Transformers and power linesThe Ministry of Energy (ENG) is one of 17 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 and its EBR requirements and performance.

 

 

Key Environmental Aspects of the Ministry's Mandate

The Ministry of Energy (ENG) 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.

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. Read the Ministry of Energy's 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 (ENG) 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 ENG 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).

Applications for Review

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask the ENG 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; or 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 ENG 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.

Pending Requests for Review

The Ministry of Energy does not have any outstanding Applications for Review.

Applications for Investigation

The Green Energy Act, 2009 is prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights for Applications for Investigation. This means that members of the public can request that the ENG conduct an investigation of an alleged offence under the Green Energy Act, 2009, or its regulations.

Pending Requests for Investigation

The Ministry of Energy does not have any outstanding Applications for Investigation

EBR Commitment Letter

In December 2015, the ECO invited prescribed ministries to renew their commitment to the EBR in writing. Read the Ministry of Energy's recommitment to the Environmental Bill of Rights.

EBR Report Card

The ECO evaluates prescribed ministries’ performance under the EBR. Here is the Ministry of  Energy's EBR report card for the 2016/2017 reporting year.

ECO Comment: Generally, the ENG executed its EBR responsibilities well in 2016/2017. The ministry continued to post good quality notices to the Environmental Registry, but should make the improvements outlined below. The ENG ensured that all of its proposals on the Environmental Registry were up to date at the end of the reporting year, and documented its consideration of its Statement of Environmental Values for its environmentally significant decisions. The ENG was also helpful in responding to the ECO’s requests for information and assistance, and the ENG’s EBR co-ordinator was responsive to suggestions from ECO staff on Environmental Registry matters. However, the ENG continued to routinely post decision notices late, depriving the public of the right to prompt notice of the ministry’s decisions that affect the environment. Posting decision notices is a routine administrative matter, and the ECO encourages the ENG to commit to do so within 2 weeks of making a decision.

Category
Result
Trend
Comments
Quality of notices for policies, acts and regulations posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The ENG continues to post generally good quality notices on the Environmental Registry in terms of describing proposals and decisions, and including links. However, the ministry should ensure that it avoids the use of undefined acronyms, and considers including regulatory impact statements for regulation proposals.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
N/A
N/A
The ENG is not required to post instrument notices on the Environmental Registry.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The ENG rarely gives prompt notice of its decisions on the Environmental Registry. In 2016/2017, the ministry frequently took several months after a new regulation was filed to notify the public about the ministry’s decision on the regulation.
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
Upward Trend icon
The ENG no longer has any outdated notices on the Environmental Registry.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
Upward Trend icon
The ENG concluded one application for review in 2016/2017. The ministry has shown improvement in responding to the applicants’ concerns and explaining its decision on the application in greater detail.
Avoiding overdue applications for review
N/A
N/A
The ENG did not have any open applications for review at the end of 2016/2017.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs)
N/A
In almost every case, the ENG responded promptly to the ECO’s 5 requests for proof of SEV consideration in 2016/2017.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
No Change in Trend icon
ENG staff were co-operative with the ECO’s requests for information this year, in particular by providing a helpful briefing on energy and water reporting for the broader public sector. The ministry’s EBR co-ordinator responded promptly to the ECO’s request to update an Environmental Registry notice about net metering to notify the public of an additional consultation opportunity. The ENG’s EBR co-ordinator also attended an EBR compliance information session at the ECO’s offices in September 2016.
N/A (not applicable): The ministry is not prescribed for purposes of this category of EBR performance, or the ministry did not execute any responsibilities under this category in the reporting year.
Legend

Quality of Performance

Meets or exceeds expectations
Needs improvement
Unacceptable

Trend

Overall quality of performance unchanged since 2015/2016 icon
Overall quality of performance unchanged since 2015/2016
Overall quality of performance has improved since 2015/2016 icon
Overall quality of performance has improved since 2015/2016
Overall quality of performance has declined since 2015/2016 icon
Overall quality of performance has declined since 2015/2016

Ministry Comment

The score and trend indicator assigned to the Ministry of Energy in this category for the period 2016/2017, in our view, does not reflect the Ministry's increased efforts to post timely decision notices. ENERGY has posted final decisions on outstanding proposals and, compared to past years, has significantly reduced the time taken to post decisions, with almost half of our notices being posted within two to four weeks.

The Ministry continues to consider ways to improve its responsiveness, and trusts that the ECO will take this trend of improvement into account.

To view other ministries’ EBR report cards, go to Government Performance on this website and select the ministry of your choice.

The ECO’s full report to the Legislative Assembly on the 2016/2017 EBR report cards can be accessed here.

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)

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 has not yet been the recipient of the ECO Recognition Award.

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