As of April 1, 2019, the ECO became part of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. This change occurred under the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018.

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Under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), you can ask the Ontario government for a new environmental policy, act or regulation, or for changes to existing ones. This is one of your most important rights.

For example, Ontarians have used the Application for Review process under the EBR to request:

Since this tool was created, Ontarians have submitted over 600 Applications for Review, sometimes prompting the government to change laws, regulations, policies, approvals, and permits. And even when the government has denied a request, applications have often resulted in improved environmental protection and conservation by drawing attention to important issues. Well-prepared requests for review can move a topic up a ministry's priority list.

There are two kinds of reviews that you can request: you can ask a minister to review existing policies, acts, regulations or instruments (for example, perhaps you want the government to review its drinking water quality standards to ensure they are strong enough); or you can ask a minister to review the need for new policies, acts, or regulations.

You may only ask for a review to be undertaken by a ministry that is prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) for purposes of Applications for Review (see Ministries Prescribed for Applications for Review).

When preparing and submitting an Application for Review, you must follow the process set out in the EBR.

For more information on how you can apply for a review, contact the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Success Stories

New Rules for Excess Soil Management

Two Ontario residents used the an EBR application to ask for a new province-wide policy to address compromised soil and to regulate the disposal of fill. Large fill sites have created huge conflicts in many parts of rural Ontario. The MOECC agreed to undertake the review to address this significant environmental issue.

Eliminating Restrictions on Outdoor Clotheslines

Andrew Moeser

Nalin Sahni

Laundry on outdoor clothesline

Andrew Moeser and Nalin Sahni were University of Toronto law students when they noticed that restrictive rules were preventing some homeowners from using outdoor clotheslines to dry their laundry – a simple energy-saving action. So in 2007, they submitted an Application for Review asking the Ministry of Energy to pass a new regulation that would make such restrictions invalid. The ministry agreed to their request and as a result, restrictive covenants and agreements that ban the use of outdoor clotheslines are now illegal.

Improving the Rehabilitation of Ontario’s Aggregate Pits and Quarries

Ric HoltRic Holt and Ed James were frustrated that gravel, sand and stone pits and quarries were not being adequately rehabilitated in Ontario. They turned to the EBR and submitted an Application for Review on behalf of Gravel Watch (a non-profit environmental organization) requesting a review of the Aggregate Resources Act. The Ministry of Natural Resources agreed to the request, conducted a review, and concluded that there were indeed weaknesses in its oversight of aggregate rehabilitation. The ministry produced a report agreeing with Ric and Ed’s concerns and took various steps to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of rehabilitation.

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