By Lesley Hastie
Toxins reduction program to be repealed in Ontario
Locals in a downtown Toronto residential area are just discovering Uranium pellets are being produced from uranium dioxide powder in their own neighbourhood. Peterborough may be next. Potential train derailments and the closeness of schools are increasing health concerns about the dust and radiation.
So what do we know about toxins being used or released here in Muskoka? And what are companies doing to reduce them? According to a series by the Toronto Star we know that in 2016 four industrial plants in Muskoka created, used or emitted the carcinogens PM2.5, cadmium and formaldehyde. These and other toxins at these plants can cause other serious health effects including aggravation of cardiac and respiratory illnesses.
However, it could be that these companies are taking steps to reduce the health risks to the public, their employees, and the environment. The provincial Toxins Reduction program (TRA) came into effect in 2010 and its Toxin Reduction planners help companies to avoid the use of toxins, and help with recycling or other methods of preventing toxin creation or emissions.
Currently any such toxin reductions must be reported, and the resulting positive PR seems to produce an incentive effect. In 2016, about 40 per cent of regulated facilities in Ontario planned to reduce toxic substances and according to the Ontario government report in 2017, carcinogenic toxic substances decreased by two per cent in all the 1046 regulated facilities in Ontario between 2015 and 2016, and significantly, by five per cent across those facilities that plan to reduce toxic substances. In that same year across Ontario there had been a six per cent decrease in use of toxic substances, a two per cent decrease in their creation and nine per cent decrease in the amount of toxic substances contained in products.
However, the incentive to reduce toxins will be gone at the end of 2021 along with the assistance of Toxin Reduction planners. The Ontario government is repealing the act (part of the omnibus bill 66). Who knew that being “open for business” would be at such costs? Presumably we can expect toxin levels to rise if it means lower costs for business.
Thus reduction of red tape is once more hailed as sovereign over health and environmental concerns.
We see this alarming policy expanded in the report this week by the Auditor General of Ontario and her statements about Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ontario government, in assuring us that it will meet its 2030 targets, counts as benefits programs it has cancelled; cancelled programs such as electricity conservation, renewable energy, cap-and-trade, use of electric vehicles purchases assuming there are rebates (which it has cancelled), consumers switching to renewable natural gas (while making that gas less affordable), double counting and more.
It appears that the Ontario Government’s plans to meet federal reduction targets are a myth, a fantasy, a delusion and a shameful and deliberate miscalculation of Ontario’s future emissions.
This Government is not to be trusted with our health nor our part of this planet.
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