Action Alert: Tell Premier McGuinty and Your MPP You Want to Know about Toxic Substances in Your Environment
May 4, 2009
With your support, RNAO and our health and environmental partners have achieved potentially powerful Ontario draft legislation to shine a light on the hidden toxics pouring into our environment. This follows on the heels of a tremendous victory with very strong cosmetic pesticide legislation, and we are hoping you can help us win very strong toxics reduction legislation.
The draft legislation is a good start, but significant amendments are necessary. As with the pesticide campaign, industry is fighting hard to weaken the legislation, but RNs have proven to be a powerful force for public health. We are asking you to help by taking two steps: Send a message to the Premier and your MPP and send a similar message to the Environmental Registry. Below, we will give you the information you require and enable you to quickly do both tasks.
Bill 167 is named the Toxics Reduction Act. It is currently being considered by the Legislature, and there is a short window to give MPPs our opinions on the Bill. RNAO supported the Bill when it was first introduced, but called for amendments. The Bill would oblige users of toxic substances to report their use, creation and release of toxics. It would also oblige users to write toxics use reduction plans, but not oblige them to implement them. This imitates the Massachusetts toxics use reduction approach, which resulted in substantial reductions in the use and release of toxics.
Ontario hopes to repeat the Massachusetts success, but the devil is in the details, which are sorely lacking in the Bill. There is not a lot up front, as the Bill puts most of its teeth in regulations, which will be written after the Bill becomes law. Bill 167 lacks any targets; it does not include mandatory substitution of chemicals known to be safer for chemicals known to be toxic; it lacks a funding mechanism for the capacity-building institutions required; it does not establish a toxics use reduction institute of the type that enabled Massachusetts’ success; it could do more to ensure public right to know about toxics in the environment, in the workplace and in consumer products; and it excludes too many emitters (due to exclusion of many toxics, exclusion of all but the biggest emitters and exclusion of many industries).
Now is the time to dramatically change the way toxics are handled in Ontario, as the province undergoes sharp restructuring. Ontarians overwhelmingly support strong action to reduce toxics. RNs can help make that happen.
Tell Premier McGuinty and your MPP you want to know now what toxics are in your environment. And you want the strongest possible action to reduce them.
- RNAO’s initial media release on the Bill and a joint release with partners
- RNAO’s submission on the government toxics reduction discussion paper (PDF)
- Canadian Cancer Society’s poll on Ontarians’ attitudes towards toxics reduction
Action Requested: Tell Premier McGuinty and Your MPP You Want to Know about Toxic Substances in Your Environment
We ask you to take two simple steps to support strong toxics legislation. This can be done very quickly from our website (below)
Send a message to Premier McGuinty and your MPP supporting the draft toxic reduction legislation, but asking for improvements.
Send a similar message to the Environmental Registry (Deadline: May 7, 2009)
Please encourage family, friends and colleagues to do the same.