Ecology Ottawa has joined citizens and organizations from across the province in expressing alarm at the recent decision of the Ford government to eliminate the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. The move was announced as part of the provincial government’s fall economic outlook on Thursday, November 15.
“The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has a well-earned and long-established reputation as an independent watchdog that helps protect the environment for all Ontarians,” said Robb Barnes, executive director of Ecology Ottawa. “Cutting this position does a profound disservice to the residents of our province and makes us more vulnerable to the next ecological threat.”
The office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, headed by Dr. Dianne Saxe, is an independent office under the Ontario legislature that provides reports on government’s progress on environmental conservation, climate change and energy conservation. The office has been vocal about the lack of climate change action from the province and was critical of the provincial administration’s decision to cancel Ontario’s cap and trade program. Most recently, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released a report alerting Ontarians about the toxic waste and raw sewage allowed into Ontario’s lakes and rivers.
“During a time when the current provincial government has been under fire for dragging their feet on climate action and environmental protection, the elimination of an independent environmental watchdog raises serious alarms about their commitment to Ontario’s environment and accountability to its residents,” said Mr. Barnes.
Ecology Ottawa is calling for the provincial government do save this important office.