Thursday, September 22, 2022

Law Commission of Ontario Consultation Paper on Environmental Accountability

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has published a consultation paper on environmental accountability.

"The EBR [Environmental Bill of Rights 1993] was enacted over 25 years ago. Since then, the environmental, policy, and legal landscape in Ontario has changed considerably. New issues have emerged, including important developments in the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples; the growing recognition of environmental justice; and the adoption of the right to a healthy environment by most member states of the United Nations. These new developments underscore the need to re-examine the substantive and procedural requirements of the EBR to ensure it reflects and is responsive to current realities (...) an underlying premise of the EBR is that the public and the government share responsibility for protecting the environment. The EBR sought to achieve its objectives by enhancing public participation rights in government decision making process on environmental matters. It was anticipated that this would improve accountability and transparency leading to better environmental outcomes (...)"

"The Consultation Paper asks two sets of questions. First, the paper asks about potential reforms to the EBR. Second, the paper asks potentially more far-reaching and challenging questions about emerging legal concepts of “environmental justice,” the “right to a healthy environment,” and how to account for Indigenous issues and legal orders in Ontario’s environmental accountability framework (...)"

"Finally, readers will know that environmental accountability is a complex, controversial, and politicized subject. The LCO is committed to bringing its rigorous, evidence-based and non-partisan approach to this project. The LCO’s goal is to move beyond the rhetoric and ask hard but fair questions about Ontario’s experience; the desirability, feasibility, and enforceability of reasonable law reform options; and how environmental accountability measures might be balanced against competing rights and economic interests."

The Commission will consult widely with stakeholders, including lawyers and legal organizations, environmental NGOs, industry representatives, academics, Indigenous communities, government and justice system leaders, and individual Ontarians interested in environmental issues. The consultation period ends in late November 2022.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:00 pm


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