Posts Tagged ‘Ontario Liberal Budget 2012’

Important Environmental Law Amendments in the Ontario 2012 budget bill

April 17th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

The Ontario Government recently introduced Bill 55 – Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2012.   Budget bills are exempt from the posting and public consultation requirements of the Environmental Bill of Rights.  As a result, the public does not have the same opportunities to contribute to decision making when a number of environmentally significant laws are changed in a budget Bill.  Overall the budget Bill adds exemptions both in law and through additional regulatory powers to a variety of environmental processes.

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Ontario Government will amend Endangered Species Act to reflect how the Ministry of Natural Resources actually works: without regard for science

March 29th, 2012 by Paula Boutis

The Ontario Government released its budget on March 27, 2012.  In it, it stated the following:

Ministry of Natural Resources Transformation

To enable the Ministry of Natural Resources to transform the stewardship and conservation of Ontario’s natural resources in the most fiscally responsible way, the ministry is proposing to:

  • transform key parts of its legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines with a view to streamlining and automating permitting processes and requirements;
  • conduct resource management with a stronger regional focus and fewer field offices; and
  • redesign its science and delivery activities to shift away from a species-by-species approach to a risk-based ecosystem/regional approach.

The Province is proposing amendments to the Endangered Species Act that maintain its commitment to protecting species at risk while streamlining approvals and permitting.

Earlier this year, we wrote about Sierra Club Canada’s application in the courts challenging the first permit issued to harm species at risk and/or their habitat under the Endangered Species Act (Act) After a loss at the Divisional Court, Sierra Club Canada sought leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal, which was denied.

As counsel for Sierra Club Canada, I had an in‑depth look at how the first permit was issued to harm species or their habitat for the Windsor Essex Parkway (WEP).  I can certainly attest to the fact that a lot of work was done by the Ministry of Natural Resources in “going through the process” required by the Act; but it was Sierra Club Canada’s conclusion, that when viewed objectively, one would be hard pressed to say that there would be no jeopardy to the recovery or survival of certain of the species at risk affected by the WEP, as the Endangered Species Act requires.  In particular, this was Sierra Club Canada’s view for three species affected by the project, Eastern Foxsnake (Carolinian Population), Butler’s Gartersnake, and Colicroot, a plant species.

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