Mine workersThe Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) is one of 17 Ontario ministries that is required under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) to include the public in its environmentally significant decision making. Click on a heading below to learn about the MNDM and its EBR requirements and performance.

 

 

Key Environmental Aspects of the Ministry's Mandate

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) is the lead ministry for mineral exploration and development in the province. It also has responsibilities for northern development, including the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and the Ring of Fire Secretariat.

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 for the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM).

Public Notice and Consultation

Each ministry that is prescribed under the EBR is required to consult the public on certain environmentally significant proposals via the Environmental Registry. Specifically, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines 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 MNDM is also required to provide notice and consult with the public on any proposed regulation, or amendment to a regulation, made under the Mining Act, if the proposal could have a significant effect on the environment.

The MNDM is also required to post notice on the Environmental Registry and consult on various “instruments” (e.g., approvals of closure plans, orders, consents, leases, etc.) that the ministry issues under the Mining Act. See the EBR regulation for a list of the instruments about which the MNDM must consult.

Applications for Review

Under the EBR, members of the public can ask the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines 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 MNDM’s existing environmentally significant policies; the Mining Act or its regulations; or any of the classified instruments issued under the Mining Act.

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 Northern Development and Mines does not have any outstanding Applications for Review.

Applications for Investigation

Under the EBR, members of the public can also ask certain ministries to investigate alleged contraventions of certain acts, regulations and instruments. The Mining Act is prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights for Applications for Investigation. Members of the public can request that the MNDM conduct an investigation of an alleged offence under the Mining Act.

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 Northern Development and Mines' EBR report card for the 2015/2016 reporting year.

ECO Comment: The MNDM discharged many of its responsibilities under the EBR well; the ministry was prompt in responding to the ECO’s requests for SEV consideration documents, and posted good quality notices for policies, acts and regulations. However, the MNDM failed to post almost half of its decision notices within two weeks of the decision being made, and has 33 outdated instrument notices that should be remedied. The ministry could make its instrument notices more understandable and useful for the public by including plain language explanations of activities referred to in notices for exploration permits, and by providing links to supporting policy documents.

Category
Result
Comments
Quality of Notices Posted on the Environmental Registry
The MNDM’s notices are generally of good quality; however, instrument notices should be improved by providing links to key supporting documents or information. Also, since the location related to proposed exploration permits under the Mining Act is given by claim number, the MNDM should provide a link to ClaimMaps and explain that claim numbers can be located using that website.
Timeliness of Decision Notices and Avoiding Outdated Proposals
Only 58% of the MNDM decision notices assessed were posted within two weeks of the decision being made. The MNDM remedied all seven of its outdated policy, act and regulation notices, but only about a third of its outdated instrument notices. As of April 1, 2016, the MNDM still had 33 outdated instrument notices on the Registry.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
The MNDM did not conclude any applications for review or investigation under the EBR in 2015/2016.
Considering Statements of Environmental Values
The MNDM was generally very prompt in responding to the ECO’s requests for proof of SEV consideration.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
The MNDM 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

Quality of Notices Posted on the Environmental Registry

  • MNDM acknowledges the ECO’s comments. MNDM will review instrument notices to determine where supporting documents may be appropriate to distribute to the reviewer.

Timeliness of Decision Notices and Avoiding Outdated Proposals

  • MNDM agrees to the requirements as set out by the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, including posting decision notices on the Registry as soon as reasonably possible.
  • In respect of the 33 instrument notices that are referred to as “outdated”, the applications referred to in those notices are on temporary hold for the reasons identified in Section 16 (1) of Regulation 308/12 (these reasons are: further time to consider potential impacts to Aboriginal and treaty rights and/or to align other regulatory processes and/or at the proponent’s request). As the permit application process is on temporary hold, a permitting decision has not been made. On the basis of the above, the notices are not “outdated”.
  • MNDM is reviewing each notice and will provide an update on the Registry.
Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) – Percentage of all Policy, Act and Regulation Proposal and Decision Notices, 2015/2016:

MNDM-Chart_1

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

MNDM-Chart_2

MNDM by the numbers in 2015/2016
 
MNDM
All Ministries
Proposal and Decision Notices for Policies, Acts and Regulations Posted
8
210
Approximate Number of Instrument Proposal and Decision Notices Posted
Over 200
Over 3,530
Total Proposal and Decision Notices for Policies, Acts and Regulations Reviewed by the ECO
58
401
Outdated Proposal Notices as of April 1, 2016
33
839
SEV Consideration Documents Requested by the ECO
6
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 Northern Development and Mines does not have any outstanding ECO recommendations.

EBR Success Stories

In response to calls from stakeholders, an Application for Review, the ECO and the public, the government consulted the public through the Environmental Registry and passed the Mining Amendment Act in 2009, bringing the Mining Act into the 21st century

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 Northern Development and Mines has not yet been the recipient of the ECO Recognition Award.

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