Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231
Vol. 16, No. 1, April 20, 2011
    Honoured Reader Edition

This is the honoured reader edition of the Gallon Environment Letter and is distributed at no charge: send a note with Add GL or Delete GL in the subject line to Subscribers receive a more complete edition without subscription reminders and with extensive links to further information following almost every article. Organizational subscriptions are $184 plus HST nd provide additional benefits detailed on the web site. Individual subscriptions are only $30 (personal emails/funds only please) including HST. If you would like to subscribe please visit If you feel you should be receiving the paid subscriber edition or have other subscriber questions please contact us also at This current free edition is posted on the web site about a week or so after its issue at See also events of external organizations at Back free editions from January 2009 are also available.
It is probably not so amazing how little attention is being given to energy and environment issues in this election. After all, the PM is not very interested in environmental issues, the last Liberal leader was toasted to a crisp when he tried to address climate change in the last Federal election campaign and the NDP voted with the government in December 2007 to override the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and to restart the Chalk River reactor despite the safety concerns of the CNSC, safety concerns which were subsequently found to be quite justified in a general way. Two things are amazing. First, that the Pembina Institute, usually a pretty politically astute Alberta-based environmental ngo, set up a real time blog to comment on the leaders' energy and environment remarks during the Leaders' Debate last week, and was then forced to express surprise that there were virtually no leader remarks on energy or environment, and second, that all parties actually have quite substantial sections on energy and environment in their election platforms. In this issue of Gallon Environment Letter we bring you some of the highlights of what the parties are proposing. We also look at performance on some key sustainability-related issues such as climate change (apparently just entering the party platform vocabulary for the Conservative Party of Canada) and access to environmental information.

Some would argue that we would be better off forgetting politics. GL disagrees, but at least Roy Romanow used a recent event to launch the Environment Chapter of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. We recommend it, with some caveats.

Regular readers will know that Gallon Letter has been on a bit of a crusade against asbestos exports by Canada. The Canadian Cancer Society is on a similar crusade. We wish them well.

We have a Letter to the Editor on the topic of gaseous motor fuels and another with some clarifications on the toxic substances from snow melt article in our last issue. We apologise for our confusion on this subject - we were trying to correlate several different sources of information and clearly missed some orders of magnitude, as did other journalists. We will return to the toxic substances in waterways issue at a future date.

Ontario's environment industry has just released a report entitled Still Ready to Grow. We hope that both federal and Ontario politicians are listening - there is a short summary of the report in this Gallon Letter. Statistics Canada recently published the latest edition of its Households and the Environment Survey. We bring you some of their summary information. Some of Gallon Letter's neighbours got ripped off by an environmental crook - even Gallon Letter's editor nearly fell into this trap but smelled a rat just in time. We tell you the story. Also check out our new take on alchemy: someone seems to think you can turn conventional food into organic food by whizzing it up in a plastic thingamybob. What a miracle!
From the titles of a couple of new books about sustainability it seems that some authors or editors want us to think we may soon have to choose between dogs and bananas. There will be reviews of both books in our next issue, along with some feature articles on financing for clean technology. In the meantime, visit our Gallon Daily blog at The blog offers one fairly short article each day from Monday to Friday: articles are written by the Gallon Letter editor, topics are selected for some relevance to the business community (or at least some part of it), there is somewhat of an emphasis on current news items, and we do our best to ensure that the relevance of the article to Canadian business is clear. All articles are archived so you can visit less frequently than daily if you prefer! Gallondaily also includes updates to items that have been covered in the current monthly Gallon Environment Letter. For the time being, but not for too long, the Gallon Daily is free to all.


Gallon Environment Letter repeats its call from the last election for a Green Party presence in the House of Commons. Clearly there will not be a Green Party government but our opinion, based in part on experience from other countries where Greens are represented in parliaments, is that Canada's House of Commons could benefit greatly from a Green Party presence.

Interestingly, all five ridings where Greens came second in the last Federal Election were won by Conservatives and three of the five were in Alberta. The Greens came second or a very strong third or fourth (our judgement call) in the 2008 Federal Election in the following ridings:

Central Nova, where Elizabeth May was candidate and came second with 32.2% of the vote. She lost to Peter MacKay, Conservative, who had 46.6% of the vote.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, where Green Party candidate Dick Hibma received 27.2% of the vote. Larry Miller, Conservative, won with 47.7% of the vote.

Guelph, where Green Party candidate Mike Nagy came 3rd with 21.1% of the vote. Frank Valeriote, Liberal, won with 32.2% of the vote.

Calgary Southeast, where Green Party candidate Margaret Chandler came 2nd with 10.2% of the vote. Jason Kenney, Conservative, won with 73.9% of the vote.

Macleod, where Green party candidate Jared McCollum came second with 9.1% of the vote.
Ted Menzies, Conservative, won with 77.4% of the vote.

Wild Rose, where Lisa Fox came second with 12.6% of the vote. Blake Richards, Conservative, won with 72.9% of the vote.

Okanagan—Coquihalla, where Dan Bouchard came third with 13.3% of the vote, Stockwell day, Conservative, won with 58.1% of the vote.

Vancouver Centre, where Adriane Carr came fourth with 18.3% of the vote. Hedy Fry won for the Liberal Party with 34.5% of the vote

Colin Isaacs, Editor

Complete results of the 2008 election by riding are at



The Green Party of Canada web site states, "It’s time. Vote Green. In 2008, nearly one million Canadians voted Green. Nearly one million Canadians voted for a better future, for a positive vision of Canada. We are not a one-issue party. The Green Party is the only party in Canada with a full and comprehensive vision for our future available every day. We do not wait until elections to unveil what we believe in. Vision Green is on our website, available 365 days a year, every year." The platform is 130 pages long.

One of the proposed policies is a national rail system, reestablishing the National Dream which led to the founding of the nation. The Greens, led by Elizabeth May, say that Canada is the only country in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with no national transportation strategy. Their proposed strategy includes inter-modal transport with high speed rail from urban core to airports, bicycle lanes in cities, downtown streecars, and rural areas served by rail and bus. The passenger rail service in the Windsor-Quebec corridor is seen as infrequent and outmoded. Many rail lines have been dismantled. The party's vision is to transfer freight from trucks to rail through freight distribution nodes, to have separate lines for passenger trains which currently have to give way to freight trains run by those who own the tracks and set priorities. High speed trains serving downtown to downtown such as Toronto to Montreal can reduce air travel, take cars off the road, reduce air pollution and congestion, and reduce loss of life due to traffic accidents. The National Dream includes "Re-invest in our national rail systems, building more train cars in Canada, increasing train speeds and phasing in high speed rail where feasible and creating green transportation."

Green Party of Canada. Vision Green. 2011 Election Platform. Ottawa, Ontario: April 2011. and

Green Party 305-75 Rue Albert Street Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5E7 Tel : 1.866.868.3447 ( Fax: 1.613.482.4632


The NDP, led by Jack Layton, proposes redirecting revenues from "auctioning of emission permits equitably across Canada into investments in green technologies, business and household energy conservation, public transit, support to renewable energy development and transitioning workers to the green economy." The platform proposes to cut subsidies to non-renewable energy as agreed to by Canada at the G-20. These subsidies will be shifted to such areas as:
The NDP proposes to create a Green Bond Fund in which Canadians can invest. GBF investments will include green energy research and development and commercialization as well as community renewable projects.

New Democratic Party of Canada. Giving your family a break: Practical first steps. April 2011

Canada's NDP. 300 - 279 Laurier West Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J9 Phone: 613-236-3613
Toll Free: 1-866-525-2555 Fax: 613-230-9950


The Liberal Party led by Michael Ignatieff focuses attention on Canada on the international stage, "The Harper government has embarrassed Canada on the international stage by obstructing progress on climate change. In fact, Stephen Harper was openly sceptical of the science behind climate change until recently, calling it “a socialist scheme”. Meanwhile, emissions in Canada are increasing, there is still no plan in place, and Canada’s international reputation is in tatters." 

The Liberals plan to earn a reputation as a global leader in clean resources by producing resources for export with the lowest possible impact, and supplying knowledge, technology and expertise to drive Canadian business in global commerce. Examples of initiatives include:
Liberal Party of Canada. Your Family, Your Future, Your Canada. April 2011. Platform.

Liberal Party of Canada 81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 600 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6M8 Phone : (613) 237-0740
Fax : (613) 235-7208


Stephen Harper seeks a majority and warns of chaos resulting from a "reckless coalition" which might include the Bloc Québécois, a theme which Stephen Colbert spoofed on the Comedy Network's The Colbert Report. Constitutional experts find nothing amiss either in the formation of coalitions as an option for the Governor-General to ask other parties to try to form the government is built into Canada's laws. In turn, Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Québécois, warns that in case of a Conservative majority, "Conservatives will have no obstacles in their path and will be free to impose their ideological policies, which are harmful and inimical to the interests and values of Quebeckers. This is a clear and present threat to Québec." The threat includes "a belligerent foreign policy, billions of dollars in additional military expenditures, protecting the interests of big oil companies, unabashed favouritism for industry in Ontario, ever more prisons and guns, as well as relentless assaults on the environment, the distribution of wealth, gender equality, science, truth and democracy."

Among the priorities in the Bloc platform are:
Bloc Québécois. Parlons QC. 2011.

Bloc Québécois. 3730, boul. Crémazie Est 4e étage Montréal (Québec) H2A 1B4
Tél.: 514 526-3000 Fax: 514 526-2868


The Conservative Party of Canada platform has Canada's Arctic as one of its main priorities. The focus on the Canada's Arctic for national sovereignty sends mixed messages about how the balance will tip in terms of environmental protection. GL finds it ironic that the reason for needing to protect national sovereignty is that climate change will open up the Northwest Passage and no direct direct mention of climate change is made in this section. The platform states that the Northern Strategy is already being implemented with:
Conservative Party of Canada. Here for Canada. Platform. April 2011.

Conservative Party of Canada #1204 - 130 Albert Street Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4
Toll free: (866) 808-8407 Phone: (613) 755-2000 Fax at: (613) 755-2001


The Conservative government, in office since 2006, has a long history of "turning corners" and "moving forward" on air pollution, possibly with the collateral benefit of addressing greenhouse gas emissions, but relatively little has happened. In the two previous campaign platforms, 2006 and 2008, neither the phrases "climate change" nor "global warming" were mentioned, although there were mentions of greenhouse gas emissions and  in 2008 also a North American cap-and-trade system. Below are some samples of the positions taken by the Conservative-led government over what is not really a short time period, a mere five years:

March 14, 2006. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said that the government will work with the Kyoto protocol but there is a need for a separate made-in-Canada solution to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. The Kyoto target is six per cent reduction in greenhouse gas levels from 1990 by 2012.

October 19, 2006 Environment Minister Rona Ambrose announced "The government is committed to achieving an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 45 and 65 percent from 2003 levels by 2050." Medium targets kick in 2025 and nothing is said of short-term (such as Kyoto by 2012) except that short term targets are to be set in consultation with provinces and territories and affected industries. Targets were intensity-based. The opposition viewed the Clean Air Act which introduced these targets as another delaying tactic.

November 17, 2006. Environment Minister Rona Ambrose reported from the Nairobi climate conference that Canada was committed to the Kyoto Protocol:
"Future Commitments for Annex I Countries -- Countries like Canada, who have commitments under Kyoto, agreed to a comprehensive work plan to help inform the development of future commitments for the post-2012 period.
This agreement arose from discussions under Article 3.9 of the Kyoto Protocol, which states that Annex 1 countries have to start this work now. This is so that commitments can be in place by 2012, when the second commitment period of the Protocol begins. The first stage of this work will be completed in 2007.”.

 In a speech before hundreds of delegates, the minister said that "Canada remains strongly committed to the UN process, to Kyoto and is driven by a principled obligation for collaboration and action."

April 26, 2007 and March 10 2008 Environment Minister John Baird announced Turning the Corner which ignored obligations under Kyoto for targets in 2012. He promised a target of absolute reduction of 150 megatonnes by 2020. Emission reductions were also given as 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2020. A long-term goal for greenhouse gas emission reductions was 60 to 70% by 2050, presumably also below 2006 levels. Companies were to reduce ghg emissions 18 % by 2010 for every unit of production..

December 17, 2009: A press release about Stephen Harper attending the Copenhagen climate talks stated "The Harper Government remains committed to contributing to the global effort by taking action to reduce Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020 and 60-70 per cent by 2050. The alignment of Canada’s targets with those of the Obama Administration is a critical element of Canada’s overall approach due to the close integration of our economies and our geographic proximity. "

February 1, 2010 Environment Minister Jim Prentice announces that Canada's 2020 emissions reduction target submitted under the Copenhagen Accord was a 17 per cent reduction from 2005 levels.

With different leadership in other times, for example with Brian Mulroney, the Conservative Party of Canada might also have offered action on climate change but it would appear there is little likelihood of action on this important environmental topic with Stephen Harper as Prime Minister.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


All party platforms call for open and transparent government.

For example, the Liberal platform on open government includes:
GL often sees the Access to Information Act as a perverse way through which bureaucrats delay or prevent access to information which should be made freely available without anybody having to ask for it. The Canadian Civil Liberties says that Cabinet secrecy is being interpreted to mean that anything that goes to Cabinet is eligible for secrecy and that these refusals need to be subject to scrutiny by the Information Commissioner. GL is grateful to the Conservatives for one decision made early on that sees many publications of Statistics Canada made freely available, though other statistics collected at taxpayer expense still carry a price. During this election, Environment Canada seems to have stopped requiring an email address before one can download a report. We wonder if that is short-lived relief.

In the field of environmental information a growing problem is not only that key data is not released but that it is never collected in the first place, or it is collected and published with a lengthy delay, or it is released without any notice so potential readers never find it unless they arrive at the right web site or find a physical copy by accident. Redesigning web sites has also been common with this government which tends to mean information disappears or is sent to a difficult to find location. For example, the government recently opened a new web site for Library Deposit programmes in which libraries can order government documents for the public and announced that "Please note: Publishing and Depository Services has integrated the Depository Services Program (DSP) and Publications Web sites into a single CLF 2.0 compliant Web site ( These pages (DSP Ecollection) were not migrated to the new site, and they will cease to be available when the DSP Web site is decommissioned later this fiscal year." This DSP site ( holds a rich history of documents, many of them on environmental issues.

Another problem is the restrictions placed on scientists, officials and experts within the government who are not allowed to talk to anybody without political or senior (read Deputy Minister) oversight. Especially in the US, GL has found that contact information including email and telephone number is more commonly posted along with information. US Federal government officials are also easier to reach, return calls, and are surprisingly open in providing information compared to in Canada. For small business especially, barriers to getting information is a competitive disadvantage.

Another issue is that the environmental data is not connected to the stated goals and policies. For example, smog can affect health even at low levels of pollution. The Conservatives promised action on "clean air" in their campaign platform beginning in 2006. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators CESI were launched by the previous Liberal government in 2004 and among other data provide some data on air pollution and air quality. Much as we appreciate the availability of CESI, the latest data is from 2008 and it was released in 2010. So here we are in 2011 and we know how many houses sold in Kamloops last month but not how the national air quality is faring. CESI data is presented with little to no link to government policies to improve air quality and how these policies might have affected the trends in air quality data. This is somewhat reminiscent of the motto "What does not get measured does not get done" though GL is in this case deeply suspicious that the guiding principle is "If we don't measure it, we won't have to do it".

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.
Canadian Civil Liberties Association. 2011 Federal Election.


On April 7, 2011, Roy Romanow, former Premier of Saskatchewan and head of the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada which reported in 2002, was at the University of Waterloo to officially launch the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) Network. Funding is through a Funders' Alliance currently led by the Atkinson Charitable Foundation. Romanow is the Chair of the CIW Advisory Committee and also announced the release of the first edition of the CIW's Environment report. CIW is part of an international initiative with the Canadian version rooted in Canada, "Around the world, a consensus is growing about the need for a more comprehensive and transparent way to measure societal progress – one that accounts for more than just economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product and takes into account the full range of social, health, environmental and economic concerns of citizens."

The report is a beginning snapshot of Canada's environment. It is not a comprehensive analysis of the state of the environment nor a report on whether Canada is using its resources sustainably. The state of environmental information is inadequate and the knowledge of how ecosystems function still limited. With that disclaimer, the report lists the stocks and flows of Canada‘s natural capital and ecosystem services on 14 primary indicators in categories of air, energy, freshwater, non-renewable resources, and biotic resources, each of which have subcategories. For example, non-renewable resources includes Waste (Per Capita Waste Disposal Rate), Viable Metal Reserves and Viable Non-Renewable Energy Reserves.

An appendix compares in chart form indicators used by other organizations such as OECD, EU, Conference Board of Canada, Environment Canada such as CESI (see open government article), Statistics Canada such as Human Activity and the Environment, and Vital Signs of the Worldwatch Institute.

Example of some of the findings are:
Scarcity of Environmental Data.

The report states, "Lastly, as Canadians, we face a challenge when it comes to the availability of environmental data. Though this issue affects most countries, and notwithstanding the excellent work of government agencies (e.g., Statistics Canada and Environment Canada), Canadians should be concerned about the paucity of information on natural capital. Like other countries, Canada has insufficient funding and capacity when it comes to environmental monitoring, and without much more comprehensive data, it will be impossible to fully assess the stocks and flows of Canada‘s natural capital and ecosystem services, and how they in turn affect our wellbeing. "

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


When the Quebec Government agreed in principle to reopen the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine with the promise of millions of dollars of loan guarantees, the Canadian Cancer Society expressed its disapproval. The Society has been lobbying both provincial and federal levels of government to stop supporting the asbestos industry. Most of the asbestos mined in Canada is exported to cause over 100,000 deaths a year globally mostly in developing countries.

The Society has asked the federal government to adopt a strategy for asbestos related diseases including:
A month earlier the Society expressed its deep disappointment in the spending plan 2010-2011 released by the federal government on March 1 to fund the Chrysotile Institute, a lobby group for the asbestos industry promoting the use and export of asbestos around the world. “From a public health point of view, the Federal Government has made the wrong decision in proposing this funding, as all forms of asbestos cause cancer,” says Paul Lapierre, Vice President, Public Affairs and Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. “We urge the government to put the health of people first and to stop funding the Chrysotile Institute. The government’s plan to use taxpayers' dollars to support the asbestos industry directly conflicts with global cancer control.”

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.

            Subject: RE: Gallon Environment Letter v15 n12


I commend your effort to shed light on the importance of using life-cycle assessments to inform public policy debates over motor fuels and vehicles. Unfortunately virtually all debate is focused on the ASSUMPTION that the only viable motor fuel options available to consumers are liquid petroleum-based motor fuels – total emphasis is on producing more liquid fuels and more efficient electric-drive vehicles.

This policy overlooks the third leg of the policy stool; developing the low-carbon gaseous motor fuel distribution infrastructure. This policy oversight will not only deny consumers the ability to CHOOSE the best motor fuel, it will guarantee that pressing policy goals and objectives are NOT achieved.

Why? The most affordable, cost-feasible motor fuel pathways are readily available, affordable gases – natural gas (aka methane) and hydrogen. Yet these cost-efficient, low-carbon pathways are being ignored by current policy and thus are NOT being implemented nationwide.


In my opinion the reason is that the political debate is too focused on the motor fuel supplies rather than the demand side. The result is that the political debate is controlled by an supply-side oligopoly – a handful of interests that dominate the liquid petroleum-based motor fuel production and distribution system.

This is perhaps the best kept open secret in modern governance. But the tragedy is that this oligopoly has framed the political debate in ways that stifles competition.

The political focus on efficiency and supply-side stimulus has distorted the motor fuel market.

Natural gas TODAY is priced about $0.50/gge compared to more than $3/gge for gasoline, diesel fuel and biofuels. Yet policy debate ignores this obvious fact. And automakers rush to build more efficient vehicles that burn dirty, expensive liquid petroleum-based motor fuels. You and I cannot buy an affordable natural gas vehicle; since we cannot buy these vehicles. NOBODY is willing to invest in fuel stations that sell this superior motor fuel.

The result is market failure. This is NUTS.

For your next edition, I suggest you focus on the demand side of this problem. Specifically focus on the motor fuel pathways based on technical and cost feasibility metrics that empower consumers to make more informed choices among vehicles and ALL the various biofuels, natural gas and electric fuels.

Help people understand that the liquid petroleum-based motor fuels in common use TODAY need NOT be the only options available to consumers; liquid petroleum-based motor fuels, while convenient, will NOT the most cost-efficient options TOMORROW let alone achieve security and life-cycle greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Help people understand that TOMORROW biofuels, natural gas and electric fuels will be used in very different ways than they are used TODAY.

Empower consumers to make these decisions rather than supply-side liquid petroleum-based fuel oligopolies.

On the demand side of this issue, vehicle drive and motor fuel technology is changing more rapidly than the ability of experts, pundits and consumers to understand, let alone communicate, the opportunities associated with those changes.

The disruptive technology is NOT just the electric battery; the disruptive technology is the reliable, affordable low-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell electric drive technology. And the PEM fuel cell operates most efficiently on a gaseous motor fuel -- hydrogen.

The high efficiency vehicle of the future will still require chemical fuels, but those fuels will be converted to hydrogen for use on the vehicle. The policy issue is NO LONGER the introduction of the electric drive, the policy issue that must be taken up TODAY is shaping the infrastructure that will supply the chemical fuels used to power those vehicles.

Gaseous motor fuels are cleaner, cheaper, safer, efficient and feasible today with off-the-shelf equipment TODAY. Gaseous motor fuels will be even cleaner, safer, more efficient and more affordable TOMORROW.

But gaseous motor fuels threaten the liquid motor fuel oligopoly; help give consumers the information needed to break this supply side oligopoly.

If you have questions, I would be happy to help you out with sources, facts, articles, editing and mentoring. 

Carpe diem,

David E. Bruderly PE
Bruderly Engineering Associates
Wise Gas Inc. 1221 Molokai Road Jacksonville FL 32216-3275

            Subject: clarification regarding article in March 31 issue

Dear Colin,

In the article How dark is our spring? from the March 31 issue in the Gallon Environment Letter a few things have been confused.

The concentrations of PAHs in the Highland Creek river increased by two orders of magnitude (factor of approximately 100) and considering the enhanced river flow rates at the onset of melting, the PAH flux (chemical amount per time unit) increased by three orders of magnitude
(factor of approximately 1000). This is quite different to a factor of 3 as mentioned in the article.

Also, in this particular study the particle associated PAHs do not necessarily originate from the snow packs. Prior to the spring melt period those polluted particles simply accumulate over weeks and months on urban watershed surfaces and are then flushed into the streams along with the melt runoff.

If you have further questions, please send me an email.

(Torsten Meyer is the researcher of the study discussed in the last GL)


The Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA) released a report with recommendation on how the Ontario government could support the innovation of the industry at its Environment Industry Day where business leaders were heard and heard from legislators including Premier McGinty and Environment Minister John Wilkinson. The report is an update to a benchmark report issued in 2009.

The paper suggests that Ontario's traditional industries are under pressure due to the rising dollar, higher energy costs and shifts of manufacturing e.g. offshore. Ontario's environment and cleantech industry provides an opportunity in its own right and also to assist traditional industry sectors in making the transition to a cleaner economy. The environment and clean tech sector in Ontario consists of about 3,000 firms, $8 billion in annual revenues and 65,000 jobs. This sector has the potential to grow. Robert Redhead, Chair of ONEIA and Alex Gill, Executive Director wrote in the introduction "As a growing part of the province’s “next generation” economy, it is important that our environment and cleantech sector offer an agenda so that all stakeholders can respond and engage in a responsible public debate. Our province’s economic and environmental future demands no less."

Five recommendations were listed:
While various levels of government put priority on export markets, many small and medium companies need initiatives which support developing a critical mass domestically first.

The paper defines the sector as "Ontario’s environment and cleantech sector is made up of organizations or divisions of organizations based in Ontario (or with substantial operations in this province) whose primary business is the production, provision or development of products, technologies or services that are designed to produce beneficial environmental outcomes.

Ontario Environment Industry Association. Still Ready to Grow: Generating growth and jobs through Ontario's environment and cleantech sector.: An update. Toronto, Ontario: April 2011. and for the general web site


Households and the Environment is one of the useful environmental reports still being published by Statistics Canada. The following is a summary of some of the key finding of the 2009 report sent out by John Marshall, Chief, Environmental Protection Accounts and Surveys, when the report was published a few weeks ago:

More Canadian households were participating in measures to conserve energy in 2009, such as using energy-efficient light bulbs and programmable thermostats.

The majority (88%) of households reported that they were using at least one of four different types of energy-efficient lights: compact fluorescent lights, fluorescent tube lights, halogen lights or light-emitting diode lights.

The use of low-flow shower heads more than doubled during the past two decades, and more households reported having low-volume toilets.

Households appear to be relying less on bottled water at home, with the majority drinking tap water. Fewer households on municipal water systems treated their tap water prior to drinking it compared with 2007.

More than one-third of Canadian households had unwanted electronic devices such as cell phones, computer monitors and televisions to dispose of in 2009, and more than a fifth reported they had dead or unwanted compact fluorescent lights to discard.

In 2009, 8 out of 10 households reported they had purchased environmentally-friendly, or "green" cleaning products. In addition, reusable and recycled bags and containers have increased in popularity among shoppers for carrying their groceries.

Energy conservation

In 2009, energy accounted for about 15% of an average household's annual spending on shelter, according to Statistics Canada's Survey of Household Spending.

Nationally, three-quarters of households reported having at least one compact fluorescent light. The proportion was highest in Nova Scotia (84%).

Just over one-third (35%) of households reported having a halogen light and 7% had the highly energy-efficient lights that use light-emitting diodes.

Nearly half (49%) of the households that had a thermostat had one that could be programmed, up from 42% in 2007 and 84% of these households had implemented the programming option.

Just under three-quarters (74%) of households that had programmed their thermostat used it to lower the temperature while they were asleep. Households in Saskatchewan and Manitoba were the most likely to have done this.

Almost two-thirds of households reported that they used a clothesline or drying rack in 2009 as an alternative to a clothes dryer.

Household hazardous waste

About 45% of households that had unwanted electronic devices had taken or sent them to a depot or drop-off centre, up from 19% in 2005. About 11% of households put them in the garbage, down from 16% in 2005. Around 22% said they had donated the items to a charity or given them away.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) contain mercury, which can have a significant impact on both human health and the environment if not properly disposed of. Generally, these items are not accepted in the regular garbage stream. More than one-half (56%) of households reported that they put their dead or unwanted CFLs into the garbage. About 24% said they took or sent them to a depot or drop-off centre.

Households in Ontario and British Columbia were least likely to have put the CFLs into the garbage.

Water conservation

More households were taking steps to reduce water consumption. In 2009, 63% used a low-flow shower head, more than double the proportion of 28% in 1991, with the highest proportion in New Brunswick (67%).

About 42% reported having a low-volume toilet in 2009, compared with 9% in 1991. Almost half (48%) of households in Ontario reported having a low-volume toilet, the highest proportion provincially.

Households that did not have a municipal water supply were more likely to use both devices.

About 18% of households not in apartments had a barrel or cistern to catch rain water. These were used most commonly by households in the three Prairie provinces.

Drinking water: Fewer households drank primarily bottled water

Canadian households were less likely to have consumed bottled water at home in 2009. About 24% of households reported bottled water as their primary type of drinking water, down from 30% in 2007. About 9% reported that they drank both tap and bottled water equally.

Just over half (51%) of households that had municipally-supplied water treated it before using it. Jug filters were the most common form of filtration device used by these households, with 35% reporting one.

A similar proportion of households (49%) that obtained their water from a non-municipal source, such as a well, treated it prior to consumption. Filters and purifiers on the main supply pipe were most commonly used (29%), followed by jug filters (15%).

Radon awareness and testing

Radon is a radioactive gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater. In enclosed spaces, such as basements, it can sometimes accumulate to high levels, which can be a health risk.

About 42% of households reported they had heard of radon gas, and just under half of those who had (49%) were able to describe it correctly. Households in Manitoba and Nova Scotia were most likely to have heard of it (60%).

The only way to know if radon is present in a dwelling is to test for it. About 3% of households that had heard of radon and were not in apartments had tested their dwelling for radon. Most (78%) had conducted the testing within the last 10 years.

Note to readers

This release is based on new results from the 2009 Households and the Environment Survey (HES), which collects information on households' activities related to the environment. More than 14,750 households were surveyed by telephone in late 2009.

The 2009 survey covered several major themes, including consumption and conservation of energy and water, indoor environment, household hazardous waste, and purchasing decisions.

The HES is a biennial survey conducted under the umbrella of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program, an initiative of Statistics Canada, Environment Canada and Health Canada.

Available on CANSIM: tables 153-0059, 153-0060, 153-0062, 153-0063, 153-0066 and 153-0098.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3881.

The publication Households and the Environment, 2009 (11-526-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of the Statistics Canada website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Environment.

A CD-ROM, Households and the Environment Survey: Public Use Microdata File, 2009 (16M0001X, free), is also available.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the information officer (613-951-0297; environ [emailsymbol], Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.
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On March 19, 2011 the Ontario Gazette, the official government magazine, contained a list of companies which are being dissolved. One of them was Rebound Resources Inc., Ontario Corporation 001177155. Here in Haldimand County, Rebound used to advertise in the local newspapers every week for an alternative road and laneway surfacing material that claimed to be cheaper than gravel. GL's editor was interested in the idea, needed gravel for the drive and contacted the company almost a decade ago. The salesman came to call and made the claim that the material was environmentally friendly because it was recycled. He told us that it was slag stone from the steel mills without any harmful components. We phoned the Ministry of the Environment and they would not tell us much one way or the other. We didn't buy it, mostly because the seller and the Environment Ministry told us that you could not lay concrete on top of it, but apparently others used the material quite widely for drives and roadways.

One such case was discussed last fall by Diane Saxe, an environmental lawyer in Toronto. Campground operators Patricia and Charles Edwards in Dunnville, also in Haldimand County and on the shores of Lake Erie, purchased 940 tonnes of what Rebound advertised as "an affordable and environmentally friendly stone alternative" for a price of just under $4,000 in 2001. In 2004, the Edwards were charged around $8,500 for clean up due to leachate in the ditch. Rebound continued to tell the Edwards that the fill met all government regulations. Then, in 2006, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment notified the Edwards of a potential cleanup order but apparently didn't issue a formal order because the cleanup costs would have bankrupted them. Nevertheless, the fill was to be removed from the ditch by July 27, 2006. The fill was classed as a recycled product, exempt from regulatory provisions, but only until the Edwards took possession at which point it lost its recycled/exempt status and they became solely liable for monitoring and clean-up costs. The Edwards sued both Ontario and Rebound. Their claim was that the province was grossly negligent in allowing Rebound to operate and advertise and breached the Government's duty under the Environmental Protection Act. The court found that there is no law for "negligent licensing" and the Environmental Protection Act doesn't relate to advertising, selling of stone or slag. The Edwards were mistaken if they thought that Ontario has a "public duty to protect and warn the public and the Plaintiffs that such recycled materials need not meet basic environmental standards or are otherwise exempt from same." The judgement said, "There is no duty upon Ontario to enact legislation which achieves any particular purpose."

The judge agreed that if the plaintiffs wanted to pursue the case against Rebound they could do so as long as Ontario was not one of the defendants. By then, Rebound was no longer in business. From a legal point of view, the court was dismissive of the idea that government has any obligation to protect its citizens but GL thinks it problematic that the Ministry of the Environment has so little surveillance of polluters that this company could operate for years advertising in an open way and moving toxic industrial materials unto rural and lake-accessible waterways. The campground owners have to be just one among many buyers of the slag material.. Also in the international arena, it is the responsibility of the waste generators to ensure that waste is handled responsibly retaining liability if it is not. Maybe it is time, that governments took similar steps to protect its own citizens.

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The television ad for a small food blender/grinder called the Baby Bullet advises that by making one's own baby food, one can avoid pesticides, hormones, pesticides and other chemicals. Mothers are shown with the finished baby food-filled jars admiring the date dial and the voice-over explains that in a few seconds a sweet potato can be turned into organic baby food. The only problem is, of course, that if the sweet potato isn't organic to begin with, whipping it up in the Baby Bullet won't make it organic!
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