December 2021 Bulletin

Happy Holidays from CELA

As December draws to a close, we at CELA wish you and your families all the best for a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

We are reflecting on this past year, and are grateful to each of you for your support – whether it’s following our work through our newsletter and website, supporting a petition or call-to-action, partnering on projects, or making a financial donation to our Foundation – you are a critical part of CELA’s work to advance environmental justice.

2021 saw CELA staff continue to work remotely on behalf of our clients and in the public interest, alongside our Province-wide network of legal clinics.  We joined many calls for green and just recovery recognizing the pandemic has revealed significant social inequities, often mirrored in the disproportionate impacts on the health and immediate environments of low-income, disadvantaged, and vulnerable communities.

Highlights of our work included working with Indigenous clients in Northern Ontario, standing up for federal and provincial jurisdiction over the environment, and calling for environmental justice.  We had cases protecting drinking water and opposing air pollution, and provided thousands of hours of free summary advice to Ontarians.  

We called for better protection from lead and PFAS in drinking water, a toxics-free Great Lakes, and better implementation of our environmental assessment laws.  Watch for our Annual Report early in the New Year for a full recap!  

With best wishes for the holidays,

Theresa McClenaghan

Congratulating Kathleen Cooper on Retirement

We are thrilled to congratulate Kathy Cooper on her retirement, though we are very sad to see her go – and she will be missed!

Kathy leaves behind an incredible body of work and a legacy in many areas related to environmental health protection, environmental justice, and children’s health.  She has been recognized by governments, regulators, clients, and partner organizations for her unparalleled expertise on topics ranging from lead pollution to radon to pesticide regulation.  Kathy co-led ground-breaking work on children’s environmental health for two decades.  She was a master at converting detailed policy analysis to useful, action-oriented fact sheets for parents, teachers, and decision-makers.  She convened coalitions of unlikely partners and helped build the environmental movement in Ontario throughout her career. 

Kathy is a master of regulatory and legislative policy, and all of us at CELA are grateful to have been able to rely on her impeccable research and analysis.  She will be greatly missed and leaves a big task for us in building on her work to continue to improve the lived environment for our client communities and everyone else.

We wish her all the best in the next phase of her life. Kathy, we know you’ll enjoy more time in your gardens, with your horse, and in your new green home!

Dr. Anastasia Lintner Hired as new Deputy Executive Director

CELA is thrilled to announce the hiring of Dr. Anastasia Lintner in the role of Deputy Executive Director. 

Dr. Lintner initially joined CELA in December 2016 as Special Projects Counsel for the Healthy Great Lakes program.  She has worked as a water policy advocate for almost two decades until her recent shift away from law practice, and has taught and researched at numerous institutions. We look forward to working with her in this new role in 2022!

Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights Reintroduced in Parliament

A private member’s bill to enact the proposed Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights (CEBR) was recently introduced in the House of Commons. Bill C-219 closely resembles the CEBR that had been previously introduced by former MP Linda Duncan, and it contains a number of new procedural provisions and key environmental principles that Canadians can use to safeguard the environment. CELA looks forward to the speedy passage of this long-overdue legislation at the federal level.

In Case You Missed It…
It’s been a busy few weeks as we all prepare for the holiday break.  Here are some highlights from the past few weeks at CELA:

Making the Links: A Toolkit for Environmental Protections, Health, and Equity – Launched late last month, this Toolkit has been created to pair critically urgent environmental issues with legal mechanisms for change and public advocacy. It has been developed with and for Indigenous and settler communities, and individuals throughout Northern Ontario. It is meant to be a foundational resource so that both individuals and practitioners can have ready access to solutions for environmental health issues.

Water Drop(In) – CELA, through our Healthy Great Lakes program, launched a new platform for water policy discussions.  After a successful December session, this will become a monthly meeting that will scan the water policy landscape in Ontario.  Registration is required.

The ABC’s of the EBR: The Need for Government Outreach Programs – CELA Counsel Richard Lindgren penned a new blog post about a little-known but significant problem: the Ontario government’s ongoing failure to conduct any public education or outreach programs to inform Ontarians about how to use their important rights under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR).