Learn how to consult with the Government of Ontario through the registry on matters that affect the environment.
You have the right to comment on certain things we’re proposing to do that might affect the environment. This can be things that affect the air, water, soil and wildlife in Ontario.
You have this ability through the Environmental Bill of Rights.
We let you know about what we’re planning on doing through the Environmental Registry. We call this giving notice.
There are 15 government ministries that need to give notice for their environmental acts, regulations, policies and instruments on the registry.
Notices on the registry
We have to give notice on the registry for changes to or new environmental:
We may also give notice for other initiatives that aren't covered by the Environmental Bill of Rights. Read more about these exceptions from the regular consultation process.
The stages that most consultations go through include:
Almost all consultations go through these stages. Read more about the exceptions from the regular consultation process.
Most notices are in the proposal stage when we first post them on the registry.
It’s called a proposal because we’re proposing to change or make a new act, regulation, policy or instrument that could affect the environment.
Most of our proposals:
- say what we’re wanting to do
- give the details
- link to supporting material
- provide the option to comment
The comment period
You can comment on our proposals for a minimum of 30 days. We call this the comment period.
You can submit your comment within the comment period online through the Environmental Registry of Ontario.
Each notice has information on how you can comment. It also has the contact details of a person you can speak to if you have any questions.
Your comment will become part of the public record when you submit it to us.
You must not include personal information, like a:
- telephone number
We will consider your comment and include it as part of the public record if it contains personal information. However, it won’t be posted on the registry for others to see.
We review all the comments we receive and consider them before making a decision.
It’s important to know that we consider the content of the comments as more important than the number of comments we receive.
We’ll also decide whether your comment can be posted for others to see. We will not post your comment if it:
- contains inappropriate or offensive content (language or links)
- is off topic
- contains personal information
Our decision will be noted in the comment status.
There is no time limit for the review stage.
We post our decision and the approved comments made on our proposal after we finish our review.
In our decision, we let you know:
- how your comments were taken into consideration
- the number of comments we received
- our decision on what we’re doing
Appeal a decision
You may be able to appeal our decision on certain instruments. When we post our decision we’ll let you know if it can be appealed and we’ll explain the appeal process.
Exceptions to this process
There are a few exceptions to the normal consultation process. The notices that do not follow this consultations process are:
- exceptions notices
- consultations on matters that aren’t covered by the Environmental Bill of Rights
Exception notices skip the consultation and commenting stage and go right to our decision.
We post exception notices in two situations.
The first is when there’s an emergency. If we wait for public consultation, there could be the risk of:
- danger to public health or safety
- harm or serious risk to the environment
- injury or damage to property
The second is when there was already a similar process to consult on the environmental aspects of the proposal.
We will explain in the exception notice why we didn’t consult on the proposal.
Bulletins are notices that are for your information only. They don’t have a consultation or proposal stage. We used to call them information notices on the old Environmental Registry.
We post bulletins in two situations:
- when we’re required by legislation other than the Environmental Bill of Rights to post notice on the registry but we don’t have to consult, like Source Protection Plans (required under the Clean Water Act)
- when we want to let you know about something happening in the province that isn’t covered under the Environmental Bill of Rights, like when another organization releases an environmental report we think is important
Consultations on matters that aren’t covered by the Environmental Bill of Rights
Sometimes we want to consult on a proposal even though we don’t have to. This might be because we don’t think it will have a significant effect on the environment, like a new financial plan, but we want to hear your thoughts on it anyway.
Notices for consultations that aren’t covered by the Environmental Bill of Rights will usually follow the regular process and have a proposal, review and decision stage.
However, because these consultations aren’t a requirement of the Environmental Bill of Rights, we don’t have the same obligation to report on how comments were considered and what we decided or to consider the Statement of Environmental Values.