Where’s the Protection? A Webinar Series on the Review and Reform of the Canadian Environment Protection Act

Wednesdays – September 21, October 12, 19, and 26, 2022
1:00 – 2:15 pm ET

(2:00-3:15pm Atlantic, 12:00-1:15pm Central, 11:00am-12:15pm Mountain, 10:00-11:15am Pacific)

The Canadian Government will likely introduce Bill S-5, an Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), into the House of Commons this fall. CEPA regulates everything from the most dangerous pollutants, to plastic manufactured items, to genetically engineered animals.

The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Nature Canada invite you to a webinar series discussing CEPA reform and the need to significantly strengthen the Act. We hope that the webinar series will generate discussion and encourage others to engage in the CEPA reform process.

Registration is required for each webinar, please see individual links for each webinar below.

Webinar 1: The Problem

This webinar aired on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.  The recording is below.

Click here to access Miriam Diamond’s slide deck.
Click here to access the opening and closing slides.

Dr. Miriam Diamond, University of Toronto
Dr. Mark Winfield, York University

Miriam Diamond is a professor at the University of Toronto with a research focus on understanding chemical contaminants from emissions through to human and ecosystem exposure. She is active in promoting sound chemicals management at national to international scales, having been the co-chair of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan Science Committee and Ontario’s Toxic Reduction Scientific Expert Panel. She is now a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environmental Facility and Vice-Chair of the International Panel on Chemical Pollution. Miriam is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Mark Winfield is a Professor of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. He is also Co-Chair of the Faculty’s Sustainable Energy Initiative, and Coordinator of the Joint Master of Environmental Studies/Juris Doctor program offered in conjunction with Osgoode Hall Law School. He was involved extensively in the first CEPA review, and chaired the biotechnology caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network.

Webinar 2: The Fix

1:00 – 2:15 p.m. ET, Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Click here to register to attend this webinar.

Senator Rosa Galvez, Member of Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resource
Joseph Castrilli, Lawyer, CELA
Hugh Benevides, Advisor, Nature Canada

CELA-Nature Canada will be joined by Senator Rosa Galvez, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources; Joseph Castrilli, Counsel, CELA; and Hugh Benevides, Advisor, Nature Canada to share the highlights of the parliamentary process on Bill S-5 as well as the solutions needed to address and strengthen Bill S-5 as it heads into the House of Commons.

Webinar 3: CEPA and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

1:00 – 2:15 p.m. ET, Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Click here to register to attend this webinar.  

More details of this webinar will be posted soon.

Senator Mary Jane McCallum, Member of Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resource
Joshua McNeely, Director of Environment, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Other panelists to be confirmed

Dr. Mary Jane McCallum is a First Nations woman of Cree heritage and an advocate for social justice who, over the course of her distinguished career, has provided dental care to First Nations communities across Manitoba. She is a non-affiliated senator from Manitoba and sits on the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources. Joshua McNeely was formerly Executive Director of Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council and presented to the Senate Committee earlier this year on Bill S-5.

Webinar 4: CEPA and the Regulation of Biotechnology and Electromagnetic Frequency

1:00 – 2:15 p.m. ET, Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Click here to register to attend this webinar.  

More details of this webinar will be posted soon.

Meg Sears, PhD, Prevent Cancer Now
Mark Butler, Senior Advisor, Nature Canada
Other panelists to be confirmed

With Prevent Cancer Now, Meg Sears champions healthy, sustainable choices by individuals, and on behalf of the public by governments – choices based on rigorous science, via laws, policy and regulation. At the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, she focuses on information and methods to link environmental exposures to health. Mark Butler was formerly Policy Director with Ecology Action Centre and first became engaged in biotechnology issues as a result of the world’s first genetically engineered food animal, an Atlantic salmon, being raised in Prince Edward Island.

Background on CEPA and Bill S-5

The Canadian government is at a critical phase in reforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). CEPA is Canada’s main environmental legislation and addresses a range of pollution matters including evaluation and management of toxic substances, biotechnology products in the Canadian market, pollution prevention, ocean dumping, and public engagement in the decision-making process.
In the coming weeks, Bill S-5 (Amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act) will be introduced in the House of Commons. The Senate completed its review and amendments of the Bill in June of this year. Bill S-5 remains largely unchanged from the bill that was first introduced in the Senate in the Spring of 2022, with a few exceptions to specific proposals on the right to a healthy environment, and evaluation and management of biotechnology products. The new Bill contains no proposals to strengthen the management of toxic substances, particularly for carcinogens and endocrine disrupting substances and there are no changes that require the Government to institute mandatory pollution prevention and consideration of safe alternatives.

Robust changes to CEPA are urgently needed during the upcoming parliamentary process if CEPA is to be protective of the environment and health in the coming years. This four-part webinar series will take place between September to October and will demonstrate the need for the following amendments to CEPA:

  • Apply the precautionary principle and preventative measures through mandatory pollution prevention on toxic substances including cancer-causing substances and endocrine disrupting substances,
  • Improve enforcement tools in CEPA to support the proposals for the right to a healthy environment,
  • Strengthen requirements to consider the impacts of toxic substances on vulnerable groups and the environment
  • Overhaul evaluation and transparency of decisions made on Biotechnology products,
  • Add evaluation of Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF),
  • Establish National Air Quality Standards, and
  • Improve public participation and the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

CELA and Nature Canada want you to engage in the upcoming parliamentary process. The webinars will highlight where your support and voices can be added during the parliamentary process in the coming weeks.

For more information on CEPA, click here to visit the law reform page.

For more information, contact: Fe de Leon, MPH, Researcher and Paralegal, Canadian Environmental Law Association at deleonf@cela.ca or at 416-960-2284 ext 7223