The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) 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 MGCS and its EBR requirements and performance.

Key Environmental Aspects of the Ministry's Mandate

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) provides business services for the Ontario government, as well as services for the public, including consumer protection. Although the MGCS has a relatively narrow environmental mandate, there are two key environmentally relevant aspects of the MGCS’s role: its potential to promote green procurement within government, and its oversight of liquid fuels handling.

The MGCS has procurement policies that require all government bodies to consider various features, including “environmental factors,” when making any purchasing decision over $10,000. By including environmental considerations in purchasing decisions, the government can support and foster innovative green products and services, help create markets for these products, and lead by example to encourage Ontario consumers to similarly make environmentally friendly purchasing decisions.

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), a not-for profit authority that falls under MGCS’s jurisdiction, regulates the storage and handling of liquid fuels (through the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000). Improper fuel storage and handling can have negative impacts on surrounding soil, water and air quality.

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 (SEV) to guide ministry staff when making decisions that might significantly affect the environment. Read the Statement of Environmental Values of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Public Notice and Consultation

Each ministry prescribed under the EBR is required to consult the public on certain environmentally significant proposals via the Environmental Registry. Specifically, the MGCS 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 portions of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 that relate to fuel handling are subject to the EBR’s notice and consultation requirements. This means that the Technical Standards and Safety Authority must consult the public on any amendments to the act pertaining to fuels handling, and any amendments to O. Reg. 217/01 (Liquid Fuels) under the Act, which could have a significant effect on the environment.

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority is also required to post notices on the Environmental Registry and consult on any authorization that it issues allowing a proponent to deviate from the Liquid Fuels Handling Code.

Applications for Review

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask the MGCS to review the need for a new environmental policy, act or regulation. In addition, the public may ask the ministry to review: any of the MGCS’s existing policies; the portion of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 that pertains to fuel handling; or O. Reg. 217/01 (Liquid Fuels). The public may also ask the ministry to review any authorizations issued under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 that allow a proponent to deviate from the Liquid Fuels Handling Code.

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

Applications for Investigation

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask certain ministries to investigate alleged contraventions of certain acts, regulations and instruments. The Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, which is administered by the MGCS, is prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights for Applications for Investigation. Members of the public can request that the MGCS conduct an investigation of an alleged offence under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 that relates to fuel handling.

EBR Commitment Letter

In December 2015, the ECO invited prescribed ministries to renew their commitment to the EBR in writing. Read the ministry’s 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 Government and Consumer Services – Technical Standards and Safety Authority (MGCS-TSSA)

ECO Comment: The MGCS is a prescribed ministry, responsible for administration of the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000. The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is an independent, not-for-profit administrative authority that is responsible for administering regulations under the Technical Standards and Safety Act on behalf of the MGCS. For the most part, the TSSA discharges the EBR obligations of the MGCS. This year, the TSSA made significant improvements. In particular, the TSSA posted more clearly-written instrument notices that included links to final approval documents. The TSSA posted decision notices on the Environmental Registry more promptly and remedied its remaining outdated notices, so that all open TSSA proposals on the Environmental Registry at the end of the ECO’s reporting year were up to date. The ECO commends TSSA staff for being proactive in contacting the ECO for guidance on complying with the EBR and for keeping the ECO apprised of the TSSA’s progress.

Category
Result
Trend
Comments
Quality of notices for policies, acts and regulations posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The TSSA posted three notices in this category in 2017/2018. The notices were generally clearly written and included detailed information, including links to appropriate supporting material.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
Upward Trend icon
The quality of the TSSA’s instrument decision notices has noticeably improved this year, clearly explaining what decision was made. The TSSA can continue to improve the quality of instrument notices by avoiding the use of jargon, undefined acronyms and overly technical terms. The ECO is very pleased that, in late 2017, the TSSA started to post links to approved instruments (i.e., variance letters) in its decision notices, which should help the public better understand what has been decided and make it easier for the public to exercise EBR leave to appeal rights. The ECO urges the TSSA to ensure that links in its notices are functional at the time of posting.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
Upward Trend icon
The TSSA generally posted decision notices promptly this year; however, the ministry posted late decision notices for some long-outdated notices. The ECO encourages the TSSA to clearly indicate the date that the decision was made in every decision notice.
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
Upward Trend icon
This year, the TSSA posted decision notices for its few remaining outdated proposal notices. The ECO encourages the TSSA to keep all proposals on the Environmental Registry up to date going forward.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
N/A
The MGCS-TSSA 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 MGCS-TSSA 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 ECO made one request for proof of SEV consideration by the TSSA, and the TSSA responded by providing an SEV consideration document promptly.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
No Change in Trend icon
The TSSA’s EBR co-ordinator continued to contact ECO staff relatively regularly for guidance on EBR matters and to provide us with information about the TSSA’s use. This year, the MGCS also responded to a request from the ECO’s climate change team to explain how the ministry incorporates climate change considerations into its decision making.
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 Government and Consumer Services does not have any outstanding ECO recommendations.

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 Government and Consumer Services has not yet been the recipient of the ECO Recognition Award.

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