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The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued the draft "Technical Guidance for Assessing Cumulative Environmental Effects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012" (Technical Guidance).
The Technical Guidance aims to ensure that requirements related to the assessment of cumulative environmental effects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, are met in a way that achieves high-quality environmental assessments.
The Techn...Read More
Creating jobs for Canada’s environmental workforce.110 internship jobs. $800,000 in wage subsidies.
Funded through Environment Canada’s Science Horizons Program, the Environmental Youth Corps (EYC) EYC Internship Program gives eligible employers 33% of an intern’s salary (up to $12,000) for new full-time environmental jobs in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.
EYC Internships typically last 12 months and are intended to lead to permanent employment.
Now accepting applications.
Ontario, Alberta Sign Lake Friendly Accord, Building on Momentum to Protect Lakes, Waterways: Minister Nevakshonoff
Ontario and Alberta have officially joined Manitoba in a broad alliance working to address cross-border water quality issues by signing the Lake Friendly Accord, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Tom Nevakshonoff, and Rick Gamble, chair of the South Basin Mayors and Reeves, announced today.
"There are many opportunities for different jurisdictions to work together on this issue because nutrient loading poses one of the most serious threats to water quality across North America," said Minister Nevakshonoff. "We are looking forward to working closely with Ontario and Alberta to ensure both provinces are implementing the most effective solutions available."
Ontario and Alberta become the first provinces to join Manitoba in signing this vitally important accord, Nevakshonoff said. By signing, Ontario has pledged to undertake numerous actions to reduce nutrient loading in the Lake of the Woods area, Lake Simcoe and the Laurentian Great Lakes. Alberta has agreed to a similar pledge to address the issue of nutrient loading in its watershed.
"Ontario is taking strong action to restore the health of our lakes," said Ontario Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray. "The Lake Friendly Accord is just one of the ways we're working with national and international partners to help keep our lakes drinkable, swimmable and fishable."
"Alberta strongly supports enhanced measures and opportunities for collaboration in protecting water quality," said Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips. "We look forward to the opportunity to exchange information and best practices while further reducing pollution in our shared waterways."
The addition of these two provinces to the accord will allow for greater sharing of best management practices, innovative technologies, and successful sharing of information and strategies between the provinces and all partners in the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance, Minister Nevakshonoff noted.
The Manitoba government and the South Basin Mayors and Reeves first partnered in June 2013 to announce the Lake Friendly Accord and the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. The goal of these initiatives is to foster collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen loading to waterways in Manitoba and beyond.
"The South Basin Mayors and Reeves recognize that we need to engage a diverse range of partners to reduce nutrient loading in Lake Winnipeg," said Gamble, who is also co-chair of the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. "We have much to learn from and much to offer our neighbours to the east and our friends to the west as we welcome them as signatories to the accord."
The Lake Friendly Accord was signed on March 21, 2014, by the South Basin Mayors and Reeves and the governments of Canada and Manitoba. Minnesota became the first international government to sign on Jan. 20, 2015. Other signatories to the accord include the Red River Basin Commission, the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba Hydro, the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Water Resources Association.
For more information on the Lake Friendly Accord, visit www.manitoba.ca/lakefriendlyaccord or www.lakefriendly.ca.
Deadline: July 2, 2015
The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) Expression of Interest submission deadline for Shovel-Ready projects is fast approaching. Eligible projects can demostrate GHG reducing technology that delivers significant and sustainable near-term GHG reductions in Alberta.Apply now!
Manitoba has among the lowest electricity prices in the world. That, along with our northern latitude, makes it perhaps one of the toughest markets in the world to crack for solar energy providers.
Justin Phillips and Alex Stuart knew they would have a challenge selling their solar power solutions when they formed Sycamore Energy in 2009 in Winnipeg. But they were committed to being part of the industry because of solar power's contributions to solving climate change, energy security and universal access to power.
Recently, Sycamore partnered with NRG Energy Inc. the $15.9-billion U.S. energy giant, to become the Canadian distributor of the Solar Street Charge, a solar mobile-charging station.
It recently installed the first one in Canada located, fittingly enough, in the middle of the country at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers at The Forks.
"We're really happy about these units because it allows us to sell something in Canada," said Phillips.
The units are powered by three 20-watt panels that need just four hours of daylight to keep the station charged. Up to six electronic mobile devices can be charged at one time. Phillips said they will do the job just as fast as a conventional wall socket.
The Forks is an ideal locale for Sycamore's demonstration of the Street Charge. The Forks has embarked on a green initiative of its own called Target Zero with a goal to reduce carbon emissions at The Forks to as close to zero as possible.
"We are working toward reducing our impact on the Earth, and this is one more innovation that gets us closer," said Paul Jordan, CEO of The Forks. "People are always looking for places to plug in their devices, and now they can while using solar energy."
NRG is the largest independent power producer in the U.S., with 47,000 megawatts of generation capacity. Last year, it acquired Goal Zero, a small company that makes portable solar and charging products including the Street Charge.
The units proved their value in the days after hurricane Sandy when power was out for days in many parts of New York City. AT&T could provide Wi-Fi but many people couldn't charge their devices to get online. So a number of Street Charge stations were installed in New York and were a hit.
Kise Zettel, a spokeswoman for NRG in Houston, said even though the company has massive generation capacity (including thermal and nuclear generation) it takes its corporate-responsibility issues seriously including how it leaves the world for future generations. It is also one of the larger solar energy generators in the U.S.
"We wanted to strategically distribute these solar chargers not just in the U.S but worldwide," Zettel said. "Sycamore is very much aligned with the vision we have at our company. So they are a great partner for us."
Phillips is no stranger to the challenges of convincing Canadian customers to use alternative energy. In a past life, he also worked in the wind industry.
But he readily acknowledges that with electricity costs at about seven cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), it would take most users in Manitoba about 15 years to pay for a solar installation.
In Jamaica, where Sycamore has recently completed an installation at a resort, electrical costs are as high as 65 cents per kWh.
Jane Kidd-Hatscher, a spokeswoman for Manitoba Hydro, said there is not a lot of solar power generation in the province, but the utility will pay market rates for excess solar generation back onto the grid.
But even Phillips doesn't expect a lot of that to happen any time soon.
Meanwhile, he hopes the Street Charge units will catch on. So far, there are only 100 of them throughout the world. Sycamore, which has distribution rights for the units across Canada, has sold a couple of them to the downtown business improvement zone in London, Ont., that will go up next week.
Phillips envisions them being ideal at high-traffic bus stops and high-traffic pedestrian areas.
"The possibilities are endless," he said. "But it would be great to get a quick charge while waiting for the bus for that 25-minute ride home."
The units sell for $13,000 each but the design creates possibilities for corporate messaging or commercial advertising that could bring in as much as $1,000 per month.
By Martin Cash
Winnipeg Free Press, June 18, 2015
A landscape project that will receive recognition with a national merit award from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects is cause for a celebration, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs minister Eric Robinson announced today.
This month, the Manitoba Floodway and East Side Road Authority will receive a national award of merit for the East Side Road Revegetation Initiative.
“The Manitoba government is proud to stand with the East Side Road Authority, which is showing the world that you can build in a sustainable manner that preserves our heritage for future generations,” Minister Robinson said. “On behalf of Manitobans, we celebrate their commitment to environmental and social awareness.”
This year, 10 projects received national awards. The projects are examples in Canadian landscape architecture, honouring distinctive design, ground-breaking research and sustainable landscape management.
Architectural firm Scatliff, Miller and Murray has been working with the East Side Road Authority to meet its environmentally regulated native plant revegetation objectives and helped create an industry for landscape architecture in northern areas by combining agri-business science with native plant ecology.
“We are truly honoured to be receiving this award and we are proud to work with Scatliff, Miller and Murray,” said Ernie Gilroy, CEO, East Side Road Authority. “Their work incorporating native revegetation along the east side road is an example of our commitment to managing projects in a manner which creates economic development for the local people while protecting the environment that they live in. It is great to have that commitment recognized.”
The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Awards of Excellence celebrate work that is inspiring, exhilarating and remarkably diverse. The national awards were presented on Saturday, May 23 in Mexico City.
For several years, Sean McKay, the CEO of the Composites Innovation Centre, has said for the bio-fibre composites industry to develop in Manitoba, a proper supply chain needs to be developed.
That means some kind of reliable supply of raw material and some fundamental processing of the bio-fibre composite material to get it to a form in which manufacturers could fashion it into parts.
The motivation is these kinds of products could be used to replace heavier and more expensive fibreglass composites that also carry a much denser greenhouse gas load.
Mark Myrowich, the owner of Erosion Control Blankets (ECB) has been subjected to McKay's prodding for some time.
He's about to take the bait.
"My entrepreneurial senses tell me this is the time to really start looking at this and get this thing going from the supply side," said Myrowich.
For 13 years, Myrowich has been building a growing business making the namesake erosion control blankets.
Operating out of plants in Riverton and Blumenort that employ about 50 people, he has been selling the product, primarily made from wheat straw, to the heavy-construction industry across North America.
Last year, he signed a joint-venture agreement with a European company that makes flax-fibre mats that are used by a variety of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in Europe.
The partnership with the company, called EcoTechnilin, will create a Canadian company to sell those flax-fibre composite products into the North American market.
Among other things, they include natural-fibre floor underlayment used between subfloor and hardwood floors. In Europe, EcoTechnilin also sells flax-fibre composite parts to European automakers.
Being the experienced businessman he is, Myrowich wants to see if there is demand for the product before he takes the next step -- investing in new production capacity in Manitoba.
"It all comes down to cost," said Myrowich. "It's nice that it's green. But to me cost is a better (market) driver than the environmental factor."
At ECB, he uses the raw straw in its process. It does not need to separate the fibre from the chive, a process called decortication.
But EcoTechnilin's product needs the fibre separated and buys it from other suppliers in Europe that operate decortication facilities.
Myrowich's plan is to work the market here, and when he gets to around $3 million in sales -- maybe in two to three years -- he will take the plunge and build his own decortication plant to produce flax fibre in Manitoba.
McKay believes that could be a key trigger for the bio-fibre composites industry to really get established, because it will create a source of fibre that is ready to be processed.
Myrowich and some local flax producers are heading to England and France next month to observe how the supply chain works there. They have sent a container load of Manitoba flax straw to get a first-hand look at how it will perform through the various processing phases.
Eric Fridfinnson, chairman of the Manitoba Flax Growers Association, is supporting the efforts.
It's his flax straw from his farm near Arborg that will be shipped overseas.
"This could be a good opportunity for growers to be able to have another way to dispose of our flax straw," he said.
He added there is growing flax acreage in Manitoba as it is, and because of its strength, flax straw is particularly challenging to dispose of. Much of it ends up being burned.
He said it's not like there is an expectation producers will start earning big bucks for their straw, but it could be a nice additional source of demand for a hard-to-dispose-of by-product of their oilseed crop.
Fridfinnson said this project has as good a chance of success as any because it's being headed by someone who is already an experienced practitioner.
"Mark is one of the few people who has a track record of actually bringing some of this to fruition," he said. "So I am pretty optimistic that something will come of this."
McKay will also be in France in the coming weeks and will also meet with the European operators.
"Mark is doing an excellent job trying to create some business in this area," said McKay. "He has been looking at the right time to jump in and make the move."
By Martin Cash
Winnipeg Free Press, June 12, 2015