January 2017 Bulletin

Great Lakes in January 2015. (Credit: NOAA/NASA/NPP/Flickr)

CELA’s new Healthy Great Lakes program

CELA announced its new Healthy Great Lakes program thanks to two-year funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. This program will help increase our ability to protect the waters of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin. CELA has hired Anastasia Lintner to lead the new program. Dr. Lintner will work part-time as CELA Special Projects Counsel while continuing her legal work with Lintner Law. [Scroll down to read our Q&A with Dr. Lintner.]

Enhancing protection of Ontario drinking water

We requested that the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change immediately undertake further reforms to safeguard drinking water quality in Ontario. CELA believes that the next round of source protection planning under the Clean Water Act (CWA) must include First Nations’ drinking water systems and small towns dependent upon domestic wells which have been virtually excluded from the Source Protection Plans approved under the CWA. We also requested that the tritium drinking water quality standard in O.Reg. 169/03 under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) be lowered.

Calling for a ban on water-taking permits

CELA expressed our strong support for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s proposed regulation to establish a moratorium on new or increasing permits to take water (PTTW) for water bottling. The Ministry indicated that it will undertake a comprehensive review of its management of groundwater resources while the moratorium is in place. It also plans to examine water pricing and other tools that could be used to further protect and conserve water.

Georgian Bay Cloudy Day (Credit: Scott Smithson/Flickr)

Final submissions on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

CELA counsel Rick Lindgren made a final submission and addressed five essential legal reforms which should be reflected in the new federal environmental assessment (EA) law. The recommendations included requiring meaningful public participation, strategic and regional assessments, cumulative effects analysis, broad information-gathering, and independent decision-making. The Expert Panel developing the report on federal environmental assessment offers an important opportunity to develop new legislation that establishes robust, credible, participatory, and evidence-based EA processes focused on sustainability.

Calling for health impact assessment in the EA process

Along with dozens of health organizations and health professionals, CELA signed on to a submission to the Expert Panel established by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to review federal environmental assessment (EA) processes. The submission called for the integration of Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) in all Federal EA processes and identified several key factors for the Expert Panel to consider such as the environment, social factors, and the economy.

Making a joint submission on microbeads in toiletries regulation

CELA partnered with Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba, Prevent Cancer Now, Citizens’ Network on Waste Management, and Ontario Rivers Alliance to respond to the consultation website “Proposed Regulations – Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations.” We made several recommendations to strengthen the proposed regulations, including prohibiting the export of plastic microbeads and microbead-containing products, strengthening the enforcement and inspection regime, and many more.

Responding to Canada’s plan to ban asbestos

News that Canada was planning a comprehensive ban on asbestos and asbestos- containing products by 2018 was welcomed by organizations involved in labour, health, environmental, and women’s advocacy. CELA joined several organizations in making recommendations for the regulations, such as closing potential loopholes, avoiding exemptions, and educating the public, among others.

Great Lakes, No Clouds. (Credit: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz/Flickr)
MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center

BLOG: Source Water Protection 2.0

In 2000, seven people died and thousands of people fell seriously ill after a municipal well that supplied drinking water in Walkerton, Ontario, was contaminated with E. coli. After this tragedy, the Ontario Legislature enacted three new laws. But these laws haven’t been updated in over 10 years. Should we be concerned? Absolutely.

BLOG: Sunny Ways for EAs?

In mid-2016, the Government of Canada established a four-member Expert Panel to suggest fixes for the broken federal environmental assessment (EA) process. But has it been worth it? CELA counsel Rick Lindgren weighs in.

BLOG: Ontario’s Coal phase-out produced many benefits

Earlier this month, a conservative think-tank suggested that coal plants across Canada should not be phased out because Ontario’s phase-out did not significantly reduce air pollution. They are incorrect. A guest blog by Kim Perrotta, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment explains why.


Faces of CELA

We recently caught up with CELA’s new special projects counsel Anastasia Lintner. She’s heading up the recently launched Healthy Great Lakes Program. With two-year funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, CELA will be able to increase binational and national capacity to protect and restore the waters of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin.

What brought you to CELA? It’s been a long and winding path! Though I wanted to be a lawyer when I was choosing a career path in high school, I ended up studying economics. I finished a PhD in natural resources and environmental economics (being the University of Guelph’s first-ever graduate from that program) and went on to be an academic at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. I left the ivory tower and went back to law school, becoming a lawyer and practicing environmental law for more than a decade with Ecojustice Canada, often partnering with CELA on various files. Then, just over 2 years ago, I went into private practice, still focusing on environmental law. I worked with CELA to develop the Healthy Great Lakes program and now I’m delighted to be a part of the team!

What inspired you to get involved in environmental law? I wanted to study environmental law to complement my background in environmental economics. And, the reason that I pursued environmental economics is two-fold. First, my parents instilled in me an admiration for nature and a strong environmental ethic. I remember that we would borrow a car to take our recycling to the local depot – long before curbside pick-up began. Second, I was fortunate to be exposed to environmental economics at the University of Guelph by researchers who were on the cutting-edge of this emerging field.

What is the best part of your job? The people. The folks at CELA and all the organizations and individuals that I am fortunate to be able to collaborate with are so passionate and dedicated. And, if you’ll indulge me, it’s also what we’re working on. It is very fulfilling to work toward the protection of our water resources for our benefit and the benefit of our children’s children.

What is the most important environmental regulation you’d like to see implemented in Canada? We need a right to a healthy environment in the Canadian Constitution. Without constitutional protection for the right to a healthy environment, I believe we will continue to find that our environmental protection laws do not go far enough to address the challenges that we face today – including species decline, climate change, toxic pollutants.

When you’re not at CELA, what do you like to do? Professionally, I continue to run my practice Lintner Law and dabble in teaching at Queen’s University. Personally, I like to spend time with my family: playing board games, watching movies, going on the odd hike within and around Kingston, visiting museums and national historic sites, and taking our annual backcountry canoe trip.