QUEEN’S PARK – Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns said Doug Ford’s government is wrong to deliberately ignore the rights of Ontarians to be consulted on important environmental matters, responding to a special report by the Auditor General.
An Auditor General’s report released Dec. 7 revealed that the government is not consulting with Ontarians on a number of important environmental decisions, ignoring a requirement of the Environmental Bill of Rights to allow for input by the public.
“Doug Ford has repeatedly attacked the environment and he’s shutting out Ontarians from having a say about it,” said Peter Tabuns, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition. “Mr. Ford’s latest attack on the environment is carving up the Greenbelt, which will only help land speculators get wealthy. Instead of listening to people who are crying out about this assault on the environment, he’s steamrolling past the rights of Ontarians to be consulted so he can help his friends pave over wetlands.”
The report contained a number of key findings, including:
- The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing did not consult Ontarians for the minimum 30-day consultation period before implementing Bill 109’s [More Homes for Everyone Act] amendments to the Planning Act.
- The Ministry of Energy did not consult Ontarians about two new important policies affecting the environment: the Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors and the Low- Carbon Hydrogen Strategy.
- The Environment Ministry did not share key information with all Ontarians about its proposal to exempt projects related to provincial parks and conservation reserves from the Environmental Assessment Act.
The Environmental Bill of Rights Act was implemented to ensure Ontarians would have the ability to participate and engage with provincial environmental initiatives that could impact air, water, plant and animal life, climate, and ecosystem functions.
“All Ontarians — including experts, constituents and Indigenous people — have a right to be consulted by the government on environmental concerns,” said Tabuns. “I am calling on Doug Ford to accept and adopt the Auditor General’s findings and recommendations, and stop hiding from the people who are speaking out against this government’s anti-environment crusade.”