May 2018 Bulletin

Photo: Michael/Flickr

News & Activities

Weighing in on the Pickering nuclear station licence renewal

CELA made a 64-page submission in response to the 10-year renewal application for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (NGS). As Canada’s oldest operating nuclear power reactor, the Pickering NGS has a history of poor performance and is a risk to the public. The submission included 32 recommendations ranging from requiring the OPG to undertake greenhouse gas emissions accounting, making all licence documents publicly accessible, and ultimately denying OPG’s application to renew the Pickering NGS.

Evaluating Bruce Power’s emergency and environmental protections

CELA made a presentation to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding Bruce Power’s proposed life extension and refurbishment project. CELA asked the Commission not to grant a 10 year licence which would allow Bruce Power to refurbish the reactors at Bruce B and extend their operating life to 2064. As CELA detailed in its primary and supplemental submissions to the CNSC, it is premature to grant a ten-year licence to Bruce Power. CELA expressed its concern for the licence, given that the proponent is not yet in compliance with Ontario’s revised Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan and a federal environmental assessment has not been conducted despite the complexity of the undertaking.


Photo: Kerrie Blaise/CELA

Analyzing Canada’s free-trade agreement with the E.U.

CELA counsel Kerrie Blaise joined scholars and stakeholders at Dalhousie University in Halifax earlier this month to discuss the implementation and implications of Canada’s free trade agreement with the E.U., the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The day-long workshop featured experts discussing investor rights and disputes, public services, labour mobility, and the environment. CELA commented on the provisions in CETA which could undermine Canada’s domestic ability to enforce and enact environmental laws, noting that CETA’s investment court system was its most controversial inclusion.

Submission on current state and future needs of national energy data

CELA’s Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan recently presented a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources which is conducting a study on the current state and future needs of national energy data. Our submission highlighted the importance of obtaining and analyzing data on energy poverty and impact of national and regional energy policy on low-income consumers. CELA’s presentation was well received and committee members noted this was a new area of discussion. The Committee’s work, including CELA’s presentation, can be heard online (audio only).

Critiquing Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act

The transcript of CELA’s recent presentation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development regarding Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act has now been posted. Like many other witnesses, CELA advised Committee members that the proposed Act is fundamentally flawed and requires substantial amendments in order to achieve its public interest purposes. However, the Committee has now completed its clause-by-clause review of the Act, but has only made a series of minor changes to the legislation. In addition, CELA has submitted critical comments on a federal consultation paper that outlines the criteria that the government will use to designate the types of projects which will be subject to the new impact assessment process under the Act.


Photo: Ray Morris/Flickr

Intervention on s18 EPA authority to address off-site contamination

Lawyers for CELA and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW) recently appeared before a three-judge panel of Divisional Court in Toronto as interveners in an appeal that will decide whether an order issued under section 18 of Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act can apply to historic off-site contamination. The appeal, brought by current and past owners and occupiers of a warehouse facility in Eastern Ontario, sought to overturn a 2017 Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) order requiring them to delineate the extent of historic off-site contamination and a decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal that upheld the order. The appellants argued that an order under section 18 can only apply to contamination that is on-site of an owner’s or occupier’s land and has the potential to migrate off-site at the time the order is made. CELA and LOW argued that the Tribunal decision upholding the MOECC order was consistent with the laws of several other provinces and international law principles. The Divisional Court panel reserved judgment on the appeal with a decision expected in the next few months.

Presentations from the 2018 LIEN conference

The Low-Income Energy Network hosted a conference about “Ensuring Universal Access to Energy” on May 4. CELA is a founding member of the Low-Income Energy Network and CELA Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan identified issues going forward for the network, such as addressing the fundamental unfairness of rural and remote Ontarians paying more for access to energy. The conference materials are available on the LIEN website.


Photo: Ken Lund/Flickr

BLOG: Lessons learned from the Walkerton Tragedy

In May 2000, seven people died and thousands fell seriously ill after consuming contaminated drinking water in Walkerton, Ontario. What have we learned since then? CELA counsel Rick Lindgren weighs in on this issue in his latest blog post.

Calling for increased protection of the Great Lakes

The Toxics Free Great Lakes Network coordinated by CELA, completed a submission to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada calling for both governments to take binational measures towards eliminating toxic flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the Great Lakes basin under Annex 3 (Chemicals of Mutual Concern) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The submission was supported by more than 35 organizations.