Government Runs Roughshod Over Environmental Protection and Democracy | Ontario Nature: Queen’s Park, Ontario, July 22, 2020 – Yesterday the Government of Ontario passed Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, a law that reflects neither the values nor the long-term interests of Ontarians who understand the importance of a healthy environment and democratic process.
While Ontarians grapple with the social and economic shocks of a global pandemic, the Government of Ontario fast-tracked omnibus Bill 197 through the Legislature, amending 20 pieces of legislation and allotting only the bare minimum of time required for debate. With scornful disregard, the government ignored its legal obligation, under the Environmental Bill of Rights, to provide at least a 30-day public consultation on changes to Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act (EAA), one of our oldest and most important environmental laws.
Bill 197 holds true to an insidious pattern of environmental deregulation set, for example, by three other omnibus bills that the government has passed since it came into power two years ago. While Bill 197 takes a hammer to the EAA, previous bills gutted the Endangered Species Act, repealed the Toxic Reductions Act and weakened environmental protections under the Pesticides Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Aggregate Resources Act. Like the other omnibus bills, the promising title of Bill 197 poorly conveys the actual content of the bill and hides its negative environmental, social and economic implications. These changes will negatively impact the health and prosperity of our communities and the environment for years to come.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.