BY EMAIL RE: ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN ONTARIO: CONSULTATION PAPER
13 January 2023
CELA also agrees with the Auditor General of Ontario that the wide-ranging problems that have emerged under the EBR since the 1990s are attributable, in part, from the current wording of the legislation: The Office of the Auditor General of Ontario has identified several major issues hindering the effective operation of the EBR Act in meeting its intended purpose. [...] This approach undermines the ability of the public to meaningfully comment on the proposed issuance of the instrument or the adequacy of the proposed terms or conditions to be imposed within the instrument. [...] (f) Consultation Question 6: Are amendments or changes required to the role of the Environmental Commissioner to help strengthen government accountability? CELA Response: The current duties, roles, and responsibilities of the Auditor General and Commissioner of the Environment should be modified to re-establish the key aspects of Part III of the EBR that existed prior to the passage of Bill 57 in. [...] CELA Analysis: As a result of enacting Schedule 15 of Bill 57 in late 2018, the Ontario government amended Part III of the EBR to terminate the long-standing Office of the ECO and to transfer some – but not all – the ECO’s powers, responsibilities, and duties to the Auditor General of Ontario and the newly revamped Commissioner of the Environment. [...] More fundamentally, since it is unrealistic to expect the Minister to fully inform the public about how to effectively use the EBR to hold the Ontario government accountable, CELA maintains that the former ECO duty to provide public information, advice and assistance should be reinstated to the mandatory list of the Auditor General’s functions under Part III of the EBR.