Making the Links: A Toolkit for Environmental Protections, Health, and Equity

CELA Northern Services presents a new toolkit on environmental rights and public action

Across Canada, low-income individuals and disadvantaged communities bear the disproportionate burden of adverse health and environmental impacts from contaminants that are discharged into air, land and water. The nexus between pollution, poverty, race and ethnicity has prompted civil society, academics, lawyers, and non-governmental organizations to advocate for legal reforms that facilitate access to environmental justice.

This Toolkit has been created to pair critically urgent environmental issues with legal mechanisms for change and public advocacy. It has been developed with and for Indigenous and settler communities, and individuals throughout Northern Ontario. It is meant to be a foundational resource so that both individuals and practitioners can have ready access to solutions for environmental health issues. Part I provides an overview of key terms and concepts, like environmental justice and informed consent, while Part II profiles urgent environmental health issues in the North. Part III provides solutions and how-to guides on getting involved. Each chapter is accompanied by additional reading, found at the end of this guide.

At CELA, we have been working since 1970 to represent the individuals, communities, and First Nations
directly affected by development, environmental hazards and systemic racism and to amplify their voices –
whether in the courts, before law makers or within their community, to precipitate change. This Toolkit was an
ambitious project, supported by the communities and leaders that have worked alongside CELA since the
launch of its Northern Services program in 2019.

While the case studies, stories and profiles within this Toolkit are based in Northern Ontario, their lessons and
calls to action span the province and reflect the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s ongoing
commitment to bring legal aid services to those most affected and underserved in environmental decisionmaking.

We invite you to read, share and explore this Toolkit to learn more about the important role we all share in
advocating for more just, equitable and healthy communities.

Prepared by:
Kerrie Blaise, Northern Services Legal Counsel at CELA
Jane Cooper, JD Candidate (2023) and CELA Summer Student (2021)
ISBN # 978-1-77842-000-9
CELA Publication No. 1431

To download this publication click the following link: CELA_Northern_Services_Making_the_Links