Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

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This article is about the Ontario ministry. For the Canadian federal government department, see Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Ontario Wordmark 2007.svg
Government ministry overview
Formed 1972
Jurisdiction Government of Ontario
Headquarters 2nd Floor, Macdonald Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1N3
Employees 2021
Annual budget $322 million
Minister responsible

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is a Ontario government ministry responsible for protecting and improving the quality of the environment in the Canadian province of Ontario, as well as coordinating Ontario's actions on climate change.[1] This includes administration of government programs, such as Ontario's Drive Clean and Clean Water Act. The ministry headquarters are located inside the Ontario Government Buildings.[1]

The current Minister is Glen Murray.[1]

History[edit]

The Ministry of the Environment was originally established as a portfolio in the Executive Council of Ontario (or provincial cabinet) in 1972.

The ministry was merged with the Ministry of Energy to form the Ministry of Environment and Energy from 1993 to 1997, and briefly again in 2002, before being split back up again.

Following the 2014 Ontario election, the addition of climate change to the ministry's portfolio was announced on June 24, 2014.[2]

Responsibilities[edit]

Air Quality[edit]

The MOECC works to improve air quality through legislation, targeted programs, and partnership agreements with other neighbouring airsheds. This includes using a network of air quality stations that provide real-time air pollution data. The ministry communicates air quality to the public by providing an Air Quality Index based on ambient levels of ozone, fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and total reduced sulphur compounds.[3]

Brownfields[edit]

MOECC is responsible for administering Ontario Regulation 153/04 which requires, under specific circumstances, a Record of Site Condition (RSC) to be submitted to the Ministry for acknowledgement. A RSC contains Environmental Site Assessments that ascertain the current condition of a site, including whether contamination exists on-site. The RSC is required when a property owner is choosing to change the property use from a less-sensitive to more-sensitive use (Example: Industrial Use to Residential Use) and is often required by the municipality's Chief Building Official before approval of a building permit.

Climate change[edit]

The ministry released a climate change action plan in 2007, setting greenhouse gas reduction targets for the province. It is the aim of the provincial government to reduce its emissions to:[4]

  • 6% below 1990 levels by 2014;
  • 15% below 1990 levels by 2020; and
  • 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The ministry released an update on its progress towards these targets in 2014, indicating that it had surpassed its 2014 target. It also indicated that current trends and policies would result in 170 megatonnes of emissions, or 69% of its 2020 target.[4]

In 2011, the ministry published Climate Ready, its first climate change adaptation strategy and action plan for 2011 to 2014. The report acknowledges that Ontario has experienced a 1.4°C increase in average temperatures, and that it can create changes wind and precipitation patterns. The report outlines how the province should prepare for and minimize the negative impacts of a changing climate, as well as strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[5]

Under Ontario Regulation 452/09, any facility in Ontario that emits more than 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually is required to report their emissions.[6][7] The reports must be verified by an accredited third party, to ensure it meets the requirements of ISO 14064-3. Reports are then submitted through Environment Canada's single window system.[6]

Drinking water[edit]

Ontario municipalities have responsibility for building and maintaining drinking water systems, but the ministry regulates these systems to achieve acceptable standards in water quality and safety.

Drive Clean[edit]

Main article: Ontario's Drive Clean

The ministry is responsible for administering Ontario's Drive Clean program. Certain cars, vans, trucks, motorhomes and buses must be evaluated under the Drive Clean program to check that they meet Ontario emissions standards before being licensed to drive on Ontario roads.[8]

Other[edit]

  • Environmental assessments
  • Environmental approvals
  • Environmental registry
  • Environment maps
  • Great Lakes and Watersheds
  • Pesticides

Past Ministers[edit]

Ministry of the Environment[edit]

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]