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Class Action for Harming Bees with Neonicotinoids

This is the first Canadian class action lawsuit filed for harm caused by Neonicotinoid pesticides, potentially responsible for the worldwide collapse of bee and other pollinator populations.

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…

Waterkeepers want notice of sewage bypasses

Congratulations to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper for their innovative application to the Ontario Environmental Commissioner, to force Toronto to give public notice when it bypasses sewage into Lake Ontario due to wet weather- about three times a month.

Obama to slash emissions from power plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its long awaited proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards to slash carbon emissions from existing power plants, the largest industrial source of GHG emissions in the US. The rule, if upheld by the Supreme Court, will require existing power plants to reduce GHG emissions by an average of 30…

Things we wish judges knew about environmental offences by directors

Dianne and Meredith recently had a precious opportunity to tell judges what we wish they knew about environmental offences by directors and and officers, particularly in relation to sentencing. Our bottom lines: Fairness, Good Science, and the real differences between Foresight and Hindsight. It is rarely constructive to severely punish people who are already doing their…

De-polluting end of life vehicles, at last?

After years of effort by Ontario’s mainstream auto recyclers, in cooperation with automobile manufacturers, the Ministry of the Environment is getting close to a permit-by-rule system for recycling end of life vehicles. Given the elaborate market that already exists for vehicle recycling, this is far better than the MOE’s standard “extended producer responsibility” model for…

Supreme Court: Honest efforts to understand the law are not enough

The Supreme Court of Canada has made compliance with ambiguous regulations tougher than ever, by ruling that honest efforts to understand the law (however confusing) are not enough. In La Souveraine, Compagnie d’assurance générale v. Autorité des marchés financiers, Sovereign General (SG) was an Alberta insurance company registered with the Quebec Autorité des marchés financiers (“AMF”)…

Tribunal cracks down on non-expert anti-wind “experts”

Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal approved another wind farm on December 24, 2013, in Bovaird v. Director, Ministry of the Environment. In addition to rejecting the Charter argument, described earlier this week, Bovaird was notable for a slightly tougher approach to witnesses who propose “expert” anti-wind evidence in areas beyond their expertise.

Buyer can’t void purchase of contaminated land

Crosslink Bridge Corp. (Crosslink) purchased contaminated land from CN Railway (CN) in 2008 to develop a tourism, entertainment, retail and sports venue in the Niagara region. Crosslink received a box of environmental reports, including the Certificate of Requirement (also registered on title) that revealed the existence of a Ministry of the Environment Director’s order relating…

Ontario environmental permit by rule approvals (EASR) expanding slowly

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has proposed some modest expansions of its permit-by-rule approval program for low impact activities similar to those already covered by the EASR system.

The silence of the bees – Nix the neonics! Sign the petition…

Bees are dying; we can do something about it. Three thousand or so registered beekeepers manage around 100,000 honeybee colonies in Ontario.  In the spring of 2012, bees began to die in record numbers.  No one knows, for sure, what’s killing the bees, but one class of pesticides is likely part of the problem.

Drive Clean fines: $52,500 plus surcharge

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment obtained fines of $52,500 plus the 25% Victim Fine Surcharge against a Markham Drive Clean Facility, its owner and drive clean inspector and four of its customers for submitting false information about Drive Clean tests.

No personal environmental conviction without knowledge or participation

When is an individual liable to conviction for a corporate environmental offence? The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has insisted that management personnel are automatically liable for corporate environmental offences, and has laid numerous charges on this basis. The Summary Conviction Appeal Court disagrees. For personal liability, individual defendants must either participate in committing the…