The Government of Ontario is proposing Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. It is unacceptable that key environmental protection and legislation that protects the public is under attack.
Schedule 5 of Bill 66 would repeal the Toxics Reduction Act and two regulations. The purpose of the TRA is to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances and informing Ontarians about toxic substances.
Schedule 10 of this Bill would enable municipalities to simply pass an “open-for-business planning by-law” under the Planning Act, to exempt local development from the application of key components of several important provincial laws, plans and policies, including the:
• Clean Water Act, 2006, Section 39
• Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, Section 20
• Greenbelt Act, 2005, Section 7
• Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, Section 6, and
• Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2003, Section 7
On Wednesday May 17, Linda Heron (Chair & Chief Executive Officer) and Samantha Restoule (Board of Directors) had the pleasure of representing the Ontario Rivers Alliance at the People’s Great Lakes Summit (the Summit), hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) in Toronto, ON.
The Summit is part of CELA’s Healthy Great Lakes program. The objective of the Summit was to bring together a broad range of individuals and organizations working to protect and restore our waters and wetlands across the Great Lakes and St-Lawrence River Basin, and to connect, share ideas, strategize about Ontario public policy priorities, and set plans for collective action. Continue reading
The 2015 western Lake Erie algal bloom was the ‘most severe recorded this century’ according to a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report. Reducing harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie will require a combination of improved data and monitoring, the implementation of innovative practices on the ground, and stronger community engagement– all requiring additional financial resources. Continue reading
A joint submission to the Great Lakes Executive Committee:
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“The Alliance is extremely disappointed to see that, unlike the prior version of the proposed legislation, Bill 66 contains an exemptions provision. The sudden appearance of a broad discretionary power to prescribe exemptions from the legislation is very disconcerting.” Continue reading
Excerpt: “ORA supports the clarity in Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy that the goal that appeared in draft form as “protecting water” has been refined to “protecting water for human and ecological health” (p.30). Our concern is that the cumulative impact of various decisions that impact the waters in our rivers and streams (as evidenced by the example of Wabagishik Lake above) must be addressed urgently. The focus on improving wetlands, beaches and coastal areas, without also ensuring the rivers and streams feeding these features are being protected and improved as well, will not enable the vision of the proposed Act to be realized.
ORA recommends that, should Bill 6 be enacted, the Province immediately place a moratorium on all hydroelectric approvals within the Basin, until such time as their well-documented and substantial impacts on the health of the Great Lakes can be effectively assessed and addressed. The 40 year FIT contracts awarded to hydroelectric projects would ensure a long and lasting impact that could be very costly to stop or reverse once approved.” Continue reading
On February 25, 2013, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Jim Bradley, re-introduced the Great Lakes Protection Act, the government’s first major step in implementing its Great Lakes Strategy released in December 2012. Given the central role that the Great Lakes play in the lives of the majority of Ontarians, it is expected that the Great Lakes Strategy and proposed Act will play a significant role in the province’s regulatory framework.
Background: Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy (December 2012)
Amidst growing concerns about the effects of population growth, new chemicals of concern, invasive species, climate change, and other new challenges facing Ontario’s critically-important Great Lakes, the Government of Ontario began pursuing a “Great Lakes Strategy” in 2009 with the release of a discussion paper entitled “Healthy Lakes, Strong Ontario.” In June 2012, Ontario issued a draft version of the Great Lakes Strategy and engaged scientific experts and community stakeholders – including First Nations and Métis communities – in a series of public consultations. This process culminated in the Ontario Great Lakes Strategy report (GLS), released in December 2012.
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