Saturday, July 25, 2020


Last Thursday the Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Activists raise alarm as province passes environmental assessment redesign during pandemic". I have been reading different reports about either Bill 195 or Bill 197 which include environmental assessment "reforms". Once again it appears that our governments are of the attitude that no good crisis should be wasted in passing ideological legislation. If you're a right wing Conservative then that means slashing both labour and environmental regulations whenever you can.

The current Ontario initiative is called the "COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act". It is an omnibus bill that will change dozens of pieces of Ontario legislation. Environmental groups both locally and nationally are condemning the environmental changes suggested in this new proposed legislation. Supposedly the legislation will reduce the time required for governments to approve projects. This is done by dividing projects into high-impact ones and medium-impact projects. The medium-impact projects will go through a streamlined environmental assessment. There are also concerns that more environmental changes to regulations etc. will not be posted on the Environmental Registry for 30 days as they used to be.

Of course the provincial opposition parties will also be upset with any attempts to by-pass legislative debate and oversight. Unfortunately as with all majority governments, opposition parties have very little ability to insist on even the most minor concessions from majority governments.

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