January 2020 Bulletin

Inside CELA

CELA Turns 50!

For more than 50 years, CELA has been on the frontlines, fighting to make our environment cleaner, healthier, and safer for everyone.

Through client representation projects like the Walkerton Inquiry, intervening in environmental cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, providing legal aid services to ensure low-income and vulnerable clients have a seat at the table, and championing legal reform, CELA has helped to shape environmental policy in Canada over the past 50 years and continues to do so today.

We want to celebrate with you – our clients, partners, and colleagues. Stay tuned for news of a 50th Anniversary event, coming soon!

50 year

2019 Annual Report

CELA’s 2019 Annual Report provides highlights of our casework, public legal education, and law reform work.

As a specialty clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario, CELA’s primary focus is on assisting and empowering low-income people and disadvantaged communities. We help to provide access to justice and ensure public participation in environmental decision-making.

annual report 2019

Upcoming Events

Porcupine Watershed Open House

CELA’s Northern Services Counsel Kerrie Blaise, along with all Porcupine Watershed Public Liaison Committee members, will be hosting a public open-house on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. From 4-8pm everyone is welcome to drop in at the Maurice Londry Centre in South Porcupine to ask questions and learn about the health of Porcupine Lake.

porcupine watershed event

QELC Environmental Law Career Panel

CELA Special Projects Counsel, Healthy Great Lakes, Anastasia Lintner will be speaking at the Queen’s Environmental Law Club’s annual Career Panel on February 28, 2020.

Panel Discussion on Carbon Pricing Case

On February 27th, CELA lawyer Rick Lindgren will be participating in a panel discussion at the Queen’s University Faculty of Law in relation to the carbon pricing case.

CELA’s Executive Director’s Upcoming Speaking Event

CELA’s Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan will be speaking at Trinity College at the University of Toronto next month on the topics of climate change and vulnerable communities. Her talks will highlight the lack of legal protection for those communities in most current approaches to climate regulation.

Theresa will also be speaking to other University of Toronto students and their colleagues from law schools across Canada at the 2020 Runnymede Society’s Law & Freedom Conference on February 29, 2020. In a debate arguing that Canada’s carbon pricing law is constitutional, Theresa will be joined on the “for” side by MP Elizabeth May. The weekend organized by Runnymede Society promises to provide stimulating discussions with a keynote by retired Supreme Court Justice Rothstein among others.

Budget 2020 Consultations

Public ideas on the provincial government’s spending priorities for the 2020 Budget can be submitted until February 11, 2020. There are several ways to participate.

Public Legal Education This Month

Community Feedback on Proposed Ring of Fire Projects

The Friends of the Attawapiskat River retained CELA to facilitate their involvement in two impacts assessment for Ring of Fire projects currently before the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada for review. In an effort to gather community feedback the Friends visited the communities of Timmins, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat from January 15-20, 2020.

Travelling over 600 km from Timmins to Attawapiskat by seasonal winter and ice roads, CELA’s Northern Services Counsel, Kerrie Blaise, with the Friends visited elders, community members and youth to collect their feedback. This submission from the Friends is a compilation of the messages and views we heard directly from leadership, community members, elders and youth during our week-long tour to James Bay communities.

classroom attawapiskatPhoto Credit: Kerrie Blaise

CELA Lawyer Delivers Guest Lectures

In January, CELA lawyer Richard Lindgren delivered a guest lecture on renewable energy approvals to a wind turbine technician class at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, and a guest lecture on federal and provincial environmental assessment laws to an engineering class at the University of Toronto.

CELA’s Continued Leadership in the Great Lakes St Lawrence Collaborative

CELA’s Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan has continued her expert advisory role for the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Collaborative, funded by Environment Canada and chaired by two former Ontario and Quebec Environment Commissioners, in developing an action agenda to protect human and ecosystem health in the region. The interim Great Lakes Action Plan 2030 was released last summer and the St. Lawrence portion of the plan will be available soon. To sign up for updates or learn more, check out the Collaborative website.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Advisory Committee

Two members of CELA’s legal team, Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan and Northern Services Counsel Kerrie Blaise, sit on an advisory committee to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to provide advice about potassium iodide (KI) pre-distribution as a precaution against an accident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Minutes have been posted online by the Commission.

CELA In The Courts

CELA’s legal team is always busy representing our clients in the courts – while we can’t always talk about this critical, behind-the scenes work, we’re rounding up some key stories for next month’s Bulletin. Watch for our February edition to feature interviews with our lawyers and paralegal staff about their frontline work, fighting to make our environment cleaner, healthier, and safer for everyone.

snowy lakePhoto Credit: Kerrie Blaise

On The Blog

Looking Down The Road – Environmental Law in 2020

As the New Year approaches there are numerous environmental issues that will continue to command the attention of litigators and legislators across Canada.

These issues include air and water pollution, renewable energy, sustainable resource management, waste diversion, plastics reduction, clean-up of contaminated sites, protecting species at risk, conserving wilderness areas, and ensuring drinking water safety in Indigenous communities and Canadian municipalities. [read more on the blog…]

CELA Calls for Review of Ontario’s Clean Water Act

To safeguard public health, CELA recently filed an EBR Application for Review of Ontario’s Clean Water Act in order to better protect water used by non-municipal drinking water systems (e.g. well clusters in small villages and towns). The Environment Ministry must now decide by mid-February 2020 whether it will undertake the review requested by CELA. Read more on CELA’s blog.