Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

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Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Protection de la nature et des Parcs  (French)
Government ministry overview
JurisdictionGovernment of Ontario
Headquarters2nd Floor, Macdonald Block, 900 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1N3
Annual budget$322 million
Ministers responsible
  • Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
  • Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is an 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 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, and its name changed from the Ministry of the Environment to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.[2]

Following the 2018 Ontario election, the Ministry's name was changed from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on June 29, 2018.[3]


Air Quality[edit]

The MECP 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.[4]


MECP 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:[5]

  • 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.[5]

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 the province is suffering from more frequent extreme weather events including prolonged heat waves, torrential rain and wind storms, and drought. 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.[6]

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.[7][8] 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.[7]

A cap and trade program was implemented on January 1, 2017, which projected to cost the average Ontario household about $13 more per month to fuel a car and heat a home in 2017.[9] By 2017 year end, the cap and trade program brought in nearly $2 billion in revenue.[10] After Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford was sworn into office on June 29, 2018, he revoked Ontario's cap and trade program on July 3, 2018.[11]

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]

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.[12] On September 28, 2018, the Ontario government announced the cancellation of the Drive Clean program and instead focusing on heavy duty vehicles; the change would be effective on April 1, 2019.[13]


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

List of Ministers[edit]

Name Term of office Tenure Political party
Minister of the Environment PC
George Kerr July 23, 1971 February 2, 1972 194 days
(first instance)
James Auld February 2, 1972 February 26, 1974 2 years, 24 days
Bill Newman February 26, 1974 October 7, 1975 1 year, 223 days
George Kerr October 7, 1975 January 21, 1978 2 years, 106 days
(second instance)
(2 years, 300 days in total)
George R. McCague January 21, 1978 August 18, 1978 209 days
Harry Craig Parrott August 18, 1978 April 10, 1981 2 years, 235 days
Keith Norton April 10, 1981 July 6, 1983 2 years, 87 days
Andy Brandt July 6, 1983 February 8, 1985 1 year, 217 days
Morley Kells February 8, 1985 May 17, 1985 98 days PC
Susan Fish May 17, 1985 June 26, 1985 40 days
Jim Bradley June 26, 1985 October 1, 1990 5 years, 97 days
(first instance)
Served in same role under three different Premiers.
Ruth Grier October 1, 1990 February 3, 1993 2 years, 125 days NDP
Minister of Environment and Energy
Bud Wildman February 3, 1993 June 26, 1995 2 years, 143 days
Brenda Elliott June 26, 1995 August 16, 1996 1 year, 51 days PC
Norm Sterling August 16, 1996 October 10, 1997 to be continued
Minister of the Environment
Norm Sterling October 10, 1997 June 17, 1999 2 years, 305 days
Tony Clement June 17, 1999 March 3, 2000 260 days
Dan Newman March 3, 2000 February 7, 2001 341 days
Elizabeth Witmer February 8, 2001 April 14, 2002 1 year, 65 days
Minister of Environment and Energy PC
Chris Stockwell April 15, 2002 August 22, 2002 to be continued
Minister of the Environment
Chris Stockwell August 22, 2002 June 17, 2003 1 year, 63 days
Jim Wilson June 17, 2003 October 22, 2003 127 days
Leona Dombrowsky October 23, 2003 June 29, 2005 1 year, 249 days Liberal
Laurel Broten June 29, 2005 October 30, 2007 2 years, 123 days
John Gerretsen October 30, 2007 August 18, 2010 2 years, 292 days
John Wilkinson August 18, 2010 October 20, 2011 1 year, 63 days
Jim Bradley October 20, 2011 February 11, 2013 2 years, 247 days
(second instance)
7 years, 344 days in total
Served in same role under three different Premiers.
February 11, 2013 June 24, 2014 Liberal
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
Glen Murray June 24, 2014 July 31, 2017 3 years, 37 days Resigned and retired from politics.[14]
Chris Ballard July 31, 2017 June 29, 2018 333 days
Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks PC
Rod Phillips June 29, 2018 June 20, 2019 356 days
Jeff Yurek June 20, 2019 present 351 days

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks". Government of Ontario. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  2. ^ "Wynne to name Hoskins health minister in major cabinet shuffle - CBC News".
  3. ^ "Doug Ford and Cabinet to be Sworn-in as Ontario's First Ever Government for the People".
  4. ^ "Air Quality Ontario". Government of Ontario. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Ontario cap-and-trade auctions bring in nearly $2B this year". 6 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Ontario's getting out of the 'carbon tax business,' Doug Ford says. But what's next? - CBC News".
  12. ^ "Drive Clean Test". Government of Ontario. Retrieved 2014-12-16.
  13. ^ "Ontario Cancelling Outdated, Ineffective Drive Clean Program".
  14. ^ McCarthy, Shawn (July 31, 2017). "Environment Minister Glen Murray resigns from Kathleen Wynne's cabinet". The Globe and Mail.

External links[edit]