Statement of Environmental Values : Ministry of Education
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, 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:
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. The designated ministries are listed at:
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:
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
The Ministry of Education strives to promote a strong, vibrant, publicly funded education system that is focused on three goals: High levels of student achievement, reduced gaps in student achievement and high levels of public confidence.
The ministry also supports children and families in the early years, with a focus on quality early years and child care programs and services.
Ontario students will receive the best publicly funded education in the world, measured by high levels of achievement and engagement for all students. Successful learning outcomes will give all students the skills, knowledge and opportunities to attain their potential, to pursue lifelong learning, and to contribute to a prosperous, cohesive society.
The ministry seeks to strengthen Ontario’s publicly funded education system through stronger partnerships, and by creating a more integrated early learning and child care system for children and their families.
The wisdom of educators, parents, students and all those working in education, early learning and child care will continue to be sought and valued. The government’s goal is to create a publicly funded education system that can reach every student and help them succeed.
Key Priorities and Results
The ministry’s work is focused on three goals:
Student achievement from kindergarten to Grade 12 is a top priority in education. The overall skill and knowledge level of Ontario’s students must continue to rise to remain competitive in a global economy. At the same time, the achievement gap must be closed between students who excel and students who struggle because of personal, cultural or academic barriers.
In addition, the ministry’s goal is to support Ontario’s children and families through a system of responsive, high quality, accessible, and increasingly integrated early years programs and services. Quality early years and child care programs provide children and their families with support and learning in the early years and contribute to healthy child development. More details on the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education can be found on the ministry website: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca.
3. APPLICATION OF THE SEV
The Ministry of Education is committed to applying the purposes of the EBR when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made in the ministry, and as it develops Acts and policies.
The Ministry of Education is committed to helping realize the following vision for Ontario:
“Ontario’s education system will prepare students with the knowledge, skills, perspectives, and practices they need to be environmentally responsible citizens.” Acting Today, Shaping Tomorrow, p. 6 (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/enviroed/action.html)
The ministry recognizes that this SEV applies only to the Ministry of Education itself, and nothing in the SEV affects in any way the legal or fiscal responsibility of school boards, Consolidated Municipal Service Managers/District Social Services Administrative Boards (CMSM/DSSABs), First Nations, child care operators and Ministry of Education transfer payment agencies. Nevertheless, the ministry will encourage the school boards, CMSM/DSSABs, First Nations, child care operators and Ministry of Education transfer payment agencies to practice environmentally responsible behaviour similar to that set out in this SEV.
4. INTEGRATION WITH OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
The Ministry will take into account social, economic and other considerations; these will be integrated with the purposes of the EBR when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made.
5. MONITORING USE OF THE SEV
The Ministry of Education will ensure that the SEV is taken into consideration when making decisions on a proposed policy or Act that may significantly affect the environment and that these decisions are posted on the Environmental Registry, where appropriate.
The ministry will provide communication, advice and training to ministry staff in the implementation and application of the purposes of the Environmental Bill of Rights.
The Ministry of Education 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 Education 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 INTERNAL OPERATIONS
The Ministry of Education believes in the wise use and conservation of natural resources. The Ministry will support Government of Ontario initiatives to conserve energy and water in its own operations, 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.