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Class Action for Harming Bees with Neonicotinoids

Last week, Ontario beekeepers filed a lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court (Windsor) against two massive chemical companies, Bayer AG and Syngenta AG, for over $400 million dollars in losses allegedly caused by neonicotinoid pesticides.

This is the first Canadian class action lawsuit filed for harm caused by the pesticides which have been identified as potentially responsible for the worldwide phenomenon and mystery known as “Colony Collapse Disorder.” Since the 1970s, but reaching obvious and disturbing levels in 2006, honeybees have been dropping like flies prompting scientists around the world to research potential causes which include cell phone radiation, parasites, and the thinning ozone layer. After 8 years, the conversation has focused on neonicotinoids.

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Dianne is quoted in the Globe on Green Bonds

See Richard Blackwell’s interesting story about Solarshare and Green Bonds in today’s Globe and Mail.

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Crowdfunding to defend anti-fracking bylaw

The tiny Québec village of Ristigouche-Sud-Est, population 168, is crowdfunding to pay for the defence of its anti-fracking by-law, intended to protect municipal drinking water. [click to continue…]

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Privacy Commissioner: must disclose sources of fill

The Township of Scugog refused to disclose the sources of the fill it had purchased, on the basis that this was confidential third party information, exempted from disclosure under section 10(1) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. In Township of Scugog (Re), 2014 CanLII 50835 (ON IPC), the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) ordered: the Township must disclose the sources of its fill. The case is a reminder of the precautions that must be taken when disclosing sensitive commercial information to any government.

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Innovative illustration of the climate change consensus

In its Fifth Assessment Report,  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Skeptical Science, a website dedicating to explaining “what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming”, has launched an innovative project to demonstrate this near total consensus among scientists that climate change is almost certainly caused by human activities.

On the site “97 Hours of Consensus“, statements from 97 of the world’s top climate scientists will be posted every 60 minutes. 

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Convictions for not reporting natural gas?

Just as we predicted after R. v. Castonguay, the Ministry of the Environment is aggressively prosecuting in new areas of the economy, for not reporting events that are far from conventional “pollution”. This time, it was a natural gas leak. [click to continue…]

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Municipal Anti-Wind By-Laws Inoperative

Another Ontario municipality’s attempts to block wind energy development have been thrown out by the courts. Municipalities cannot use anti-wind by-laws to frustrate Renewable Energy Approvals (REA), under the Green Energy Act, S.O. 2009, c. 12 (“Green Energy Act”). [click to continue…]

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Can, and should, the National Energy Board consider climate impacts before approving oil pipelines? The federal government says no, objectors say yes. Now the courts must decide.

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Earlier this month, Torontonians learned that Brookfield Property Group was cutting the locks off of bikes parked outside their Hudson’s Bay Centre Building.  Knowing that we are devoted cyclists, a number of readers have asked us whether their actions constitute theft.

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2014 Pesticide Prosecution “Roundup”

Earlier this summer we reported that Ontario Pesticide Act prosecutions have become infrequent since the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOE) stopped having specialized pesticide enforcement staff. Now that the season is soon to change over, we decided to take a look at the year’s violation reports to see if MOE’s intentions with respect to pesticide enforcement have changed.

In June 2008, the Ontario legislature passed the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act which amended the provincial Pesticide Act to ban the use and sale of lawn and garden pesticides. Permitted pesticides for managing lawn and garden pests include Borax, soap and corn gluten meal. The Pesticide Act also requires those who apply pesticides to have a license, as well as a permit to apply particular pesticides that may be harmful to human health or the environment. Effectiveness of the act has been questioned; it’s been reported by the CBC that Canadians are cross-border shopping in the U.S. to buy lawn and garden pesticides no longer permitted in Ontario. Ecojustice put out an informative paper in 2012 busting the myths of cosmetic pesticides.

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Should Children Have a Right to a Healthy Environment?

On June 17, 2014, several environmental groups in New Brunswick circulated for comment a draft environmental bill of rights for children. Called “A Bill of Rights to Protect Children’s Health from Environmental Hazards,” it is the first of its kind in Canada. If passed, the law would confer on every child “the right to protection from environmental hazards,” meaning a hazard that impairs or damages the environment or changes the environment in a manner that may threaten human health, including physical and mental well-being, and includes a “contaminant” as defined by the Clean Environment Act.

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Millions for offsite gasoline contamination

The Ontario Superior Court has awarded millions to a neighbouring property owner for historic offsite gasoline contamination. The decision in Canadian Tire Real Estate Ltd. v. Huron Concrete Supply Ltd. illustrates, and will perpetuate, the continuing confusion over liability for off site groundwater plumes. Justice Leitch never explains how her decision can be reconciled with the landmark Smith v. Inco decision on trespass and Rylands v. Fletcher, though the result can be upheld as a matter of negligence and nuisance.

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Wind opponents lose health challenges around the world

A recent report  by the Energy and Policy Institute documents the rejection of anti-wind health claims by 48 courts and tribunals in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the US. In one anomalous US case,  two turbines which had had a known problem were ordered to be shut down 12 hours a day, four hours longer a day than the owner planned. [click to continue…]

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Toronto zoning change to promote Tower Renewal

Toronto contains the second largest concentration of high-rise apartments in North America. Most were built half a century ago, during the City’s post-war expansion. The Tower Renewal Project is a major initiative to update these buildings, and make them part of green and equitable future Toronto. Improved energy efficiency, reduced car dependence, increased recycling, more usable green space and local food production are among the many objectives of the project.

A recent City zoning change is expected to open the door to exciting changes in hundreds of these buildings. [click to continue…]

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Regulatory tweak on export controls

The federal government  has tweaked the regulations it uses,  under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA 1999), to control which polluting substances can be exported from Canada. The new rules reduce redundancy, and add in Canada’s obligations under the Stockholm Convention. [click to continue…]

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