The Manitoba Eco-Network actively engages in policy work to hold government and business accountable, educate the public about environmental concerns, and build relationships across the non-profit sector. We work to engage, organize, and bring forth the voice of the environmental community. Below is a list of our policy advocacy activities.
Bill S-5 offers an important chance to improve federal control over toxic substances and genetically-modified organisms
MbEN policy director Heather Fast coauthored an opinion piece for The Hill Times about the journey of Bill S-5 through the Senate and House. MbEN and colleagues argue that key bill improvements are not being made and ultimately fail to protect the environment from harmful substances.
Manitoba non-profits advocate for effective government support with the next election cycle
MbEN joins with fellow non-profit organizations to highlight the vital service delivery that non-profits provide to Manitobans and that the government depends on to support the well-being of the Province. However, non-profits suffer greatly from inadequate and uncertain resources. The vital frontline work is constantly at risk as staff contend with increasing austerity in the face of unrelenting need. We ask that the upcoming election should keep non-profit wellness and support at the forefront of important issues.
MbEN urges Mayor and Council to adopt the Montreal Biodiversity Pledge
As part of the December 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference, the Montreal Biodiversity Pledge was developed to address the problem of cities causing biodiversity loss. By signing this Pledge, The City of Winnipeg will indicate its obligation to protect urban biodiversity through policy decisions and meaningful action.
MbEN joins a list of organizations calling for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to follow the new legal requirement to consider cumulative effects when making policies and regulations, to prevent the degradation of fish habitat in Canada.
The undersigned organizations are greatly concerned about the failure of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to consider long-term cumulative effects when creating policies and regulations. This is a failure to adhere to legal requirements to properly manage cumulative effects.
MbEN and Our Line in the Sand make an opening statement demanding comprehensive impact assessment for novel mining techniques that put the largest freshwater aquifer in Manitoba at risk
MbEN and Our Line in the Sand conclude public hearing appearance with a closing statement about the risks of novel mining technology on vulnerable groundwater
MbEN and Our Line in the Sand (OLS) have attended the March 2023 Manitoba Clean Environment Commission public hearing on Sio Silica Corporation’s proposed Vivian Silica Sand Extraction Project. With legal support of the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) and our expert witness from Matrix Solutions Inc., we are calling attention to the inherent risk to the groundwater that is associated with this project and that a license under the Environment Act should NOT be granted.
MbEN supports federal-level assistance for low-income Canadians to improve their home energy efficiency
MbEN has joined with over 130 organizations to advocate for stronger federal support for low-income Canadians to upgrade homes for energy efficiency. We want to see programs that cover all types of fuel, including heating oil, natural gas, and electricity. We also want to see support for regional programs that already exist to help with energy poverty, increased affordability protections for low-income tenants, and job training for underrepresented communities to implement energy efficient upgrades.
MbEN and ENGO peers raise awareness about CEPA updates and call for action to protect Canadians from environmental toxics and genetically engineered organisms
MbEN joins with Canadian Environmental Law Association and Nature Canada to raise awareness about the failure of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to reduce emissions of toxic substances to the environment. Together, we are urging a Parliamentary committee to support key recommendations from its own 2017 report as it reviews and votes on amendments to the Act.
MbEN supports Fisher River Cree Nation in calling for diligent impact assessment for proposed peat mining in traditional territories
MbEN and Wilderness Committee Manitoba have produced a letter of support for Fisher River Cree Nation (FRCN), who are responding to a proposal to increase peat mining in the area. FRCN calls for enhanced impact assessment of the proposal due to the likely negative outcomes for the ecosystem and local Indigenous peoples.
MbEN raises concerns about Bill 36 and MB Hydro’s new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)
MbEN is expressing concern that there are several gaps in Hydro’s approach to integrated resource planning. These gaps include more detailed understanding of energy demands of different sectors, increased collaboration with the Province’s Climate Change and Energy branch, and overall transparency.
MbEN comments on Canadian Premium Sands Environmental Act Proposal (EAP)
Our policy team has reviewed the latest EAP from Canadian Premium Sands, which was filed for a potential solar glass manufacturing facility in Selkirk. MbEN has identified several gaps in the EAP. We ask that the assessment be referred to the Clean Environment Commission (CAC) for a public hearing and include appropriate funding to enable meaningful public participation. We also call on Hydro to honour all IRP Key Inputs, and to put this IRP before the Public Utilities Board for review.
MbEN presents its opposition to Bill 36
Manitoba has introduced Bill 36, which is an omnibus bill to restructure the role of the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and reduce opportunities for public consultation. MbEN presented to the standing committee to ask that the Bill be withdrawn because it severely weakens many types of oversight for utilities and fairness to the consumer.
MbEN presents its opposition to Bill 22
Manitoba has introduced Bill 22 to allow for previously-banned pesticides to become available for domestic and residential use. MbEN presented to the standing committee to ask that the Bill be withdrawn on the grounds that it is dangerous to the ecosystem and brings Manitoba backward in comparison to legislation in other provinces.
MbEN fights for federal-level legal reforms to ensure access to environmental justice
As part of our Healthy Environment Healthy Neighbourhood (HEHN) project, Manitoba Eco-Network has been engaging with the parliamentary process for Bill S-5 and Bill C-226. The residents who are participating in our HEHN project have no legal recourse to protect themselves from the toxic contamination from nearby industrial scrap metal operations. We are advocating strongly for federal reforms that enshrine a right to a healthy environment and meaningful avenues for access to environmental justice.
MbEN comments on the Government of Canada’s proposed Frame for the Clean Electricity Regulations (CER)
MbEN is advocating for the inclusion of “environmental justice” as an additional core principle for the CER. We are also concerned about the clarity of the policy about anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases and the viability of carbon capture technology.
MbEN urges the Province of Manitoba to adopt 2020 building codes as soon as possible
MbEN has submitted comments on the adoption of the 2015 building codes. We encourage the Government of Manitoba to advance past the 2015 building code adoption and pursue the 2020 building codes as soon as possible, which will save money and help to address obligations to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
MbEN co-signs with Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba (CPBM) to resist Bill 22, which would permit the use of pesticides that are currently banned
MbEN joins 32 organizations concerned by the proposal to allow the use of cosmetic pesticides that were banned in 2015. This Bill is out of alignment with the most updated research on the safety hazards of pesticides. The use of pesticides can negatively impact human health, especially for children. Cosmetic pesticides can also harm animals (both pets and wildlife) and wash into the rivers. We believe that Bill 22 is a step backward for Manitoba that will introduce harm to our fragile ecology.
MbEN shows support for Bill C-226 that would establish the National Strategy Respecting Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Act
MbEN has sent a letter to the Hon. Steven Guibeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and all Manitoba’s members of parliament to encourage the passage of Bill C-226, which would strengthen the abilities of policymakers to address the causes of environmental racism and create effective solutions. Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities are disproportionately burdened with exposure to toxic substances and other environmental hazards due to policies and practices that have forced them to live in proximity to polluting industries and natural resource developments.
MbEN sends a letter to the Senate of Canada to ask for improved changes to Bill S-5 that will keep the environment and Canadians safe from toxic substances
MbEN has produced a thoroughly researched letter to explain the shortcomings of the newest version of Bill S-5 that would update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This letter highlights the risks and difficulties unique to Manitobans and asks for an improved approach to toxic substance elimination.
MbEN joins the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) to call for meaningful improvements to Bill S-5’s updates the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA)
Canada is poised to update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act for the first time since 1999. CELA has studied these changes and has provided many amendments, including updates that maintain the seriousness of listed toxic substances, prioritize environmental health without loopholes, and a strong definition of environmental justice. The full document of CELA’s amendments can be found here.
MbEN calls for Canadian Kraft Paper Industries and Nisokapawino Forestry Corp. to strengthen consideration of climate impacts and public engagement in their forestry management plan.
MbEN has sent a letter to Manitoba’s Planning and Practices Forester that is critical of a plan to harvest wood to create single-use kraft paper products for the global market. We ask that the project plan have provisions for inquiry into potential climate hazards, alternative approaches to harvesting virgin forest, comprehensive public engagement, and a hearing with the Clean Environment Commission.
MbEN joins over 130 organizations to call for meaningful investment in energy efficiency and energy poverty prevention for low-income Canadians
MbEN has signed on to a letter to the Ministers of Finance, Natural Resources, and Energy Efficiency that calls for a multifaceted approach to alleviating energy poverty in Canada. Affordable access to energy is a basic human right and is all too often out of reach for vulnerable communities. Canada must include the 2.8 million households experiencing energy poverty in the 2022 budget.
MbEN joins 78 organizations who signed on to the Nuclear Power is not a Responsible Investment campaign
MbEN joins 78 Public Interest groups in calling on Canada’s biggest banks to drop investments in nuclear power, including so-called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) from their fossil-free and ESG* investment portfolios. The letters, with the list of 78 signatories, were sent to the bank CEOs in late February 2022. A sample letter is linked above, and bilingual letters were sent to BMO, CIBC, National Bank, RBC, ScotiaBank, and TD.
MbEN raises an appeal to the Minister of Climate & Conservation about the license issued to Sio Silica Corp. (formerly CanWhite Sands Inc.)
MbEN invoked Section 27 of The Environment Act to dispute the license issued to Sio Silica Corp., citing a lack of meaningful public participation, incomplete Environmental Act Proposal, and incomplete description and classification of the project.
MbEN submits inquiry to the CEC and Minister of Climate & Conservation about ensuring public participation and project transparency
MbEN sent a letter to the CEC and the Ministry of Climate & Conservation to raise concerns about a seeming lack of support for public participation, as well as a need for transparency and widened scope of several other aspects of the approval process for Sio Silica Corp.’s Vivian sand processing facility (formerly CanWhite Sands Inc.).
MbEN submits comments to the Minister of Climate & Conservation on the CEC’s reforms to the Contaminated Sites Remediation Act
MbEN wrote a letter about the Clean Environment Commission’s updates to the Contaminated Sites Remediation Act (CSRA) to the Minister of Climate and Conservation. We suggested additional reforms for the Act, including strengthening the role of public participation, transparency, and adherence to sustainability guidance.
MbEN submits letter to the Executive Policy Committee to advocate for full support for Office of Sustainability
MbEN presented at a meeting of the City of Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee to advocate for strong and sustained support for the Office of Sustainability (OOS). We asked that the OOS report to the Chief Administrative Officer, that the budget and personnel be increased substantially, and that a Community Advisory Council be established.
MbEN shows support for Winnipeg’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and to add climate resiliency as a consideration
MbEN is an active supporter of the new Poverty Reduction Strategy for the City of Winnipeg. In addition to the 8 recommendations in the project, we advocate for climate resiliency, improved green infrastructure, emergency preparedness, and energy poverty also be included in the strategy.
MbEN submits comment about prospective potash mining
MbEN has responded to a proposal for a potash mine and has called for a reclassification of the project to Class 3, triggering a Clean Environment Commission hearing. In particular, there is concern about the novel mining methods and MbEN urges careful review.
MbEN advocates for changes to the City’s approach to climate action and development plan
MbEN lends its voice asking for strengthened support for the Office of Sustainability, including stronger leadership, increased funding, and a community advisory position.
MbEN sends comments to the Municipal Board Planning Appeals consultation
MbEN contributed comments about whether the efforts to streamline and accelerate the development permitting process would leave room for meaningful public consultation, especially in terms of discussing environmental justice.
Appointment of the Honourable Minister Joyce Murray to Fisheries and Oceans
MbEN lends its voice in congratulating new Minister of Fisheries and
Oceans on appointment and urgency for implementing Canada’s modernized
Fisheries Act to better protect and restore oceans and wild fish and
rebuild habitat and fisheries.
MbEN comments on proposed silica sand mining project
We sent our comments to the province in regard to the proposed silica sand mining project proposed by CanWhite Sands Corp. This includes concerns about the impacts on the environment, particularly the Winnipeg Sandstone and Red River Carbonate aquifers and associated drinking water, and human health. Our comments can be viewed here.
MbEN co-hosts Winnipeg South 100 Debates on the Environment
The Manitoba Eco-Network and Wa Ni Ska Tan co-hosted (with others) a virtual, all-candidates debate where local federal election candidates from the Winnipeg South riding debated issues of environmental concern. Lynne Fernandez was the moderator. This event was a part of GreenPAC’s 100 Debates on the Environment initiative. The press release from the event (September 8, 2021) can be found here.
MbEN comments – Consultation on the Manitoba Water Management Strategy
In August 2021, MbEN submitted comments to the Government of Manitoba on the Manitoba Water Engagement Strategy, expressing the need for more meaningful public engagement once a detailed strategy with specific actions and goals is developed, and a greater focus on water conservation and protection in addition to natural resources development. More information on the Province’s Water Management Strategy can be found here.
MbEN comments on the proposed Louisiana Pacific Canada Ltd. Forest Management Plan
MbEN sent this letter to the Government of Manitoba in response to the Environment Act Proposal for the 20 Year Forest Management Plan submitted by Louisiana Pacific Canada Ltd.
Press Release – City of Winnipeg Says Yes to the Nuclear Ban (June 24, 2021)
MbEN was one of the many organizations that endorsed the successful ICAN Cities Appeal Campaign in Winnipeg. A motion was passed by City Council on June 24th, 2021, expressing support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Endorsement of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Cities Appeal Campaign
In June 2021, MbEN released this public statement endorsing the ICAN Cities Appeal Campaign and calling on the City of Winnipeg to support the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Letter to Minister Wilkinson and MP Terry Duguid expressing our support for the establishment of a Canada Water Agency
In June 2021, MbEN submitted this letter to the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary of Environment and Climate Change Canada expressing our continued support for the establishment of a Canada Water Agency.
Comments on the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region’s Plan 20-50
In June 2021, MbEN submitted these comments on Plan 20-50, the draft plan for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region for the next 30 years, which has been made possible by the recent enactment of Bill 37, The Planning Amendment and City of Winnipeg Charter Amendment Act.
Letter to Public Utilities Board regarding Manitoba Hydro Rate Review
Letter of support for the Aboriginal Council of Manitoba, Consumers Association of Canada (Manitoba) and Manitoba Harvest’s application requesting that a review of Manitoba Hydro rates is undertaken by the Public Utilities Board.
Letter to Manitoba Conservation and Climate opposing the use of pesticides on provincial highway right-of-ways
Along with 8 other organizations, MbEN submitted this letter in response to the public notice of the Pesticide Control Programs conducted by the Province of Manitoba within right of ways.
Letter to Minister Friesen from People for PILC Coalition
MbEN, along with other concerned organizations and individuals, signed onto this letter written by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, expressing community support for the Public Interest Law Centre.
Canada Water Agency Collective Submission
MbEN was one of 51 organizations that signed onto the collective submission by Our Living Waters on the five foundational pillars needed for the success of a potential Canada Water Agency.
Our Comments on the City of Winnipeg’s Governance Review
In February 2021, MbEN submitted these comments for consideration during the City of Winnipeg’s Governance Review.
Government of Canada Budget Submission: Request for Natural Infrastructure Funding for Urban Forests (February 17, 2021)
MbEN signed on to this letter written by Trees Please Winnipeg.
Network of Networks Letter to the Province of Manitoba on a Non-Profit Sector Table
MbEN and 9 other organizations submitted this letter to Minister Johnson in February 2021, requesting that the Province of Manitoba convene a cross-departmental working group to support the non-profit sector through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Letter to Minister Squires (December 14, 2020)
The follow-up letter to Minister Squires regarding Network of Networks ask for Non-Profit Sector Table
The Environment is Under Attack, We Need Your Help to Fight Back
(published in the Winnipeg Free Press, November 18, 2020)
Community Organizations Call for Police Accountability and the Reallocation of Resources
We are adding our voices to growing calls from Black and Indigenous leaders for meaningful action to address police violence and systemic racism.
Our Comments on ‘Manitoba Water Management Strategy: Seeking Perspectives’
In September 2020, MbEN provided these written comments to the Expert Advisory Council for the Climate and Green Plan on ‘Manitoba Water Management Strategy: Seeking Perspectives’.
Our Comments on CanWhite Sands Corp. and Silica Sand Mine Developments in Manitoba
MbEN submitted this letter to the Government of Manitoba in response to the Environment Act Proposal for the Vivian Sand Facility Project.
Our Comments on the City of Winnipeg’s OurWinnipeg Policy and Implementation Plan (Round 2!)
In August 2020, MbEN submitted these comments for consideration by the City of Winnipeg during the review of the OurWinnipeg policy and implementation plan.
Our Comments on ‘A Green Transportation Strategy for Manitoba’
In July 2020, Mb-EN attended a consultation event and provided these written comments to the Expert Advisory Council for the Climate and Green Plan on ‘A Green Transportation Strategy for Manitoba’.
Our Comments on Berger Peat Moss Ltd. Horticultural Mix Plant
In July 2020, Mb-EN submitted these comments to the Province of Manitoba on the Environment Act Proposal for Berger Peat Moss Ltd.’s proposed Horticultural Mix Plant in Springfield, Manitoba.
Network of Networks Letter to the Province of Manitoba on a Non-Profit Sector Table
MbEN and 11 other organizations submitted this letter to Premier Pallister and Minister Squires in June 2020, requesting that the Province of Manitoba convene a non-profit sector table to support the sector through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our comments on the Lake St. Martin and Lake Manitoba Outlet Channels Project
MbEN submitted these comments in May 2020 to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, on the potential environmental effects of the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels Project and the proposed measures to prevent or mitigate those effects, as set out in the Project’s Environmental Impact Statement.
Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging to ‘Hold Strong on Environmental Laws’
MbEN and 15 other organizations submitted this letter to Prime Minister Trudeau in May 2020, urging the Government of Canada to resist pressures by oil and gas companies to weaken or delay implementation of federal environmental laws, under the guise of a Covid-19 response.
Manitoba Federation of Non-profit Organizations letter on the non-profit sector and Covid-19
MbEN and 6 other network organizations endorsed this letter sent to Premier Pallister by the Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations in April 2020. The letter outlines several ways the Province of Manitoba could support non-profits as part of a Covid-19 response.
Our Comments on the International Red River Board Nutrient Objectives and Targets
In March 2020, MbEN submitted these comments to the International Red River Board on the proposed nutrient concentration objectives and nutrient load targets for the Red River at the boundary of the United States and Canada.
Our Comments on Efficiency Manitoba’s 2020/23 Efficiency Plan
In January 2020, MbEN submitted these comments to the Public Utilities Board for consideration during the review process for Efficiency Manitoba’s 2020/23 Efficiency Plan.
Forum for our Future: Manitoba Leaders Debate on Climate Change and the Environment
MbEN, along with 10 other organizations, hosted this public debate during the leadup to the 2019 provincial election in Manitoba. A recording of the event is available here on our website.
Our Comments on the City of Winnipeg’s OurWinnipeg Policy and Implementation Plan
In July 2019, MbEN submitted these comments for consideration by the City of Winnipeg during the review of the OurWinnipeg policy and implementation plan.