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Ontario Government

The Ford government has a strong focus on economic development and employment and has taken numerous actions that reduce environmental protections. Some of this is summarized in the Auditor General’s 2020 report:

2020 Auditor General of Ontario Report

The Auditor General for Ontario (AGO) took over the responsibilities of the Environment Commissioner after the Ford government cancelled that post. If the Ford government thought that this would lead to less (official) criticism of their environmental policies, it backfired. Following publicly criticizing the government for not following the required process under the EBR for changes to the Environmental Assessment Act, the AGO’s annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights was sharply critical of the Ford administration’s performance across the board. The deficiencies demonstrate clearly the low priority that this Ontario government affords to environmental protection and how it has attempted to stifle public input by either cancelling it outright or providing the shortest times possible to respond to EBR postings. It is vital for protecting Georgian Bay that we are able to provide this input on projects and policies that could impact our environment, so the AGO report was most welcome.

Here are some extracts from the AGO Annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights:

  1. Reflections Summarizing 2020 Deficiencies
  2. 2020 Summary Conserving the Natural Environment
  3. Environmental Protection Operational Deficiencies
  4. EBR Accountability and Transparency Deficiencies Summary
  5. EBR Compliance Deficiencies


Reducing Environmental Protections

GBA has been working closely with our ENGO partners and making direct submissions, as appropriate, to object to these actions and ask for environmental protections to be restored and/or strengthened. Below are links to the various GBA submissions and posts:


March 5, 2021 – Ontario Government Uses Pandemic Provisions to Increase Misuse of MZOs:

February 1, 2021 – GBA joined a large group of NGOs to ask the Ontario government to stop using Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) to circumvent the environmental assessment and planning approval process:

December 8, 2020 – GBA Opposes the Provincial Government’s Use of MZOs to Develop on Wetlands:

November 23, 2020 – GBA Comments on Changes Made to the Environmental Assessment Act:

September 3, 2020 – Ontario Government is Facing Legal Challenges Over Bill 197:

July 29, 2020 – Ontario’s Attorney General notes that Bill 197 does not comply with public consultation requirements under the Environmental Bill of Right:

April 16, 2020 – Ontario Government Suspends Environmental Oversight During COVID-19 Emergency:

December 12, 2019 – GBA Asks Ontario Government to Reconsider Proposed Changes on Environmental Protections:

April 21, 2019 – Ford Government closes the Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO):

November 18, 2018 – Ontario Environmental Commissioner 2018 environmental report:

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