Final Report from UN Rapporteur

UN Rapporteur Releases Final Report – Finds Communities in Canada “exploited by toxic exposures”

In May 2019, CELA hosted a meeting with the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Wastes on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak. The UN Rapporteur met with Indigenous leaders and community members at CELA’s offices in Toronto. Preliminary findings from the visit found Canada’s inaction on toxic exposure to be a disturbing sign of discrimination. Early this month, the Special Rapporteur released an advance unedited final version of the report, which included concerning findings regarding the inaccessibility of our justice system to those disproportionately exposed to toxics:

“It was clear from the visit that many communities in Canada continue to be exploited by toxic exposures. Some key concerns that persist include the limited degree of protection of human health and ecosystems under various legislations, and the lack of environmental information and monitoring in areas of high risk. Long delays or absences of health impact assessment persist for affected communities. Inadequate compliance with and enforcement of laws and policies, and other systemic obstacles to access to justice, in particular for cases of health impacts due to chronic exposures, reinforce the recalcitrance to ensure that victims can realize their right to an effective remedy.”