Good Neighbour Campaigns

Community Right-to-Know by-laws

Community-Right-to-Know (CRTK) by-laws give people the tools to understand toxic emissions in their communities, and provide a framework for pollution prevention and toxics reduction.

CRTK by-laws have been passed in Toronto and in cities across the U.S. to add a mandatory toxics use reporting system at the municipal or state level. This ensures that priority toxic substances are publicly reported every year, which enables community members, health officials, emergency responders and businesses to access local pollution data and understand related health risks.

There are many emissions and toxics used in your community that are not reported to the NPRI because the amounts are too small, or the facility employs less than ten people. In Toronto for example, only 25% of businesses that used and released toxic chemicals had to report to NPRI. This major information gap makes it challenging to reduce air pollution and protect our health.

Toronto Environmental Alliance led a successful CRTK campaign in a coalition effort and in 2008, Toronto became the first city in Canada to pass a “Environmental Reporting and Disclosure Bylaw”. TEA also worked to ensure that the by-law isn’t just about reporting, it provides businesses and residents with the tools to prevent pollution and achieve toxics reduction. In Toronto, the CRTK by-law is implemented with the ChemTRAC program that supports businesses in reporting, and reducing toxics use. This also provides tools for the public to understand toxics used in their communities.

Toronto’s CRTK by-law

  • The Environmental Reporting and Disclosure bylaw requires businesses to report their use and release of 25 toxic substances to Toronto Public Health’s ChemTRAC program every year.
  • As of June 18, 2012, community members can access information about local sources of pollution on the ChemTRAC website.
  • The ChemTRAC program will help businesses to start developing a plan to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals.

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