Auditor General Confirms Conservatives Exploited Pandemic To Weaken Environmental Protections

TORONTO — Following the Auditor General’s 2020 Annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights, Lucille Collard, Liberal critic for Environment, Conservation and Parks and MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, maintains this conservative government exploited the pandemic to undermine environmental regulations.

“Since the start of the pandemic, Doug Ford and his conservatives have been passing legislation that has nothing to do with COVID-19. Today’s report proves that his ministers have been using this global pandemic to benefit their friends rather than Ontarians,” said Lucille Collard.

The Auditor General’s report found:

  • The Environment Ministry used a regulation to suspend public consultation requirements. Only 9 of 276 exempted proposals were urgent and related to COVID-19.
  •  Ontarians lost their right to seek leave to appeal with 197 of 263 proposed permits and approvals posted by various ministries.

“Instead of focusing on fighting the pandemic, the Ford government set out to undermine the environment. This is on top of their unconstitutional sticker campaign and the millions they have wasted fighting in Canadian courts. The truth of the matter is that Doug Ford and his ministers don’t believe in climate change—and it shows.”

“The government’s inaction means it will miss Ontario’s 2030 carbon reduction targets. Perhaps most concerning is the fact that there are no targets for conserving water, decreasing hazardous and toxic substances in products, improving the water quality of lakes, or protecting and recovering endangered species. You can’t track what you don’t measure.”

Ontarians relied on this government to step up to the plate during this pandemic. Instead of planning for a second wave, supporting small class sizes or helping our small businesses, he and his government exploited the pandemic for the partisan gain of their friends,” concluded Collard.

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