Do not go willingly into the dark
Be warned! the green are re-grifting the EBR… they want you to have a right to a stable climate! This may require you live as a slave but as long as the environment is saved… the right to clean air and water; safe food sounds fine but dogs in a kennel get that.
I believe these rights must also be included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms -David Suzuki
Suz has the usual appeal to the great CAGW brainwashed, aka useful idiots http://www.action2.davidsuzuki.org/ontario-ebr-review
It’s now or never: Strengthen Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights
The Ontario government recently announced plans to open its Environmental Bill of Rights for review. The government also wants to know what you think about environmental rights and responsibilities more broadly, and whether the right to a healthy environment should be included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This is our opportunity to see Ontario lead by joining more than 110 nations that recognize the human right to a healthy environment, including clean air and water, safe food and a stable climate.
We now have 120 days to convince the government to strengthen our EBR to include the substantive right to a healthy environment, a right that isn’t currently covered.
When Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights was introduced in 1993, it was at the forefront of environmental law and policy. But more than two decades later, it’s showing its age. While we have the right to know about pollutants released into our local ecosystems, we don’t have the right to be proactively protected from them.
Let’s stand together as ordinary people taking extraordinary action to protect the people and places we love. Please tell the Government of Ontario that you want a strengthened Environmental Bill of Rights that recognizes your right to a healthy environment.
“The Honourable Glen Murray (Minister of the Environment and Climate Change)”
I want substantive environmental rights in Ontario!
As an Ontarian, I feel deeply connected to our province’s natural environment and want to make sure it’s protected for years to come.
I stand with people across the country who are asking all levels of government to establish the legal right to a healthy environment. All Canadians should have the right to clean air and water, safe food and a stable climate. I believe these rights must also be included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to shape our relationship with the land, air and waters on which we all depend.
By joining more than 110 nations that legally recognize environmental rights and responsibilities, Ontario has an important leadership opportunity in our country.
I therefore support the following improvements to Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights:
1. Substantive environmental rights — The guarantee of substantive environmental rights lies at the very heart of a strong Environmental Bill of Rights. It includes the right to breathe clean air, drink safe water, enjoy a nontoxic environment and expect healthy ecosystems for our children and grandchildren.
2. Environmental principles — Since the Environmental Bill of Rights was enacted almost 25 years ago, a number of important environmental principles have emerged nationally and internationally that are still missing from the EBR. These include such well-known concepts as zero discharge, polluter pays, the precautionary principle and intergenerational equity.
3. Environmental justice — Increasing evidence shows low-income Ontario communities and historically disadvantaged groups, including Indigenous peoples, are unfairly exposed to and affected by pollution. Environmental justice can help address the inequitable distribution of environmental hazards — like air, water and soil pollution – in the province.
Taking a look at Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights
We go over some changes the government could make to its Environmental Bill of Rights to improve the protection of Ontarians’ environment and health.
One of the keys to Ontario’s success as a great place to live, work, and enjoy outdoor recreation has been the balance between industrial growth and protecting the natural things we cherish about this great province. That balance between purely economic-driven development and protecting Ontario’s clean air, water, forests, and agricultural lands has been (mostly) successfully struck over the last few decades, in part, by a law unique to Ontario called the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR).
When it was enacted almost a quarter century ago, Ontario’s EBR was an important, groundbreaking statute promoting transparency and public engagement in environmental decision-making in the province. Over the years, the EBR has made a significant contribution to sustainable development across the province and to protecting the health of Ontarians. However, because the EBR has remained largely unchanged over its 23 year life, while pressure on Ontario’s environment continues to increase, it is now seriously outdated in a number of respects.
It’s for that reason that the Government of Ontario is about to conduct a province-wide public consultation on how to improve the EBR. All of us will have an opportunity over a four month period to make submissions by email or by mail to the government to tell them what we think should be done to improve the protection of our environment and our health.
Here are four changes the government could make to bring Ontario’s EBR up to speed:
Recognize substantive environmental rights
The first and foremost needed reform of the EBR is the recognition of the substantive right to a healthy environment for all Ontarians. The guarantee of substantive environmental rights lies at the very heart of a strong EBR. It includes the right to breath clean air, drink safe water, enjoy a nontoxic environment, and expect healthy ecosystems for our children.
Right now the people of Ontario are guaranteed none of these rights, even though citizens in dozens of other countries around the world have the benefit of legislated recognition of the right to a healthy environment in their communities. Human health, well-being, and dignity depend on access to clean air and water, safe food, and a stable climate. This should be explicitly spelled out in Ontario’s EBR.
Update the purposes of the Environmental Bill of Rights
The purpose and principles of any legislation, including the Ontario EBR, are important because they guide the interpretation of the statue. Purpose sections also have legal importance because they cannot be contradicted by the courts when they are considering the lawfulness of actions under the statute. When originally enacted, fundamental environmental principles such as ‘pollution prevention’ and ‘biodiversity conservation’ were included in the EBR to direct and guide the government in its environmental decision-making. However, since the EBR was enacted almost 25 years ago, a number of equally important environmental principles have emerged at the national and international level and have been adopted in other jurisdictions across Canada. These new environmental principles, which are still missing from the Ontario EBR, include such well-known concepts as ‘zero discharge’, ‘polluter pays’, the ‘precautionary principle’ and the key concept of ‘intergenerational equity’. It’s time for these important principles to be included in Ontario’s EBR.
Apply environmental justice principles
There is increasing evidence that low-income Ontario communities and communities belonging to historically disadvantaged groups, including Indigenous peoples, are disproportionately exposed to and impacted by environmental hazards. Environmental justice is a framework for addressing the inequitable distribution of environmental hazards in the province.
Consideration of the relationship between socioeconomic status, race, and environmental health is relatively new in Ontario. In other jurisdictions, including the United States, issues of environmental justice have been subject to discussion, study, and legal recognition for decades. Ontario’s laws do not explicitly identify and address issues of environmental justice or inequity. It’s time for this to change and the EBR review presents an important opportunity to begin to address the inequitable distribution of environmental harms in Ontario.
Allow reasonable opportunity for judicial review
When government falls short in meeting its obligations under the EBR in relation to environmental protection regulations or policies, Ontarians should have the ability to take the government to court to seek judicial review of an ill-advised environmentally harmful decision. But right now, under the current wording of the EBR, there are very broad restrictions on the public’s right to seek judicial review of a government decision. These restrictions, contained in what’s referred to as a ‘privative clause’, are broader than those in most other provincial legislation and certainly far broader than need be.
The privative clause in the Ontario EBR must be amended to grant Ontarians the genuine ability to challenge the government when it makes an ill-advised environmentally harmful decision.
Review of Environmental Bill of Rights – A Provincial Dialogue
EBR Registry Number: 012-8002
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Date Information Notice loaded to the Registry:
July 11, 2016
This notice is for your information. The Environmental Bill of Rights does not require this notice to be placed on the Environmental Registry, however, section 6 of the Act does allow the Environmental Registry to be used to share information about the environment with the public.
Rationale for Exemption to Public Comment:
The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s review of components of the Environmental Bill of Rights and to seek public feedback.
Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) protects the environment by ensuring that the public is informed, engaged and consulted on matters of environmental significance. Ontario is a leading Canadian jurisdiction in the promotion of environmental rights due in part to the vision and requirements outlined in the EBR. The act is administered by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Under the EBR, Ontarians have the right to request a minister review an existing act, regulation, policy or instrument to protect the environment. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change received an application for a review of the EBR itself and has agreed to examine certain components of the act. As part of this review, the ministry is seeking public feedback on select parts of the EBR 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 the issues. Links to the discussion guide, the full text of the EBR and the EBR regulations are provided. The ministry is also seeking your input on the right to a healthy environment. There is a movement in Canada to enshrine a right to a healthy environment in a legislative framework, principally in the Canadian Constitution. MOECC is seeking the views of Ontarians so that it may be better positioned to contribute to the national dialogue. The discussion guide includes questions to help you consider particular aspects of the EBR and environmental rights. The guide will be posted for a 120-day comment period, from July 11 to November 8, 2016. The ministry will then analyze the feedback, post a summary of the comments received and identify next steps in the EBR review. Links to the guide, the full text of the EBR and the EBR regulations are provided. Comments may be submitted to the EBRreview@ontario.ca.
Anda Kalvins Project Manager Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Climate Change and Environmental Policy Division Strategic Policy Branch 77 Wellesley Street West Floor 11 Ferguson Block Toronto Ontario M7A 2T5 Phone: (416) 314-7562
The documents linked below are provided for the purposes of enhancing public consultation.
All links will open in a new window
1. Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, S.O.
1993, c. 28
2. O. Reg. 681/94: CLASSIFICATION OF PROPOSALS FOR INSTRUMENTS
3. O. Reg. 73/94: GENERAL
4. Discussion Guide to Review of Ontario’s
Environmental Bill of Rights and Regulations and Consideration of Ontarians’ Environmental Rights