Rick Smith (environmentalist)

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Rick Smith
Photo of Rick Smith.jpg
Born 1968 (1968)
Residence Toronto, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Executive Director, Broadbent Institute

Rick Smith (born 1968) is a Canadian author and environmentalist. He is Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute and co-author, with Bruce Lourie, of Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health, a look at everyday pollutants and the ease with which they accumulate in the human body. To illustrate this issue Smith and Lourie experimented on their own bodies, raising and lowering levels of toxic chemicals in their blood and urine through the performance of common activities. The book was a bestseller in Canada and Australia and translated into 6 other languages. Their follow-up book Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World[1] was published by St. Martin's Press in 2013.

Early life[edit]

Smith is originally from Dorval, Quebec and spent his high school years in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He received his Ph.D in biology in 1999 from the University of Guelph. Throughout his university years Smith volunteered with a number of progressive organizations including serving as founding president of a new union for graduate students.


From 1996 to 2002 Smith was Executive Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Canadian office and helped lead the campaign to create Canada's federal Species at Risk Act.

In 2003 Smith became Jack Layton's first Chief of Staff upon Layton's election as leader of the federal New Democratic Party. He was asked to resign over his opposition to the seal hunt.[2]

As Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada between 2003 and 2012, Smith was a proponent of the "green economy." He is one of the founders of the Socially and Environmentally Responsible Aggregate (SERA) initiative, Blue Green Canada, and played a role in the creation of the Ontario Greenbelt and the Ontario Green Energy and Green Economy Act. Smith was involved with the design of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan[citation needed] which led to Canada becoming the first nation to ban bisphenol A from children's products.[3]

Smith lives in Toronto with his wife and has two sons.