EHI Canada – the early days
In early 2005, with optimism that more could be done to protect Canadians from environmental threats, and frustration that the needs were great but the funds were scarce, three healthcare professionals (Drs. Alison Bested, Annette Lorenz, and Lynn Marshall) sought the advice of a highly experienced financier (Mr. Joe Janthur), who guided us through the process to incorporate a charitable foundation: the Environmental Health Institute of Canada (EHI-Canada). The Ontario Letters Patent as a charity were approved on February 24, 2006, and application was then made to the Canada Revenue Agency for tax-exempt status as a registered charity under paragraph 149(1)(f) of the Income Tax Act. We were notified by the Canada Revenue Agency on October 29, 2007 that this status as a Charitable Organization had been granted effective September 1, 2007, # 85886 5926 RR0001.
In early 2008, the original three Board Members discussed and explored potential partners and projects, and fundraising strategies. They also decided to expand the Board, adding Mr. Joe Janthur and Ms. Theresa McClenaghan, a lawyer and Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. Mr. Charles Janthur, a businessman and teacher of business, marketing and international trade at University of Guelph, Ryerson University and Humber College was included as an Alternate Director. EHI-Canada held Board meetings in June and August, 2008, and has had numerous communications ever since among the Directors and our Information Technology (IT) Consultant, Mr. David Powell.
Accomplishments to December, 2008 include:
- Agreement on use of the Inukshuk as our symbol, after consultation with the Inuit Tapirisat in Ottawa
- Agreement on a logo including the Inukshuk, honing of Vision and Mission statements, and design of a website
- Becoming informed about, and applying for Directors’ Liability Insurance
- Approaching several likely sources for funding, and obtaining sufficient organizational seed money from a private donor family to enable us to pay all debts related to incorporation as a charity and logo/website design
- Successful application with the Canadian Environmental Law Association for funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario for Phase I of a joint research project, entitledEnvironmental Health, Equity, and Law: Making the Links
- Being voted as a full partner in the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and the Environment (CPCHE), and active participation in development and dissemination of CPCHE’s First Steps in Lifelong Health: A Vision & Strategy for Children’s Health and Environment in Canada, and in a 3-year project with the Ontario Chronic Diseases Prevention Alliance Early Environmental Exposures and Chronic Disease Prevention in Ontario, funded by a Trillium Foundation Future Fund grant
- Being accepted as a partner in the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, co-sponsoring a strategic planning and governance session and update of the
- Educating about Environment and Health at a University of Calgary conference, and in several workshops at the College of Family Physicians of Canada and Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Family Medicine Forum (attended by approximately 3000 family physicians from across the country), as well as in a Community Health Net Works “Fireside Chat” webinar, sponsored by the Government of Ontario in collaboration with the University of Ottawa Community Health Research Unit
- Getting a website off the ground