Media Release

Ministry of the Environment Grants Environmental Group’s Legal Application to Review Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights

Mar 02 2011

Toronto – Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has agreed to undertake a public review of the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), as had been requested by lawyers with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

In December 2010, CELA lawyers filed an Application for Review under Part IV of the EBR to request a focused review of the EBR and certain regulations. On March 1, 2011, CELA lawyers received a letter from Environment Minister John Wilkinson, who concluded that “a review is warranted.”

“The EBR is one of Ontario’s most important environmental laws, but it has remained virtually unchanged since it was first enacted in 1993,” said Theresa McClenaghan, counsel and Executive Director of CELA. “We are therefore pleased that the Minister has decided to conduct the long overdue review of the EBR.”

CELA’s Application for Review recommended various changes to the EBR, such as:
- updating the legislative purposes of the EBR;
- entrenching a substantive public right to a clean and healthful environment;
- strengthening public participation rights under the EBR;
- enhancing the powers of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario; and
- improving citizen access to the courts and tribunals in environmental matters.

“Together with other stakeholders, we look forward to participating in the MOE’s review of the EBR. We anticipate that this review will result in EBR changes which will allow Ontarians to better protect the environment and ensure accountability in environmental decision-making,” stated Richard Lindgren, counsel with CELA. Mr. Lindgren represented CELA on the Environment Minister’s Task Force that drafted and consulted upon the EBR almost two decades ago.

                                                            -30-

CELA’s Application for Review is web-posted at www.cela.ca, and additional background information about the EBR is available at the Environmental Commissioner’s website (www.eco.on.ca).

For more information, please contact: Theresa McClenaghan (416-960-2284, ext. 219) or Richard Lindgren (613-385-1686).