Dalton McGuinty is Ontario's greenest Premier, and his
government has a strong environmental record (especially in
contrast to our federal government!) But environmental groups are
raising concerns about Bill 55, the proposed Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget
Measures), 2012. Bill 55 amends numerous
statutes, including 11 environmental (or related) laws. Because
these amendments form part of a bill that is intended to give
effect to the provincial budget, the proposed changes are exempted
from the mandatory public participation provisions under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR,
In his most recent Annual Report, the Environmental
Commissioner of Ontario was critical of the government's
continued use of omnibus legislation to amend various environmental
statutes. At best, using omnibus legislation to amend environmental
laws complicates the EBR process. At worst, it can obstruct the
public's right to participate in environmental decision
Ecojustice CELA Legal Analysis re Bill 55 (Budget
2012) is an analysis of Bill 55 by Canadian Environmental Law
Association and Ecojustice Canada. CELA and Ecojustice are
concerned that some of the proposed amendments have the potential
to cause environmentally significant impacts with reduced public
Bill 55 will not be debated on Tuesday (when the Budget Motion
is tabled for debate and decision). As long as the government does
not fall as a result of the budget debate and vote, Bill 55 will go
through the usual legislative process and there will be an
opportunity to make submissions on desired amendments.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
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