Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) protects the environment by ensuring the public is informed, engaged and consulted on matters of environmental significance. The act is administered by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
As part of a requested review of the EBR, the ministry is seeking public feedback on select parts of it through a discussion guide. The discussion guide provides an overview of the relevant sections of the EBR as well as a series of questions to help you consider particular aspects of the EBR and environmental rights, such as:
- Should the EBR purposes and principles be expanded or modified? If so, how?
- Are there additional ministries, instruments or laws that should be covered under the EBR?
- Is there a need to adjust EBR requirements regarding the content, review and updating, or application of Statements of Environmental Values? If so, how?
- Should changes be made to the EBR’s requirements for “Public Participation in Decision-making” to improve engagement of the public regarding acts, regulations, policies, instruments and other processes? If so, what changes are necessary, particularly regarding the Environmental Registry and its notice requirements?
- Should the section 32 “EA exception” to public participation be modified? If so, how?
- Should changes be made to Applications for Review part of the EBR, specifically, timelines and content of governmental responses? If so, how?
- Should changes be made to the Application for Investigation part of the EBR, specifically, timelines and content of governmental responses? If so, how?
The ministry is also seeking input on the right to a healthy environment. There’s a movement in Canada to enshrine a right to a healthy environment in a legislative framework, principally in the Canadian Constitution. The ministry is seeking the views of Ontarians so that it may be better positioned to contribute to the national dialogue. For example, it wants to know:
- Is there a need to enhance a right to a healthy environment?
- What additional rights should be protected?
- Where should these rights be enshrined, that is, at which level of government?
Comments may be submitted until Nov. 8, 2016.