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 2016/2017 reporting year.

ECO Comment: The TSSA, housed within the MGCS, is responsible for a substantial number of notices on the Environmental Registry. The TSSA took a first step toward improving its historically poor decision notices for instruments in 2016/2017 by ensuring that it explains what decision was made; however, the ECO continues to encourage the TSSA to include links to copies of the draft and final instruments themselves in order to ensure that the public has enough information to provide informed comments and to provide access to the full details of the final decision. The TSSA also did a good job of remedying its outdated proposals, but should update or post decisions for its small number of remaining outdated proposals in 2017/2018; once all outdated notices are remedied, the ECO expects that the TSSA’s overall performance in the promptness category will improve significantly given the TSSA’s usually prompt posting of decisions. Finally, the ECO is encouraged by the TSSA’s commitment to improving its performance of its EBR obligations, evidenced by the EBR co-ordinator’s frequent contact with the ECO.

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 just one decision notice for a policy, act or regulation in 2016/2017. The notice was generally clear and understandable. However, the TSSA should avoid heavy use of acronyms and ensure that it explains how the public’s comments affected the ministry’s final decision.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
Upward Trend icon
The TSSA’s instrument decision notices have improved over the course of 2016/2017; most significantly, by the end of the reporting year the TSSA was consistently explaining what it decided for each instrument proposal. However, TSSA notices still do not provide any links to the draft or final instruments themselves, which significantly interferes with the ability of the public to provide effective comments.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
Downward Trend icon
In general, the TSSA posts decision notices for instrument proposals extremely promptly. However, in 2016/2017 the TSSA posted decisions for a number of old, outdated proposals; these late decision notices are responsible for the TSSA’s lower score in this category.
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
No Change in Trend icon
The TSSA posted decision notices for the majority of its outdated proposals by the end of 2016/2017. However, 2 outdated notices remained at the end of the year, representing 40% of the TSSA’s open notices on the Environmental Registry, which is still unacceptable.
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 2016/2017.
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 2016/2017.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs)
No Change in Trend icon
The MGCS-TSSA responded promptly to the ECO’s single request for proof of SEV consideration in 2016/2017, maintaining its record of good performance in this category.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
No Change in Trend icon
Through its EBR co-ordinator, the MGCS-TSSA worked hard to improve its EBR performance in 2016/2017, frequently contacting ECO staff to seek advice on Environmental Registry matters, and working to improve its instrument decision notices. The MGCS-TSSA’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

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, which is not housed within the ministry, is responsible for operations including meeting EBR requirements.

TSSA appreciates your acknowledgement of its improved performance in the quality of notices for instruments posted on the registry.

TSSA and MGCS will work to immediately address the timeliness of posting decision notices in the future.

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 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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