Bill bypasses notices on the Environmental Bill of Rights web site
Bill 55, the Ontario Budget Bill, also amends 69 different statutes in its schedules, including the Endangered Species Act, the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and the Public Lands Act.
Laws such as these are prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR). Normally, when the government proposes to amend legislation that is prescribed under the EBR, it would post a proposal notice on the Environmental Registry and solicit public comments for a minimum of 30 days. However, Budget Bills are excluded from such a requirement.
Linda Heron, head of the Ontario Rivers Alliance, has studied Bill 55 and finds that a recurring statement throughout many of these amendments is “The Minister is permitted to delegate any or all of his or her duties and powers under this Act to any other person.” These same amendments also stipulate that the Minister may impose any conditions that the Minister deems appropriate on the exercise of the powers by the delegate but that the Crown is not liable for the delegate’s acts.
For more information, and for addresses of to whom to write to protest this highly undemocratic move, please go to the ORA web site here:
You'll find there as well a letter to Premier David McGuinty.
14 April 2012