Transformers and power linesThe Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) is one of 15 Ontario ministries that is required under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR) to include the public in its environmentally significant decision making. Click on a heading below to learn about the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and its EBR requirements and performance.

 

Key Environmental Aspects of the Ministry's Mandate

The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) has a mandate to plan and manage a clean energy economy that provides for sustainable communities across the province. The ministry oversees the development of a diverse supply mix, including the promotion of renewable energy sources and making conservation measures a top priority. The ministry oversees the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO); it also represents the provincial government in dealings with Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation (OPG). From air quality impacts to climate change mitigation, the ministry has a significant responsibility to ensure that the environment is safeguarded.

The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) is also the lead ministry for mineral exploration and development in the province. It also has responsibilities for northern development, including the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and the Ring of Fire Secretariat.

Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Requirements

Statement of Environmental Values

Each ministry that is prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) is required to develop a Statement of Environmental Values to guide ministry staff when making decisions that might significantly affect the environment.

On June 29, 2018, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines were merged to form the new Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. As of November 2018, the newly-formed ministry had not yet proposed a new Statement of Environmental Values.

Read the former Ministry of Energy's Statement of Environmental Values, and the former Ministry of Northern Development and Mines’ Statement of Environmental Values.

Public Notice and Consultation

Each ministry that is prescribed under the EBR is required to consult the public on certain environmentally significant proposals via the Environmental Registry. Specifically, the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) must give notice of, and consult on, any proposal to make or amend a policy or act that could have a significant effect on the environment.

In addition, the ENDM is also required to provide notice and consult the public on any proposed regulation, or amendment to a regulation, that could have a significant effect on the environment, made under the Green Energy Act, 2009, or certain regulations made under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (i.e., those that deal with a tracking and reporting system for contaminant emissions from energy generators and/or retailers).

The ENDM is also required to provide notice and consult with the public on any proposed regulation, or amendment to a regulation, made under the Mining Act, if the proposal could have a significant effect on the environment.

The ENDM is also required to post notice on the Environmental Registry and consult on various “instruments” (e.g., approvals of closure plans, orders, consents, leases, etc.) that the ministry issues under the Mining Act. See the EBR regulation for a list of the instruments about which the ENDM must consult.

Applications for Review

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask the ENDM to review the need for a new environmental policy, act or regulation. In addition, the public may ask the ministry to review: any of ministry’s existing policies; the Green Energy Act, 2009 or its regulations; those portions of the Ontario Energy Board Act (or its regulations) that deal with a tracking and reporting system for contaminant emissions from energy generators and/or retailers; the Mining Act or its regulations; or any of the classified instruments issued under the Mining Act.

The ENDM is required to consider all such requests, and to respond within 60 days of receiving the application to let both the applicants and the Environmental Commissioner know whether or not it will undertake the requested review.

Applications for Investigation

The Green Energy Act, 2009 and the Mining Act are prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights for Applications for Investigation. This means that members of the public can request that the ENDM conduct an investigation of an alleged offence under the Green Energy Act, 2009, the Mining Act, or their regulations.

EBR Commitment Letter

In December 2015, the ECO invited prescribed ministries, including the then separate Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, to renew their commitment to the EBR in writing. Read the Ministry of Energy's recommitment to the Environmental Bill of Rights. Read the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines’ recommitment to the Environmental Bill of Rights.

EBR Report Card

The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s evaluation of ministry compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights during the reporting period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018

Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM)

On June 29, 2018 (after the end of the ECO’s 2017/2018 reporting year), the Ministry of Energy (ENG) was combined with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) to become the new Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM).

However, the ECO has prepared separate EBR Report Cards to reflect the EBR performance of each of the individual ministries (ENG and MNDM) during the ECO’s 2017/2018 reporting year.

Ministry of Energy (ENG)

Ministry of Energy (ENG)

ECO Comment: The ENG generally carried out its EBR responsibilities well this year, posting high quality notices on the Environmental Registry and keeping its proposals up to date. The ministry made a significant improvement in giving the public prompt notice of the ministry’s environmentally significant decisions on the Environmental Registry. Unfortunately, the ENG was less prompt in responding to the ECO’s requests for proof that it had considered its Statement of Environmental Values (SEVs) when making decisions. The ECO urges the ministry to consider its SEV whenever making a decision that may significantly affect the environment, and to provide documentation of that consideration promptly when the ECO requests it. The ECO also encourages the ENG to respond more promptly to the ECO’s information requests, and to be more proactive in communicating with the ECO about information requests or if the ministry needs guidance on EBR and Environmental Registry matters.

Category
Result
Trend
Comments
Quality of notices for policies, acts and regulations posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The ENG continued to post high quality notices, ensuring that notices were thorough and used plain language; the ministry improved these notices this year by avoiding the use of undefined acronyms. The ECO encourages the ENG to include links to relevant documents and supporting information wherever possible, to assist the public.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
The ENG is not required to post instrument notices on the Environmental Registry.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
Upward Trend icon
The ENG showed great improvement this year in giving prompt notice of its decisions to the public.
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
No Change in Trend icon
In 2017/2018, the ENG did not allow any of its proposal notices on the Environmental Registry to become outdated.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
N/A
The ENG did not conclude any applications for review under the EBR in 2017/2018.
Avoiding overdue applications for review
N/A
N/A
The ENG did not have any open applications for review under the EBR at the end of 2017/2018.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs)
Downward Trend icon
The ENG showed a decline in performance in this category. The ministry provided SEV consideration documentation in response to 5 out of 6 requests from the ECO, but it took 11 weeks to respond in 3 of those cases. The ECO urges the ENG to provide proof promptly (and in any case no longer than 4 weeks) when asked by the ECO to demonstrate that it has considered its SEV when making a decision that affects the environment.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
Downward Trend icon
The ECO’s energy conservation and climate change teams requested a large volume of information from the ENG this year. The ENG ultimately provided all of the requested information, but not without ECO staff having to repeatedly follow up with the ministry. The ENG’s lengthy delays in providing information affected ECO staff’s ability to deliver our reports. The ECO appreciates the work required for the ENG to respond to our requests, but urges the ENG to make greater efforts in 2018/2019 to respond to our requests more promptly.
Legend

Quality of Performance

Meets or exceeds expectations and legal obligations
Needs improvement
Unacceptable: failure to comply with legal obligations and/or frustrating environmental rights granted to the public by the EBR
Not prescribed for this category of EBR performance
N/A
Not applicable (the ministry did not carry out any responsibilities under this category in 2017/2018)

Trend

Overall quality of performance has improved since 2016/2017 icon
Overall quality of performance has improved since 2016/2017
Overall quality of performance unchanged since 2016/2017 icon
Overall quality of performance unchanged since 2016/2017
Overall quality of performance has declined since 2016/2017 icon
Overall quality of performance has declined since 2016/2017
 
Not prescribed for this category of EBR performance
N/A
Not applicable (the ministry did not carry out any responsibilities under this category in 2016/2017)

Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM)

Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM)

ECO Comment: The MNDM made little improvement this year in carrying out its EBR obligations. The ministry’s notices on the Environmental Registry continue to lack clarity and information about environmental impacts in many cases. However, the ECO was pleased that MNDM started to include hyperlinks to the CLAIMaps website to locate specific exploration licence locations, which is an improvement that will help the public better navigate MNDM instrument notices. In many cases, the ECO was unable to determine how promptly the MNDM notified the public of its decisions, leading the ECO to rate the ministry’s performance in that category as unacceptable. The ECO urges the MNDM to resolve this deficiency by clearly stating the decision date in decision notices, providing links to approval documents, and posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry promptly after the ministry makes decisions. The MNDM continued to keep its proposal notices on the Environmental Registry up to date and to respond promptly to the ECO’s requests for proof that it considered its SEV when making decisions; the ECO hopes the MNDM will continue these good practices and make further progress in the remaining categories in 2018/2019.

Category
Result
Trend
Comments
Quality of notices for policies, acts and regulations posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM made little improvement this year in the quality of its notices for policies, acts and regulations. The ministry’s notices frequently lack information about environmental impacts, and do a poor job of explaining clearly what is being proposed or decided. One exception was the ministry’s decision notice for the Mining Act modernization process, which was very well done.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM made some further modest improvements to instrument notices this year by, in some cases, hyperlinking the URL for the CLAIMaps website to locate specific exploration licence locations. The ministry also started to include stock text about environmental impacts of some proposed early exploration permits. However, many of the ministry’s instrument notices still do not explain potential environmental impacts, lack sufficient detail, and consistently fail to include links to the draft or final instruments themselves.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
Downward Trend icon
In most cases it is impossible to determine how promptly the ministry has given notice of its decisions to the public. MNDM does not indicate the decision date in its decision notices, as recommended by the ECO, or include links to final instruments, which would indicate the issued (decision) date. In the approximately 25% of cases in which the ECO could determine the date that a decision was made, the ministry was reasonably prompt. The ECO encourages the MNDM to specifically state in decision notices when its decisions were made, and to post decision notices promptly, in order to ensure transparency and accountability to the public.
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM continued to keep all of its notices on the Environmental Registry up to date in 2017/2018.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
N/A
The MNDM did not conclude any applications for review or investigation under the EBR in 2017/2018.
Avoiding overdue applications for review
N/A
N/A
The MNDM did not have any open applications for review under the EBR at the end of 2017/2018.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs)
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM responded promptly to all of the ECO’s requests for SEV consideration documentation in 2017/2018.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM co-operated with the ECO’s requests for information in 2017/2018, including responding promptly to a request from the ECO’s climate change team to explain how the ministry incorporates climate change considerations into its decision making. MNDM staff were communicative with ECO staff about EBR performance, and occasionally reached out for guidance on EBR matters.
Legend

Quality of Performance

Meets or exceeds expectations and legal obligations
Needs improvement
Unacceptable: failure to comply with legal obligations and/or frustrating environmental rights granted to the public by the EBR
Not prescribed for this category of EBR performance
N/A
Not applicable (the ministry did not carry out any responsibilities under this category in 2017/2018)

Trend

Overall quality of performance has improved since 2016/2017 icon
Overall quality of performance has improved since 2016/2017
Overall quality of performance unchanged since 2016/2017 icon
Overall quality of performance unchanged since 2016/2017
Overall quality of performance has declined since 2016/2017 icon
Overall quality of performance has declined since 2016/2017
 
Not prescribed for this category of EBR performance
N/A
Not applicable (the ministry did not carry out any responsibilities under this category in 2016/2017)

Key Outstanding ECO Recommendations

In our annual reports, the ECO makes recommendations to improve EBR compliance and environmental protection. The Ministry of Energy has several outstanding ECO recommendations, including:

  • The ECO recommends that the government proclaim and implement the provision for mandatory home energy efficiency disclosure in the Green Energy Act (2011 Energy Report)
  • The ECO recommends that the Independent Electricity System Operator make publicly available the estimated greenhouse gas emissions factors for Ontario’s electricity consumption on an hourly basis (2011 Energy Report)
  • The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy build upon the work completed in the Long-Term Energy Plan and produce a comprehensive multi-fuel energy plan (2010 Energy Report)
  • The ECO recommends that the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure provide an opportunity for public input in the development of policy directives to electricity sector institutions, as required by the Environmental Bill of Rights (2009 Energy Report)

EBR Success Stories

In response to calls from stakeholders, an Application for Review, the ECO and the public, the government consulted the public through the Environmental Registry and passed the Mining Amendment Act in 2009, bringing the Mining Act into the 21st century

ECO Recognition Award

Since 2000, the annual ECO Recognition Award has recognized the hard work of ministry staff in an initiative that benefits Ontario’s environment and meets the goals of the EBR. Every year, the ECO asks prescribed ministries to submit programs and projects to be considered for the award. The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines has not yet been the recipient ofreceived the ECO Recognition Award once:

  • In 2018, for the Mushkegowuk Climate Summits (in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)

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