May 31, 2018 –
TORONTO – Swim season has arrived in Ontario, and by June, water quality monitoring will be underway at many public beaches. The recreational water quality monitoring alerts the public about water contamination and many Ontarians rely on it to decide whether to swim.
Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recently weakened the E. coli standard for assessing whether there is a health risk at our public beaches, but included a new single sample maximum reading. The Ministry failed to consult with the public prior to implementing this significant change to Ontario’s recreational water quality standard and what it would mean for public health and the environment.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), Environmental Defence, and Swim Drink Fish Canada made a formal request today that the Ministry post the change in E. coli standard on the environmental registry for public review and comment. The environmental registry is a website created under the Environmental Bill of Rights which requires the government to provide public input into decisions that could have a significant effect on the environment.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) is a non-profit, public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate environmental law reforms.
Swim Drink Fish Canada is a Canadian charity that connects people with water.
“The best thing that people can do this summer is get out for a swim in the Great Lakes. The changes to the Ontario water quality standards means the public needs to be more informed than ever before when they head out to our lakes and rivers this summer. We want the best information possible for the public to protect their health from recreational water illnesses, so we urge the public to learn about the standards and the quality of the water where they love to swim.”
– Mark Mattson, President, Swim Drink Fish Canada
“The public should have a say in whether the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should change the E.Coli standard for recreational waters intended to protect public health and the environment. The Environmental Bill of Rights is one of our key environmental laws and was created exactly for this purpose – to allow for the public to have input on government policies that can affect their health and the environment.”
– Jacqueline Wilson, Counsel, Canadian Environmental Law Association
Communications and Marketing Manager
Swim Drink Fish Canada
Canadian Environmental Law Association
1-416-960-2284 x 7213
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