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About CIELAP: History

1970s - Actions Speak Louder than Words
The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and the Canadian Environmental Law and Research Foundation (CELRF) were founded in 1970 (CELRF became CIELAP in 1988.) The two groups defended the environment by operating the Citizen's Environmental Law Advisory Office and Complaint Service. By holding public meetings and various other information sessions, CELA and CELRF became the focal point for serious review and evaluation of environmental law in Canada. Both groups critiqued the Ontario government's Environmental Protection Act (EPA) leading to many new amendments and changes to the Act to better serve the public's interest. This was the decade when citizens really began to stand up and demand their rights to defend the environment. As a result of CELA and CELRF's persistence and tenacity, more than 30 amendments were made between the first reading and final passage of the Environmental Assessment Act.

1980s - Increasing Public Knowledge
CIELAP's work in the 1980s could be described as increasing public knowledge. CIELAP continued its research and held many conferences on various environmental issues, such as hazardous waste, reducing industrial waste, pollution and the law, toxic water pollution, regulating industrial sewer use in Ontario and the first conference in Canada on the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework for the regulation of the products of biotechnology.

1990s - Growing International Presence
In the 1990s CIELAP had a growing international presence and continued its policy research, producing reports on a variety of topics including Reducing the Environmental Risks of Biotechnology; Cleaning up the Land: A National Dialogue on Contaminated Site Remediation in Canada. CIELAP also participated in the development of the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights and held the first conference in Ontario of the implementation of the Bill of Rights.

2000 to the present - Looking Down the Road Toward Sustainability
CIELAP published its report on Sustainable Development in Canada: A New Federal Plan in 2001; five papers on Partnerships for Sustainability in 2004/05; updated its 2001 Report; attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development; and organized three conferences on Partnering for Sustainability; and continues work on pollution prevention.