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City closer to tougher toxin bylaws

As published in the Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/article/533205

Nov 08, 2008 04:30 AM

VANESSA LU
CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF


The city of Toronto is moving ahead with new sweeping disclosure rules for businesses, both large and small, that emit 25 toxic chemicals into the air.

The bylaw, known as "community right to know," if approved, would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, with a phase-in period for businesses. The collected data would be put on the Internet where residents would be able search for the presence of pollutants in their neighbourhoods.

Toronto's bylaw, which will be considered later this month by the board of health, would be more stringent than existing federal rules and proposed provincial legislation.

Currently, federal rules require only companies that spew large amounts of chemicals to report. It applies to about 350 firms.

Toronto's bylaw would require small and medium-sized businesses – as many as 7,000 – to disclose that information. Failure to do so could incur fines starting at $5,000 for the first offence and $25,000 for the second.

They would include food and beverage manufacturers, printers and publishing companies, automotive repair and maintenance shops, dry cleaning plants and funeral parlours. Gas stations would not be included because they are exempt federally.

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