The Commissioner is an independent officer of the Ontario Legislative Assembly and each year reviews and reports on the government’s compliance with the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights. Ecojustice’s work figured prominently in the commissioners recommendations:
Transparency Not Adequate
For some sectors, MOE has wisely published performance data and trends over time, shining a light on both leaders and laggards… But the public is left in the dark on the performance of municipal wastewater facilities, so much so that an environmental group, Ecojustice Canada, has seen the need to issue periodic assessments of Ontario sewage discharges, analyzing data it requests from the ministry.
The reference refers to our most recent wastewater report Flushing Out the Truth. Released last summer, the report highlights the tens of billions of litres of raw sewage that ends up in Ontario’s water every year thanks to outdated municipal infrastructure. The Commissioner went on to make the following recommendation:
The ECO recommends that the Ministry of the Environment monitor and publish annual reports on the quality of municipal wastewater discharges to Ontario waterways, providing both concentrations and loadings of key pollutants.
We wholeheartedly agree. If the Ministry published this information we wouldn’t have to.
While the Ontario government is not required to implement the recommendation of the Environmental Commissioner, the report does provide political pressure to change major loopholes in Ontario’s environmental regulations.
Ecojustice will continue to press for greater transparency about wastewater pollution and for the adequate treatment of sewage waste.
By Kori Bus