September 2018 Bulletin

Photo: Colourful Trail by Rod Brazier/Flickr

News & Activities

Commenting on the PMRA’s re-evaluation of imidacloprid

In August, CELA joined four environmental organizations in making a submission to the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) about its proposed re-evaluation of imidacloprid and its end use products (PRVD2018-12). We proposed 14 actions the PMRA could take to phase-out the pesticide imidacloprid, such as investigating the effectiveness of label statements, recognizing the risks of imidacloprid and deregistering non-agricultural turf products, and working with other agencies to expand training in Integrated Pest Management and pest assessment techniques.

Strengthening the climate change strategic impact assessment

CELA made a submission to the Government of Canada regarding its Discussion Paper: Developing a Strategic Assessment of Climate Change. Canada invited public comments on how climate change implications should be considered during project assessments. Unfortunately, the approach as proposed by Canada adopted a narrow view of a project’s greenhouse gas emissions, by ignoring downstream climate effects. It also proposed exempting certain projects from review based on a project’s perceived climate attributes. CELA reiterated that Canada’s climate change record cannot improve if decisions continue to be made without accurately understanding a project’s impacts on Canada’s international climate change commitments.


Photo: The new Green Budget Coalition’s Recommendations for Budget 2019.

Green Budget Coalition’s recommendations for Budget 2019

The Green Budget Coalition (GBC) brings together 21 of Canada’s leading environmental and conservation organizations, to make recommendations to the federal government about approaches to protect the environment in the upcoming budget. The GBC’s new 56-page report makes recommendations that the Government of Canada can take in five featured areas to tackle toxics and pesticides, phase out fossil fuel subsidies and non-tax support, deliver on Canada’s commitments to sustainable agriculture, deliver 21st century management for freshwater protection, and conserve the biodiversity and health of our oceans. The coalition also makes numerous complementary recommendations related to climate change, environmental science, plastics, First Nations drinking water and more.

Addressing the sewage issue in Ontario’s Porcupine Lake

CELA is working with the Friends of the Porcupine River Watershed to address a longstanding sewage bypass issue into Porcupine Lake, and non-compliance by Timmins with a Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks order to address the issue. We are working toward establishing a public liaison committee with the City of Timmins to formalize public engagement and recognize citizen expertise. Timmins has agreed to begin the process of establishing the committee this fall.


Photo: Canadian Museum of Human Rights by Dominic Ali/CELA

Experts discuss nuclear fears at Winnipeg law conference

CELA counsel Kerrie Blaise participated in the second annual Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament: Controls, Defence and Diplomacy conference held on the International Day of Peace at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Hosted by the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, the assembled experts in international and humanitarian law discussed the impacts of nuclear uses, with an emphasis on the right to peace and freedom from nuclear fear. CELA’s presentation, which reviewed Canada’s nuclear legacy wastes and the effects of proposed changes to Canada’s environmental assessment laws, will appear in the next volume of the legal text Nuclear Non-Proliferation in International Law.

CELA launches pilot project in northern Ontario

CELA has expanded its legal services in northern Ontario. Over the next nine months, CELA counsel Kerrie Blaise will connect with communities, concerned citizens and local groups to increase access to environmental justice. “We hope to increase our reach in communities which have been historically underserved,” said Executive Director and Counsel, Theresa McClenaghan.


Photo: Catching the Sunset by Neil Cornwall/Flickr

Hamilton Beach Brands Canada Inc. v. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

The Ontario Divisional Court recently released its decision on the Hamilton Beach case, involving the interpretation of the scope of section 18 of the Environmental Protection Act. The Ministry Director had issued an order under section 18 requiring the company, a tenant operating on the property, to delineate contamination emanating from the property which had spread off-site. The company challenged the order on the grounds that it was not the person who had caused the initial discharge. CELA intervened on behalf of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and itself to uphold the order. The Court ruled that the Director had jurisdiction to issue the off-site order even though the company had not caused the initial discharge. The company has sought leave to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Open letter regarding the Mercosur and Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreements

CELA worked with eight other organizations in responding to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) consultations about the ongoing negotiations of the Canada-Mercosur and Canada-Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreements. The opening-up of trade in the Mercosur and Pacific-Alliance countries, accompanied by CETA and CPTPP environment chapters which lack stringent and enforceable obligations, will increase existing pressures on land, water and the environment. In light of Canadian multinationals’ demonstrated disregard for upholding environmental and social values, we are deeply concerned by Canada’s promotion of trade and investment in the natural resource and extractive sectors when there is not an accompanying imposition of binding environment and climate, labour and Indigenous rights standards.

Expressing concern about the Ontario Premier’s provision for Bill 31

The Community Legal Clinic Directors which includes CELA, expressed concern with the Ontario government’s introduction of legislation that includes a provision relying on the “notwithstanding clause” the proposed Efficient Local Government Act. We urged Attorney General Caroline Mulroney to consider a different path forward.

On the CELA Blog


Photo: March to Stop Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline by Sally T. Buck/Flickr

Pipelines, environmental assessment and the rule of law

The Federal Court of Appeal recently overturned the Government of Canada’s approval of Kinder Morgan’s proposal to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline system that currently runs from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. In CELA’s view, the case largely turns on the rule of law. In essence, the Court found that the Trans Mountain approval was unlawfully issued due to non-compliance with applicable legal requirements, as described above. CELA counsel Rick Lindgren explains in this blog post.

Faces of CELA

Interview with Theresa McClenaghan

CELA’s executive director Theresa McClenaghan discusses CELA, the formation of the Co-op, and some of CELA’s current work on social and environmental justice in this 12-minute interview