Impacts on Public Health, Safety, and the Environment

“The CFIA needs a different reporting structure as reporting to the Minister of Agriculture is a conflict of interest. I am sick and tired of reports, such as the latest regarding the XL beef, indicating that we have "a weak food safety culture" when WE, the worker-bees, do [have a food safety culture]. [The] issue is that we are not supported in this culture. The Agency also has a culture of hiring executives that have no scientific background and are therefore unable to adequately support/promote our mandate, the scientist or the science since they don't understand the complexity of the Agriculture industry/food safety/animal or plant health. I am also infuriated that industry has more influence on our management than we do for program design and delivery... Again, it is industry having more power with our Sr. Management and our Minister than we do. I understand we need to consider all sides of the story and the impacts of our regulatory actions on industry but science seems no longer to have a strong place in decision making. I work with amazing, knowledgeable and professional folks at the Agency and I strongly believe in the Agency's mandate, which is why I am still there - but sometimes it is hard to get up in the morning knowing how decisions are made and how science has been diluted! ”

“Because of changes in regulations and shifts in departmental mandates, science disciplines aimed at environmental and human protection have been set aside and ignored, without taking the real risks into consideration (e.g. environmental assessment, toxicology research on freshwater systems, aircraft inspection, food inspection).” [FR]

“I’m not sure that a lot of the changes to modernize inspection and to transfer responsibilities to regulated industry will be for the better . . . In the short term, there is an overload of work with the many new programs, and without any additional staff . . .” [FR]

“It is my perception that many decisions we make are heavily influenced by Industry lobbying, especially in the area of certain health products. This has changed the way these products are regulated and authorised for sale in Canada, to the possible detriment to the safety of consumers.”

“Underfunding to my company is damaging to the overall R&D aspects and supply of medical isotopes to Canadians, thereby putting additional strain on the health care system. Diagnostic imaging and cancer treatments are likely to experience a strain if funding is not significantly improved.”

“I feel like our job has become to keep up the appearance of environmental health protection.”

“I am a surplused employee at DFO. I will be leaving my position and the civil service soon. What has been done to environmental legislation and Regulatory Authority in Canada in the last year+ is CRIMINAL! This also now includes a complete lack of capacity and funding. The Public are being grossly misled by Gov't as to the state of the environment, especially the aquatic ecosystems and likely future negative consequences. The face of DFO is now virtually gone from communities and especially in the North where all the development is occurring. We are becoming a "Banana Republic" when it comes to environmental legislation and regulations. These "wholesale" changes are being led by ideology and not cost savings or common sense. The list of threatened and endangered species continues to grow. Salmon stocks are struggling all along the west Coast of NA [North America]. The number of contaminated sites continues to grow and clean up efforts are tied up in politicized bureaucracy. We have tens of millions of dollars for The War of 1812 and Canada's Action Plan but cannot even respond in a timely fashion to the Cohen Report that cost $26 million. Canada has also lost significant environmental and scientific credibility internationally b/c of the muzzling of scientists and inaction on climate change. Continually making decisions and policies based on politics and the economy only will continue to degrade the environment around us.”

“I am very worried that fish and fish habitat are not being protected. We would really like to be the spokespeople on subjects that we are experts for. It is very frustrating to be muzzled and not share information with the public. I am very passionate about the work I do and proud too - if only we could do more and not be stonewalled all the time. I am willing to continue to work for the people and do enjoy my job, it's just that the situation could be so much better. We want to have support in what we do, not battle through more paperwork and restrictions every day.”

“Overall budget cuts to the dept. have greatly affected our ability to meet environmental regulatory requirements related to our own dept. operations. As we have many sites where we work near water, this has a significant potential to impact the environment, as well as public health and safety.
Science (R&D) is like air for a nation to grow and prosper.”

“Pacific Fisheries and their habitats are in trouble.”

“The current government’s positions have led to fundamental changes in environmental laws and regulations. Government scientists are as professional as ever but have to do their best in the current political context. Government interference is pervasive in our work, sometimes subtly (communications approval process, muzzling of the public, transparency towards the public) and sometimes very explicitly (changes to laws and regulations). Muzzling, lack of transparency, abandonment of Canadian environmental values for economic values at the expense of the environment, and political interference for economic purposes are the defining characteristics of the current government when it come to the environment. It is harder to work in the environmental sciences under this government, which is trying to do everything it can to avoid answering questions on the environment and serving as a world leader in environmental protection.” [FR]

“There’s a real need to strengthen environmental regulations and to give scientists greater latitude in sharing their findings.” [FR]

“Government scientists should be serving the public, not political interests. Public service scientists and the academic science community do not share the Harper government’s position on climate change and oil sands development.” [FR]

“I have seen a strong, detrimental impact to regulatory development now that the team who specialized in [smoke] stack measurement has been dismissed/affected. The support on methods to determine compliance with proposed environmental regulations is lacking to a point where regulations may not go through on substances that are not normally monitored by industry.”

“I think it is unbelievable that an organization that used to be looked up to for its climate records and the like in the past is now laughed upon due to its lack of resources and quality control. For example, snow depth information is severely lacking and this is used to control some of the mechanisms that drive the Numerical guidance routines that forecasters use in their assessment of the day to day weather patterns.”

“Arbitrary changes to the Fisheries Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Navigable Waters Act and cuts to EC and DFO habitat have tilted the playing field towards industrial development to such an extent that environmental/fisheries regulations are practically non-existent or unenforceable for future developments. Employees within these groups were systematically criticized (for a period of one or more years) by their own employer (GC) in the national media prior to being eviscerated at the bidding of industry lobby groups. Due to the muzzling of scientists with respect to media communications there was no opportunity to refute this propaganda without career ramifications.”