The Environmental Registry consultation process

Learn how to consult with the Government of Ontario through the registry on matters that affect the environment.

Your rights

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.

Read more about your rights on the Environmental Commissioner’s website.

Giving notice

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.

Note: for now, only notices for policies, acts and regulations will be on this site. Instrument notices will still be posted on the old registry.

Consultation stages

The stages that most consultations go through include:

  1. proposal
  2. review
  3. decision

Almost all consultations go through these stages. Read more about the exceptions from the regular consultation process.

Proposal stage

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 privacy

Your comment will become part of the public record when you submit it to us.

You must not include personal information, like a:

  • name
  • address
  • 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.

Review stage

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.

Please review our comment and privacy policies and Terms of Use for more detailed information on using the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

There is no time limit for the review stage.

Decision 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. We’ll let you know how when we post our decision.

For now, only notices for policies, acts and regulations are on this site. Instrument notices will still be posted on the old registry.

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
  • bulletins
  • consultations on matters that aren’t covered by the Environmental Bill of Rights

Exception notices

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

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.