Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
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
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.
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.
- Eva Ligeti (appointed 1994)
- Ivy Wile (appointed as temporary Commissioner in 1999)
- Gord Miller (appointed 2000, 2005, and 2010)
Reports and Publications
The ECO issues several reports each year.
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.
- 2012/13 - Serving the Public
- 2011/12 - Part 2: Losing Our Touch
- 2011/12 - Part 1: Losing Touch
- 2010/11 - Engaging Solutions
- 2009/10 - Redefining Conservation
- 2008/09 - Building Resilience
- 2007/08 - Getting to K(No)w
- 2006/07 - Reconciling our Priorities
- 2005/06 - Neglecting our Obligations
- 2004/05 - Planning our Landscape
- 2003/04 - Choosing our Legacy
- 2002/03 - Thinking Beyond the Near and Now
- 2001/02 - Developing Sustainability
- 2000/01 - Having Regard
- 1999/2000 - Changing Perspectives
- 1998 - Open Doors
- 1997 - Open Doors: Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights
- 1996 - Keep The Doors Open To Better Environmental Decision Making
- 1994/95 Annual Report
Greenhouse Gas Progress Reports
Since 2008, the ECO has issued annual reports on the Ontario government's progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- 2012/2013 - Failing our Future: Review of the Ontario Government's Climate Change Action Plan Results
- 2011/2012 - A Question of Commitment: Review of the Ontario Government's Climate Change Action Plan Results
- 2010/2011 - Meeting Responsibilities: Creating Opportunities
- 2009/2010 - Broadening Ontario's Climate Change Policy Agenda
- 2008/2009 - Finding a Vision for Change
- 2007/2008 - Progress in a Climate of Change - A Review of the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan Annual Report
Energy Conservation Progress Reports
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.
- 2012, volume 2 - Building Momentum - Results
- 2012, volume 1 - Building Momentum
- 2011, volume 2 - Restoring Balance - Results
- 2011, volume 1 - Restoring Balance
- 2010, volume 2 - Managing a Complex Energy System - Results
- 2010, volume 1 - Managing a Complex Energy System
- 2009, volume 2 - Rethinking Energy Conservation in Ontario – Results
- 2009, volume 1 - Rethinking Energy Conservation in Ontario
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.
- Laying Siege to the Last Line of Defence: A Review of Ontario’s Weakened Protections for Species at Risk (2013)
- Ready for Change? An assessment of Ontario's climate change adaptation strategy (2012)
- Biodiversity: A Nation's Commitment, an Obligation for Ontario (2012)
- Getting it Right: Paying for the management of household hazardous waste (2010)
- The Last Line of Defence: A Review of Ontario’s New Protections for Species at Risk (2009)
- Doing Less with Less: How shortfalls in budget, staffing and in-house expertise are hampering the effectiveness of MOE and MNR (2007)
- Looking Forward: The Environmental Bill of Rights (2005)
- Climate Change: Is the Science Sound? (2002)
- Broken Promises: MNR’s Failure to Safeguard Environmental Rights (2001)
- The Protection of Ontario’s Groundwater and Intensive Farming (2000)
- Regulation 482/95 and the Environmental Bill of Rights (1996)
- Keep The Door To Environmental Protection Open (1996)