May 2014 Bulletin

Federal Court prohibits new nuclear plants


In a major success for environmentalists and renewable energy supporters, a landmark Federal Court ruling earlier this month has halted the construction of new nuclear reactors in Ontario. The Federal Court threw out the approvals for building new reactors at Darlington noting in its ruling the need for the review panel to reconvene or a new review panel to be formed in order to properly consider the environmental effects of radioactive waste, severe accidents and hazardous emissions. “This is a win for Canadians,” said Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

CELA commentary on potential nuclear emergencies

In a blog this week, CELA’s Theresa McClenaghan notes that provincial and federal authorities and nuclear operators have conducted a major emergency planning exercise at the Darlington nuclear plant without involving the public. Citing a consultant’s report obtained by Greenpeace under Ontario’s access to information law, she notes that Ontario Power Generation is well aware of widespread lack of public awareness about basic measures necessary in the event of a nuclear emergency. Earlier this month, in a letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CELA examined recommendations for improving and strengthening the lacklustre emergency planning procedures in Canada’s nuclear power plants.

Good news for Monarch butterflies!

Milkweed has been officially removed from the Schedule of Noxious Weeds under Ontario’s Weed Control Act. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed and the caterpillars eat it, making it an important food source. This is especially important for human agriculture since butterflies and other pollinating insects help produce crops. Over 1800 Ontarians, including CELA, commented on this proposal with the majority in support.

Move the GTHA urges Ontarians to support transit on June 12


As the provincial election approaches on June 12, CELA is among the many supporting organizations in Move the GTHA’sefforts to build support for investment in the regional transportation system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Ontario voters are being urged to tell candidates from all parties about the importance of fixing Ontario’s overcrowded transportation system. Before June 12, they encourage residents to share their commuting experiences on social media at #VoteTransit, and ask candidates important questions about transit funding.

Transit advocates have also organized the Transport Futures Forum, coming up on June 16th that will feature a debate with Toronto’s mayoral candidates, as well as other international experts. See more at:

Arsenic in drinking water is Ontario’s failure

Despite the fact that most arsenic in drinking water arises from natural sources, it’s just as important to regulate it as any other toxic substance. CELA’s student intern Usman Javed explains the reasons why CELA advocates the endorsement of the Health Canada guideline for Ontario’s legally binding standard.

Ontario’s Living List – A Dead Thing?

CELA’s Joe Castrilli and Fe de Leon have developed a helpful guide to the Living List Framework that falls under the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE)’s Toxics Reduction Act. This framework governs the reviews and changes to the list of prescribed substances under the Act. CELA also sent a letter to the Ontario Ministry of Environment which includes more information on the Living List.

Recycling regulations needed for end-of-life vehicles


Based on current estimates, approximately 650,000 vehicles are taken off the road each year in Ontario. As a result, the province faces a growing challenge to dispose and process the hazardous materials from vehicles that have reach the end of their useful life. CELA submitted a list of suggestions and recommendations about proposed recycling regulations the province could use as the basis for future legislation.

Help wanted at CELA – Articling Position for 2015-2016

CELA is currently seeking an articling student for 2015 to 2016. This position offers the student valuable practice dealing with the public and potential clients. The articling student will also gain experience in developing policy as part of CELA’s law reform activities.

In addition, CELA is seeking an enthusiastic and energetic Digital Archivist for up to four days per week for two years.

CELA seeks home for large environmental publications archive

CELA and our Resource Library on the Environment and the Law will be moving within the next two years. We have to significantly downsize. This unique RLEL collection contains many essential publications on environmental law and policy relevant to Ontario, Canada, and other countries. Many of these documents are no longer in circulation or in publicly accessible libraries, and most are not online. In the first of three offers this year, CELA has provided a list of library catalogue headings and a list of publications and documents available for donation. Please see the website for more details.