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 2016/2017 reporting year.

ECO Comment: The MNDM executed most its EBR responsibilities well again in 2016/2017, and made notable improvements in some categories. The small number of policy, act and regulation notices posted this year meant that the MNDM’s score for quality of notices declined as a result of one particularly poor quality notice. Going forward, the ECO urges the MNDM to ensure that every notice it posts is clearly written, describes the environmental significance of the proposal, and includes links to key supporting information. Similarly, while the MNDM made some improvements to the geographic information in Mining Act instrument notices at the very end of 2016/2017, the ministry’s instrument notices should include more details and links to key supporting information in order to ensure that members of the public can provide informed comments. The ECO commends the MNDM for being the only ministry to meet or exceed our expectations in both the promptness of posting decision notices category and in keeping notices up to date. The ministry made admirable efforts to remedy all of its outdated proposals, and at the end of the reporting year all of the MNDM’s open proposals were up to date. The ECO appreciates our good working relationship with the MNDM’s EBR co-ordinators, who have been highly engaged in improving the ministry’s EBR performance.

Category
Result
Trend
Comments
Quality of notices for policies, acts and regulations posted on the Environmental Registry
Downward Trend icon
The MNDM posted 3 notices for policies, acts and regulations this year. While two of the MNDM’s notices were generally clear and understandable, the third was difficult to follow. The notices also lacked information about potential environmental impacts.
Quality of notices for instruments posted on the Environmental Registry
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM’s instrument notices are generally short on details and never include links to proposed or final instruments or other supporting information. In the last months of the 2016/2017 year, the MNDM made some modest but much-needed improvements to the description of geographic location by including the URL for CLAIMaps (mndm.gov.on.ca/ en/mines-and-minerals/applications/claimaps) (inexplicably, not hyperlinked) plus, in some cases, landmark descriptors such as the distance to the nearest city. The unlinked URL is better than nothing because it allows the public, with effort, to locate the precise location of specific instruments by using the mining claims map, if they happen to be aware of that specific instrument. However, the URL does not provide the public with location information that would show up on a search of the EBR, and therefore cannot be used to provide location-specific alerts, which would be far more useful.
Promptness of posting decision notices on the Environmental Registry
Upward Trend icon
The MNDM posted many instrument decisions promptly. However, the ECO could not evaluate the promptness of many instrument decision notices as the issuance date of many instruments was not clear.
Keeping notices on the Environmental Registry up to date
Upward Trend icon
The MNDM posted updates or decision notices for all outdated notices, so that all of the ministry’s notices on the Environmental Registry were up to date at the end of the reporting period.
Handling of Applications for Review and Investigation
N/A
The MNDM concluded one application for investigation, complying properly and thoroughly with its responsibilities under the EBR.
Avoiding overdue applications for review
N/A
N/A
The MNDM 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 MNDM provided proof of SEV consideration to the ECO in response to all 3 of the ECO’s requests, and was very prompt in its responses.
Co-operation with ECO Requests
No Change in Trend icon
The MNDM’s EBR co-ordinators were proactive in seeking assistance from ECO staff, and were co-operative in response to ECO staff communications about Environmental Registry matters. An MNDM 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

A safe and environmentally responsible mineral industry is a key strategic priority of Ontario’s vision for the mineral sector. As the ECO continues reporting the province’s progress on energy conservation, climate change, and environmental protections, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) looks forward to supporting this important work.

MNDM would like to extend its thanks to the ECO for its overall positive assessment of MNDM’s progress this year in executing its Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) responsibilities. MNDM is currently in the process of updating its templates for posting notices to the Environmental Registry to ensure that we provide a sufficient level of detail to Ontarians, including a description of the activity’s location. Going forward, MNDM will continue to ensure that we provide quality and timely postings to the Environmental Registry. We thank the Commissioner for her evaluation.

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 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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