June 2015 Bulletin


New CELA report recommends Canada and U.S. keep toxics out of the Great Lakes

CELA, along with over 20 environmental groups in Canada and the U.S., released a report which included recommendations on how both countries could reduce toxic chemicals in the Great Lakes. Regulators need to make progress under the current Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) by expanding its list of chemicals of concern and putting in place stronger preventative and precautionary measures for keeping toxic chemicals out of the lakes.The report, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Roadmap on Toxic Chemicals: Advancing Prevention by Promoting Safer Alternatives, and a joint letter were sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada. The report reviewed the implementation efforts under the 2012 GLWQA on Chemicals of Mutual Concern, and included recommendations for improvement.

Public hearing on leaking landfill concludes

After weeks of detailed technical evidence, the public hearing on the leaking Richmond Landfill Site concluded when the parties presented their final arguments to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. The hearing was initiated by an appeal filed by CELA in 2012 on behalf of the Concerned Citizens Committee of Tyendinaga and Environs (CCCTE), which raised concerns about the inadequacy of the landfill’s approval to safeguard the environment and local residents. The landfill was closed in 2011, but will continue to generate contaminated liquid for decades. Recent investigations have confirmed that contaminated liquid (called “leachate”) from the Richmond Landfill Site has impacted the local groundwater, moved at least 500 metres onto neighbouring properties, and contaminated nearby residential water wells. This leachate plume contains numerous toxic chemicals, including 1,4-Dioxane, which is a potential carcinogen.


Ontario’s groundbreaking neonic regulations released

On July 1, Ontario will finalize a regulation to dramatically reduce the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and help to protect pollinators. Neonicotinoid pesticides or “neonics” are a highly controversial class of pesticides implicated in a global decline of bees and other pollinator species. “Like the province-wide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides enacted in 2009, Ontario has accomplished another first in North America – the first to regulate broad restrictions on the use of neonics in agriculture,” said CELA’s senior researcher Kathleen Cooper.

NGOs respond to nanoscale substances on the Domestic Substances List

CELA, Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba (CSM) and Prevent Cancer Now (PCN) submitted comments in response to the consultation document “Proposed Approach to Address Nanoscale Forms of Substances on the Domestic Substances List (DSL),” released in March 2015. Our comments included a list of nanoparticles that could be on the DSL but aren’t listed, and echoed our ongoing concerns that the current New Substances Regulation Framework suffers from a lack of transparency.

Raising awareness about the dangers of glyphosate

Canadians are highly exposed to products containing glyphosate, a non-selective herbicide widely registered in Canada for numerous uses. Glyphosate is contained in no fewer than 169 registered pest control products in Canada, including in 34 domestic class products and is believed to create unacceptable risks to human health. Along with seven other organizations, CELA submitted comments to federal health minister Rona Ambrose with several recommendations to conserve biodiversity, restore environmental quality and promote human health for Canadians.


SPOTLIGHT: Radon in Indoor Air: Policy and Law Across Canada

CELA developed a slide presentation that was used during videoconference to a Commons Standing Committee on Health, Review of Lung Cancer in Canada. The presentation includes recommendations for federal action on radon, and examines current legal protections.

Feds long overdue in regulating DecaBDE in imported, manufactured products

CELA and three other leading environmental organizations have expressed grave concerns about proposed amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012, that exclude a long overdue commitment to restrict DecaBDE in imported electronics, plastics, and textiles. DecaBDE is among the highly toxic class of chemicals called PBDEs used in three commercial flame retardant mixtures: PentaBDE, OctaBDE and DecaBDE. In February 2007 we filed a formal Notice of Objection to regulations announced in 2006 that banned the import of two out of three PBDE commercial mixtures, notably those no longer in production, but exempted DecaBDE, the most widely used mixture. Our Notice of Objection argued that the government’s scientific assessment of DecaBDE was outdated, a conclusion that prompted subsequent government scientific reviews that ultimately agreed with us. The latest federal inaction on DecaBDE in imported products also relies on out of date information about international DecaBDE production, failing to account for its production in Asian countries and thus its use in imported products that need to be restricted to prevent continued exposure and consequent health risks in Canada.

CELA responds to proposed amendments prohibiting toxic substances

Along with Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba (CSM) and KAN Centre for Environment and Development, CELA submitted several recommendations in response to the proposed “Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.” These regulations, in force since 2013, prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, or import of specific toxic substances and products containing them, with some exemptions. The proposed amendments add five substances to the regulations, a very worthwhile move, but with loopholes CELA sought to close. In addition to the comments concerning the need to also restrict DecaBDE in imported products (noted above, CELA urged that the regulations consider the full life cycle of the chemical including the impacts of recycling, disposal, end-of-life considerations (including stockpiles) as well as exports of toxic substances. The lack of consideration of the life cycle of the toxic substances and the application of safer alternatives to the substances would result in continued releases of these toxic chemicals to the environment and exposure to human health.

Work with CELA!

We are currently accepting applications until July 3rd for an articling student for the 2016 to 2017 articling year. The articling student deals directly with individuals seeking legal information, giving the student valuable practice in dealing with the public and potential clients. The articling student also gains background with respect to the process of developing policy as part of CELA’s law reform activities.