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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 MbEN presented to the standing committee to ask that the Bill be withdrawn because it severely weakens many types of oversight for utilities and fairness to the consumer.
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 MbEN presented to the standing committee to ask that the Bill be withdrawn on the grounds that it is dangerous to the ecosystem and brings Manitoba backward in comparison to legislation in other provinces.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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 lends its voice asking for strengthened support for the Office of Sustainability, including stronger leadership, increased funding, and a community advisory position.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
In February 2021, MbEN submitted these comments for consideration during the City of Winnipeg’s Governance Review.
MbEN signed on to this letter written by Trees Please Winnipeg.
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.
The follow-up letter to Minister Squires regarding Network of Networks ask for Non-Profit Sector Table
(published in the Winnipeg Free Press, November 18, 2020)
We are adding our voices to growing calls from Black and Indigenous leaders for meaningful action to address police violence and systemic racism.
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’.
MbEN submitted this letter to the Government of Manitoba in response to the Environment Act Proposal for the Vivian Sand Facility Project.
In August 2020, MbEN submitted these comments for consideration by the City of Winnipeg during the review of the OurWinnipeg policy and implementation plan.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In July 2019, MbEN submitted these comments for consideration by the City of Winnipeg during the review of the OurWinnipeg policy and implementation plan.