REPORT ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT PLAN: Meetings of the Stakeholder Advisory Council and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting, May 21 – 24, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario

REPORT ON CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT PLAN
Meetings of the Stakeholder Advisory Council and Multi-Stakeholder Meeting
May 21 – 24, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario
Report by Sheila Cole Environment and Health Expert and CHNNE (Representative for the NSEN)

These three and a half days of meetings involved presentations on several topics. I have concentrated on the topics of highest interest to me in relation to my areas of work and expertise.

NPRI
Knowledge regarding the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) needs to be increased across Canada. At the moment, this consists mostly of dissemination of information out, and reliance on people finding their way inside a very complex and technical website.
In general, it would be best for Canadians to have NPRI data interpreted for them and circulated through common media. It is important for Canadians to know the rich knowledge available on the site such as which pollutants are decreasing, where they are increasing, what the most common sources are, etc. These are the kinds of important information that may not be readily grasped and interpreted by the public as they navigate the site, trying to make sense of graphs and charts. The media would be more inclined to print stories related to the CMP and the NPRI if this information is provided in interesting and accessible news releases.

There has been some outreach to spread knowledge of the NPRI and help people to learn how to use the site, but that outreach is very NCR concentrated. After that, the outreach has been mostly within Ontario and Quebec. In the meantime, knowledge about the program is badly needed in the regions. NPRI program and outreach developers are missing the target by focussing on the general public and youth. They should, instead be working with municipalities, groups and communities, especially in hotspot areas.

Communities need a mechanism to get direct help with such things as information and
analysis. They need a number to call for help… a Help Line. The program could train people as technicians who would work at the provincial or regional level. These technicians could then be the help on the ground for groups, communities and individuals who need help addressing sources of pollutants, mitigation of pollutants and overall reduction of pollutants in their own neighbourhoods.
How are individual Canadians supposed to navigate the NPRI website and make some sense of it, when even technically experienced people in industry, academia and the NGO community struggle with it. I have noticed that within the whole multi-stakeholder community it is those with a background in engineering, mathematics etc. who have the greatest ease with accessing and interpreting the NPRI data.
In order to raise its profile, the NPRI needs a public relations injection. It is a very rich but unfortunately highly underutilized resource because it is a very complicated index and simply not easily accessed or understood.

BPA
Bisphenol A (BPA)was discussed as a success story in terms of its having been removed, most notably, from the plastics in infant baby bottles. Perhaps this success would be merited if the substitute chemical were not also toxic. In this regard, the public has been misled. They think that anything which is marketed as being BPA free is therefore not toxic. It is important to remember that Canadians expect the government of Canada to protect them from toxins. In this instance, Canadians are being misinformed, while the program celebrates success. The public is now buying products like BPA free, reusable drinking containers to carry their water, thinking that the container is safe. Stores that market these products also feel confident that they are offering a healthy product to their customers.

NANOMATERIALS
Nanomaterials are being developed at a very fast pace with the intention of broad usage in products. While this field is developing rapidly, there are a few current checks and balances to ensure that these materials are safe for human health and the environment. The development of the materials and usages is swift, yet the government’s response is, typically, slow and measured. This raises obvious concern that if there are problems arising, how do these materials get removed from the market place before extreme damage occurs. It’s already too late to address these issues in the products that are already utilizing nanomaterials and already circulating in the marketplace. One example of this is the current usage in cosmetics and personal care products. Who, if anyone, is tracking the range of their usage and the impact on individuals using these products and also their environmental impacts?

As Barbara McKinnon aptly commented, “There are unknown unknowns“! While the broad range of work being done internationally on nanomaterials is encouraging, the field is left wide open for data gaps that could have serious implications for both human health and the environment.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS – MCS
It is encouraging that the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) has undertaken to focus on Vulnerable Populations (VPs). One such population is those with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities ( MCS). It is critically important that this group be included, in writing, in the list of VPs, along with infants, expectant mothers, the elderly, etc.
In terms of chemical exposure, this group has long been referred to as “Canaries”, for very obvious reasons. Yet, to date, few people and institutions have followed their warning. This is the group that the CMP should be paying closer attention to, as a means of data collection, and importantly to understand, address and to deal with the reality of the ugly cumulative impact that chemicals are having on humans, in particular, those suffering from MCS.
The medical speciality known as Environmental Medicine has been established for several decades now, and hundreds of physicians have been trained in the speciality. It would be an excellent and most appropriate idea to have an Environmental Medicine Specialist sitting as a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC). They could speak with first-hand knowledge on the rising impact of chemicals on human health and the way chemically related diseases are affecting the human body. There is one such specialist in Ottawa, namely Dr. Jennifer Armstrong. Dr. John Molot is nearby in Toronto. Either of these physicians would be a huge asset to the program.

Many books have been published on this subject by well-known physicians, such as: Dr. Sherry Rogers, and Dr. Claudia Miller (together with her research partner, Nicholas Ashford, Phd.). Dr. Samuel Epstein’s book The Politics of Cancer is also a compelling reference on the impact of chemicals on health. Many more books can be found on this subject. The scientific literature is well established, rich, plentiful, authoritative, and continually being updated. Children with multiple chemical sensitivities often have behaviour problems and learning disabilities. All people with MCS have issues of accessibility-related to public buildings, workplaces, hospitals, schools, recreation facilities, etc. Common exposures include strong cleaning substances, people wearing scented products, and off-gassing from building materials, flooring, furnishings, etc. Adults with MCS have difficulty holding down jobs to support their families and caring for their children due to this extremely disabling condition. With respect to disability, it must be noted that MCS is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is time that the CMP boldly steps forth to recognize and embrace this very real and disabling disease that is undeniably connected squarely to chemical exposure.

INTERNATIONAL CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT – SOUNDING THE ALARM
Canada is very well respected internationally for the work it has done on chemicals through our highly respected Chemicals Management Plan. Our country works closely harmonizing our chemicals management with the United States, Mexico, the European Union, Japan, China and other countries around the globe. Also, Canada is engaged in helping many countries who do not have such a plan to establish their own chemicals management plans, using the CMP as a model.

But there is an aspect to international chemical management discussions that is not being fully embraced. That is the GLOBAL REDUCTION of CHEMICALS PRODUCTION. None of the larger bodies such as the OECD or the WHO, for example, has advanced this topic as an area needing immediate attention. There are some 130 million chemicals now in the global registry. The value of the global chemical industry exceeded 5 trillion dollars in 2017. The international production of chemicals is slated to double by 2030. China alone is expected to contribute half of the volume to that estimate. There is much talk of various means of minimizing adverse impacts of these chemicals and wastes and reducing the risks of some chemicals and wastes. Also, much work is being advanced in the field of green chemistry. Yet, no coordinating body is calling for an overall reduction in the production of chemicals.

In the meantime, diseases of the central nervous system, many different cancers, childhood asthma, autism, and other diseases are continuing to spike in countries around the world. Air, soil and water in countries the world over are heavily contaminated with chemicals. Entire ecosystems are damaged and unable to deliver their vital and critically important services. These are known facts. In the face of this knowledge, how can we continue to allow more and more and more chemicals to be developed and to enter into commerce? This makes no sense. Something must be done to curb the overall global production of chemicals.

Canada is very well-placed to advocate for such an initiative. I highly recommend that action is undertaken immediately to do so. Canada has the proven knowledge and capability to lead discussions and action on this growing threat to the environment and to the very survival of humans and other living things.

PLASTIC USE and DISPOSAL
Canada’s new initiative to promote zero plastic waste is an excellent one.

There are many very good ideas already in discussion to increase recycling of plastics: eliminating single use plastics, and reducing excess packaging in the food industry and in consumer products in general. It was noted in one of the presentations that the hierarchy of prevention begins with elimination, banning and informed substitution. In terms of elimination, one of the obvious places that plastics can be reduced is by banning the use of plastic bags in stores.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia the Atlantic Superstore on Quinpool Road has already completed a 10-year pilot study on diversion of plastic bags from landfills. This was done by banning the use of plastic shopping bags in that store. It has been a successful experiment and worth attention as a model study in Canada.
Usually, the store would use 36 cases of bags annually. Each case contains 1000 bags, at a cost of $1200.00 per month. Over the ten year period, this would have added up to 4320 cases of bags. That translates to 4,320,000 bags having been diverted from landfills. In addition to the diversion of plastics, this represented cost savings to the store of $156,000.

This Superstore continues to permanently ban the use of plastic shopping bags. The store manager also noted that the store is anxiously awaiting the reduction of plastics use through reducing excess packaging in food products supplied to the store. In addition to the reduction of excess packaging in food products, there should also be a reduction in the use of plastic vats and jugs of various designs that hold larger quantities of food for restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and other institutions. This would help to reduce the level of microplastics currently consumed by humans.

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Schedule for Solar Electricity For Homes: Discover Solar PV 2019 Course Workshops

Here is the current course schedule for Solar Electricity For Your Home: Discover Solar PV 2019.

Updated July 17, 2019.

There will be a LOT more sessions added. If you’d like to be notified, please get on our mailing list by sending a note to send an email to info@solarns.ca !

 

Solar Nova Scotia Summer 2019 Course Schedule.png

NOW HIRING: Summer Positions: WIld Child NS Educator (2 Positions)

We are looking for some people who are magical with children to help deliver Wild Child Forest School Programming for the summer in the Kearney Lake area of Bedford for our 2019 Summer Season. Our ideal candidate would love being outside in all weathers, enjoy playing & supervising children, with an eye for safety and risk management.

About Sierra Club Canada Foundation

Sierra Club Canada Foundation empowers people to protect, restore and enjoy a healthy and safe planet. SCCF’s objective is to protect and restore the health of the natural environment, including communities, by empowering Sierra Club members and its citizens through education and action.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

Wild Child Forest School is a project of Sierra Club Canada Foundation that provides child-led, play-based learning through repeated exposure to nature. At forest school we empower children to take the lead on their learning in a natural setting over time, which may mean getting wet, dirty, making stuff with tools, and learn to extend their limits in a thoughtful and intentional way. Our program takes place entirely outside, so the ideal candidate would be comfortable in an outdoor setting for 8 hours a day.

To find out more about our programs visit wildchildatlantic.ca

Tasks and Responsibilities

As part of the staffing team, you will:

  • Contribute to the development & delivery Wild Child Forest School programming with the Wild Child NS leaders.
  • Lead songs, tell stories, inspire enthusiasm, share knowledge, and create a positive atmosphere for children in a natural setting
  • Support the development of a child’s ability to navigate risks
  • Mediate conflicts between participants maintaining dignity and respect for everyone involved
  • Ensure proper protocols and Safe Work Practices are enacted
  • Foster curiosity and excitement about nature
  • Maintain session notes and contributions to social media platforms

Qualifications

This position is a Canada Summer Job position and candidates must:

  • be between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment;
  • be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of the employment*; and,
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment and be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations.

The program’s broader objectives as part of the Youth Employment Strategy are to improve the labour market participation of Canadian youth.

*International students are not eligible participants. International students include anyone who is temporarily in Canada for studies and who is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada.

As an educator, we would like for you to have:

  • Some post-secondary training in a relevant area (Early Childhood Education, Science (Ecology, Biology, etc.) , Psychology, Education, etc.) or sufficient qualifying experience
  • Be an excellent communicator and team player with attention for details
  • Have previous experience working with children
  • Love nature and being outside in it (this include bugs, getting dirty, & playing in the rain)
  • Have a positive fun attitude, yet professional approach

Applicants must also be prepared to provide a clean Criminal Records Check with Vulnerable Sector Screen and a clear Child Abuse Registry Search.

Valid First Aid with AED/CPR-C or Wilderness First Aid would be considered an asset.

Valid Driver’s License and access to a reliable car would also be considered an asset.

Dates and Times of Work

This position will be 10 weeks in length with potential for part-time/casual work in the Fall. This position starts Monday, June 24th to Friday, August 30st,

Hours of work are Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, with 2 holidays Mondays off during the summer.

Remuneration: $13/hr, 40hours/week for 10 weeks

Deadline: Midnight on Sunday, June 9th, If you think you are the ideal candidate, please apply early.

To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter outlining your education, experience, and interest as a single email attachment to Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director at gretchenf@sierraclub.ca. Please include “Wild Child NS Summer Student Application” in the subject line of the email.

Solar Nova Scotia – Spring 2019 Courses

PASSIVE SOLAR HOME DESGIN COURSE

The Passive Solar Home Design Course is intended for the general public and, for those in design and construction. The instructor is a 40 year experienced solar designer-builder, Don Roscoe.

1 SOLAR BASICS for electricity, for active thermal hot water and hot air, and for passive solar ( 3 1/2Hrs )
2 CLIMATE CONTROL for comfort and health, energy and the environment (5 1/2Hrs)
3 SITE DESIGNING, working with nature, creating microclimates and integrating the shelter (3Hrs )
4 SHELTER DESIGNING, bringing you, your needs and your site together (4 1/2Hrs)
5 MAKING IT HAPPEN, costing, controlling costs, contracting and doing it yourself (1 1/2Hrs )
This is offered as a six-evening course in Halifax, Chester or Bridgewater; Spring, Winter & Fall.

With demand, locally organized weekend versions may be offered in other locations. Contact: solardon.ns@gmail.com

– SPRING –
— at Bridgewater High School (541-4367 Diana.Johnson@bridgewater.ca)
COURSES or (the location with the most attendees)
— at Chester, Forest Heights High (275-2712 jconrad@chester.ca).
Tuesdays 6:45-9:45PM April 16 > May 21.
— at Nova Scotia Institute of Technology, Leeds St., Halifax, Thursdays 7-10: April 18 > May 23
Information at SolarNS.ca
Registration at (852-4758 / solardon.ns@gmail.com)
The fee: $80 students, $90 single, $150 couples; with handouts. Optional textbooks($20/$40)

PASSIVE SOLAR CONSTRUCTION COURSE
The one-day PASSIVE SOLAR CONSTRUCTION COURSE is intended for those wishing to design and build a PASSIVE SOLAR HOME with an air recirculated heat storage slab. The instructor is a 44 year experienced solar designer-builder, Don Roscoe.
1 PASSIVE SOLAR BASICS
2 GROUND INSULATION instead of frost walls
3 HEAT STORAGE SLAB construction techniques and details
4 AIR RECIRCULATION and FILTRATION SYSTEM design and components
5 SYSTEM BALANCING and CONTROLS
Fee $60 & $50 students: with construction detail sheets & CD of the course visuals.
— at Nova Scotia Institute of Technology, Leeds St., Halifax, Saturday 9AM >-4:30PM April 27
Information at SolarNS.ca
Registration at (852-3789 / solardon.ns@gmail.com)

Green Greetings from Parish of Blandford

The Parish of Blandford is busy with lots of green projects. Read on to find out more and how to get involved!

Pens, Markers and highlighter project.

Bic alone makes over 8 billion units of writing instruments a year. Until
recently everyone threw away their dry pens and markers. Staples supports
a project by Teracycle that turns those pens and markers into bench ends
and clipboards. So far since we started last year on Earth Day, we have
collected 2200 pens. Maybe that sounds nice but what I am proud of is that
we have, as of this week, EIGHT collector stations in a 30km radius. A new
bin goes into a day care on Monday. It’s a small thing but has really got
interest recently.

Bottle cap project

Knowing how bottlecaps are killing hundreds of seabirds and mammals
yearly, two years ago we started collecting bottlecaps but had no place to
really pass them to until Matt’s Bottle Exchange started accepting them
for a project. We just passed in our first few gallons of caps. What I am
proud of here is a partnership I am trying to foster between Mathew and a
large company with a thousand employees in Dartmouth. I will brag when it
goes through.

Eye Glasses
Just a tiny project as we are a collector point for the Lion’s Club

Planting Night
For seven years we held a planting night on the Friday closest to Earth
Day. It was a great time to teach how to grow in all sorts of containers,
make bird feeders and have a multi generational night together. This year
we are changing a bit and passing out planting kits. See our Facebook page
or www.grandmasgoingreen.com for updates

Community Gardens
There are garden boxes back of the community centre. I just got this job
half way through last summer, so I topped up the gardens and are ready to
give away plots. I’ll brag as the season goes on

If any of these projects interest anyone I can get them started. If anyone
needs help or needs us for a collector spot for their project, we are here
to help

Claudia Zinck
www.grandmasgoinggreen.com

Dalhousie University’s College of Sustainability launches FREE ‘Exploring Sustainability’ online course in January 2019

(Halifax NS) The College of Sustainability will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2019. To commemorate ten years of sustainability education, the College will launch its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The course, called Exploring Sustainability, is free and open to the public and begins on 7 January 2019, hosted on the Canvas Network.

Dalhousie FREE Sustainability Course

Exploring Sustainability allows anyone with an interest in sustainability to learn from leaders in the field — historians, architects, biologists, archaeologists, and political scientists. Themes such as food production, Indigenous-settler relations, land use, energy, resource allocation, water, and urbanization are explored through engaging videos and online discussions.

Registration for this class is now open. Participants do not receive academic credit for the course and must have access to a computer and the Internet. This course is based on SUST 1000: What is Sustainability — the first-year introductory course in the Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS) program in the College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University.
“An understanding of sustainability and the dependence between humans and their environment may be the most important education that universities can provide the next generation.”
– Steven Mannell (course instructor)

Dalhousie Sustainability Course Instructor

Course Instructor: Steve Mannell, Director of the College of Sustainability, NSAA, FRAIC

Steve is internationally recognized for his innovative work on interdisciplinary curriculum for sustainability education. His academic research includes waterworks architecture and engineering, the conservation of modern built heritage, and the late 20th century emergence of “ecological” architecture. He is curator and author of Atlantic Modern: The Architecture of the Atlantic Provinces 1950- 2000 (2001) and Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island 1974-76 (2016).

Course Coordinator:Bridget Graham, MA

Bridget Graham is the Engagement and Retention Coordinator in Dalhousie University’s College of Sustainability and a graduate of the ESS program. She enjoys supporting current, prospective and former students in the College of Sustainability.

Resource Links:
College of Sustainability: https://www.dal.ca/faculty/sustainability.html 
Sustainability at Dalhousie: https://www.dal.ca/about-dal/sustainability.html
Canvas Network: https://www.canvas.net/
Contact for more information: sustmooc@dal.ca