There is good news about the environmental rights of Ontario residents, and an opportunity to make them better:
1. A long awaited opportunity to update the EBR, 1993
Significant environmental decisions are too important to leave entirely to government. The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) allows Ontarians to participate in such decisions, and to hold the government accountable for the results.
For 23 years, the EBR has helped citizens achieve better environmental outcomes (see some success stories here), but strengthening the EBR is long overdue. The ECO has called for EBR reform since 2005. In 2010, environmental groups used EBR tools to persuade the province to review the legislation, but nothing really happened until now.
Until Nov. 8, 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is finally seeking comments on Review of the EBR, (EBR Registry Number:012-8002). Our comments on some key EBR reforms, based on our office’s 23 years as guardian of the EBR, are posted here. If you care about environmental rights, don’t miss this chance to tell the government what you think.
2. Better government compliance with the EBR
I am pleased with the great success our office has had in encouraging government ministries to improve their compliance with the EBR, since my appointment last fall. In June, we reported how each of 14 government ministries respect EBR environmental rights, and we are glad to see that they are continuing to improve. See eco.on.ca/reports/ebr-performance-checkup-2016/.
3. Easy to use Registry Alert Tool and website
Ontarians have the right to know when the Ontario government is planning an environmentally significant decision — and to have a say in that decision. But exercising that right effectively has required a tedious manual daily search of the frustrating Environmental Registry.
Instead, the ECO has created a much-needed shortcut to help you stay up-to-date on the issues you care about. Once you register your keywords, you will get relevant Environmental Registry Alerts directly to your email the same day they are posted. See how to start your personal email alerts at http://alerts.ecoissues.ca/.
While you are there, check out our new website, packed with help in exercising environmental rights, and with our high quality, non-partisan research on energy, climate, and environment.
Need more EBR help?
The ECO office can provide a free webinar on EBR rights and successes to any group of at least 25 people. To arrange a webinar, please contact us through our Public Information Line: 416-325-3377 / 1-800-701-6454, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
~Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario