Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action Alert : Toxics Use Reduction Strategy

October 10, 2008




Due to its industrial structure and weak regulatory regime, Ontario is one of the leading emitters of toxics in North America.  In the 2007 provincial election, the Liberal Party promised to “create a tough new toxic reduction law that requires companies that emit toxic pollution to reduce their emissions over time.” On August 27, 2008, the Ministry of the Environment released a discussion paper Creating Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Strategy and has held stakeholder consultations on that document. These consultations have tended to be dominated by industry representatives who for the most part are unenthusiastic about strong toxic reduction measures. The government needs to hear from health professionals and other members of the public. The discussion paper represents some good intent and steps in the right direction, but needs to go much further. Among other things, it proposes new accounting, reduction planning and reporting requirements on toxic use and release:


  • proposes restrictions and disclosure of toxics in consumer products

However, it does not:


  • set targets for reductions in use or release
  • introduce a regime of substitution of safer alternatives
  • explicitly accommodate municipal toxics bylaws
  • cover smaller users/emitters or sectors outside of industry and minerals processing
  • provide a clear mechanism for funding and provision of technical assistance in toxics reduction
  • specify strong compliance remedies

Two Actions Requested


A By October 11, please take a few minutes to go to here.  This will allow you to easily and quickly send a message to your MPP, with copies going to the Premier and relevant Ministers. You will find a suggested letter, which you can edit.  Be sure to tell your MPP you are an RN.  When the word “should” appears in the suggested letter, we recommend replacing it with “must”. 


B. By October 11, use the Environmental Registry  to tell the Ministry of the Environment that you support strong, comprehensive toxic use reduction legislation – stronger than that proposed in the discussion paper. Here you will find a link to the Registry website and a message to Minister Gerretsen that you may use or modify for the comments section.  Be sure to tell the Minister you are an RN.