Reduction of Toxics
In 2018, the federal Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development released a report noting that much work is needed to ensure Canadians and our environment are protected from toxic chemicals.
In lieu of sufficient legislation in this area, SES is doing our part to help reduce toxins in our province.
In 2017, SES started following the proposal by Fortune Minerals to build a refinery on agricultural land near Langham, SK. This refinery would process ore from the Northwest Territories to produce cobalt, bismuth, copper and gold, as well as waste products laden with arsenic that would remain buried in shallow pits on the site. The refinery plan received environmental approval from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment despite significant gaps in the Environmental Impact Study. It was projected that the refinery would operate 18-25 years, and would generate at least 155,000 tonnes of hazardous waste each year, with the resulting contaminated residue stored on site. There was no decommissioning plan or long-term plan for management of toxic wastes in place. SES outlined our many concerns in submissions to the government and Fortune Minerals, as well as at public meetings on this issue. You can read more about our concerns on the project. In 2019, the re-zoning needed for the plant was denied by the local municipality and the project has been stalled. SES will ensure that if Fortune Minerals proposes a new site, that a rigorous Environmental Assessment takes place.
SES, along with our health partners the Canadian Cancer Society and the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, created a policy paper suggesting three different policies for reducing cosmetic pesticide usage in Regina to protect human health and protect sustainability. There is no legislation or bylaws restricting the cosmetic use of pesticides in Saskatchewan despite the fact that we have the highest household use of pesticides in gardens and lawns in Canada. Meanwhile, over 170 municipalities and almost every province has enacted pesticide reduction bylaws and legislation to protect their public and the environment. SES also encourages the Saskatchewan government to halt the widespread and indiscriminate use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides and SES supports the proposed federal ban on the neonicotinoid imidacloprid due to the significant risk to the province’s wild pollinators and entire ecosystems.