Toronto, ON – Today’s report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is further evidence that Canada’s national energy regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), is completely broken.
The report’s damning findings show that the NEB is failing to ensure that the safety conditions placed on energy projects like pipelines are met. In the past, the NEB has relied on these safety conditions to justify its approval of highly controversial pipeline projects.
We are thankful that the federal government has committed to a complete overhaul of Canada’s regulatory laws for energy projects, including reforming the National Energy Board. But none of the pipeline projects currently being proposed can be reviewed under the old, deeply flawed system. All major energy projects must wait until the NEB is rebuilt before facing review.
In addition to highlighting flaws with the NEB, the Environment Commissioner’s report underlines the fact that the federal government has failed to protect Canadians from toxic pesticides. The report reveals the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) failure to fulfill its statutory objective of preventing unacceptable risks to Canadians. Some pesticides are known to cause cancer in humans, and neonic pesticides have been shown to play a major role in bee die-offs, which threaten Canada’s food security.
Key failings include the practice of “conditional registration,” which allowed pesticides on the market without complete health and safety data being submitted. Equally problematic is the practice of delayed cancellations of registrations for pesticides shown to have unacceptable risks – in some cases delays took up to 11 years. These failings are especially disconcerting given that, according to Statistics Canada, pesticide use is increasing.
In 2015 we testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health on the need to end repeated conditional registrations of pesticides. Last week Health Canadaannounced it will end the practice, which is a step in the right direction. But more needs to be done to prevent further harm to the health of Canadians and the environment from pesticides, as well as other toxic chemicals that remain on the market.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact
Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, 647-468-3641 (cell);firstname.lastname@example.org