The Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) was proclaimed in February 1994. The founding principles of the EBR are stated in its Preamble:
- The people of Ontario recognize the inherent value of the natural environment.
- The people of Ontario have a right to a healthful environment.
- The people of Ontario have as a common goal the protection, conservation and restoration of the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
While the government has the primary responsibility for achieving this goal, Ontarians should have the means to ensure that it is achieved in an effective, timely, open and fair manner.
The purposes of the Act are:
- To protect, conserve and where reasonable, restore the integrity of the environment;
- To provide sustainability of the environment by the means provided in the Act; and
- To protect the right to a healthful environment by the means provided in the Act.
These purposes include the following:
- The prevention, reduction and elimination of the use, generation and release of pollutants that are an unreasonable threat to the integrity of the environment.
- The protection and conservation of biological; ecological and genetic diversity.
- The protection and conservation of natural resources, including plant life, animal life and ecological systems.
- The encouragement of the wise management of our natural resources, including plant life, animal life and ecological systems.
- The identification, protection and conservation of ecologically sensitive areas or processes.
To assist in fulfilling these purposes, the Act provides:
The means by which Ontarians may participate in the making of environmentally significant decisions by the Government of Ontario;
- Increased accountability of the Government of Ontario for its environmental decision-making;
- Increased access to the courts by residents of Ontario for the protection of the environment; and
- Enhanced protection for employees who take action in respect of environmental harm.
The EBR requires a Statement of Environmental Values from all designated ministries. The designated ministries are listed here.
Statements of Environmental Values (SEV) are a means for designated government ministries to record their commitment to the environment and be accountable for ensuring consideration of the environment in their decisions. A SEV explains:
- how the purposes of the EBR are to be applied when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the ministry; and
- how consideration of the purposes of the EBR should be integrated with other considerations, including social, economic and scientific considerations that are part of decision-making in the ministry.
- It is each Minister's responsibility to take every reasonable step to ensure that the SEV is considered whenever decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the ministry.
The ministry will examine the SEV on a periodic basis to ensure the Statement is current.
2. Ministry vision, mandate and business
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) plays an important role in the delivery of government services to the people of Ontario and is responsible for the government's workforce, procurement and technology resources. MGCS supports and delivers front line public services, and provides the internal supports and mechanisms to help all ministries deliver on their business goals.
The long-term vision of the ministry is to deliver modern government services that are simpler, faster, smarter, more connected, diverse and inclusive.
Specific details of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services can be found on the Ministry internet site.
MGCS is responsible for building the best public service in the world in order to deliver on the government's commitment to being a responsive and innovative work leader in customer service through:
Ontario Public Service (OPS) Green Office
The Ontario government has established the OPS Green Office to work with the Climate Change Secretariat and ministries to ensure there is an integrated approach to reducing the impact of government operations on the environment. The OPS Green Office is also focused on ensuring that environmental responsibility is an important part of the culture and day-to-day work of the Ontario Public Service.
Ministry administration includes business planning, financial management, accommodations, human resources, information system, and legal and communications services. These functions provide strategic advice, planning support and service delivery.
HROntario ensures that the OPS has the right people, in the right place, at the right time to achieve government priorities and ministry business results by: developing and delivering modern enterprise human resource strategies, policies, programs and services that support the OPS as an employer of choice; establishing corporate management policies to ensure an accountable, professional public service; and building OPS transformation capacity, and promoting organizational and service excellence.
Information and Information Technology (I&IT)
The Office of the Chief Corporate Information Officer with the support of the I&IT clusters provides leadership and co-ordination for the I&IT function in government and its alignment with business directions. This includes leading the policy development and enablers for electronic government, development and implementation of common infrastructure, development of policies and standards, controllership, governance, organization and accountability components of the strategy, as well as the delivery of cost-effective I&IT services to both ministries generally and to MGCS specifically.
Archives of Ontario - The Archives of Ontario provides innovative leadership in managing information in support of accountable government, in identifying and preserving Ontario's documentary memory and in promoting and facilitating its use.
Ontario shared services (OSS)
OSS is responsible for internal government administration including managing all transactional services with respect to payroll and benefits, finance and supply chain management as well as other common enterprise services including: risk management and insurance, mail, print distribution, surplus assets, forms management, records management and translation.
In addition, the Supply Chain Management division within OSS is responsible for the government's supply chain including the corporate procurement policy and controllership framework, vendor outreach, procurement advice for ministry specific procurements, and establishing contracts for commonly used goods and services such as travel, fleet, and IT equipment.
OPS Diversity Office
The OPS Diversity Office is a Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion. The vision is to create a diverse, accessible and inclusive Ontario Public Service that delivers excellent public service and supports all employees to achieve their full potential. The goals of the Diversity Office are to work with all Ministries to:
- Embed diversity in all OPS policies and programs;
- Build a healthy workplace free from harassment and discrimination;
- Reflect the public we serve at all levels of the OPS workforce; and
- Respond to the needs of a diverse population.
ServiceOntario is the government's customer gateway for information and services, including driver's licences, health cards, outdoor cards, life event registrations and certificates, business registrations, and many more routine interactions. By managing the entire customer experience from end-to-end, ServiceOntario is transforming and modernizing government channels and services for businesses and individuals.
3. Application of thE SEV
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is committed to applying the purposes of the EBR when decisions that might significantly affect the environment need to be made in the Ministry, and as it develops legislation, regulations and policies, by the application of the following principles:
- The health of the natural environment is sustained by the public service through government operations.
- The purposes of the EBR are integrated into legislative and policy initiatives.
- The purposes of the EBR are integral in the management of MGCS and the provision of services to the public and the OPS.
The Ministry will seek to apply these principles in its own administration and decision making to make choices that encourage environmental integrity such as supporting sustainable transportation options and facilities used by our workforce as well as integration into policy development.
The Management Board of Cabinet Procurement Directive incorporates environmental considerations for contracts over $10,000 such as environmental reduction, re-use and recycling measures in the development of commodity specifications, terms and conditions, and contract award decisions. Arrangements for the disposal of hazardous material must comply with the regulations and requirements of the Green Energy Act, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and any other rules and regulations that from time to time may apply.
Product standards and guidelines developed by the Federal Environmental Choice Program are used as a minimum standard when acquiring goods and services valued at over $10,000.
The Paper and Print Services Procurement Policy demonstrates the government's commitment to sound environmental management practices and supports the conservation of Ontario's forests. The policy requires that:
- 100% of all virgin bulk paper purchased by ministries will need to be certified by one of three standards:
- the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC);
- the Canadian Standards Association (CSA); or
- the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI).
- Double-sided printing and copying must be the standard for in-house printers and copiers.
- The government will move toward increasing the level of recycled content in printed materials to 50% by the year 2012 and ensure printers doing business with the Ontario Government are FSC certified by 2012.
MGCS encourages the use of telecommunications, web collaboration and computers to reduce the use of paper and travel which supports the protection and conservation of the natural environment.
4. Integration with other considerations
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services will take into account environmental considerations together with social, economic and scientific considerations. These considerations will be integrated with the purposes of the EBR when decisions that might significantly affect the environment need to be made. There are several business activities within MGCS that take into account other considerations including social, economic and scientific considerations. The most significant of these are Procurement and Information Technology.
5. Monitoring use of the SEV
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services will document how the SEV was considered each time a decision is posted on the Environmental Registry. The Ministry will ensure that staff involved in decisions that significantly affect the environment are aware of the Ministry's Environmental Bill of Rights obligations.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services believes that public consultation is vital to sound environmental decision-making. The Ministry will provide opportunities for an open and consultative process when making decisions that might significantly affect the environment.
7. Consideration of Aboriginal people
The Ministry recognizes the value that Aboriginal people place on the environment. When making decisions that might significantly affect the environment, the Ministry will provide opportunities for involvement of Aboriginal people whose interests may be affected by such decisions so that Aboriginal interests can be appropriately considered. This commitment is not intended to alter or detract from any constitutional obligation the Province may have to consult with Aboriginal peoples.
8. Greening of internal operations
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services believes in the wise use and conservation of natural resources. The Ministry will support and work to promote Government of Ontario initiatives to conserve energy and water, and to wisely use our air and land resources in order to generate environmental, health and economic benefits for present and future generations.
The OPS Green Office within the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services was created on September 15, 2008 and is responsible for working with the Climate Change Secretariat and ministries to ensure an integrated approach to reducing the impact on government operations on the environment. The OPS Green Office is also responsible for ensuring that environmental responsibility is an important part of the culture and day-to-day work of the OPS.
The OPS Green Office will reduce the OPS' environmental footprint by fostering green business practices and a green employee culture. The OPS Green Office will provide a single point of contact and framework for identifying, approving, supporting and reporting on green initiatives across the OPS