Statement of Environmental Values: Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
The Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) was proclaimed in February 1994. The founding principles of the EBR are stated in its Preamble:
While the government has the primary responsibility for achieving this goal, the people should have means to ensure that it is achieved in an effective, timely, open and fair manner.
These purposes include the following:
To assist in fulfilling these purposes, the Act provides:
The EBR requires a Statement of Environmental Values from all designated ministries, as listed at:
Statements of Environmental Values (SEVs) are a means for designated government ministries to record their commitment to the environment and be accountable for ensuring consideration of the environment in their decisions. A SEV explains:
It is each Minister's responsibility to take every reasonable step to ensure that the SEV is considered whenever decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the ministry.
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines will examine the SEV on a periodic basis to ensure the Statement is correct.
2. MINISTRY VISION, MANDATE AND BUSINESS
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines works to make Northern Ontario strong, healthy and prosperous. By providing a northern perspective, the ministry supports provincial initiatives in the North and addresses unique northern circumstances. It provides northerners with access to government programs and services.
Across the Province, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines works to generate new wealth and benefits by supporting Ontario’s mineral exploration, mining and geosciences sectors.
The Ministry supports economic and community development, by promoting a business climate that encourages competitiveness and investment in Northern Ontario. Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, the Ministry supports job creation and economic growth.
The Ministry promotes a strong, safe and sustainable minerals industry by generating valuable geological information and by fair and consistent administration of Ontario’s Mining Act.
Specific details on the responsibilities of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines can be found on the Ministry’s website at www.mndm.gov.on.ca.
3. APPLICATION OF THE SEV
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is committed to applying the purposes of the EBR when decisions that might significantly affect the environment need to be made in the Ministry. As MNDM develops Acts, regulations and policies, the Ministry will apply the following environmental principles for sustainable development:
Specifically with respect to MNDM’s mining responsibilities, the Ministry will promote environmentally sustainable mining activity which:
4. INTEGRATION WITH OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
The Ministry will take into account social, economic, scientific and other considerations, with a consistent application of the purposes of the EBR, when decisions need to be made that might significantly affect the environment.
In this regard, with respect to policy development, the MNDM will integrate environmental values into its strategic planning, priority setting and policy development activities.
With respect to the Ministry’s mineral development and regulatory programming, MNDM will act to ensure that advanced exploration, mining development projects and existing operations will comply with rehabilitation (closure) requirements in accordance with the Mining Act and its regulations. These requirements dictate that sites are to be rehabilitated to their former conditions or to a standard conducive to other alternative natural, recreational, or commercial land uses.
MNDM will review and monitor rehabilitation (closure) plans against regulatory requirements defined in the Mining Act, and consult with the Ministries of Natural Resources, Environment and Labour, in regard to closure plan approvals.
In addition to the Mining Act regulatory role undertaken by the Ministry, as outlined above, MNDM conducts science-based activities that directly benefit our understanding of Ontario’s geology, mining potential, and the natural environment.
These other activities include:
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines will encourage energy conservation in those sectors where it provides policy direction or programs.
5. MONITORING USE OF THE SEV
MNDM will document how the SEV was considered each time a decision is posted on the Environmental Registry. The Ministry will ensure that staff members involved in decisions that significantly affect the environment are aware of the Ministry’s Environmental Bill of Rights obligations.
MNDM believes that public consultation is vital to sound environmental decision-making. The Ministry will provide opportunities for an open and consultative process when making decisions that might significantly affect the environment.
7. CONSIDERATION OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLE
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines recognizes the value that Aboriginal people place on the environment. When making decisions that might significantly affect the environment, the Ministry will provide opportunities for involvement of aboriginal peoples whose interests may be affected by such decisions so that Aboriginal interests can be appropriately considered. This commitment is not intended to alter or detract from any constitutional obligation the province may have to consult with Aboriginal people.
8. GREENING OF INTERNAL OPERATIONS
MNDM believes in the wise use and conservation of natural resources. The Ministry will support Government of Ontario initiatives to conserve energy and water, and to wisely use our air and land resources in order to generate environmental, health and economic benefits for present and future generations.
The Ministry will continue to encourage energy conservation and resource conservation in its own operations by, for example, ensuring that office lights are turned off when possible and office equipment is turned off when not in use and explicitly considering environmental performance of the various options when equipment leases or purchase decisions are made. The Ministry will also continue to educate and encourage staff on the 3Rs – reduction, reuse and recycling – to divert materials from disposal.