Rick Leary, CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and the TTC itself have been charged in connection to contaminants found in the subway system which violate the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).
Tests by Health Canada found fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) levels in Toronto’s subway, which were three times the levels found in Montreal’s subway and five times those of Vancouver.
Thomas Donnelly, a retired TTC worker, initiated the private prosecution after he began experiencing symptoms allegedly associated with PM 2.5.
According to Health Canada: “there is no recognized threshold … (i.e. that there are no ‘safe’ levels of PM 2.5) regardless of where exposure occurs i.e. indoors or outdoors, and there is evidence that adverse health effects occur at current levels of exposure.”
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This past July, the TTC released a report which claimed the air quality in the subway is safe and complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act standards.
However, the evidence presented in the prosecution refutes these findings and claim the air is not safe.
The lack of standards and regulations regarding PM 2.5 is a major concern, and prosecution is seeking to implement a system that will regulate PM 2.5 levels in the subway.
Additionally, the prosecution is seeking the TTC to improve subway ventilation, and adopt better system maintenance practices, as well as allow employees to wear masks while working.
Cover photo courtesy of @robert_e_bonnell’s Instagram