Ontario’s EBR

The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), which came into effect in February 1994 (click here, here, and here to read the relevant legislation.), recognizes that the people of Ontario have as a common goal the protection of our natural environment. The provincial government has the primary responsibility for protecting, conserving and restoring the natural environment, and the people of Ontario have the right to participate in government decision making and to hold the government accountable for those decisions.

The Environmental Commissioner

The EBR established the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario as the province’s independent environmental watchdog. Appointed by the Legislative Assembly, the ECO is tasked with monitoring and reporting on compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights, and the government’s success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in achieving greater energy conservation in Ontario.

2012 Annual Report

These are some highlights from the 2012 Annual Report, released in two parts and available on the ECO website:

  1. Government not adhering to the requirements of the Environmental Bill of Rights:  “…officials in the provincial government are defying the will of the Legislature and ignoring the public’s right to be involved in the development of environmental policy.”
  2. Birds and Bats Need More Protection from Wind Power
  3. Ontario Needs to Better Prepare for Increased Dry Spells and Droughts
  4. Government has “Nothing To Report” from Required Wildlife Monitoring Program after 18 Years

[h3]Statements of Environmental Values[/h3]

Each of the ministries subject to the EBR has a Statement of Environmental Values. The SEV guides the minister and ministry staff when they make decisions that might affect the environment. SEVs are available on the EBR website. Click here to find out more about Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs).

You can find comments on SEVs in each of the ECO Annual Reports, and you can also find a detailed analysis of the application of SEVs to ministry business plans in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 reports in the “Missing Values” series produced by the Ontario Centre for Sustainability and the Conservation Council of Ontario.