release after Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced a proposal this week to restrict or end certain uses of two neonics, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, while still allowing the continued use of the controversial insecticides as seed treatment. Seed treatments represent the most widespread use of neonics in Canada and have been identified as a major ecological threat.


Annual Report 2017

Our latest annual report can now be downloaded from our website. The report details our activities on law reform, litigation, hearings, and statutory tools as well as our public outreach work.

Calling for comprehensive bans on chlorinated antimicrobials

CELA, Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba, and Prevent Cancer Now called on the Standing Committee on Health that is currently studying antimicrobial resistance to issue a comprehensive ban of chlorinated antimicrobial chemicals such as triclosan and the similar chemical triclocarbon from consumer goods. We recommended that the Committee instruct Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada to ensure that chemicals are assessed according to the need and benefit to Canadians, along with fulsome assessment of the potential for adverse health impacts.

CELA on CTV’s Your Morning—nuclear emergency planning

CELA’s Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan recently discussed Canada’s risk of nuclear accidents with Ben Mulroney on CTV’s Your Morning. CELA has worked on nuclear issues for decades. please visit our online collection about emergency planning around Canadian nuclear plants.

Requesting greater oversight from Canada’s nuclear regulator

CELA represented Northwatch, a public interest environmental group based in Northeastern Ontario, on two separate nuclear matters before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. We provided submissions to the Commission regarding its annual review of Canada’s uranium processing facilities and the proposed 10-year site-wide licence renewal by Chalk River Laboratories. In both instances, we stressed that the continued use of nuclear energy and nuclear substances increases the inherent risks of legacy and ongoing wastes. CELA and Northwatch found the Commission’s oversight of waste management to be lacking, and argued that the protection of human health and the environment is dependent upon substantive and publicly accessible waste management conditions in licences. At the end of January, CELA will intervene before the Commission on the Chalk River licence renewal.


Providing feedback on an amended blue box plan

CELA partnered with Toronto Environmental Alliance, Environmental Defence Canada, Citizens’ Network on Waste Management, and Waste Watch Ottawa to provide early feedback on Stewardship Ontario’s amended blue box plan proposal. We raised serious concerns about the proposed plan and recommended that Stewardship Ontario include a mechanism to end this transition plan; increase the total recycling rate target to 80% and increase the material specific target for plastics to 75%; address compostable packaging; and ensure that promotion and education is effective and regularly evaluated to reduce contamination and reach all Ontario residents.

Post-mortem on dead ethanol refinery on Lake Ontario

In late 2016, the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA) announced that a private company’s proposal to construct an ethanol refinery on the Lake Ontario shoreline would not be proceeding. For years prior to this announcement, CELA represented Friends of Second Marsh in opposition to the project in light of potential adverse effects upon the nearby—and provincially significant—Second Marsh Wildlife Area. Recent investigative reporting by an Oshawa newspaper provides a behind-the-scenes examination of how the controversial project met its demise and triggered legal proceedings between the proponent and the OPA.



DeCew Falls, St. Catharines, Ontario (Photo: Joe deSousa/Flickr)

People’s Great Lakes Summit 2.0: Planning Policy Action

In November, CELA hosted a second gathering of individuals and organizations passionate about about freshwater health in the Great Lakes – St Lawrence River Basin. This two-day session followed our May Summit. CELA’s Special Projects Counsel Anastasia Lintner presented State of Our Waters, which looked at environmental indicators and trends that researchers have found while studying the Great Lakes. CELA’s Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan presented Policy Waterscape, which covered the government’s responsibility for freshwater, different approaches for bringing freshwater into Ontario public policy, and outlined the opportunities for the Great Lakes Protection Act. CELA also issued the final report from Summit 2.0.

Are we prepared for nuclear emergencies in Ontario?

CELA Counsel Kerrie Blaise recently gave a presentation on Ontario’s nuclear emergency preparedness in Pickering, Ontario. Her presentation outlines several recommendations to strengthen Ontario’s emergency response plans.

Indigenous Canadian drinking water crisis

CELA Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan spoke at the University of Toronto Trinity College’s senior ethics class and to their Indigenous Settler Forum on the topic of the Indigenous Canadian Drinking Water Crisis.

On the CELA blog

Reducing road salts use in Ontario

Chloride pollution is caused by the road salts applied to our highways, roads, sidewalks and parking lots. CELA counsel Anastasia Lintner recently participated in The Great Lakes Chloride Forum in Toronto. In this blog post she explains the damage road salt causes to our freshwater systems.

People’s Great Lakes: Heal, Connect & Protect

In this guest blog, Stephanie Woodworth reflects on the People’s Great Lakes Summit 2.0: Planning Policy Action event, devoted to exploring ways to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

48 groups demand action on Environmental Bill of Rights reform

Almost exactly seven years ago to the day, CELA filed a detailed Application for Review of Ontario’s decades-old Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993. To remedy these outstanding issues, CELA’s application recommended various amendments to strengthen the EBR so it achieves its stated purposes of environmental protection, public participation, and governmental accountability. CELA Counsel Rick Lindgren explains in this blog post. CELA

Spotlight: Jessica Karban

We recently caught up with CELA’s student-at-law Jessica Karban to learn more about her work an how she got to CELA.

What do you do at CELA?

I handle inquiries from members of the public who have environmental concerns and guide interested persons through our application process. Most of my time is spent providing assistance to CELA’s lawyers on various case and law reform files.

What brought you to CELA?

During law school, I volunteered at a community legal clinic and I focused my studies heavily on environmental law. I knew I wanted to work at an organization where I could combine my interest in environmental justice and promoting access to justice. As a public interest organization specializing in environmental law, CELA was the ideal place to apply for articling.

Why did you get involved in environmental law?

I have always had a passion for nature and the environment. I grew up hiking and camping. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I worked for a farmer practising sustainable fruit farming. However, I never really made the link between passion for the environment and my legal career until several months into my first year of law school. when I attended guest lectures and panel discussions on environmental law. In my second year of law school, I enrolled in an environmental law course and an environmental law clinical program.

What’ the best part of working for CELA?

Engaging directly with members of the public and working with CELA’s excellent team to provide groups and individuals with assistance. I feel fortunate to work at an organization that strives to promote environmental justice.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned working here?

I’ve learned many important things while working at CELA and it would be very difficult to pinpoint the most important thing I’ve learned. I always try to reflect on how my experiences –work-related and other – can positively impact my personal life. For example, working at CELA has taught me to be more conscious about the decisions I make on a daily basis that may have an impact on the environment and my own health.

When you’re not at CELA, what do you like to do?

I spend my summers hiking, camping and canoeing and I am always seeking out new places to explore in Ontario. During the winters, you will find me snowboarding and ice skating.