Bill 197
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Government Runs Roughshod Over Environmental Protection and Democracy

Bill 197

Monarch butterfly © Diana Troya

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Queen’s Park, Ontario, July 22, 2020 – Yesterday the Government of Ontario passed Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, a law that reflects neither the values nor the long-term interests of Ontarians who understand the importance of a healthy environment and democratic process. While Ontarians grapple with the social and economic shocks of a global pandemic, the Government of Ontario fast-tracked omnibus Bill 197 through the Legislature, amending 20 pieces of legislation and allotting only the bare minimum of time required for debate.

With scornful disregard, the government ignored its legal obligation, under the Environmental Bill of Rights, to provide at least a 30-day public consultation on changes to Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act (EAA), one of our oldest and most important environmental laws.

Bill 197 holds true to an insidious pattern of environmental deregulation set, for example, by three other omnibus bills that the government has passed since it came into power two years ago. While Bill 197 takes a hammer to the EAA, previous bills gutted the Endangered Species Act, repealed the Toxic Reductions Act and weakened environmental protections under the Pesticides Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Aggregate Resources Act.

Like the other omnibus bills, the promising title of Bill 197 poorly conveys the actual content of the bill and hides its negative environmental, social and economic implications. These changes will negatively impact the health and prosperity of our communities and the environment for years to come.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

John Hassell, Ontario Nature, johnh@ontarionature.org, 416-786-2171

Read our Bill 197 Backgrounder.

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. It connects thousands of individuals and communities with nature through 150 conservation groups, and 30,000 members and supporters across the province.