Ontario Chapter

At Sierra Club Ontario, our work mainly focuses on protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, increasing awareness about air pollution, and promoting Green Energy adoption in Ontario. Sierra Club Ontario also works on very local issues, in coordination with smaller communities in Ontario.

How serious is air pollution? We need to dig a little deeper to find out.

How serious is air pollution in Ottawa? We have our BreatheEasy project underway to find out. First, using small hand held air sensors, we are measuring air quality in different areas all across the city and reporting our results publicly. We are also digging out existing information on air quality from a variety of sources both in Canada and around the world. It turns out that globally, there are a lot of people doing serious work on this subject and are readily sharing their findings with open reports and research results.

Ottawa has an air pollution problem and it's time we tackled it

Author: 
Jake Cole
Source: 
Ottawa Citizen
Date published: 
Sat, 03/20/2021

Does Ottawa have an air pollution problem? The short answer is yes, particularly in certain areas of the city.

With funding from the Ottawa Community Foundation and in cooperation with Ecology Ottawa, the Sierra Club Canada Foundation is leading a project, BreatheEasy, to monitor outdoor air quality (AQ) in all wards across the city. From what we’re finding out, the air is not healthy, certainly not everywhere and not every day.

Indigenous & Environmental Groups Call for Moratorium on Mining Development in Ring of Fire

Sierra Club Canada Foundation has joined Indigenous and environmental groups in requesting a moratorium on a mining development in Ontario's "Ring of Fire". As it stands, the region’s wetlands and watersheds are not protected under this development and local communities, both upstream and downstream, are in need of access to clean water, housing and other health services.

How’s the air you’re breathing today? The BreatheEasy project can help you find out.

By Jake Cole and Lucy Bain. 

According to Health Canada, some 14,600 premature deaths across the country are caused annually by air pollution. In Ottawa alone, approximately 500 deaths are deemed pollution-related each year. Yet, the topic of air quality (AQ) and its impacts are rarely discussed. It remains a silent killer.

That Nice Smell of Wood Smoke in The Air - Maybe It's Not So Nice

If you've walked around a neighbourhood when people have their fireplaces going, you've probably noticed that woodsy scent wafting through the air. Some would even find that a soothing, pleasant smell. You may be surprised to learn that the smoke from a wood stove, a wood burning fireplace, or an open campfire, is not at all good for you. In fact, in some countries, like the U.K., wood-burning produces more than double the air pollution that results from traffic exhaust.

Air pollution drama at my home

So there I was on that sunny summer afternoon, just getting started with our Sierra Club Canada project, “Breathe Easy,” to measure air pollution all across Ottawa. I was working from home, all the windows open, when suddenly there's a cacophony of clattering noise starting up somewhere in the neighbourhood and a real stinky smell wafting into the yard and in through my windows. I investigate to find that a local hedge trimming company has unleashed a team of three ardent cutters on my adjacent neighbour's back yard. I close up all my windows and whip over to see what's going on.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) under Assault

So far unreported in the press, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been under assault by the Ford government. This situation is especially tragic given the historic significance of its role in environmental protection. The MNRF has evolved to become the guardian of bio-diversity in Ontario.

Evolving out of the Department of Lands and Forests, MNRF, has been characterized by its conservationist use of science. The department’s work evolved from its Forest Protection Branch created in 1911 by the then-Chief Forester of Ontario, Edmund Zavitz.

Victories in Freele Tract and Carruthers Creek Headwaters Show Power of Citizen Engagement in Land Use Planning

Although the government of Premier Douglas Ford is no Valhalla for environmental protection, two recent decisions in rejecting municipally supported requests for Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO) show that engaged citizens can wrest positive victories. One MZO request, by the County of Simcoe, would have put a waste transfer station in the 207-acre part of Simcoe County Forest, designated as the Freele Tract. The second by the Town of Pickering, supported by a developer, supported the urbanization of the headwaters of Carruthers Creek.

Great Healing Forests and Water

Urgent update: Since the discovery of the expansion of the range of the dense blazing star, a new threat has emerged to their survival. Without any reporting of their expansion or of the extent of the destruction in February 2020 to the adjacent habitat of a rare orchid, the Great Plains ladies' tresses, Niagara Falls is going ahead with a Public Meeting on Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Due to COVID the meeting is virtual. You MUST get your comments submitted before the 6th. City Council could proceed to authorize their destruction, subject to an appeal to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal.

Ajax and Durham Councils Support Protection of Carruthers Creek Headwaters

July 29, 2020, an important victory was won for the protection of the headwaters of Carruthers Creek. The Durham Regional Council, acting in response to an earlier motion by the Town of Ajax, and many residents, opposed a request by the City of Pickering to urbanize these lands through the imposition of a Ministerial Zoning Order. (MZO)

Two Reviews Show Why Both Environmental Assessment and Conservation Authority Acts Should Be Left Alone

The Mohawk elder Danny Beaton (Turtle Clan) speaks on the threat posed by two environmental reviews in Ontario.
He warns,

“How many books have to be written about environmental protection or films made by David Suzuki, Ed Burtynsky, or Jacques Cousteau, before we create another environmental crisis? How many environmental disasters — Katrina, Bangladesh? How many mega projects do we need? There is an Earth crisis still unfolding from killing wild animals in China.