The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) 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 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. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) does not have a current SEV that reflects the 2014 mergerof two previous ministries. The ministry continues to rely on the SEV of its predecessor ministry, the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Read this Statement of Environmental Values.

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.

Pending Requests for Review

The MGCS does not have any outstanding Applications for 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 ECO evaluates prescribed ministries’ performance under the EBR. Here is the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services' EBR report card for the 2015/2016 reporting year.

ECO Comment: The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), housed within the MGCS, is responsible for a substantial number of registry notices. Notices for policies, acts and regulations were useful and detailed, but the TSSA should improve its notices for instruments, which lack basic information the public needs in order to understand the implications of the instruments proposed or decided. The TSSA should also update or post decision notices for all of its outdated proposal notices. The ECO commends the TSSA for pro-actively contacting the ECO to discuss how to resolve a problem with TSSA appeal notices that would have deprived the public of correct information for seeking leave to appeal.

Category
Result
Comments
Quality of Notices Posted on the Environmental Registry
The MGCS (through the Technical Standards and Safety Authority) generally posts high quality notices for policies, acts and regulations. However, the ministry’s notices for approvals of variances from the Liquid Fuels Handling Code are routinely substandard, failing to describe the environmental impact of the proposed instrument, to explain what decision was ultimately made, or to include links to any supporting information – including the instrument itself.
Timeliness of Decision Notices and Avoiding Outdated Proposals
The MGCS was one of the few ministries to consistently post decision notices promptly after making a decision; it did so for more than 90% of the decision notices that the ECO assessed. However, the MGCS made little effort to remedy its outdated proposal notices. It posted decision notices for just 2 of 15 outdated proposals. The ministry had 14 outdated notices as of April 1, 2016.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
The MGCS did not conclude any applications for review or investigation under the EBR in 2015/2016.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values
The ECO only asked the MGCS for proof of SEV consideration once in 2015/2016; however, the ministry responded promptly.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
The MGCS 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

I note that MGCS-related findings of the report card pertain to the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), the quality of notices posted by TSSA on the environmental registry and the timeliness of TSSA decision notices.

As you know, Administrative Authorities (AAs) are private, not-for-profit corporations that administer legislation and regulate specific business sectors on behalf of our ministry. TSSA is an AA that administers regulations under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000. While MGCS is responsible for legislation and regulations, TSSA is responsible for operations including meeting EBR requirements.

TSSA appreciates your acknowledgement of its prompt and consistent posting of decision notices on the environmental registry.

TSSA and MGCS will work to immediately address out-dated proposal notices, and to detail in a more fulsome manner notices for variance approvals by including descriptions of environmental impacts, explanations of decisions and links to supporting information.

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (Technical Standards and Safety Authority) (MGCS - TSSA) – Percentage of all Policy, Act and Regulation Proposal and Decision Notices, 2015/2016:

MGCS-Chart_1

MGCS - TSSA - Approximate Percentage of all Instrument Proposal and Decision Notices, 2015/2016:

MGCS-Chart_2

MGCS-TSSA by the numbers in 2015/2016
 
MGCS-TSSA
All Ministries
Proposal and Decision Notices for Policies, Acts and Regulations Posted
3
210
Approximate Number of Instrument Proposal and Decision Notices Posted
Over 50
Over 3,530
Total Proposal and Decision Notices for Policies, Acts and Regulations Reviewed by the ECO
52
401
Outdated Proposal Notices as of April 1, 2016
14
839
SEV Consideration Documents Requested by the ECO
1
194
Applications Concluded
0
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 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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