Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Urgent Action Alert to Premier McGuinty: Save Lives, Close Coal Plants Now

Urgent Action Alert to Premier McGuinty: Save Lives, Close Coal Plants Now

April 22, 2010 – Earth Day





This week, Wendy Fucile, Immediate Past-President of the RNAO, joined Dr. Hilary de Veber of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Jack Gibbons of the Clean Air Alliance in calling for the immediate closing of the remaining coal-fired electricity generators in Ontario.


Fucile was addressing a Queen’s Park press conference on a matter of life and death. Quoting from a study prepared for the government[i], she pointed out that almost 250 Ontarians die every year as a result of coal-fired electricity generation. While the provincial government has committed to end its reliance on coal by 2014, that means 1,000 more lives will be lost.


And that’s in addition to the over 100,000 illnesses, such as asthma attacks, that people will suffer while we wait for the ultimate phasing out of coal.


Closing Ontario’s coal plants will save lives, but it will also represent the largest single reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of climate change, in North America. In fact it will be the equivalent of removing almost seven million cars from our roads!


Now is the time. Ontario’s coal-free generation capacity now exceeds peak day demand by 23 per cent and it will be 27 per cent greater than the projected peak day demand by 2014.[ii] In other words, we no longer need coal-fired electricity. We can safely keep the lights on thanks to power from renewable sources such as wind and solar, and cleaner and more efficient natural gas.


Premier McGuinty can become a world leader by ending Ontario’s use of coal NOW, not four years from now. On Earth Day 2010, now is the time to act.


What Can You Do?


Take action on Earth Day. Ask Premier McGuinty and Energy and Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid to end Ontario’s reliance on polluting coal-fired generation now, not four years from now.


Tell Premier McGuinty there is something he can do today to save lives. Close Ontario’s coal plants today! Please don’t delay.


  1. Email the letter below to Premier Dalton McGuinty. A copy will also automatically be sent to Brad Duguid, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy.
  2. Please share this action alert with your colleagues, friends and family and ask them to write as well.

Below is the email that will be sent automatically to Premier McGuinty and copied to Brad Duguid, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy. You are welcome to add examples from your professional and personal lives to illustrate why this issue is important to you.



What Has the RNAO Done

“Nurses, Doctors Release New Coal Death Statistics”, April 20, 2010, please click here.


[i] DSS Management Consultants Inc. & RWDI Air Inc., Cost Benefit Analysis: Replacing Ontario’s Coal-Fired Electricity Generation, Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Energy, (April 2005). 4, 5, 26.

[ii] Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Finishing the coal phase out: An historic opportunity for climate leadership. Author. (2010).