Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan

ERO number
013-4208
Notice type
Policy
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
November 29, 2018 - January 28, 2019 (60 days) Open

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
January 28, 2019

Proposal summary

The proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan reflects our government’s commitment to address the pressing challenges we face to protect our air, land and water, reduce litter and waste, and support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families prepare for climate change.

Proposal details

Description of policy

The people of Ontario have already made significant and meaningful investments in climate action. In 2001, the government of the day announced the closure of the Lakeview Generating Station, which started a phase out of coal-fired electricity that remains the largest greenhouse gas reduction in Canadian history. By moving to a combination of sustainable hydroelectric and nuclear generating capacity, Ontario has avoided up to 30 megatonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to taking seven million vehicles off our roads. Today, our electricity is virtually emissions-free.

Measured against the same base year of Canada’s target under the Paris Agreement (2005), the province’s total greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 22%– even while the rest of Canada saw emissions increase by 3% during that same time.

But doing Canada’s heavy lifting on greenhouse gas emission reductions has come at a substantial cost to Ontario families.

We will continue to do our share to address climate change and protect our environment. We will do so in a way that protects our economy and respects the people.

Ontario’s proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan presents new directions for addressing the pressing challenges we face to protect our air, land and water, reduce litter and waste, build resiliency and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The plan will help people and businesses across Ontario take environmental action in ways that will also save them money, enhance their communities, create new jobs and grow the economy.

Actions in the plan are measured against the following guiding principles to ensure we address environmental challenges in the most responsible, effective, measurable and balanced way.

  • Clear rules - strong enforcement: We will ensure that polluters are held accountable with tougher penalties, while reducing regulatory burden for responsible businesses
  • Trust and transparency: We will provide Ontarians with the information and tools required – with a particular focus on real-time monitoring – to understand the current environmental challenges we face and how these challenges impact individuals, businesses and communities across the province
  • Resilient communities and local solutions: We recognize that environmental impacts faced by communities across Ontario may be very different. We will work with these communities and use best scientific practices and other evidence-based methods to develop unique solutions to their challenges

The proposed Environment Plan will ensure that polluters are held accountable with stronger enforcement and tougher penalties for breaking environmental laws. We will do this in a transparent way, making real-time information about monitoring, incidents and enforcement available to the public.

The plan will also enable others to be environmental leaders and do their part in developing environmental solutions. This includes tapping into the resourcefulness and creativity of our diverse and thriving private sector by helping them invest in and develop clean solutions to today’s environmental challenges.

It offers integrated, tangible environmental solutions that save people and businesses money, address local priorities, and support our communities in doing their part for the environment.

Purpose of policy

The proposed Environment Plan aims to address four key environmental challenges facing Ontario:

1. Protecting our air, lakes and rivers

Ontario’s water and air are life support systems for nature and people. Pollution in our air and water increases healthcare costs, reduces enjoyment of the great outdoors and contributes to lost economic opportunity. We will protect these critical systems by using water more sustainably and keeping our water and air clean while growing our economy. We will also improve municipal wastewater and stormwater management and work with municipalities to increase reporting to protect the public and our lakes and rivers.

2. Addressing climate change

The climate is changing. Severe rain, ice and wind storms, prolonged heat waves and milder winters are much more common. Forests, waters and wildlife across the province are and will continue to be significantly impacted by these changes. People across the province – especially Northern communities – and all sectors of the economy are feeling the impacts of climate change and paying more and more for the costs associated with those impacts.

The Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018 requires the establishment of targets for reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario and the preparation of a climate change plan and progress reports in respect of the plan. This chapter of the proposed Environment Plan addresses the government’s legislative obligations.

3. Reducing litter and waste in our communities and keeping our land and soil clean

Ontario needs to reduce the amount of waste we generate and divert more waste from landfill through proven methods like Ontario’s curbside Blue Box Program, existing and emerging municipal Green Bin programs and other waste recovery options. Existing and emerging technologies are increasingly allowing us to recover and recycle materials back into our economy rather than sending them to landfills. This is helping us to better protect our communities and keep our air, land and water clean and healthy.

To keep our land and water clean, we will also take strong enforcement action to ensure waste, including hazardous waste, is properly stored, transported, recycled, recovered or disposed.

We are looking at proposed ways to:

  • reduce the amount of waste going to landfills or becoming litter
  • increase opportunities for Ontarians to participate in efforts to reduce waste
  • manage excess soil and hauled sewage
  • increase opportunities to use technologies, such as thermal treatment, to recover valuable resources in waste
  • redevelop brownfield sites to better protect human health and the environment.

4. Conserving land and greenspace

People travel from around the world to experience the natural wonders that we often take for granted in the Province of Ontario. The natural spaces across Ontario, such as forests, wetlands and parks purify our air and water, protect biodiversity and natural heritage, provide recreational opportunities and support Indigenous traditional practices.

We as Ontarians have a long history of putting a strong focus on expanding Ontario’s parks and protected areas. In 1999, Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy was announced. A clear and major goal of this plan was to complete Ontario’s system of parks and protected areas. Our government remains dedicated to maintaining the natural beauty of our province.

We know that climate change poses a serious threat to Ontario’s natural areas and that conservation of these areas can play an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. We will protect and enhance our natural areas, support conservation efforts, continue to conserve species at risk, develop adaptation strategies, and promote the importance of healthy natural spaces for future generations to use and enjoy.

Other public consultation opportunities

Ontario’s proposed Environment Plan integrates both new actions and continued actions across government to address pressing environmental issues. Comments received on proposed new actions will be considered during the finalization and implementation of the plan. Comments received on continued actions will be incorporated into future program reviews. Prior to release of this plan, the ministry met with more than 200 stakeholders from across the province, and we have received more than 8,000 ideas through Ontario.ca public portal.

Throughout the proposed Environment Plan, we have identified areas of potential action where we are engaging with the public, stakeholders, Indigenous communities, municipalities and our partners to develop new approaches that support our common goals for environmental and climate leadership.

Our consultations and engagement with various stakeholders, Indigenous organizations and communities and the public will help refine our environment and climate change initiatives, incorporating valuable insights to ensure the actions we adopt reflect the needs of Ontarians.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Environmental Policy Branch
Address

40 St Clair Avenue West
Floor 10
Toronto ON M4V1M2
Canada

Office phone number
Climate Change Policy Branch
Address

77 Wellesley Street West
Floor 10
Toronto ON M7A 2T5
Canada

Office phone number

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