Toxics Reduction Act (Bill 167) needs more teeth to effectively protect the health of Ontarians: Canadian Cancer Society

    TORONTO, June 2 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society is concerned that
Bill 167, Ontario's Toxics Reduction Act, has emerged from committee hearings
lacking the key amendments to ensure its effectiveness.
    "We're disappointed at the lack of teeth in the proposed legislation,"
says the Honourable Susan Whelan, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario
Division. "As it stands now, Bill 167 will not live up to the government's
commitment to reduce the use and release of toxic substances in Ontario."
    The Society along with environment, labour and other health groups have
been calling for measures to strengthen Bill 167.
    "While we support the Ontario government's commitment to reducing toxic
substances, we are concerned that without targets, mandatory substitution of
safe alternatives and a toxic use reduction institute, this bill may not
provide Ontario workers and the public with strong protection from exposure to
toxic chemicals, including cancer-causing substances," says Whelan.
    Since May 2008, members of the Take Charge on Toxics campaign have been
calling on government to ensure toxic use reduction integrates the best in
health protection with a concern for a sustainable economy, a clean
environment and good jobs.
    To achieve this goal, the following amendments to Bill 167 are needed:

    REDUCE the release of toxic chemicals in places where people live, work
    and play to protect public health.
    -   Bill 167 should include numerical goals or targets for reducing toxic
        chemicals in Ontario.

    REPLACE toxic chemicals where safer alternatives exist.
    -   Bill 167 should make substitution a requirement where safer
        alternatives exist.

    RESTRICT the use of toxic chemicals that are still in use through
    guidance from a provincial toxic use reduction institute.
    -   An institute was an important component to the success of
        Massachusetts's toxic use reduction legislation and should be
        included in Bill 167.

    REPORT annually on progress and monitor emissions, holding industry
    accountable to reduce their use of toxic substances through the
    development and enforcement of new regulations.
    -   Setting targets and the development of an institute will help hold
        industry accountable by the government and the public.

    REVEAL to all Ontarians the toxic chemicals in their workplace, community
    and homes through an identifiable product label or symbol and access to a
    public database.
    -   Bill 167 should be amended to include a component for product

    Not only are the above recommendations best practices from the U.S. and
the EU, the Ministry of Environment's Toxics Reduction Scientific Expert Panel
also recommended setting targets and highlighted the importance of a toxic use
reduction institute. The Expert Panel's reports can be viewed at:
    Since the above amendments were not made during committee, the Society
calls on the Government of Ontario to ensure they are addressed through the
development of regulations to ensure Ontarians are protected for exposure to
toxics substances.

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of
volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of
the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more
about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual
Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For further information:

For further information: Christine Koserski, Canadian Cancer Society,
Ontario Provincial Office: (416) 323-7030,

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Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)

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