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TEA joins forces with India’s Greatest Rock Band, Indian Ocean, to Help Farmers Here and in India

On Saturday, September 11, 2010 Indian Ocean, India’s greatest rock band, will be performing in Toronto to support farmers in India and here. Proceeds from the concert will go to AidIndia, a charity which helps Indian farmers develop sustainable agriculture and overcome the economic hardships that have led to over 200,000 farmers committing suicide in the past decade.   

The concert will also allow Indian Ocean to talk to audience members about the importance of supporting local farmers by buying fresh local produce. TEA will be there with resources about where Torontonians can buy fresh local food, especially produce used in South Asian cuisine. Click here for TEA's local food guides.

For more details, please visit the concert organizers at www.yehhailife.com/


   


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Indian Ocean Media Release.pdf55.59 KB

Letter to MOE about Waste Diversion Act and EPR - July 2010

July 29, 2010

The Honourable John Gerretsen
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto, ON M7A 2T5

Dear Minister Gerretsen:

We urge the Provincial Government to continue moving towards implementing a full Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system in Ontario as part of proposed amendments to the Waste Diversion Act (WDA). Over the past few years, we have been very encouraged by the Provincial Government’s proposed policy direction to make EPR a cornerstone of the WDA.

As you know, the ongoing controversy about eco-fees has obscured the fact that holding manufacturers responsible for recovering, reusing and recycling materials is beneficial to Ontario’s environment and economy. In his report, Paying for the Management of Household Hazardous Wastes, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) rightly noted that the concept of holding manufacturers of products that end up as waste responsible for those wastes is fair and results in more environmentally and economically cost effective waste diversion. As well, true Extended Producer Responsibility means municipal taxpayers will save hundreds of millions of dollars as waste management costs are transferred to manufacturers.

To date, Ontario has taken a leadership role in promoting EPR. For this to continue the Government will have to address some of the flaws identified by the ECO with its existing programs. We believe the best way to do this is by reforming Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act (WDA). Specifically, we believe the 90 day review needs to consider how to change the WDA so that:

1. Producer responsibility programs must meet mandatory environmental standards and recovery targets set by the Ontario Government. These standards and targets must deliver strong protection for the public and for the environment. Setting recovery targets that are simple and clear will result in increased waste diversion and growth in Ontario’s green economy. Setting environmental targets will drive producers to make returning products for reuse and recycling convenient for consumers. ;

2. Significant fines must be set so that producers have an incentive to meet the targets. These fines must be large enough so that the costs to producers for not meeting the targets are significantly greater than the costs of meeting the targets.

3. Producer responsibility must focus on individual manufacturers and not agencies. Individual producers should be responsible for the environmental and financial responsibility for the waste associated with their products. Companies should be given the same freedom to choose how to recycle as they have in making their products and the most cost effective way to reduce, reuse and recycle. Competition between producers will result in greener products and products that are less costly to reuse and recycle.

We believe that amending the Waste Diversion Act based on these basic principles will build an Extended Producer Responsibility system that is good for the environment, the economy and taxpayers.

Our groups look forward to continue working with the Province in developing the best waste diversion policies for Ontario. In the interim if you or your staff has any questions or concerns please do not hesitate contacting us.

Sincerely,

Gideon Foreman, Executive Director
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Sarah Miller, Co-ordinator and Water Policy Researcher
Canadian Environmental Law Association

Carolyn Webb, Programmes Manager
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy

Pierre Sadik, Manager of Government Affairs
David Suzuki Foundation

Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD, O.ONT.
Executive Director, RNAO

Dan McDermott, Director
Sierra Club Ontario

Franz Hartmann, PhD, Executive Director
Toronto Environmental Alliance

cc. The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier; Mr. Hudak, MPP; Ms. Horwath, MPP; Mr. Tabuns, MPP; Mr. Barrett, MPP

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ENGO Letter to Minister Gerretsen re WDO.pdf144.83 KB

Mid-Campaign Mayoral Candidate Report Card

Our mid-campaign report card examines what the top Mayoral candidates have said about Toronto's six Municipal Election Environmental Priorities. These priorities are endorsed by a growing list of community and environmental organizations across Toronto.

Candidate evaluations are based on remarks and statements made publicly at debates, in the media and on the candidates' websites, as well as on-the-record to us, the Toronto Environmental Alliance. 

We hope this mid-campaign report card will help guide candidates as they develop their environmental platforms. We also hope Torontonians will use this report card to discuss environmental issues with candidates. 

 

Download the report card here [pdf] or read more here.

 

 

 

Comments on Candidates

To read expanded comments on the candidates, including a list of sources click here

Rob Ford – Shows Little Interest

Rob has shown no interest in the environmental priorities. On the rare occasion when he does talk about the environment, it’s clear that he needs to spend more time studying the issues. For example, he confuses streetcars with LRTs and wants subways even where there isn’t enough density to support them. To earn a passing grade, Rob must put some time into understanding that there is more to being Mayor than complaining about Councillors’ expenses or talking about football. Read more...

Joe Pantalone – Progressing Steadily; Needs to Speak Up

Joe is doing well. His knowledge of the environmental priorities is impressive: he understands the importance of public transit and building Transit City, sustainable energy, complete streets and Toronto Hydro’s role in greening the city. However, he can improve his grade by supporting these priorities in an official platform. He is distracted by what others say and needs to focus to get his points across. For Joe to excel he must learn to speak more about the priorities. Read more...

Rocco Rossi – Shows Lack of Understanding

Rocco is unsure about the priorities. While he talks about them, his plans suggests he doesn’t understand them. His focus on subways shows he doesn’t get the environmental importance of the Transit City Plan that will bring transit to all parts of Toronto. He also doesn’t seem to realize that selling Toronto Hydro could jeopardize the City’s Sustainable Energy Strategy. Rocco needs to spend the summer studying the priorities if he hopes to do well. Read more...

George Smitherman – Shows Potential But Needs to Apply Himself

George likes to talk about the environment, but his enthusiasm doesn’t match his work to date. Compared to Transit City and the Toronto Bike Plan, his integrated transportation plan is not as good for the environment: it will take longer to build, reach fewer people and keep bike lanes off main roads. He has also mentioned the possibility of burning garbage, which harms people and the environment. For George to succeed, he needs to match his enthusiasm with solid planning to achieve a better grade. Read more...

Sarah Thomson – Eager Participant; Misses Key Lessons

Sarah is very eager and wants to do well. She acknowledges the need for blue and green bins in apartment buildings, but has no plan to get them there. She supports public transit, but her plan ignores the lessons from the past: subways don’t work in low density neighbourhoods. She also cares about cyclists but doesn’t want to build the routes they need. Sarah, like others, needs to spend the summer reviewing the priorities if she hopes to do well. Read more...

 

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TEAReportCardJuly2010.pdf763.18 KB

Say good-bye to Toronto's last sewage incinerator!

UPDATE May 2011

On May 18, City Council voted to stop burning Scarborough's sewage sludge at the Highland Creek Treatment Plant! Councillor Ainslie (Ward 43) led the charge to oppose the construction of a new incinerator on the site and instead invest in more sustainable, environmentally friendly management options. 

TEA would like to thank all of the Councillors who voted in favour of cleaner air and more sustainable options to manage our waste. See the City of Toronto website to see how your Councillor voted on incineration.

This vote could not have been won without the tireless efforts of local community members in Ward 44 and Ward 43 (including a TEA member) who went out and gathered over 1,200 petition signatures in a single week. Great job!

Voting to shut down the last City-owned sewage incinerator is a welcome sign that we care about protecting our environment and our health!

 


 

UPDATE April, 2011

On April 26, the Public Works Committee again discussed the Highland Creek Incinerator. Unfortunately, the Committee voted 4 to 2 to continue incinerating sewage sludge in Scarborough. The issue now goes to Council for a final vote later in May.

TEA, along with community residents were at the meeting to raise concerns about the health and environmental impact of incineration, and to ask the Committee to ensure that the highest environmental standards were put in place on any new or upgraded incinerators.

Read Heather Marshall's (TEA's Toxic Campaigner) deputation here

Read deputations from two residents here and here.


UPDATE March, 2011

Councillor Moeser is attempting to re-open the debate over incineration at Scarborough’s sewage treatment plant after City Council voted to shut the incinerator down in 2010!

TEA was at City Hall on March 23, 2011 to voice the health and environmental concerns of incineration and highlight the economic benefits of alternatives. As a result, the staff will be required to do more research on these risks before any
decision is made.
See TEA's deputation to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

 

The Highland Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant has the last incinerator in Toronto; it is used to incinerate biosolids, or sewage sludge, from the Treatment Plant. This old incinerator is one of the largest polluting facilities in Toronto; emitting over 38 tonnes of GHG emissions per day not to mention toxins like heavy metals, hexachlorobenzene, and dioxins/furans.

 

On June 8th 2010 at City Council, TEA helped pass a motion to stop incineration of Toronto’s sewage sludge at the Highland Creek Treatment Plant in Scarborough.

See TEA's briefing note for Councillors explaining the environmental implications of biosolid incineration.  

It was a very close vote with a little over half of Toronto’s Councillors voting to put the last City-owned incinerator to rest for good!  Congratulations to all the Councillors who stood up for a safer, sustainable option for managing our sewage waste. 

See our Council Report Card to see how Councillors voted in June 2010. 

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Highland Creek Biosolids BRIEFING NOTE June 8.pdf40.14 KB
Deputation to PWI on Highland Creek 23 March 2011 with link.pdf23.11 KB
Deputation to PWI - 26 April 2011 - TEA-Heather.pdf25.73 KB
Deputation to PWI - 26 April 2011 - Kimberley.pdf15.01 KB
Deputation to PWI - 26 April 2011 - Nadia H.pdf35.57 KB

Take Action & Save Transit City

Tell Premier McGuinty and his Government to keep their promises and restore Transit City funding now!


With the release of the Ontario Budget, Premier McGuinty broke an important promise by cutting $4 Billion in funding for Transit City. At best, this means a five year delay. Most likely however, this cut will kill the Transit City Plan.

We need your help in a city-wide effort to save Transit City. If you care about the future of our public transit system, please contact your MPP now!

Take Action:

  1. Email the Province
  2. Phone your MPP

Transit City would have finally provided desperately needed rapid transit to Toronto’s inner suburbs which include several priority neighbourhoods. It would have removed millions of cars from our crowded streets, helping to address some of the world’s worst gridlock while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants.

Transit City is too vital to Toronto to be delayed. Delay:

  • more deaths due to smog as Torontonians continue using polluting cars instead of switching to new light rail transit
  • more greenhouse gas emissions undermining Toronto's push to combat climate change
  • harming Toronto's economy as dollars are spent battling traffic congestion and paying for the health costs of smog-related illnesses
  • dooming Torontonians in all corners of the city to overcrowding, slow service and gridlock because the system can't handle the demand.
  • Harms Toronto’s economy by eliminating thousands of promised Transit City jobs

Premier McGuinty promised Torontonians $8 billion to help build Transit City. He promised this money would flow quickly.

“The time to make this sort of ambitious realistic investment is now. Our economy demands it. What’s more, our families deserve it, because gridlock not only saps strength out of our economy, it steals time from our families.”
McGuinty Government Action Plan for Rapid Transit Will Move the Economy Forward – June 15, 2007

Now, Premier McGuinty has broken his promise. If enough of us share our frustrations with our MPPs, it will be clear to them that the political price for delaying Transit City is too high and we can force the Government to reverse this very bad decision. With your help, we can put Transit City back on track!

Please join the TTCriders email list to be kept up to date on future actions. http://www.ttcriders.ca/sign-up/

Take Action to make sure muncipal candidates work to build a green Toronto!

  1. Tell candidates to make the priorities a part of their platforms.
  2. Encourage your candidate to fill in our municipal election survey.
  3. Add your name to our list of Municipal Election Priorities supporters
  4. Read more about the priorities, download the background document here [pdf]
  5. Talk to your neighbours - print the Environmental Election Priorities brochure here and distribute it in your neighbourhood (email us to let us know if you do)
  6. Add your organization to our list of endorsers (email us)
  7. Contact us if you'd like to volunteer, help spread the word, or if you would like to present these priorities to your organization  


 

Take Action below to make sure the environment remains a priority & that we continue to build a green Toronto.

For 10 years Toronto has worked hard to solve key environmental problems facing the city.

Over the coming months, Mayor and Council candidates will be speaking to Torontonians about their vision of the City. While there may be disagreements on other issues, everyone should agree we must continue to build on Toronto's environmental successes.

Below are 6 priority actions (read them in detail here or download the brochure here) , in no particular order, that will build on 10 years of environmental success. Investments in each action won't just improve our environment, they will lead to better health and save us money as we avoid some of the huge financial costs associated with traffic congestion, waste disposal, climate change, and illnesses due to pollution.

The 6 Priority Actions

  1. Build Transit City & Fund It
  2. Achieve 70% Waste Diversion by 2012
  3. Buy & Support Locally-Produced Green Products
  4. Build Transportation Infrastructure Everyone Can Use
  5. Implement the City's Sustainable Energy Strategy
  6. Provide Tools to Prevent Pollution   

1. Tell candidates to make the priorities a part of their platforms

It is still early in this election and many candidates have not registered. For the time being we ask that you have a look at the list provided by the City of Toronto (updated as candidates register) to find the relevant contact information for council candidates. Contact information for the top five mayoral candidates can be found below.

To find registered candidates and contact information (if they have made it available), click here to see a table with all canadidate information, or see the City website here.

 Mayoral Candidate  Phone  Email  Twitter
Rob Ford  (416)628-8576  rob@robfordformayor.ca  @robfordteam
Joe Pantalone  (416)534-2611  info@mayorjoe.ca  @jpantalone
Rocco Rossi  (416)848-6005  rocco@roccorossi.com  @roccothevoteTO
George Smitherman  (416)342-9674  info@georgesmitherman.ca  @teamsmitherman
Sarah Thomson  (416)964-5850  sarah@sarahthomson.ca  @thomsonTO

Please CC/BCC tea@torontoenvironment.org & on twitter: @TOenviro
or let us know you called: 416 596 0660

 

Sample Text for your email: 

"Dear ______,

I am writing to ask you to commit to working on 6 environmental priorities for the City of Toronto if you are elected. I am also asking that you speak about these issues over the coming months as you campaign in the election.

Over the last 10 years successive Councils & Mayors (including both Mayor Mel Lastman and Mayor David Miller) have had many environmental successes and it is important that we continue to build a greener Toronto.The 6 priorities include:

  1. Build Transit City and fund it
  2. Achieve 70% waste diversion by 2012
  3. Buy and support locally-produced green products
  4. Build transportation infrastructure everyone can use
  5. Implement the City's Sustainable Energy Strategy
  6. Provide tools to prevent pollution

To see these in greater detail visit: http://torontoenvironment.org/voteto 

Implementing these priorities will not only improve our environment, it will lead to better health and save us money as we avoid some of the huge financial costs associated with traffic congestion, waste disposal, climate change, and illnesses due to pollution.

Sincerely,

[First & last name]
[Address including postal code]"

 

2. Encourage your candidate to fill in our municipal election survey.

Since 1997 the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) has evaluated mayoral and councillor candidates on their environmental commitments through our elections surveys and subsequent report cards. These report cards have received significant attention from the media, and have helped the public decide who are the most environmentally conscious candidates. This year’s survey consists of a series of yes or no questions related to our six Municipal Election Environmental Priorities. The results of the survey will be converted into a report card with letter grades assigned to every respondent. The completed report card will be made public in early October. A list of those candidates who fail to return a completed survey will also be made public.

Candidates must submit their survey results by August 19th, at 5pm. Please send them an email with the sample text below - encouraging them to complete our survey.

Contact information for the top five mayoral candidates can be found below.

To find registered candidates and contact information (if they have made it available), click here to see a table with all canadidate information, or see the City website here.

Mayoral Candidate Phone Email Twitter
Rob Ford (416)628-8576 rob@robfordformayor.ca @robfordteam
Joe Pantalone (416)534-2611 info@mayorjoe.ca @jpantalone
Rocco Rossi (416)848-6005 rocco@roccorossi.com @roccothevoteTO
George Smitherman (416)342-9674 info@georgesmitherman.ca @teamsmitherman
Sarah Thomson (416)964-5850 sarah@sarahthomson.ca @thomsonTO

Please CC/BCC tea@torontoenvironment.org & on twitter: @TOenviro
or let us know you called: 416 596 0660

 

Sample Text for your email:

"Dear ______,

I am writing to encourage you to complete the Toronto Environmental Alliance's (TEA) Municipal Election Survey by August 19th at 5pm. Someone from TEA should have emailed you about this survey, but if you need a copy please email elections@torontoenvironment.org.

TEA is evaluating candidates with a series of yes or no questions related to their 6 environmental priorities for Toronto:

  1. Build Transit City and fund it
  2. Achieve 70% waste diversion by 2012
  3. Buy and support locally-produced green products
  4. Build transportation infrastructure everyone can use
  5. Implement the City's Sustainable Energy Strategy
  6. Provide tools to prevent pollution

To see these in greater detail visit: http://torontoenvironment.org/voteto

Implementing these priorities will not only improve our environment, it will lead to better health and save us money as we avoid some of the huge financial costs associated with traffic congestion, waste disposal, climate change, and illnesses due to pollution.

Sincerely,

[First & last name]
[Address including postal code]"

3. Add your name to our list of Municipal Election Priorities supporters

By filling in the form below, you are adding your name to a growing list of Torontonians who know that the environment is a priority. You are declaring your support for the 6 priorities that we have put forward for this municipal election. You can see those priorities here

 

2010 Municipal Election Priorities

Let's Continue Building a Green Toronto

For 10 years Toronto has worked hard to solve key environmental problems facing the city. Investments to expand public transit and create a city-wide green bin program and programs that promote energy efficiency and green power all curb climate change, clean the air and create necessary and new green jobs. Policies that reduce toxic pollutants make for healthier communities and businesses. All of this happened because Torontonians and successive City Councils believed that environmental solutions are a priority.

Over the coming months, Mayor and Council candidates will be speaking to Torontonians about their vision of the City. While there may be disagreements on other issues, everyone should agree we must continue to build on Toronto's environmental successes.

Below are 6 priority actions, in no particular order, that will build on 10 years of environmental success. Investments in each action won't just improve our environment, they will lead to better health and save us money as we avoid some of the huge financial costs associated with traffic congestion, waste disposal, climate change, and illnesses due to pollution.

Priority Actions 

1. Build Transit City & Fund It

2. Achieve 70% Waste Diversion by 2012

3. Buy & Support Locally-Produced Green Products

4. Build Transportation Infrastructure Everyone Can Use

5. Implement the City's Sustainable Energy Strategy

6. Provide Tools to Prevent Pollution

We call on every candidate to endorse these 6 priority actions and work towards implementing them over the next term of Council.

Check Out:

Priorities in Detail | Endorsers | Midterm Mayoral Report Card | History | Take Action | How to Donate


Transit City promises to bring light rapid transit service [pdf] to Torontonians across the city. This will go a long way towards cleaning the air, curbing climate change and relieving congestion on
our roads by making it easier and cheaper for people to keep their cars at home. Transit City once again makes it clear that public transit is a public good.

But who will pay for the operating costs of Transit City? Right now, TTC riders pay over 70% of TTC operating costs through fares, at a rate that is higher than any other transit users in Canada. Unfortunately, 62% of TTC riders don't have an affordable alternative to the TTC. This means further fare increases are not an option for low income Torontonians nor are they fair to TTC riders.

In the past, the Province paid 50% of the TTC's operating costs. It's time the Provincial and the Federal Governments joined TTC riders and Toronto property taxpayers in providing operating funds for this important public good.

Action: By 2011, the new Mayor and Council must work with the TTC and upper levels of government to develop an affordable, equitable and long-term funding strategy which covers at least half of the TTC's operating costs.

 

 


The City pledged to reach 70% waste diversion by 2010 but they only made it to 50%. The key culprit in missing the target was unacceptable delays in getting the Green Bin program into high-rise buildings. This means half of Toronto's households still don't have access to organic waste collection services. The delays also mean organic waste continues to take up precious landfill space. Achieving the 70% target will only happen when all Torontonians have equal access to the City's waste collection services.

Action: The next Council must ensure that all apartment buildings in Toronto have Green Bin collection service by the end of 2011. One year later, other waste diversion programs must be in place so that the City meets its 70% diversion target by 2012.

 

 


Toronto residents, businesses and governments are poised to spend billions of dollars on green products over the next decade. The City will have a significant impact on these expenditures both as a purchaser of green products (eg. Transit City, green power through Toronto Hydro, the Mayor's Tower Renewal) and through policy decisions (eg. implementing the Sustainable Energy Plan). If we do nothing, these local dollars will leave the City and Country. If we act, our local dollars can be used to support local green jobs, local green businesses and local green manufacturing.

 

Action: The next Council must require City purchases of green products to give priority to local workers and local manufacturing.

 

 

Cycling and walking are important forms of transportation that contribute to a healthier population and reduce negative impacts on the environment. We need infrastructure built to accommodate bikes and pedestrians as well as transit vehicles and cars. In the U.S. this is happening through "Complete Streets" policies that ensure the planning and redevelopment of streets are done with all users (pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders of all ages and abilities along with cars and trucks) in mind.

While a "Complete Streets" policy is developed, key transportation infrastructure, such as bike lanes, need to be built, the Toronto Walking Strategy can be implemented, and all road users can be educated about road sharing and responsibilities.

 

 

Action: The next Council must develop and implement a "Complete Streets" policy by 2014, fully implement the Toronto Bike Plan by 2012, and launch a public education campaign targeting all road users about road sharing and responsibilities.

 

 

 

In November 2009, the City adopted the Sustainable Energy Plan. This strategy sets important targets for energy conservation and renewable power development to help the City meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. The strategy also outlines what steps will be taken to meet these energy use targets.

A key component of the strategy is designing and delivering to homes, businesses and institutions across Toronto energy retrofits and renewable energy installations. The first step requires the City to establish a partnership with Enbridge, Enwave and our publicly-owned Toronto Hydro to deliver these energy efficiency and green power services to all Torontonians.

 

Action: The next Council must implement the City's Sustainable Energy Plan starting with getting the partnership between the City, Enbridge, Enwave, and our publicly-owned Toronto Hydro working and home energy retrofits underway by 2011.

 

 


In 2008, the City passed a precedent setting pollution disclosure bylaw [pdf] mandating thousands of businesses and industries to track and report their use of 25 toxic substances. The City began phasing in the mandatory reporting this year through its ChemTRAC program.

The next step is to help Toronto polluters -including the City of Toronto- reduce and eventually eliminate chemical pollutants covered by the bylaw that poison our water, air and land. The most effective way to reduce pollution is by developing and implementing pollution prevention plans. Small business is in need of the expertise, tools and education to help reduce costs, prevent dangerous pollution and be good neighbours in our city.

 

Action: By 2011, the next Council must have in place the tools small businesses need to devise pollution prevention plans with clear reduction targets.

 


List of Endorsers

519 Church Street Community Centre

8-80 Cities

Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA)

Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at York

Canadian Arab Federation

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Canadian Environmental Law Association

Canadian Institute for Environmental Law & Policy

Centre for Social Justice

Conservation Council of Ontario

David Suzuki Foundation

Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre Community Outreach

Environmental Defence

Evergreen

Faculty of Health Student Caucus

Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson

Friends of Christie Pits Park

Green 13

Green Here

Green Neighbours 21

Greenest City

Greenpeace Canada

Harbord Village Residents Association

Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF)

Malvern Action for
Neighbourhood Change

Newcomer Women's Services Toronto

Niagara Neighbourhood Now

Northwood Neighbourhood Services

Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Scarborough Civic Action Network

South Riverdale Community Health Centre

St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association

The Annex Residents Association

The Pembina Institute

Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation

Toronto Cyclists Union

Toronto Green Community

Toronto Public Space Committee

Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative

Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Urban Harvest

Working Women Community Centre

York Region Environmental Alliance

 

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TEA Election Priorities Brochure.pdf473.17 KB

Take Action on Unfair Fare Hikes!

Take Action on Unfair Fare Hikes!

On November 17th, 2009 the Toronto Transit Commission voted for an 11% increase in fares, tokens, and the Metropass. That means fares and tokens will go up by 25 cents, and the Metropass by $12 starting in January. Would anyone at City Hall recommend an 11% increase on property tax in one year? Never!

No other major transit system in North America expects its riders to pay for over 70% of the system’s cost.

We are calling on the TTC, the City and the Provincial Government to commit to fair funding for the transit system Torontians need. If you are tired of being taken for granted, send a message to the TTC, the Premier, and the Mayor’s office right now. Click here to see a sample message, or write your own.

Let’s make sure they know we don’t like unfair fare hikes!

What is TTCRiders.ca?

TTC Riders is a new organization created to give a voice to the
interests and concerns of hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who use public transit. We seek to ensure that our pubic transit provides good, dependable service and is accessible and affordable for everyone in our communities.

Drivers have the Canadian Automobile Association, homeowners have organizations in many parts of the city, and even cyclists have formed an effective lobby group. Transit riders also deserve to be well represented when decisions are being made about fares, service delivery, or transit priorities.

 

What are the Alternatives?

Almost every year, there is a TTC funding crisis. It usually results in a fare increase and last minute bailouts by the City and the Province. We are told there is little that can be done to fix the situation, that’s not true at all.

For years, the TTC won awards as the best transit system in North America, and it can again. It did that because there was guaranteed revenue from the Ontario government and the City that reflected a serious commitment to public transit. The support was slashed during the Mike Harris years, and is still not back to the levels needed.

The TTC has the least amount of support from senior governments than any transit operation in North America. And relies more on what is collected at the farebox than almost anywhere else in the world. More than 70% of the TTC’s costs are covered by the farebox. Other major North American cities only depend on riders to supply 50-60% of the revenue needed to run the system.

The TTC, the City and the Province are working together to build “Transit City” – a plan that will provide 120 kilometers of new rapid transit in Toronto. It will be the biggest TTC expansion in over fifty years, providing much needed service to Toronto’s suburbs.

But how will we pay to run these new lines when we can barely pay for the ones we have today? We need the TTC, the City and the Province to commit to long term plan to fund the transit service we have now and operation of the new lines that will be built over the next 10 years.

Here is what needs to be part of that funding commitment:

  • The Province and the City should equally share the cost of the TTC’s operation. This level of cost share is what made the TTC an award winning system in the 1980s.
  • A target should be set to cover no more than 60% of the TTC’s operating costs through fares. This would be accompanied by a forecast that lays out when fare increases are expected over the next 5 years.
  • This funding plan must ensure that it will provide the subsidies necessary to maintain and improve service by addressing overcrowding, adding more frequent service at more times of the day, and building new service where it is needed.

Canada is the only federal government among OECD nations not to have a national transit strategy. We need Ottawa to step up to the plate with a National Transit Strategy that provides real, long-term commitments to affordable public transit.

Fleetwood Fine Furniture Campaign Updates

November: Fleetwood ships out of Alderwood and goes offshore

16/11/09 - We have received surprising news. In January 2010, Fleetwood Fine Furniture will move the balance of its domestic manufacturing to Asia while maintaining its Toronto facility as a ‘Custom Design Centre’. 

Read More

Campaign Update - October, 2009

  1. Campaign update: 300 letters to Fleetwood & Etobicoke Guardian 
  2. Call to Action: Letter writing to Counsel Corp (Fleetwood's parent company)  

Read More

Campaign Update - September 3, 2009

Check out the September edition of Snap Etobicoke here for their coverage of our Good Neighbour Park Party

Campaign Update – August 19, 2009

Read More 

Campaign Update – June 23, 2009

Campaign Update: June 2, 2009

Learn all about the Good Neighbour Campaign here

 

TO on Strike? How to Reduce, Reuse, & Store Waste

  1. Background
  2. Waste Campaigners Tips
  3. Your Tips (updated frequently!)

1. Background

The Toronto Civic Employees' Union Local 416 (CUPE) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 have announced that they are on strike. The locals were in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 22, 2009.

See the City of Toronto Website for more details: http://www.toronto.ca/labour-relations/

 

2. Waste Campaigners Tips

Below is a Quick List prepared by our Waste Campaigner Heather Marshall of what you can do to reduce, reuse, and store waste during the strike. 

After originally posting this list we had a great response from our members and Toronto residents.  With their permission we have posted their own tips and suggestions below.  Check them out and feel free to send your own to heather(at)torontoenvironment.org.

 

Packaging

  • Leave wasteful and bulky packaging at the store if you can.
  • Buy items in bulk.
  • Carry groceries home in reusable containers or bags.
  • Try to buy items sold in refillable containers [examples: refillable milk and yogurt containers have deposits]
  • Return your LBCO and Beer Store bottles and containers to the store and get back the deposit.
  • Pack a waste-free lunch with reusable containers and a lunch bag.
  • Make sure you rinse all your food packaging before putting it in the recycling bin or garbage bag to prevent smell.
  • Make sure you flatten or break down recyclables or garbage before you throw it away to save space. [examples: pop cans, plastic jugs, milk/juice cartons, cardboard boxes, Styrofoam containers, etc.]
  • Find other uses for the containers and packaging you brought home [examples: crafts, pots for plants, bird feeders].
  • No one is picking up litter during the strike, so think twice about buying on-the-go packaging like pop cans, water bottles, candy wrappers, take-out food/beverage containers. 
  • Buy a refillable coffee mug.  Toronto uses over 1 million disposable coffee cups every day. What a waste!
  • Buy a refillable water bottle.
  • If going to a park or beach, pack litter-free snacks and bring a small bag to store any garbage to take home with you. Remember, litter bins are not in service!

 

Organics

  • Throw away less organic waste by wasting less food. Buy only what you need for short periods of time and freeze leftovers if they will otherwise go bad.
  • If you have space, buy a small composting bin to turn your organic waste into healthy soil for plants.
  • If you do not have space, try to find a nearby location to compost with your neighbours or contact a community garden that may be able to take it.
  • Store small amounts of organic waste in a bag in the freezer so it won't rot or smell.
  • Some high-rise buildings in Toronto have composting on-site, but very few.  Talk to your property manager or building association about it!
  • Vermicomposting is a form of composting that uses live worms to break down organic material.  Kept in space saving containers that can be stored indoors or outdoors, they provide a viable option for high-rise residents!
  • If you are throwing your organics out with your garbage, wrap it in some newspapers to soak up some of the liquid.

 

Other

  • Donate items that are gently used [examples: clothing, dishes, furniture, etc.]
  • Wait out the strike by carefully storing waste that needs special handling [examples: paint cans, batteries, electronics, bulky items like furniture]

 

 

3. Your Tips!

Thank you to those who sent in the following tips.  Feel free to send us your own, by emailing heather(at)torontoenvironment.org.

 

Terrel Wong, a TEA member and Environmental Architect, says: "The Giblet Bag: Anything smelly and organic that can’t go into the composter can go in a small bag which is keep in the freezer for the green bin weekly. During the strike we have chosen meat with less bones to reduce the volume of waste.  With all the other composting we have only a 3L milk bag every two weeks.  It does not smell – no critters in the green bin – the green bin stays sanitary. "

 

Loree P says: "I've gone back to composting vegetable matter (including eggshells) back into the tall plants in the front yard as well as tossing it amongst the plants in the back yard....although it is not a proper 'composting bin' it has been working just fine and only attracting fruit flies The racoons have no desire for it. The other stuff like cheese, meat bones are still going into my green bin----family of 4, I actually still have room to fill it"

 

Anna Luengo, a TEA member, says: "I just want to say, though, that I have found absolutely no coverage of the issue with disposable diapers and wonder why this is the case.


I am old enough but not too old to remember using only cloth diapers for my son right through winters and summers without any problem whatsoever and without a dryer -- I actually still don't have one.  It was very easy and there were very few diaper rashes.  And this was when a lot of people were using disposables so I was quite different in that respect.  I didn't believe in having all of this garbage to deal with and cloth was a good, tried and true, way of coping. 

To give a few messy details:

Once the main mess of the diaper was flushed down the toilet and the diaper rinsed by just holding the edges of it while the toilet flushed, you could squeeze it out on the side of the toilet (without having to wring it with both hands), put it into a solution which I used to use call "NapiSan".  It was an Australian product that was baking soda based, I think, and you just put some of the powder into a diaper pail of water.  By the next day, once you had a bunch of diapers soaking in the NapiSan, you simply drained the Napisan water off and threw the diapers into the washing machine with a soft detergent like Lux.  The Napisan took away the toxicity of the urine and basically sanitized the diapers for another use.  I hung the diapers out in my basement with a fan on them and they would be dry in about 5 hours or so.  I did this for almost three years, while working full-time with another older child.  It worked very well.  Perhaps researching a product that is like Napisan would be a good idea.  Perhaps it is not environmentally friendly."

 

Suzanne, a TEA member, says:  "I have been drying my organic waste. I spread some organics on a pan to dry them before putting them in the green bin.

Peels and vegetable bits dry up rather than rot if left in the open air and they don’t smell.

If you allow much of the water content to evaporate you don’t end up with a bag of smelly brown water."

 

@MMiddleton, suggests via twitter: "If you have a garden, dig around your plants and bury your veggie scraps for free fertilizer."