Ecojustice is suing the Ford government for its failure to consult with Ontarians before it passed Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act), an omnibus bill that severely curtails public participation in environmental decision-making and makes significant changes to a number of environmental laws. The Ontario government unlawfully steamrolled this bill through the legislature without any public consultation.
On July 8, the Ford government tabled Bill 197. Less than two weeks later, the Ford government made it law – without any public consultation.
The legislation makes major changes to the province’s Environmental Assessment Act, the Planning Act and other environmental laws. Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights gives the public the right to participate meaningfully in environmental decision-making about these types of changes – but the Ford government ignored that right and steamrolled Bill 197 through the Ontario legislature.
This is not the first time the Ford government has pushed through significant environmental changes without allowing the public to have their say.
In 2019, a majority of an Ontario court agreed with Ecojustice that the Ford government’s failure to consult with the public before scrapping cap and trade was unlawful. In that case, the Court stopped just short of handing the Ontario government a formal sanction.
Now, once again, Ecojustice is going to court to uphold Ontarians’ legal right to be consulted on major changes to environmental regulations.
Ecojustice is committed to defending Canadians’ right to speak up when projects threaten the air, land, water and biodiversity around us. When governments try to deny individuals and communities this right, our lawyers are ready to step in and go to court.