Inukshuk

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) 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 and its EBR requirements and performance.

 

Key Environmental Aspects of the Ministry's Mandate

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation has a mandate to develop a stronger, broader partnership with Aboriginal peoples: First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who reside in Ontario. The ministry works with other Ontario ministries to provide input into government policies and programs that affect Aboriginal people. Many environmentally significant policies and programs led by other Ontario ministries affect Aboriginal people or communities, such as wildlife management and Far North land use planning.

As the ministry is one of the most newly prescribed ministries under the EBR, the Environmental Commissioner is working to identify areas in which the mandates and goals of the ECO and the ministry intersect. One example is supporting Aboriginal people and other members of the public to use the EBR’s tools to address environmental issues that uniquely or particularly affect Aboriginal people (see, for example, an EBR Application for Review to address air pollution affecting the Aamjiwnaang First Nation).

Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Requirements

Statement of Environmental Values

Each ministry that is prescribed under the EBR is required to develop a Statement of Environmental Values to guide ministry staff when making decisions that might significantly affect the environment. In September 2015, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation completed its Statement of Environmental Values. Read the Statement of Environmental Values of the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA).

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 Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation 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.

The government has a special duty to consult with Aboriginal people above and beyond the EBR. So, while many government proposals may directly or uniquely affect Aboriginal people or communities, consultation with Aboriginal communities typically occurs outside of the Environmental Registry.

Applications for Review and Investigation

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask certain ministries to review the need for a new environmental policy, act or regulation. Members of the public can also ask certain ministries to investigate alleged contraventions of certain acts, regulations and instruments. The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, however, is not prescribed under the EBR for Applications for Review or 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 Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation's recommitment to the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Please note that this ministry was previously referred to as the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA). It is now known as the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

EBR Report Card

The ECO evaluates prescribed ministries’ performance under the EBR. Here is the Ministry of Aborigional Affairs's EBR report card for the 2015/2016 reporting year. 

Please note that this ministry was previously referred to as the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA). It is now known as the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

ECO Comment: The MAA is a relatively newly prescribed ministry and, to date, there is little material with which the ECO can evaluate the MAA’s EBR performance. Nevertheless, we are pleased that the ministry has so far performed its few EBR obligations well. Going forward, the MAA can maintain a high quality of EBR performance by: continuing to co-operate with ECO requests for information; posting clearly written and sufficiently detailed notices of any environmentally significant proposals on the Environmental Registry for public consultation; giving prompt notice of its decisions on such proposals on the Registry; and considering its Statement of Environmental Values when making those decisions.

Category
Result
Comments
Quality of Notices Posted on the Environmental Registry
The MAA only posted one notice in 2015/2016; however, the quality of that notice was high.
Timeliness of Decision Notices and Avoiding Outdated Proposals
The MAA posted one proposal on the Environmental Registry, and it properly completed that proposal by posting a decision notice. It was not possible for the ECO to determine how promptly the notice was posted after the decision was made. The MAA has never had an outdated proposal.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
The MAA is not prescribed for applications for review or investigation under the EBR.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values
N/A
The MAA finalized its Statement of Environmental Values this year. In the future, when the ministry posts a decision on the Environmental Registry, the ECO will request proof that the ministry considered its Statement of Environmental Values in making the decision.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
The MAA responded promptly to the ECO’s sole request this year with a letter confirming its commitment to the EBR and the ministry’s statutory obligations contained therein.
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 2015/2016.
Legend

Quality of performance:

Meets or exceeds expectations
Needs improvement
Unacceptable

Relative EBR Workload:

High
Medium
Low

Ministry Comment

As a recently prescribed ministry, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA) is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) and recognizes the EBR’s value in improving public engagement and government performance on environmental stewardship. MAA appreciates the Environmental Commissioner’s positive review of the ministry’s performance under the EBR. Working with Indigenous people, as well as other Ontario ministries, the federal government, other governments and interested parties to create a healthful environment for Indigenous people in Ontario is an important aspect of MAA’s work. MAA looks forward to continuing to work together with all partners in our shared goal of protecting the environment in Ontario.

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA) – Percentage of all Policy, Act and Regulation Proposal and Decision Notices, 2015/2016:

MAA-Chart

MAA by the numbers in 2015/2016
 
MAA
All Ministries
Proposal and Decision Notices for Policies, Acts and Regulations Posted
1
210
Total Proposal and Decision Notices for Policies, Acts and Regulations Reviewed by the ECO
1
401
Outdated Proposal Notices as of April 1, 2016
0
839
SEV Consideration Documents Requested by the ECO
0
194
Applications Concluded
N/A
13

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 2015/2016 EBR report cards can be accessed here.

Key Outstanding ECO Recommendations

In our reports, the ECO makes recommendations to improve EBR compliance and environmental protection. The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation does not have any outstanding ECO recommendations.

EBR Success Stories

Please note that this ministry was previously referred to as the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA). It is now known as the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

In 2007, the ECO wrote to the Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, urging the new ministry to take the necessary steps to become prescribed under the EBR. In 2014, the government amended O. Reg. 73/94 under the EBR, prescribing the MAA for the purposes of public consultation and preparing a Statement of Environmental Values.

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 Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation has not yet been the recipient of the ECO Recognition Award.

On June 13, 2016, the Ontario government renamed the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs as the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Therefore, when referencing previously published information about this ministry please keep in mind that this ministry was previously referred to as the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA).

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