However, in his most recent Annual Report, the Environmental Commissioner
of Ontario, Gord Miller, critiqued the quality of the Registry
notices and found that supporting documents are often not included
in the postings.
Created by the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993,
the Environmental Registry is intended "to provide a
means of giving information about the environment to the
public". Certain Ministries are required to post notices
of proposals for environmentally significant policies, acts,
regulations and instruments on the Registry, and
to provide the public with a minimum of 30 days to comment on
The ECO identified a number of problems with the quality of the
entries on the Registry last year, such as:
Failure to include copies of key documents directly
relevant to the proposals and decisions such as links to draft
regulations in regulation proposal notices. For example, "
although the ECO urged OMAFRA to post a link to the draft
regulatory text for its proposal to amend the general regulation
under the Bees Act, the ministry did not do so."
Failure to attach copies of draft or finalized instruments
(e.g., licences, permits and other authorizations) to instrument
proposal and decision notices. "For example, MNR routinely
failed to attach copies of licences issued under the Aggregate
Resources Act to its decision notices."
According to the ECO, MNR was "particularly egregious ..
in its failure to include relevant key documents in Environmental
Without access to supporting documents, the public cannot
meaningfully comment on the proposals. The ECO identified that, in
particular, failing to post finalized approvals deprives the public
of information about the specific activities authorized in an ECA
as well as the conditions of approval. Without this information,
how can they assess whether there are valid grounds for seeking
leave to appeal the Director's decision to issue the ECA?
In both Brimley Progress and Environment
Hamilton, when members of the public requested documents
relevant to an ECA, the MOE refused to provide them. The trend
emerging from both the ECO and the ERT seems to suggest the MOE,
and approval-holders, should be prepared to be more
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