Row housesThe Ministry of Housing (MHO) 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 Housing leads the government’s efforts to ensure affordable and suitable housing for all Ontarians. The ministry plays a role in helping the province meet Ontario’s energy conservation and GHG reduction targets by making green investments into social housing retrofits to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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 to guide ministry staff when making decisions that might significantly affect the environment. Read the Statement of Environmental Values of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH).

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 MHO 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.

Applications for Review

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask the MHO 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 MHO’s existing environmentally significant policies.

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

Pending Requests for Review

The Ministry of Housing 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 MHO does not administer any acts that are prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights for the purposes of Applications for Investigation.

EBR Commitment Letter

In December 2015, the ECO invited prescribed ministries to renew their commitment to the EBR in writing. Read the ministries' recommitment to the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Please note that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has now been separated into the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and the Ministry of Housing.

EBR Report Card

The ECO evaluates prescribed ministries’ performance under the EBR. Here is the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's EBR report card for the 2016/2017 reporting year.

Please note that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has now been separated into the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and the Ministry of Housing.

ECO Comment: During 2016/2017, the MMA and the MHO (formerly joined as MMAH) were prescribed separately under the EBR. The MMA continued to post generally high quality policy, act and regulation notices, but the ministry’s instrument notices still fail to include links to applicable Official Plans and other key supporting documents. The ministry should also ensure that the decision date is clear in all decision notices. The MMA’s performance declined in the promptness category and in keeping its notices up to date; in fact, the ministry appears to have made little effort to remedy its outdated proposals and allowed additional notices to become outdated. On a more positive note, the MMA responded helpfully to the ECO’s information requests this year, and promptly provided proof that it considered its Statement of Environmental Values when making decisions that affect the environment. The ECO looks forward to co-operating further with both MMA and MHO in 2017/2018 as they become established as separate EBR-prescribed ministries.

Category
Result
Trend
Comments
Quality of notices for policies, acts and regulations posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The MMA maintained a high quality of policy, act and regulation notices on the Environmental Registry in 2016/2017. However, the ministry could do a better job explaining the effect of the public’s comments on final decisions. The ministry should also more consistently explain the potential environmental impacts of its proposals, and include regulatory impact statements for proposed regulations as required by the EBR.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The MMA’s instrument notices routinely lack links to the draft or final instruments themselves. Links to the applicable Official Plans in proposal notices for provisional consent under the Planning Act, and for proposed Official Plans or amendments to Official Plans should be included. The MMA also regularly fails to describe the potential environmental impacts of proposed instruments.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The MMA continues to delay giving notice of its policy, act and regulation decisions on the Environmental Registry, in several cases taking over 5 months to post decision notices after regulations were filed. The MMA posted instrument decision notices somewhat more promptly, posting about two-thirds of instrument decision notices within 2 weeks of the decisions being made (based on the instruments for which the ECO could ascertain the decision date).
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
No Change in Trend icon
The MMA did little to address its outdated proposals on the Environmental Registry in 2016/2017, and in fact allowed some additional proposals to become outdated. At the end of the reporting year, over 10% of the MMA’s open proposal notices on the Environmental Registry had been on the Registry for over 2 years without an update or decision. However, the ministry addressed all outdated proposals for the 2016/2017 reporting year in August 2017.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
Downward Trend icon
The MMA concluded one application for review in 2016/2017. Although the ministry’s decision to deny the request was valid based on EBR criteria, the ministry did a poor job of explaining how its decision related to the applicants’ key concerns. The ministry also missed the statutory deadline for providing its decision to the applicants.
Avoiding overdue applications for review
N/A
N/A
The MMA did not have any open applications for review at the end of 2016/2017.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs)
No Change in Trend icon
The MMA provided proof of SEV consideration to the ECO in response to all 8 of the ECO’s requests, and responded promptly in all cases.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
No Change in Trend icon
The MMA responded to the ECO’s requests for information about water efficiency and water reuse in the Ontario Building Code and in provincial land use planning policies. The MMA’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

Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry

The ministry faces constraints in linking to official plans because official plans are adopted by municipalities and are not always posted online by the municipality. The Environmental Registry only allows for links to existing online resources; it does not permit the ministry to directly upload a document.

The ministry is currently looking at how it can enhance the information provided in Instrument proposal notices, including how it may be able to overcome these technical limitations.

The ministry usually does not describe the potential environmental impacts of a proposal in an Instrument proposal notice, as these are generally not known at the time of posting. The ministry will review options for improving the description of potential environmental impacts of a proposal where feasible.

Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date

Of the ministry's eleven "outdated" notices (i.e., proposal notices posted prior to April 1, 2015, for which a final decision has not been made), eight have now been closed.  The other three notices remain open as a final decision remains under consideration.

The ministry is reviewing processes with a view to ensuring our EBR postings provide sufficient detail. As part of this review, the ministry will also be looking at ways to prevent notices from becoming “outdated.”

Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry

The ministry understands the importance of posting decision notices in a timely manner, and will strive to improve its timeliness in posting all decision notices.

Handling of applications for review and investigation

The ministry takes seriously its obligations under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) regarding requests to review policies, acts, regulations or instruments. The ministry will review how it can improve letters of response, in order to ensure that responses clearly explain how decisions relate to applicants’ key concerns.

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 Housing 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 Housing has not yet been the recipient of the ECO Recognition Award.

On June 13, 2016, the Ontario government divided the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing into two separate ministries: the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and the Ministry of Housing. Therefore, when referencing previously published information about these ministries please keep in mind that they were previously referred to collectively as the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH). 

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