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Community Right to Know E-Bulletin (September 2006)

Summer’s over and it’s time to take action!

In this edition:

1. Board of Health adopts TEA’s CRTK recommendations
2. Update on Waste oil burning in Toronto
3. The Community Right-to Know Citizen’s Guide is ready
4. Municipal Elections are coming up! That’s the focus of the next meeting of TEA’s Residents for Safer Communities – and Your Invited!

1. Board of Health adopts TEA’s Community Right-to-Know (CRTK) recommendations.

On June 19, 2006 the Board of Health met to discuss CRTK, TEA was there and the results are promising.  One recommendation was the implementation of a CRTK pilot project at a City of Toronto facility.  This summer, the City chose a facility and the pilot project is underway.  It’s a printing shop on Niagara St. and the pilot project will:

  • Track toxic substance use and discharge through a “materials account balance” method.
  • Develop and implement a pollution prevention plan.
  • Report tracking and pollution prevention plans and activities to the public.

If the City of Toronto takes the lead and cleans up it’s own backyard then it has the experience and moral position to advise the rest of Toronto industry to do the same thing.

The Board of Health also adopted TEA’s guiding principles for a Community Right-to-Know strategy.  Specifically, a Toronto’s CRTK by-law should:

- Ensure a user friendly system for reporting and retrieving information.
- Require small and medium sized facilities to report the use, storage and release of toxic chemicals in their local neighbourhood.
- Focus on toxic chemicals that contribute to occupational and environmental cancer, poor air quality and chemicals which damage children’s health.
- Encourage industries to implement pollution prevention planning and toxic use reduction activities.
- Provide consistent and timely information on toxic chemical use, storage and release in Toronto by location and facility.


City Council has committed to CRTK

In 2000, City Council committed to adopting a “Community Right to Know by-law that empowers community members to know the location, sources and health effects of toxics in their community.” Council stated that the bylaw should include “the collection and dissemination of information concerning historic land use, emissions of toxic pollutants, and the use, manufacture, disposal, and storage of toxic materials and waste.”

In 2002, Council once again committed to CRTK and directed staff to develop a strategy.

In the 2003 municipal election, 26 winning candidates formally committed to supporting a CRTK by-law.

However, it’s 2006 and still no by-law!  We need the City to take action!

2. Update on Waste oil burning in Toronto

As part of our canvass, TEA is handing out hundreds of STOP the Burning of Waste Motor Oil in Toronto pamphlets.  There are over 40 facilities in Toronto that have provincial permits to burn waste motor oil in heating furnaces, releasing a host of carcinogens and heavy metals into the local air.  Although the City of Toronto currently has a by-law that prohibits the burning of waste oil in a heating device, the City Solicitor has advised that provincial permits may supersede the by-law.

TEA has sent out letters to these facilities telling them about your environmental and health concerns. 

Take Action!
Go to tea’s website and download and send a letter to the Provincial Minister of the Environment asking her to stop issuing these permits!  Mail the letter to:
Laurel C. Broten
Minister of the Environment
12th Floor, 135 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1P5
or Email to :   http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/feedback/index.htm

3. The Community Right-to-Know Citizen’s Guide is ready

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

The guide covers a lot of ground on CRTK and TEA will be conducting Citizen’s Guide Workshops... please sign up your community group and we’ll help organize the meeting... set up a workshop for your community! 

    Call TEA at 416-596-0660.

4. Next RSC meeting ...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 7:00pm 
Location :  St. Paul’s United Church, 427 Bloor St. West (just west of Spadina on the south side)... meeting takes place on the main floor in the Chapel Room.

TEA is holding it’s third meeting of “Residents for Safer Communities”, a coalition of residents and community associations that are concerned about toxic pollution in Toronto.  Our second meeting in June was a success, we covered a lot of information and this meeting will be no different.

We will be talking about:
1. Discussing issues and questions for upcoming all-candidate debates.
2. TEA’s election survey for all the candidates.
3. Introduce the Citizen’s Community Right-to-Know Citizen’s Guide.
4. How to start a good neighbour campaign.

Please RSVP to Lina Cino, [email protected] or 416-596-0660.
Hope to see you there!