• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Tell Ontario: Water Protection Laws are More Than Just “Red Tape

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In AWARE News Network
Oct 22nd, 2023
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Ontario wants to eliminate critical freshwater protections to speed up construction projects
The reversal of planned Greenbelt development was a major recent win! However, the provincial government is still attempting to “streamline” environmental laws in favour of developers. This time, the proposed changes threaten one of Ontario’s most precious resources – our water.

We have a window of opportunity until October 30th to push for better. Sign on to urge your MPP to maintain and strengthen, not weaken, Ontario’s water protection laws.

TAKE ACTION

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) proposes to exempt some stormwater, wastewater and water-taking activities from Environmental Compliance Approvals. This change would also eliminate public participation and the right to appeal under the Environmental Bill of Rights. In other words, neither the government nor the public would have a say before projects commence.

Instead, the companies themselves – in a glaring conflict of interest – would conduct reviews and self-register on the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). Unfortunately, the EASR lacks the proper resources and processes to oversee environmental protections effectively. Most registered projects aren’t even being inspected!

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) proposes to exempt some stormwater, wastewater and water-taking activities from Environmental Compliance Approvals. This change would also eliminate public participation and the right to appeal under the Environmental Bill of Rights. In other words, neither the government nor the public would have a say before projects commence.

Instead, the companies themselves – in a glaring conflict of interest – would conduct reviews and self-register on the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). Unfortunately, the EASR lacks the proper resources and processes to oversee environmental protections effectively. Most registered projects aren’t even being inspected!

Our fresh water is too precious to risk! Take Action/Sign on to request that your MPP and the Premier do not proceed with the proposed changes and instead, preserve our current water protections.

The proposed changes, following amendments made by the provincial government under Bill C-23, endanger our water and health in many ways. For example, the exclusion of Conservation Authorities from notifications regarding water taking activities will negatively impact their ability to make flood and drought forecasts, and protect our drinking water sources.

Fortunately, there is another way to speed up construction projects and address Ontario’s critical housing needs without weakening environmental protections. The province needs to allocate proper resources to the Environmental Compliance Approval process, ensuring efficient oversight under existing water protection laws.

Together, we can continue to fight for clean water and the health of our communities – and win.

With gratitude,

Michelle Woodhouse
Program Manager, Water
(Environmental Defence)

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