Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

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The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario ("ECO") is an officer of the Legislative Assembly, in Ontario, Canada. As such, the Commissioner does not report to any Ministry, but rather to the Legislature itself.

The Commissioner is appointed by the government, on the advice of the Legislature, for a term of five years, and must swear to "faithfully and impartially exercise the functions of the office," which is to uphold and protect the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). The Commissioner heads an office of 24 staff, who support the Commissioner in overseeing the administration of the EBR and producing reports to the Legislature.

The Environmental Bill of Rights and the mandate of the Commissioner[edit]

The intent of the EBR is to give Ontarians rights to participate in environmental decision-making, and to hold ministries accountable for their decisions as they affect the environment. The EBR also established the Environmental Registry, an online database where ministries post environmentally significant proposals and decisions for public notice and comment.[1]

In 2009, the EBR was amended to give the ECO the responsibility to report annually on Ontario's progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and on conserving energy.[2]

Past Commissioners[edit]

The Commissioner is selected via recommendation by an all-party committee, chaired by the Speaker of the House. The candidate is appointed by unanimous vote of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

Reports and Publications[edit]

The ECO issues several reports each year.

Annual Reports[edit]

Every year the office releases an Annual Report and an accompanying Supplement. The Supplement contains reviews of each application submitted under the EBR, and of ministries' use of the Environmental Registry. The Annual Report contains articles which elaborate on selected pieces from the Supplement, and articles about developing or significant issues of interest to the ECO.

Greenhouse Gas Progress Reports[edit]

Since 2008, the ECO has issued annual reports on the Ontario government's progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Conservation Progress Reports[edit]

Since 2008, the ECO has issued annual reports on activities in Ontario to reduce the use, or make more efficient use, of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuel. These reports are issued in two volumes: the first volume covers the broader policy framework affecting energy conservation in Ontario, and the second describes conservation initiatives underway, assesses energy savings derived from these initiatives, and measures progress on meeting targets.

Special Reports[edit]

In addition to the above reports, the ECO may make a special report on any matter related to the EBR that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, should not be deferred until the annual report.


External links[edit]