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Community Right to Know E-Bulletin (January 2007)

In this edition:

1. Victory! Provincial Government Bans Used Oil Burning
2. Provincial NDP introduce Community Right to Know Act
3. Toronto’s New Council - Up To The Environmental Challenge?
4. Update on Toronto Public Health’s “Access to Environmental Information” Strategy

5. Upcoming CRTK Citizen’s Guide Workshop - You’re Invited!

1. Provincial Government Bans Used Oil Burning

On Thursday January 11th the Ontario government introduced a draft regulation to ban the burning of used oil in space heaters. Burning used oil releases highly toxic pollutants into our air and the ban will serve to better protect public health and the environment. About 700 facilities such as auto repair centres and dealerships throughout Ontario burn the equivalent of 2.5 million oil changes for heat. They will have until June1 2009 to divert their used oil rather than discharging it into the environment. No new approvals will be issued.

In the spring of 2006 TEA disclosed information on over 40 facilities in Toronto that have the right to burn motor oil (see map attachment below)even though the City of Toronto passed a bylaw banning the practice in 2000.

TEA’s disclosure triggered outcry from the City of Toronto and resident groups; thank you for lending your voice and taking action on this campaign!The ban will not only improve air quality but will also remove a potential health threat to workers and local residents.

2. Provincial NDP introduce Community Right to Know Act

ACT REQUIRING LABELLING OF CARCINOGENS IN CONSUMER PRODUCTS PASSES SECOND READING

In early December, the Ontario legislature took another step forward toward making Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to identify carcinogens on consumer product labels and to give communities comprehensive information about pollutants emitted into their environment by passing the Community Right to Know Act Bill 164, at second reading. Tabled by NDP Environment Critic Peter Tabuns, this legislation has now been directed to go to the Regulations and Private Bills committee.

Community Right to Know legislation is a fixture in jurisdictions like California, Vermont and the European Union, in contrast, Ontario and Canada as whole lag far behind.

Under California’s twenty-year-old community right to know initiative, manufacturers are required to disclose to consumers that a known or suspected toxin is present in a product, via information labels. This initiative has prompted businesses on several occasions to remove known or suspected carcinogens from commercial goods.

Comprehensive pollution inventories in the United States have also helped communities in pressing government and industry to implement strategies that lower emissions.

A host of environmental groups and health advocates, including the Toronto Environmental Alliance, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, have long called for Community Right to Know measures and have endorsed Tabuns’ bill.

3. Toronto’s New Council - Up To The Environmental Challenge?

In November 2006, Toronto elected a new council, and among the winners were seven new councillors. The composition of the new council marked a decided shift toward green issues. TEA’s candidate report card shows that the Mayor and over half of the elected council received high marks on their candidate survey and/or their past environmental voting record. To see the survey results go to here:

TEA's campaign for a Community Right to Know (CRTK) bylaw was one area of specific interest in our survey. TEA sees this campaign as the biggest environmental issue to engage City Council since the Pesticide bylaw debate in 2003.

Our air and water quality suffer daily from industrial pollution, yet we have no right to know when our community is being polluted. The City couldgive us that right by adopting a CRTK bylaw to tackle pollution andmandating companies to create pollution prevention plans, and report ontheir use of dangerous toxics.

Council needs to deliver on its promise, made over six years ago, and make a push for this bylaw early in its new term in order to win our respect. If they do so, they will set a new precedent for pollution disclosure and prevention in Canada. Expect the industry lobby to shake Council’s resolve. Also expect TEA to stand firm in defence of the environment.

4. Update on Toronto Public Health’s “Access to Environmental Information” Strategy

Toronto Public Health (TPH) recently held stakeholder consultations with industry, community and environmental groups and they also consulted with City Divisions to gain an understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with developing a publicly accessible environmental reporting program in Toronto. A TPH report is expected out in early spring. TEA will keep you informed of it’s release and how to get involved at City Hall.Past reports are available at:

www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/enviro_info.htm

Along with reports, this website includes summaries of stakeholder consultations and offers people the opportunity to contribute their opinions via email phone or fax.

 

5. Upcoming CRTK Citizen’s Guide Workshop - You’re Invited!

The guide is full of great information including an explanation of what CRTK is, benefits of CRTK, how to access current environmental information, how to start good neighbour campaign, U.S. CRTK examples, what the City of Toronto needs to do etc...

Workshops... please sign up your community group and we’ll help organize the meeting. The next workshop will be held on:

Date: Monday February 12 2007
Where: Thistletown Community Centre 925 Albion Rd. (one block east of Islington) North Etobicoke
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm Snacks and beverages included. Please RSVP to Lina Cino lina@torontoenvironment.org or 416-596-0660. ________________________________________________

For more information about the CRTK E-Bulletin or to subscribe click below:https://lists.annares-net.org/lists/listinfo/crtk-tea