TORONTO, April 7, 2009 – Ontario nurses are applauding government legislation that would assist businesses in reducing their reliance on harmful toxic substances and protect the health of Ontarians where they live and work.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) says the bill provides a good framework but will be judged on the effectiveness of regulations yet to come. The framework requires businesses to report the toxic substances they use, create and release in their manufacturing processes.
We’re alarmed at the scientific data that links cancer, birth defects, medical conditions such as Parkinson’s and premature death to toxics in the environment. That’s why this legislation is so important because it aims to give people the protection they need and deserve,” says Wendy Fucile, RNAO’s President. “We know that the environment is a major determinant of health and people flourish best when they live in clean, green environments,” adds Fucile.
RNAO’s Executive Director Doris Grinspun also praised the bill. “Every day, nurses are engaged in health promotion, disease prevention, and illness care. Our role is to help keep Ontarians healthy and today’s announcement goes a long way towards realizing this goal.” But Grinspun expressed concern that the bill’s implementation would be delayed until after the next election. “People’s health is at stake today. People are demanding action from our government and we can’t afford to waste any time on this critical health issue.”
RNAO will be looking for amendments that will strengthen the legislation including, a provision that would guarantee the public’s right to know about toxics in their environment, requirements for manufacturers to use safer alternatives, and aggressive targets to reduce the release of toxic substances into the environment. The association also wants to see the creation of an independent body that would assist companies in using greener alternatives, similar to one in the State of Massachusetts. Ontario’s new law is modeled after that state’s legislation.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.-30-
Marion Zych, Director of Communications
Registered Nursesâ€™ Association of Ontario