From 1994 to 2019, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) served as the province's environmental watchdog. Appointed by an all-party committee, the ECO was an independent officer of the Ontario Legislature tasked with:
- Promoting and providing advice and assistance about the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR);
- Reporting on the implementation of, and compliance with, the EBR; and
- Reporting on Ontario’s progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy conservation and efficiency.
As of April 1, 2019, the ECO became a part of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. This change occurred under Schedule 15 of the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018.
The ECO's Goals:
Goal 1 – The public knows about the tools of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), uses them effectively to the benefit of the environment, and the government respects the purposes and requirements of the EBR.
Goal 2 – The Legislative Assembly and residents of Ontario receive fair, balanced and accurate information about compliance with the EBR, and government progress towards its environmental, climate and energy conservation goals and responsibilities.
Goal 3 – The government creates and upholds legislation and policy that better protects the environment, reduces the use or makes more efficient use of energy, and reduces emissions of greenhouse gases.