The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly created by the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR). All of the ECO’s powers and responsibilities are established by the EBR.
Specifically, the EBR requires that the ECO:
- Review and reporting annually on implementation of, and ministry compliance with, the EBR;
- Provide guidance to ministries on how to comply with the EBR;
- Provide educational programs to the public about the EBR;
- Provide advice and assistance to members of the public who wish to participate in decision making about a proposal posted on the Environmental Registry;
- Review the use of the Environmental Registry;
- Review ministers’ use of discretion under the EBR;
- Review recourse to appeal rights and whistleblower protection provided by the EBR;
- Review the receipt, handling and disposition of applications for review and investigation;
- Review ministry plans and priorities for conducting EBR reviews; and
- Review the use of the right to sue under the EBR over a public nuisance or to protect a public resource;
- Report annually on the progress of activities in Ontario to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Report annually on the progress of activities in Ontario to reduce the use or make more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels.
In addition, we may report on other environmental issues.
The ECO reports to the Legislative Assembly—not to a political party or to a ministry. The ECO is appointed by an all-party committee for a five-year term and may be reappointed for additional terms.
To read the legislation itself (and its regulations), go to e-Laws (the Ontario government’s online access to statutes and regulations):