*Note: TEA's Good Neighbour Campaign in Etobicoke ended in November 2009.*
This information is archived here to serve as a learning tool about the Good Neighbour Campaign Model.
Who is Fleetwood Fine Furniture?
Fleetwood Fine Furniture is a Canadian-owned Fleetwood Fine Furniture located at 75 Browns Line, Etobicoke. It was established in 1970 and now has approximately 200 employees. It manufacturers high end hotel furniture serving a focused niche – upscale and upper upscale strata of the hospitality industry. Their product can be found in Fairmont, Hilton and Marriott Hotels, within The Blackstone Group, and in luxury locations such as Waldorf-Astoria, Bellagio, and Chateau Lake Louise.
In 2006, Fleetwood was acquired by Counsel Corporation’s Merchant Banking Division, which is an international asset management firm which focuses on “acquiring and building businesses to create shareholder value. Counsel uses its financial and operational expertise to consolidate and expand the businesses in which it invests.”
For more information:Fleetwood Fine Furniture website: www.fleetwoodfinefurniture.com
Counsel Corp website: http://www.counselcorp.com/
Why a Good Neighbour Campaign about Fleetwood?
They are the highest emitter of toluene, xylene and volatile organic compounds in the area. These chemicals impact our children’s development, make it hard to breathe and could damage our liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
Fleetwood is located across the street from a residential area called Alderwood. The community is very concerned about the frequent exposure to chemicals and odours that are emitted from the facility. In particular, residents are concerned about the exposure that their children and the elderly have to bear. For example, Sir Adam Beck School is just north of the manufacturing facility and often the fumes are very strong during the day while the children are outside for recess.
There have been a number of complaints to the Ministry of the Environment and even though Fleetwood is complying with all the provincial standards, the residents hope to work with Fleetwood to raise the standards to a level that is acceptable to the community.
TEA became aware of this issue during our Community Right to Know Campaign (CRTK) where Fleetwood was raised as a toxic concern. Our CRTK campaign advocated for a bylaw that would mandate all business facilities in Toronto that use toxic chemicals to report the chemicals that they use and release and to make this information publicly accessible. The bylaw was passed in December 2008.
What does the Good Neighbour campaign hope to achieve?
The campaign will work with Fleetwood with the goal of reducing their chemical emissions and odours. Our hope is that the Alderwood community and Fleetwood can work together to find a solution to make the community healthier and safer.
This campaign specifically does not seek to close the company down - the goal is make the community healthier and safer by building a working relationship between neighbours and the company.
The campaign is modelled after Ohio Citizen Action’s Good Neighbour Campaigns which has a very impressive history of success. Click here for more information on what a Good Neighbour campaign is.
What can you do?
- Write a letter to Fleetwood.
- If you are directly affected by Fleetwood conduct a pollution log.
- Stay informed, sign up for email campaign updates which will be sent out periodically with ways of getting involved.
How can you access information about local polluters?
The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) requires facilities to disclose release and transfer of approximately 324 chemicals to Environment Canada. Annual reports contain detailed information about onsite air, water and land emissions, as well as document the transfer of hazardous waste for off-site disposal, treatment or recycling.
Companies with 10+ employees, using more than 10 tonnes of listed substances and in concentrations greater than one percent is required to report to the NPRI.
The reports are publicly accessible online: www.ec.gc.ca/npri
The database of reports is searchable by location such as a street, town, chemical, or facility name.
You can also find out similar information including profiles on each chemical at the more user friendly website Pollution Watch which is facilitated by the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Environmental Defence.
How to report smells, releases, and spills
If you smell or see releases or spills from any industry, please report it to Spills Action Centre 1-800-268-6060 or the Pollution Hotline 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477). Your call can make us safer!
How do we know what Fleetwood Releases?
Fleetwood reports annually to the National Pollutant Release Inventory and the amounts are publicly accessible here and from Pollution Watch.
|Volatile Organic Compounds||146||178||179|
For chemical profiles and health effects click on the substance name.
Also, a review of the Ministry of Environment’s records show that for years there have been many complaints about paint / varnish type odours which make residents feel ‘nauseous’, ‘not able to open up their windows’, ‘cannot enjoy being in the backyard’ and ‘worried about what their children are inhaling’. However, little has changed.