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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quality of Performance
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.
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.