Statement of Environmental Values: Ministry of Tourism

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 from all designated ministries.  The designated ministries are listed at:
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 (SEV) 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 Statements are current.

2.  MINISTRY VISION, MANDATE AND BUSINESS

Vision

Tourism

Ontario is an internationally recognized travel destination, renowned for the superior quality of its tourism experiences, attractions and services.
Tourism is recognized as a significant contributor to economic prosperity and higher quality of life for communities across the province.

Mandate and Business

The Ministry will work strategically with the tourism industry, governments and other ministries to advance Ontario’s competitive advantage in tourism by:

  • fostering positive business conditions for tourism and stimulating tourism-related investments;
  • establishing and promoting Ontario as a pre-eminent four-season destination;
  • demonstrating leadership through the management of quality provincial tourism attractions and agencies; and
  • providing research to identify the trends, strengths, weakness, challenges and opportunities of tourism development in Ontario.

The Ministry is working with Ontario’s resource-based tourism industry to heighten its competitiveness and growth in an ecologically and economically sustainable manner.
Specific details on the responsibilities of the Ministry of Tourism can be found on the ministry website www.tourism.gov.on.ca.

3.  APPLICATION OF THE SEV

The Ministry of Tourism is committed to applying the purposes of the EBRwhen 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 Tourism 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 Tourism will encourage energy and resource conservation in those sectors where it provides policy direction.

The natural environment is fundamental to Ontario’s tourism industry.  The Ministry of Tourism will promote the value of the natural and outdoor environment and actively protect, support and promote its sustainability to tourism stakeholders, as well as other ministries and governments.  Sustainable development and an adequate supply of recreational facilities, parkland, open space and trails for current and future populations is critical to the long-term health of communities, regions and the province.

An important facet of Ontario’s tourism appeal has always been its vast outdoor expanse which affords opportunities to fish, hunt, canoe, hike and camp.  A recent tourism trend to visit places to experience natural features, forests, waterways and wildlife – eco-tourism – finds Ontario well-endowed with the natural beauty that attracts these eco-tourists.  The Ministry of Tourism will promote the value of the outdoor experiences, parkland and open spaces, and will encourage sustainable eco-tourism activities that step lightly on the environment, protecting its ongoing tourism values.

5.  MONITORING USE OF THE SEV

The Ministry of Tourism 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 Tourism 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 PEOPLES

The Ministry of Tourism 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 people.

8. GREENING OF INTERNAL OPERATIONS

The Ministry of Tourism 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.