July 2020 Bulletin

Concern Over the Environmental Cost of Ontario’s
post-COVID Economic Recovery Bill

In a massive piece of legislation passed last week as Bill 197, the Ontario government made changes to over 11 different laws, many of them directly affecting the health of our communities and environment.

While the stated intent of the bill was a pandemic economic recovery, it largely ignored worldwide calls for a green and just recovery.

Instead, the bill included a smorgasbord of environmental deregulation. CELA issued a media release (and associated backgrounder) outlining concerns.

Legal staff at CELA completed preliminary analysis of many aspects of the large and complex bill, but the expedited timeline did not allow for submission of full comments. The resources our legal team developed are all available on our website:

Additionally, CELA filed a joint letter with 12 environmental groups to Ontario’s Environment Minister to raise concerns about the lack of public notice in relation to the proposed changes to the Environmental Assessment Act.

Eastern_Fox_Snake_P_BaileyEastern Fox Snake, Parry Sound, Ontario. Photo Credit: Petri Bailey

CELA in the Courts –
An Impressive Track Record Continues

Authored by Krystal-Anne Roussel, Student-at-law

I’m excited to be joining CELA during this 50th anniversary year and to have the opportunity to help continue CELA’s exceptional client representation. CELA’s casework has contributed to some of the most important legal precedents in Canadian environmental litigation.

For 50 years CELA’s casework has been instrumental in protecting low-income and vulnerable communities including protecting drinking water, preventing air pollution, opposing environmentally destructive land use decisions, and preserving key statutory and public participation rights.

This casework has taken different forms in trial and appellate courts as well as environmental tribunals, and has included: judicial review applications, interventions, statutory appeals, civil actions, constitutional references, public inquiries, private prosecutions, and administrative hearings under federal and provincial law. [Read the full post here]CELA_50_years_highlights

Photo of the Month Contest!

Silver Harbour Conservation Area, Ontario. Photo Credit: Sara Desmarais

We are pleased to announce two winners for the first month of our photo contest! Congratulations and thanks go to Crystal Park for great shots from Colborne, Ontario and to Sara Desmarais for submitting a photo over Twitter of Silver Harbour Conservation Area.

Many thanks to all who sent entries – a selection of your lovely photos are featured throughout this month’s Bulletin!

For August, send us a photo of your favourite conservation area or trail. Let’s show our support for the critical role that conservation authorities play in protecting our watersheds by tagging #StepIntoNature! You can send your entry by email to april@cela.ca or over social media tagged #PictureThisCELA

Colborne, Ontario. Photo Credit: Hyunju (Crystal) Park


Proposed Changes to Water-Taking Framework in Ontario

CELA provided comments on the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks’ proposed regulatory changes for managing water-takings in Ontario. The proposal is to amend the Water Taking and Transfer Regulation to establish clear priorities on water uses, provide the Ministry with authority to manage water-takings on an area basis, improve public access to monitoring data and provide municipalities with an opportunity to have input into new and expanded water takings over 379,000 litres per day. The proposed changes, if implemented, would significantly improve the management of water quantity in the province.

Kebaowek First Nation: Pipeline Assessment and Indigenous Jurisdiction

In a precedent-setting case under Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act (IAA), CELA has been retained by Kebaowek First Nation in relation to a multi-jurisdictional impact assessment of a proposed 780 km natural gas pipeline that stretches from northeastern Ontario to southern Quebec.

The pipeline route crosses the unceded, inherent and Aboriginal rights and title territory of our client and other Algonquin First Nations. During the planning phase of the impact assessment, CELA made submissions to various federal authorities, and requested the immediate passage of a regulation that deems and empowers Kebaowek First Nation as a “jurisdiction” under the IAA.

Big_Sandy_Bay_A_Lindgren-TangaBig Sandy Bay, Wolfe Island, Ontario. Photo Credit: Anna Lindgren-Tanga

Exemption of Forestry from the Environmental Assessment Act Sets a Bad Precedent

Ontario has exempted forestry activities from the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act, a move that will negatively impact Ontario’s forests, Indigenous people who depend on the health of those forests to protect their own health, and all the rest of us.

Lack of Progress on Chemicals of Mutual Concern

John Jackson, Co-chair of the Toxics Free Great Lakes Binational Network, recently presented to the Great Lakes Executive Committee, urging them to address the issues that have lead to delays in implementing Annex 3 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which deals with Chemicals of Mutual Concern to Canada and the United States.

Roller Coaster: Michigan’s Long History with Environmental Contamination

This guest blog from Great Lakes author John Hartig looks at 10 incidents of contamination in Michigan’s history.

French_River_M_ClementFrench River, Ontario. Photo Credit: Marlee Clement

Faces of CELA – Amanda Montgomery

What is your role and how long have you been involved with CELA?Amanda_Montgomery

I started as the articling student at CELA in July 2019 and will be staying on at CELA as part-time counsel until October 2020. But I have been orbiting CELA for about 20 years: I have taken courses with Paul Muldoon and David Estrin, and worked with former CELA articling students.
[Read the rest of Amanda’s profile here]

A Host of Great Virtual Opportunities!

Panel – Sustainability in Practice: Reflecting Upon Lessons Learned and Applying Principles of Environmental Justice – Kerrie Blaise, Northern Services Counsel, was a panelist at the Professional Geologists of Ontario online symposium to discuss sustainability and environmental justice. Her presentation can be viewed on our website.

Panel – The Enforcement of Indigenous Environmental Laws: Kerrie Blaise, Northern Services Counsel, was a panelist at this First Nations Land Management Resource Centre online conversation to discuss Indigenous governments and environmental laws.

Environmental Themes of Our Times – Virtual Book Club
CELA’s monthly book club met in July to discuss a chapter of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. For August, the club will discuss Henry David Thoreau’s Walden – read a few chapters of your choice or the whole (short) book. Join the conversation on Tuesday, August 18th at 7pm ET; registration is required.

Indoor Use of Pesticides – Backgrounder on Differences in Risks, Regulation and Necessary Precautions
We’ve added a backgrounder to provide additional and referenced detail to last month’s webinar about this topic explaining the uniqueness of indoor exposure to pesticides, reasons for greater exposure under low income circumstances, toxicity concerns, and a detailed look at differences in, and implications of, how pesticides used indoors are regulated.

Old_Woman_Lake_K_BlaiseOld Woman Bay, Lake Superior. Photo Credit – Kerrie Blaise