The "Toxic Thirteen" - Sierra Club of Canada and MiningWatch Canada Call For a Federal Contaminated Sites Program

The Sierra Club of Canada and MiningWatch Canada held a press conference on June 29th to challenge the federal government to give Canadians a Canada Day gift they and future generations can truly enjoy: a contaminated sites remediation program. In a report titled, “TOXICanada: 13 Good Reasons to Establish a Clean Canada Fund, the groups highlight one contaminated or toxic site in each province and territory across Canada to illustrate the need for a program to deal with them.

The report aims to draw attention to the growing amount of hazardous waste both produced and imported by Canada - there are thousands of landfills, abandoned industrial sites, and effluent run-off areas where toxics contaminate and leach into the surrounding environment, putting people and nature at risk. Efforts to address contaminated sites when they do occur tend to be ad hoc and poorly planned.

The sites listed in each province are: Sleepy Hollow Landfill in PEI; Argentia in Newfoundland; Miramichi River in New Brunswick; the Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia; Technoparc in Québec; Beckwith Township in Ontario; Lynn Lake, Manitoba; Uranium City, Saskatchewan; Swan Hills, Alberta; the Tsolum River (Mount Washington Mine) in BC; the Giant Mine in the NWT; Faro Mine in the Yukon; and Resolution Island in Nunavut.

The report and the press conference are part of the continuing efforts of the Green Budget Coalition (of which MiningWatch Canada is a member) to have environmental priorities given a higher profile in the federal government's agenda. Since government priorities are most clearly expressed in the budget, we are seeking to have destructive activities taxed instead of subsidised, as well as specific efforts to clean up toxic sites.

The report is available from MiningWatch Canada.