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CELA is a non-profit specialty legal aid clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario. We work to protect human health and our environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution and by working to change policies to prevent such problems in the first place. We provide free legal services to people and groups across Ontario that qualify for legal aid.

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The CELA Foundation supports CELA’s research and educational work on environmental law and justice issues through extensive resources available to the public and in support of the environmental law and policy community. The Foundation also helps CELA mentor and train the next generation of environmental lawyers.

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CELA counsel represent Ontario residents and community groups who qualify for legal aid. Representation occurs in the courts and before tribunals on matters of environmental law. CELA’s lawyers have achieved some of the most important environmental law victories and precedent-setting cases in Canada.

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CELA's Latest Activities

Discover staff blog posts, publications, reports, alerts, and media releases.

Webinar: Bill C-28: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

CELA law interns presented their  research in Bill C-28: The good, the Bad and the Ugly highlighting the review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, aimed at students, with a focus on proposals to the bill in the evaluation and listing of toxic substances, consideration of Gender Based Analysis, and the importance of a federal commitment to protect vulnerable groups from toxic substances. 

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Blog: Environmental Justice in a Nuclear Age

In the quest to produce greener and more efficient energy, we cannot overlook the lifecycle impacts of energy production and their potential interactions with existing systemic inequities. Case in point, is nuclear power, which has been largely presented as a clean form of energy. However, the entire life cycle of nuclear energy production—from uranium mining to radioactive waste storage—must be considered. There are health risks and costs along the way, and already vulnerable people risk continue to risk bear them under the status quo.

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Heat-related Death Tracking in Ontario

A Letter from CELA and other legal aid clinics was sent to the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario expressing their concern about the increasing impact of extreme heat on our client communities. Vulnerable people are more prone to heat-related death. With the climate crisis worsening, it is essential that the Coroner’s Office improves its tracking of heat-related deaths to better capture the true impact of extreme heat and to allow for government policy to address the full extent of the problem.

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Casework: Judicial Review of Bill 197 - COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020​

On behalf of several environmental organizations and individuals, CELA sought a judicial review in Divisional Court of the statutory decision by two Ontario Cabinet Ministers that denied our clients and other members of the public their legal right to be notified and consulted on environmentally significant legislative amendments contained in Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020) before they were enacted by the Ontario Legislature on July 21, 2020. These amendments include changes to the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA), the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) and the Planning Act.

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