In Hanna v. MOE, what did the Decisional Court decide about
the legal status of the Ministry of the Environment Statement of
Environmental Values? Not much, in my opinion.
At paragraph 14, the court described the issues as follows:
Was the minister required to comply with section 11 of the
Environment Bill of Rights [which refers to the Statement of
Environmental Values] as a condition precedent to his decision to
recommend promulgation of the regulation? Did he do so?
At paragraph 31, they added a third question:
If he did not comply with the mandated process, the court
would have to decide if the failure to do so means he acted without
In my view, the court didn't answer either questions 1 or 3.
They didn't have to, because it was so clear that the minister
had complied with his SEV when deciding whether to propose the
Renewable Energy regulation, including the 550 m setback for wind
turbines. The courts have a long tradition of deciding cases on the
easiest possible basis, and of refusing to decide the remaining
issues if they can. In this case, the easiest question to answer
was number 2, and that is all that they answered.
So, what is the legal status of a Statement of Environmental
Values? Can it be enforced at all? I still think the answer is
probably not, at least in relation to a regulation, because of the
full privative clause Environmental Bill of Rights. But the
Environmental Review Tribunal has agreed, in the Erickson case, to at least consider consistency with the
Statement of Environmental Values in evaluating whether a
particular approval will cause "serious harm to human
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).