Statement of Yannick Beaudoin, Director General for Ontario and Canada’s North, David Suzuki Foundation
TORONTO – “We are deeply concerned that legislation introduced today in the Ontario legislature would weaken human and environmental rights protections that Ontarians hold dear.
Bill 57 would eliminate the independent offices of Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and Environment Commissioner of Ontario, transferring their functions to the provincial ombudsman and auditor general, respectively.
Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights established the office and duties of the Environment Commissioner of Ontario in 1993. Over the past two and a half decades, the ECO has earned the trust of residents of Ontario and past NDP, Progressive Conservative and Liberal governments as Ontario’s non-partisan watchdog for the environment.
During a recent review of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, more than 18,000 people in the province participated in consultations and supported measures to strengthen it. Bill 57 is out of sync with public expectations for accountability, human rights and a healthy environment.
Along with other environmental organizations, we call on the premier to ensure that the ECO continues to exist as a stand-alone, independent office with all its powers, duties and responsibilities intact under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.
We all benefit when the most vulnerable people in society are protected. This includes upholding the right to a healthy environment.”
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