On this page:
- Environmental Registry
- Environmental Bill of Rights
- Notice (general)
- Exception notice
- Comment status
- ERO number
- Prescribed ministries
- Statement of Environmental Values
- Environmental Bill of Rights Office
The Environmental Registry of Ontario is the place where you can take part in government decision-making that might affect the environment.
You’re on the registry right now!
On the registry, we:
- post notices on what we’re doing that may affect the environment
- let you comment on certain notices
- inform you of any decisions we make
The registry exists because of the Environmental Bill of Rights.
Note: this site is currently a beta version of the site. This means you can test out and use key features while we make tweaks, additions and improvements using your feedback.
Environmental Bill of Rights
This is the piece of legislation that requires us to consult with you on environmental issues.
It says that you have a right to take part in government decisions about the environment and hold us accountable.
The registry exists because of the Environmental Bill of Rights.
It came into effect in February 1994.
This is the process of asking for your feedback on what we’re doing that might affect the environment.
We first post a proposal on the registry that explains what we want to do. You usually have a minimum of 30 days to comment.
We then make a decision and let you know how we took your feedback into consideration.
There are two types of notices we post for consultations on the registry:
- notices for initiatives the Environmental Bill of Rights requires us to consult on, like changing or making a new act, regulation, policy or instrument that could affect the environment
- notices for initiatives we aren’t required to consult on, but want to hear your thoughts about anyway (e.g. a financial plan or another organization’s report)
Read more about the consultation process.
A notice is what we post on the registry. It’s how we let you know about what we’re doing or thinking of doing that might affect the environment.
We give notice on the registry for changes to or new:
We may post a notice to consult with you and ask for your feedback on something we are thinking of doing, or just to give you the latest information.
An act is a law. Laws are also known as legislation or statutes.
An act is made by the government to let people know the rules and regulations about specific situations.
It only becomes official after it goes through a number of stages. It’s first introduced as a draft version that MPPs in the Legislative Assembly debate at Queen’s Park. The draft version is called a bill.
If a bill passes, it then gets royal assent by the Lieutenant Governor and becomes law.
Learn more about how a bill becomes law in Ontario.
A regulation falls under an act. It defines how to use and enforce certain parts of that act.
Like acts, regulations are legally binding. They may state rules that apply generally or to specific people or situations.
Unlike acts, a regulation is not made in the Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park. The assembly gives authority to certain people or organizations to make them (like a minister or the Lieutenant Governor).
A policy is a rule or principle that helps to interpret and follow legislation and regulations and guide decisions.
Action plans, protocols and program plans are all examples of policies.
Policies aren’t legally binding (while acts and regulations are).
An instrument is a catch-all term for things that the government issues to you or an organization, like:
An instrument can allow, prohibit, or require you to do a certain activity.
The most popular types of instruments include:
- permits to take water
- environmental compliance approvals (for air, noise, waste and sewage)
- renewable energy approvals
- classifications of pesticides
- mining permits
- licences related to managing aggregate resources (e.g. sand, gravel, clay, earth and bedrock)
You may be able to appeal our decision on certain instruments. We’ll let you know how when we post our decision.
If you’re an Ontario resident you may seek leave (i.e. get permission) to appeal certain instruments under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), as set out by regulation.
You may also appeal certain instruments under the Planning Act.
Instruments could include things like:
The instrument decision notice on the Environmental Registry will tell you whether the instrument can be appealed, and what the appeal process is.
In the context of the Environmental Registry, a proponent is someone that:
- applied to the government for an instrument, like a permit or approval
- was issued an instrument by the government, like an order (for example, to clean up a spill)
Proponents are most often companies, but they could also be individuals or public bodies.
This is a notice we post that doesn’t have a proposal. It skips the consultation and commenting stage and goes right to our decision.
We post an exception notice 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.
This is a notice that is for your information only. We used to call them information notices on the old Environmental Registry.
There isn’t a consultation or proposal stage.
We aren't required to post it on the registry because its content isn't covered under the Environmental Bill of Rights. There isn’t a consultation or proposal stage.
We post bulletins in two situations:
- 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
- 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)
This is what we first post on the registry to let you know what we’re proposing to do.
There are two types of proposals we post on the registry:
- proposals for initiatives the Environmental Bill of Rights requires us to consult on, like changing or making a new act, regulation, policy or instrument that could affect the environment
- proposals for initiatives we don’t think will have a significant effect on the environment and we aren’t required to consult on, but want to hear your thoughts about anyway (e.g. a financial plan or another organization’s report)
Most of our proposals:
- say what we’re planning to do
- give the details
- link to supporting material
- provide the option to comment
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 registry.
Read about exceptions from the regular consultation process.
This is what we post on the registry after you’ve read our proposal and left your comment and 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
You may be able to appeal our decision on certain instruments. We’ll let you know how in the decision notice. (For now, only notices for policies, acts and regulations are on this site. Notices for instruments will still be posted on the old registry.)
There is no time limit to post a decision.
We review all the comments we receive and decide whether they can be posted for others to see.
When you submit your comment, it will be ready for review until someone has decided if it can be posted.
A comment is approved if it can be posted online.
We will not publish your comment for others to see if it:
- contains inappropriate or offensive content (language or links)
- is off topic
- contains personal information
This will be noted in the comment status.
There is no time limit for the review stage.
This is the unique, seven-number reference every notice gets in the registry (e.g. 123-4567).
You can use it to:
- search for a notice
- reference a notice when you submit a comment or call us
These are the Ontario government ministries that need to consult using the registry.
They have to under the Environmental Bill of Rights.
The 15 ministries are:
- Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
- Economic Development and Growth (MEDG)
- Education (EDU)
- Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM)
- Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP)
- Government and Consumer Services (MGCS)
- Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC)
- Indigenous Affairs (IAO)
- Infrastructure (MOI)
- Labour (MOL)
- Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH)
- Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)
- Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS)
- Transportation (MTO)
- Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS)
Statement of Environmental Values
This is a policy that guides us when we make decisions that might affect the environment. Every ministry that needs to consult on the registry has one.
It describes how we will integrate environmental values with social, economic and scientific considerations when making a decision. It reveals how we view our environmental responsibilities.
We let you know how we consider our Statement of Environmental Values when we post a decision.
Environmental Bill of Rights Office
The office is responsible for operating the registry. They also provide support to other Ontario ministries to implement and comply with the Environmental Bill of Rights.
Read the ministries’ Statements of Environmental Values.
Beta is a stage in the agile method to developing digital products and services. It’s the stage where we use prototypes to build a minimum viable product in a live, user-facing environment. The goal of beta phase is to build a real service that works well for a larger group of people.
Beta is an iterative, flexible process. This means you can test out and use key features of the site while we make tweaks and improvements using your feedback.
Learn more about our process to develop the new registry and what beta means.