Statement of Environmental Values: Ministry of Culture

1.  INTRODUCTION

The Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) was proclaimed in February 1994.  The founding principles of the EBR are stated in its Preamble:

  • The people of Ontario recognize the inherent value of the natural environment.
  • The people of Ontario have a right to a healthful environment.
  • The people of Ontario have as a common goal the protection, conservation and restoration of the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

While the government has the primary responsibility for achieving this goal, Ontarians should have the means to ensure that it is achieved in an effective, timely, open and fair manner.
The purposes of the Act are:

  • To protect, conserve and, where reasonable, restore the integrity of the environment;
  • To provide sustainability of the environment by the means provided in the Act; and
  • To protect the right to a healthful environment by the means provided in the Act.

These purposes include the following:

  • The prevention, reduction and elimination of the use, generation and release of pollutants that are an unreasonable threat to the integrity of the environment.
  • The protection and conservation of biological, ecological and genetic diversity.
  • The protection and conservation of natural resources, including plant life, animal life and ecological systems.
  • The encouragement of the wise management of our natural resources, including plant life, animal life and ecological systems.
  • The identification, protection and conservation of ecologically sensitive areas or processes.

To assist in fulfilling these purposes, the Act provides:

  • the means by which Ontarians may participate in the making of environmentally significant decisions by the Government of Ontario;
  • increased accountability of the Government of Ontario for its environmental decision-making;
  • increased access to the courts by residents of Ontario for the protection of the environment; and
  • enhanced protection for employees who take action in respect of environmental harm.

The EBR requires a Statement of Environmental Values (SEV) from all designated ministries.  The designated ministries are listed at: http:// http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/content/index2.jsp?f0=aboutTheRegistry.statement&f1=aboutTheRegistry.statement.value&menuIndex=0_3

Statements of Environmental Values 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:

  • how the purposes of the EBR will be applied when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the ministry; and
  • how consideration of the purposes of the EBR will be integrated with other considerations, including social, economic and scientific considerations, that are part of decision-making in the ministry.

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 will examine the SEV on a periodic basis to ensure the Statement is current.

2.  MINISTRY VISION, MANDATE AND BUSINESS

Ministry Vision

The Ministry of Culture provides leadership in building a strong and stable cultural sector that contributes to a prosperous creative economy and vibrant, liveable communities.

Ministry Mandate and Business

Cultural heritage is critical to a healthy society.  It is key to defining identity and ensuring the well-being of Ontarians, both individually and collectively.  Our provincial heritage resources are non-renewable and irreplaceable, and government has a role to play as trustee in their protection and preservation.

Cultural heritage resources are part of the environment, and recognized as such under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA).  Through the EAA, the Ministry of Culture plays an important role in coordinating with other Ministries, the preservation and wise use of these resources for the benefit of Ontarians and Ontario communities.

Conservation of cultural heritage resources contributes to the protection of natural resources.  Advocating for the reuse of older buildings, for example, helps protect greenfield land, requires less energy for the creation of new products and services, uses less landfill space, and reduces the generation and release of pollutants that threaten the integrity of the environment.

Cultural heritage conservation also serves both economic and social needs, and involves the interpretation and wise use of cultural heritage resources for educational, commercial, recreational and tourism purposes.  These all play important roles in economic and community development, while also contributing to a sense of place.

The following environmental values articulate the principles and processes by which the Act’s purposes are implemented in the Ministry of Culture:

  • Importance of the Environment:  We believe that a healthy environment is essential as part of Ontario’s cultural experience and expression.
  • Shared Responsibility:  We believe that all Ontarians must share a common responsibility to ensure the protection and improvement of the environment for the present and future generations.
  • Integration of Social, Economic and Environmental Considerations:  We believe in an approach to planning and heritage resource conservation which integrates all such considerations, in providing for sustainability of the environment.

Specific details on the responsibilities of the Ministry of Culture can be found on the ministry website www.culture.gov.on.ca.

3.  APPLICATION OF THE SEV

  • The Ministry of Culture is committed to applying the purposes of the EBR when decisions that might significantly affect the environment need to be made in the ministry, and as it develops Acts, regulations and policies.

4.  INTEGRATION WITH OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

The Ministry of Culture will integrate the purposes of the EBR with other considerations including social, economic and scientific considerations when making decisions that might significantly affect the natural environment.  The EBR purposes of conserving, protecting and, where feasible, restoring the natural environment, providing for the sustainability of the natural environment and protecting the public's right to a healthful environment will be objectives of the Ministry when making decisions that might significantly affect the natural environment as well as other considerations.

The Ministry of Culture will encourage energy conservation in those sectors where it provides policy direction or programs.

5.  MONITORING USE OF THE SEV

The Ministry of Culture will document how the SEV was considered each time a decision is posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry.  The Ministry will ensure that staff involved in decisions that might significantly affect the environment are aware of the Ministry’s Environmental Bill of Rights obligations.

6.  CONSULTATION

The Ministry of Culture believes in being accountable for its environmental decision-making.  The Ministry of Culture believes that open consultation is vital to sound environmental decision-making.  The Ministry will provide opportunities for the people of Ontario to participate in the making of environmentally significant decisions by the Ministry.

7.  CONSIDERATION OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLES

The Ministry of Culture 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 people 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 peoples.

8.  GREENING OF INTERNAL OPERATIONS AND ENERGY CONSERVATION

The Ministry of Culture 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 of Culture recognizes the important role of energy conservation in its responsibility for stewardship and management of the environment.  The Ministry will undertake activities to promote energy conservation in its operations. These include:

  • Encouraging its landlords to promote energy conservation;
  • Finding ways to conserve energy in its internal operations.