November 2015 – Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Annual Report
The ECO recommends that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change report annually on its progress to ensure greenhouse wastewater discharges meet provincial water quality objectives. Read more about this and other updates in the 2014/2015 Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Annual Report, Small Things Matter (180 pages).
week of October 6, 2014 – Federal, and Ontario Environmental Auditors each release reports
For all who value the state of air, our water, who want to avoid waste and toxins, and who enjoy nature in Ontario, there is much useful—if disturbing—commentary in the 2013/14 Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Annual Report, Managing New Challenges (191 pages), and also the Annual Supplement (154 pages).
Commissioner Gord Miller critiques many aspects of environmental oversight within the 14 Ministries that are prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights. Of particular note in this year’s report:
- Changes to the Public Lands Act that reduce oversight of work on and around water (page 78)
- The continued focus of Fish Community Objectives for Lake Ontario that focus on socio-economic benefits vs. a robust native fish population (page 83)
- Ineffective enforcement by Ministry of Environment and delays in getting compliance with existing environmental laws (page 105)
- The need for a review, and update of the Environmental Assessment Act (page 132)
- The lack of political will and adequate tools to protect the environment within land use planning, despite stronger language in the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement (page 139)
Interested citizens who want the benefit of this insight and perspective on the environmental performance of our governments are encouraged to review these documents, and to form your own conclusions. Share your opinion about these matters with your elected officials, with the Ministers of the respective departments, and with your local MP, and MPP. Get more information from FOCA about how to raise your political voice.
Also in the news this week is the Fall 2014 Report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. This is the first report issued by the current Commissioner, Julie Gelfand, since she was appointed in March 2014 to the Office of the Auditor General. Specifically, the commissioner highlights her concerns about the federal government’s actions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the environmental monitoring of oil sands, and marine navigation in the Canadian Arctic. The Commissioner’s findings underscore that the government does not have the answers to many questions that will impact the future of sustainable development in Canada.
See the CBC Power & Politics interview with Julie Gelfand (video link; Oct.7, 2014)
…“We know that the difficulty of addressing climate change will only grow the longer we wait to act.” … “by investing in better information, acting on the knowledge they acquire, and engaging Canadians in their decisions.”
The Federal Government’s response to the report is here.