What is the Environmental Registry?

Region: Ontario Answer # 379

Under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), Ontario residents now have a formal right to participate in environmentally significant decision-making. To help people participate, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks established the Environmental Registry. The Environmental Registry is a searchable electronic database that lists the Ontario government’s environmentally significant proposals and decisions. The database gives residents of Ontario notice of environmental proposals made by any of the 14 Ontario government ministries that are covered under the EBR. You can use the Registry to find out what is happening anywhere in the province.

Users of the Environmental Registry can find out many details about each proposal including the name of the proponent or ministry that is putting forth the proposal, the activity to be undertaken, and where to send comments. Residents have a minimum of 30 days to comment on the government proposals. After the close of the comment period, the ministry making the proposal must review all comments received and include a brief explanation of the effect of these comments on the final decision. In this way, residents can see what was said about a given proposal and what the ministry did in response.

Registry notices include proposed changes to policies, Acts, regulations or instruments. Instruments are specific licences or orders given by a ministry to companies or individuals who want to carry out an activity that may significantly affect the environment.


Federal Environmental Registry

In 2000, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) came into effect in Canada, and along with it a federal Environmental Registry. CEPA 1999 is one of the most important federal environmental laws existing governing the assessment and management of chemical substances. It’s purpose is to prevent pollution and protect the environment and the health and well-being of all Canadians. It is administered by both Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada.

Similar to the Ontario Environmental Registry, the federal Registry is a searchable electronic database that lists all Canadian government environmentally significant proposals and decisions covered under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Canadians are encouraged to use the federal Environmental Registry to follow Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada activities and to participate in the decision-making process by submitting comments on CEPA-related documents.

For more information, or to search the federal Environmental Registry database, go to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

To search the the Ontario Environmental Registry database, or for more information, visit the Environmental Registry of Ontario website. It is important to note that Environmental Assessment projects do not fall under the Registry notice requirements, but can be viewed at the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks website.


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