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Enviro Enforcement: New Low
Canadians shortchanged by feds

Friends of the Earth
February 22, 2000

"Citizens who care about their kids and communities should be shocked and worried"

New chemical products and toxic waste get a free ride under Canada's enforcement of pollution laws, Friends of the Earth (FOE) reports today.

With the low levels of enforcement committed in 1999-2000, exporters or importers of hazardous wastes could expect to see environmental inspectors once every 16 years, storage sites for PCB waste, once every 20 years and industries proposing to commercially use new chemicals, biotech or genetically-engineered products, once every 55 years.

"Citizens who care about their kids and communities should be shocked and worried," says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. "There are just eight full-time people assigned to inspect Canadaís 5,995 businesses, individuals and others working with these new substances or hazardous wastes. We find it beyond belief that this level of enforcement would motivate anyone to comply with pollution laws. "
"There are just eight full-time people assigned to inspect Canada's 5,995 businesses...(working with) hazardous wastes."

Friends of the Earth is calling on Parliament to launch new hearings to decide how to protect Canadians and their families. Unless Canadians know there is a clear and strong re-commitment to enforce Canada's pollution laws, any voluntary agreements to deal with pollution will be considered a farce, says Ms. Olivastri.

Friends of the Earth released their first report in a three volume series investigating the role of the federal government in delivering primary environmental care.

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Beatrice Olivastri, Kathleen Kelso
CEO, Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth
(Office) 613-241-0085, ext. 26, 613-241-0085, ext. 0
(Cellular) 613-724-8690