Devon Page, Executive Director of Ecojustice, made the following statement in response to the provincial government’s announcement that it intends to eliminate the independent office of the Environmental Commission of Ontario and will move it under the Auditor General’s office.
“The Ford government has made a move against its environmental watchdog, and we’re left wondering what it is they’re going to do next that they wouldn’t want her to see.
“Moving the Environmental Commissioner’s office under the Auditor General is a hostile move that signals this government has little intention of complying with Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights. We are very concerned that this change diminishes the Environmental Commission of Ontario’s independence, authority, and ability to ensure compliance with environmental laws. By hobbling the Commission, it will be easier for the Ford government to shield its forthcoming climate plan from independent oversight and evaluation.
“Environmental laws exist to protect our rivers from sewage and our air from contamination. Commissioner Dianne Saxe took the Ontario government to task on many environmental failures that affect the lives and health and Ontarians and their communities. She called out the Ministry of the Environment for its delay in completing a review of air pollution in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley, and reviewed the handling of other important environmental issues, such as spills from pipelines. Just yesterday, she criticized the Ontario government for the unhealthy amounts of pollutants that made their way into Ontario’s waterways. Today, her independent office was eliminated. This casts an undeniable chill on officials who properly hold government to account.
“In the light of these changes, it will fall to groups like Ecojustice to defend Ontarians’ right to a healthy environment. Ecojustice is up for the challenge, and our team is ready to use the power of the law to fight the Ford government’s disregard for Ontario’s environmental laws at every turn.”
Read the letter sent by Ecojustice to Premier Doug Ford.
Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, goes to court to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.