Ontario’s Environmental Registry is a publicly-accessible database for information and public comment on proposals related to environment decisions made at the Provincial level. It exists because of the Environmental Bill of Rights.
What information does the Registry provide?
The Environmental Registry, provided through the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), is used by 13 Provincial ministries to notify the public of proposals and decisions regarding policies, Acts, instruments, or regulations that could significantly affect the environment. Also see definitions of Environmental Registry terms.
It also includes consideration and approval of permits given to allow polluting activities, known as Environmental Compliance Approvals (and formerly known as Certificates of Approval). The Registry includes new approval requests that are open for public comment, as well as an archive of past applications.
How do I access information on the Registry?
The Environmental Registry can be found at: www.ebr.gov.on.ca. The Registry is fairly straightforward to search. There are choices on the search page so that you can define what type of information you want. You can search by:
- Word or phrase
- Company name
- The type of decision/instrument you are looking for – i.e. Certificates of Approval
- The date the proposal and/or decision was loaded onto the Registry
Why is the Registry useful?
The information on the Registry is useful for finding out about what companies in your area are planning to do – for example, are they applying to take water from a lake or applying for a new permit to emit chemicals into the air? It is also useful for monitoring government decisions and making comments on applications posted on the Registry within the comment period.
Postings on the Registry include a summary of the proposal, the deadline for comments to be received, and contact information for government officials to contact for further information. There may be links to supplementary reports or past approvals. The comment period will be a minimum of 30 days.
The Registry also provides an archive of past proposals and decisions, and may include a record of public comments made. This can be valuable in understanding what the company has attempted to do in the past and what impact public comments had.
Concerned citizens and non-government organizations use the Registry to make comments on proposals voicing their support, opposition, or requests for further consideration. Proposals can be approved, rejected or altered in response to public comments. Approved proposals can also be challenged through an appeals process.
What information does the Registry leave out?
Often, there is only minimal information about a proposal/instrument on the registry. The individual Ministries have more comprehensive information that is supposed to be available to the public upon request. You may be told that some of the information you wish to review requires a Freedom of Information request to access it. According to the Environmental Bill of Rights office, a Freedom of Information request is not required to access this information. It should be made available to you if you contact the relevant Government office.
Not all Ministries that are subject to the Environmental Bill of Rights are subject to each part of EBR. In addition, for most proposals on the Registry, Ministries are required to provide only a minimum level of public participation in the review process.
- What’s on the Registry? – MOE
- How to Search the Registry - Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO)
- Definition of Registry Terms – ECO
The Environmental Bill of Rights
- Overview of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights – Environment Hamilton GNC workshop presentation
- About the Environmental Bill of Rights & “The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) and You” – ECO
- How to use Environmental Compliance Approvals and Certificates of Approval in your Good Neighbour Campaign
Links & Further information
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