ECO EBR training slides Dec 2010

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ECO EBR training slides Dec 2010

  1. 1. The Role of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario & Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario March 2010
  2. 2. What You’ll Learn Today <ul><li>ECO mandate (and recent additions </li></ul><ul><li>EBR highlights </li></ul><ul><li>ECO’s tracking and monitoring role </li></ul><ul><li>ECO’s reporting role </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach and education </li></ul><ul><li>How to win the Recognition Award </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario <ul><li>Established in 1994, with the passage of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights ( EBR ) </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews and reports on environmental decision-making of prescribed ministries </li></ul>
  4. 4. Intent of the EBR <ul><li>Inherent value of natural environment </li></ul><ul><li>Right to a healthful environment </li></ul><ul><li>Common goal to protect, conserve and restore </li></ul><ul><li>A means to achieve this goal in an effective, timely, open and fair manner </li></ul>
  5. 5. Purpose of the EBR <ul><li>Protect, conserve and, where reasonable, restore integrity of environment </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention, reduction and elimination of use, generation and release of pollutants </li></ul><ul><li>Protection, conservation of biological, ecological and genetic diversity </li></ul>
  6. 6. Public Rights Under the EBR <ul><li>Right to: </li></ul><ul><li>Notice </li></ul><ul><li>Comment </li></ul><ul><li>Appeal </li></ul><ul><li>Right to pursue: </li></ul><ul><li>Court action </li></ul><ul><li>Whistleblower protection </li></ul><ul><li>Right to request: </li></ul><ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>Investigation </li></ul>
  7. 7. EBR Regulations <ul><li>O. Reg. 73/94 (General) </li></ul><ul><li>Prescribed ministries, acts, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>O. Reg. 681/94 (Classification of Proposals for Instruments) </li></ul><ul><li> Classified instruments (i.e., approvals, permits, etc.) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Environmental Commissioner of Ontario is Gord Miller <ul><li>Officer of Legislative Assembly </li></ul><ul><li>Independent </li></ul><ul><li>Appointed by the Legislature </li></ul><ul><li>5-year term </li></ul><ul><li>Impartial </li></ul><ul><li>Staff of 24 </li></ul>
  9. 9. Posting on the Environmental Registry <ul><li>s. 15, 16, 22, 27 </li></ul><ul><li>for proposed policies, acts, regulations and prescribed instruments that could have a significant impact on the environment; </li></ul><ul><li>… Minister shall do everything in his/her power to give notice to the public at least 30 days before the proposal is implemented, … using the registry </li></ul>
  10. 10. Prescribed Acts, Regulations, Policies and Instruments <ul><li>Acts  prescribed ministries (O. Reg. 73/94) </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations  prescribed acts (O. Reg. 73/94) </li></ul><ul><li>Policies  prescribed ministries (O. Reg. 73/94) </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments  prescribed acts and classified under O. Reg. 681/94 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Hallmarks of a Good Proposal Notice <ul><li>Post early, post often! </li></ul><ul><li>Clear, plain language </li></ul><ul><li>Links to background documents </li></ul><ul><li>Contact name and phone number </li></ul>
  12. 12. What is a “Policy”? <ul><li>Policy is defined as any “program, plan or objective and includes guidelines or criteria to be used in making decisions” ( EBR , s. 1) </li></ul><ul><li>“Interim” or “temporary” policies are still policies </li></ul><ul><li>Be careful in deeming a proposal “administrative” </li></ul><ul><li>Proposals with positive environmental impacts are still caught </li></ul>
  13. 13. Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) <ul><li>s.11 </li></ul><ul><li>“The minister shall take every reasonable step to ensure that the ministry statement of environmental values is considered whenever decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the ministry.” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Have you Considered Your SEV? <ul><li>Should be considered whenever environmentally significant decisions are made </li></ul><ul><li>We assume one exists for each environmentally significant decision </li></ul>
  15. 15. Have You Considered Public Comments? <ul><li>s. 36(4) </li></ul><ul><li>“The [decision] notice shall include a brief explanation of the effect, if any, of public participation on decision-making on the proposal…” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Public Comments <ul><li>Counting comments </li></ul><ul><li>What if you have large numbers of comments? </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Comments available on-line </li></ul>
  17. 17. Information Notices (s. 6) <ul><li>Public service when not required to post on the Registry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decisions that are predominantly administrative or financial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports issued by advisory committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Release of scientific studies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inappropriate use of an information notice can be an ‘unposted’ </li></ul><ul><li>If in doubt – ask the ECO! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Exception Notices (s. 29) <ul><li>Prescribed acts, regulations, policies, and classified instruments (O. Reg. 73/94 and O. Reg. 681/94) </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Danger to public health or safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harm or serious risk to the environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Injury or damage to property </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Equivalent public participation </li></ul>
  19. 19. Monitoring Use of the Registry <ul><li>ECO monitors and evaluates ministry compliance with EBR and use of Registry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Select decision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unposted items </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information notices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exception notices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Late decision notices and undecided proposal </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. EBR Applications <ul><li>Application for review (s. 61) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Of existing policy, act, regulation or instrument </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or the need to develop a policy, act, regulation or instrument </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Applications for investigation (s. 74) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alleged contravention of a prescribed act (O. Reg. 73/94) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario REVIEW & REPORT APPLICATIONS PUBLIC EDUCATION & ASSISTANCE ASSIST MINISTRIES WHEN REQUESTED On EBR Implementation On Ministry Compliance Oversee application process Presentations Workshops Resource Centre Education materials Education programs SEVs ANNUAL REPORT, GHG REPORT, ENERGY REPORT & SPECIAL REPORTS TO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
  22. 22. The ECO’s Reporting Role <ul><li>Annual Report </li></ul><ul><li>Commissioner’s message </li></ul><ul><li>Review environmentally significant decisions (acts, regulations, policies and instruments) </li></ul><ul><li>Review applications for review and investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Significant and developing issues </li></ul><ul><li>Updates and ministry progress </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental registry section </li></ul><ul><li>Ministry cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>ECO recognition award </li></ul><ul><li>Provide recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>WE also release a “Supplement” to the Annual Report </li></ul>
  23. 23. ECO’s Annual Report Cycle <ul><li>January letter describing AR timelines and process </li></ul><ul><li>“Heads-up” letter outlining our research interests </li></ul><ul><li>October request for updates (ministry progress) on selected topics (January submission date) </li></ul>
  24. 24. ECO’s Annual Report Cycle <ul><li>Early June: draft text to ministries for review and comment </li></ul><ul><li>Mid July: ministry comments due </li></ul><ul><li>September opportunity to view final text at ECO office </li></ul><ul><li>Fall release of AR </li></ul>
  25. 25. Climate Change and GHG Tracking and Reporting <ul><li>New function for ECO </li></ul><ul><li>S. 58.2(1) of the EBR </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews the progress of activities in Ontario to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) </li></ul><ul><li>Released in May of each year </li></ul>
  26. 26. Energy Conservation <ul><li>New function for ECO </li></ul><ul><li>s. 58.1(1) of EBR </li></ul><ul><li>Report on progress of activities in Ontario to reduce use or make more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels </li></ul><ul><li>Can report on all levels of government </li></ul><ul><li>Reports in May and November 2010 </li></ul>
  27. 27. Special Reports <ul><li>s. 53(4) </li></ul><ul><li>“The ECO may make a special report… at any time on any matter related to this Act that, in the opinion of the Commissioner should not be deferred until the annual report…” </li></ul>
  28. 28. Special Reports by ECO <ul><li>Climate Change: Is the Science Sound? (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Doing Less with Less (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>The Last Line of Defence: A Review of Ontario’s New Protections for Species at Risk (2009) </li></ul>
  29. 29. ECO’s Education and Outreach Program <ul><li>Public Education </li></ul><ul><li>50+ keynote presentations per year by Commissioner </li></ul><ul><li>1,600 public inquiries per year </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations to community groups, conferences, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Main website: www.eco.on.ca </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki of all reports: www.ecoissues.ca </li></ul>
  30. 30. ECO Recognition Award 2008/2009 Winners: MOE’s Go Green Program
  31. 31. Thank You! Questions? <ul><li>Jessica Isaac </li></ul><ul><li>Policy Analyst </li></ul><ul><li>Phone (416) 325-3375 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Chris Wilkinson </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Policy Advisor </li></ul><ul><li>Phone (416) 325-5094 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>www.eco.on.ca

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