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A Guide To Exercising Your Right To Participate In Environmental Decision Making In Ontario

by Michael Hebert

The following is the script of a blog from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario regarding an update and release of their information booklet “Environmental Bill of Rights and You: A guide to exercising your right to participate in environmental decision making in Ontario”. While the Environmental Bill of Rights has been out for some time now, the Environmental Commissioner deemed it prudent to publish the aforementioned document to remind Ontarians of their environmental rights. The government is now going out of its way to actively encourage the public to make use if the act.
“Did you know that, as a resident of Ontario, you have certain environmental rights? Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) gives all of us – ordinary citizens, students, politicians, policy-makers, business people and activists – legal rights and formal procedures for participating in environmental matters.


The EBR entitles you to:

  • comment on environmentally significant government proposals for acts, regulations, policies and instruments;
  • appeal certain decisions regarding environmentally significant approvals, licences and permits;
  • ask a ministry to conduct a review or investigation of an environmentally significant matter;
  • sue for harm to a public resource or for public nuisance; and
  • obtain whistleblower protection if you experience reprisals from your employer for exercising your EBR rights or for complying with or seeking the enforcement of environmental rules.
When you exercise your environmental rights under the EBR, you help to achieve our common goal as Ontarians: the protection, conservation and restoration of Ontario’s natural environment for present and future generations.
To help you understand and exercise your environmental rights, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) is pleased to announce the release of our updated users’ guide to the EBR, Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights and You: A guide to exercising your right to participate in environmental decision making in Ontario.
The EBR and You provides background information about the EBR and the role of the ECO, and explains how you can exercise your EBR rights. The guide, available in English and French , includes links throughout to relevant legislation, regulations, documents and websites to help you understand and exercise your EBR rights. The guide also includes helpful appendices, including copies of the ECO’s application forms for applications for review and investigation.”