September 2017 Bulletin

News & Activities

Green Budget Coalition releases Budget 2018 recommendations

CELA is a member of the Green Budget Coalition (GBC), which is comprised of 19 leading Canadian environmental organizations. Each year the GBC explores Canada’s most pressing environmental issues and makes a consolidated set of recommendations to the federal government regarding strategic budgetary opportunities. For 2018, the GBC recommends that the federal government invest in protecting land, inland waters and oceans; environmentally sustainable agriculture; fish habitat protection and restoration; and international climate financing. The 48-page report also outlines other recommendations related to climate change and energy sustainability, environmental data and science, in addition to infrastructure, environmental laws, water monitoring, and funding for species conservation. (The report is also available in French.)

Clash over role of CNSC in federal EAs

The Expert Panel on federal environmental assessment (EA) reform found that in order to restore public trust, regulatory bodies–such as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)–should no longer conduct project assessments under national EA legislation. The Expert Panel recommended establishing a new independent authority to conduct all federal assessments, including those related to major energy projects. However, the federal government released a discussion paper which inexplicably rejects the Expert Panel’s advice, and instead proposes that the CNSC should co-lead or jointly conduct EAs. CELA has submitted a detailed letter which concludes that the CNSC should not be assigned any EA jurisdiction, and explains why the Expert Panel’s recommendation should be implemented.


Photo credit: Ryan Paulsen/Flickr

CCRCA petition seeks halt to EA of radioactive waste

CELA’s clients, Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area (CCRA), are urging the public to sign an e-petitioncalling on the federal government to halt all environmental assessments (EA) for proposed permanent radioactive waste disposal sites until the EA Process is revised in 2018. The petition now has roughly 1200 signatures, and you must be a Canadian citizen or resident to sign.

CNSC’s latest nuclear substances oversight report lacks environmental reporting

CELA counsel Morten Siersbaek and Kerrie Blaise will appear before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in October, as part of its annual regulatory oversight reporting on the use of nuclear substances in CanadaCELA’s submission to the CNSC details the lack of environmental reporting and protection considerations in the CNSC’s report that covers more than 2000 proponents licensed to use nuclear substances in Canada. CELA recommends that the CNSC publicly report on licensee environmental protection compliance, and comment on improvements in responding to roadway accidents and releases involving nuclear substances.

NEB grants 30-day suspension of Energy East Pipeline application

The National Energy Board (NEB) recently approved a 30-day suspension of the Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline project applications requested by TransCanada. The suspension follows a recent decision by the NEB that found indirect, upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions would factor into its public interest determination of the projects. CELA’s client, Environmental Defence, posted this statement about the decision on its website: “Apparently you can teach an old dog new tricks. The NEB has finally listened to Canadians and agreed to study the climate impacts of Energy East, as well as whether the pipeline makes economic sense in a carbon-constrained world. This is a step in the right direction.”


Photo credit: Rick Lindgren/CELA

New book chronicles Richmond landfill fight

CELA’s longest-standing client, Concerned Citizens’ Committee of Tyendinaga & Environs, has worked diligently since the late 1990s to successfully oppose the proposed mega-expansion of the Richmond Landfill near Napanee, Ontario. The group’s efforts have now been chronicled in the book Fighting Dirty: How a Small Community Took on Big Trash (Between the Lines, 2017) written by toxicologist Dr. Poh-Gek Forkert. The book can be ordered via email or from the publisher.

Organizations respond to U.S. and Canadian proposals on PCBs and HBCDs in the Great Lakes Basin

Over 45 organizations coordinated by the Toxics Free Great Lakes Network (a binational organization coordinated by CELA, National Wildlife Federation, Citizens Environment Alliance, and WaterLegacy) responded to the U.S. and Canadian governments’ draft Binational Strategies on PCBs and HBCDs under Annex 3 (Chemicals of Mutual Concern) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). The organizations seek stronger binational actions in support of pollution prevention and virtual elimination measures outlined under the GLWQA along with a commitment to assess and require safe alternatives to these toxic substances. For more information on the Toxics Free Great Lakes Network, contact CELA researcher Fe de Leon.

Blog & Upcoming Events

Overpromising and underdelivering on federal EA reform

Things looked promising earlier this year for Parliamentary action to repair the regressive changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) enacted by the previous government. But recent developments call into question whether the current federal government will actually attempt to fix the broken CEAA regime. CELA counsel Rick Lindgren explains why Canada’s federal environmental assessment needs to be revamped in order to regain public trust.

CELA’s ED to speak The Charter and the Environment

CELA’s Executive Director Theresa McClenaghan will be participating on a panel devoted to “The Charter and the Environment” on November 28 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel’s Osgoode Ballroom
 (123 Queen St West, Toronto). This panel is part the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Special Lectures 2017.

EduTOX Video Challenge for young filmmakers

Learn more about the EduTOX Video Challenge.

The EduTOX Video Challenge is now open and runs until November 13. The challenge gives aspiring filmmakers aged 14 to 22 an opportunity to promote awareness and action on the environment and health. The goal is for young artists to create a compelling short video (1-2 mins) that gets Canadians thinking and taking action to reduce the health effects of harmful toxins or climate change. Videos can be submitted in any language (as long as there are English or French subtitles) and by individuals or groups.