In less than two weeks in July 2020, the Ford government steamrolled Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act), an omnibus bill that makes major changes to Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act, the Planning Act and other environmental laws.
Although the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) gives Ontarians the right to participate meaningfully in major environmental decision-making, the Ford government failed to consult the public on Bill 197. The intentional violation of the EBR and avoidance of public scrutiny of Bill 197 continues this government’s pattern of disregard for Ontarians’ environmental rights.
Bill 197 uses the premise of economic recovery to tear up environmental protections and prevents Ontarians from having a say on major projects that impact their lives. And the Ford government never consulted with Ontarians before making the bill law – which they are legally required to do.
Since being elected, the Ford government has attempted to dismantle environmental protections in Ontario. Bill 197 is the latest attack on environmental laws in the province.