On July 8, the Government of Ontario introduced an omnibus bill (Bill 197) the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, which proposes to amend 20 pieces of legislation with minimum debate in the Legislature and no public consultation. Ramming it through at lightning speed, the government may sneak the new law through as early as next week, minimizing any opportunity for public scrutiny.
The Government has positioned the bill as addressing three critical needs Ontario faces: restarting jobs and development; strengthening communities and; creating opportunity for people. The promising title of Bill 197 poorly reflects the content of the bill and hides its negative environmental, social and economic implications.
Included in Bill 197 are sweeping changes to Environmental Assessment Act that would reduce or eliminate environmental protections and dramatically undermine public oversight and participation in environmental decision-making. This would give the Minister of Environment even more discretion to designate which projects receive a full environmental assessment and which are partially or fully exempt.
Click here to read an article posted on Ontario Nature about the proposed changes to the Environment Assessment Act.
The Green Party of Ontario is looking for your support to scrap Bill 197. Click the image for more information.