Ontario makes use of COVID-19
The province’s April 3 decision to suspend Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) as a COVID-19 emergency measure is worrisome. It is especially troubling given this government’s track record for trashing environmental regulations in the name of removing “red tape”.
The suspension allows the government to push forward projects or laws that could damage the environment without consulting or notifying the public.
Yes, governments need to act fast to confront the crisis, but this sweeping move goes too far. Industry and developers could take the opportunity to push through projects without environmental scrutiny. There is already an emergency measure in the EBR that could be applied to projects directly related to addressing the pandemic, while continuing to hold all other projects to the rules.
Many of us are finding new appreciation for nature, clean water and fresh air while we are social-distancing. Will we emerge from this more determined to protect these values only to find our environmental democracy in tatters?