Current majority government:
Premier: Doug Ford, Progressive Conservative (3)
Number of Members of Legislative Assembly in ON: 124 seats
Progressive Conservative: 81
New Democratic Party: 29
Green Party: 1
Find your MPP by riding here: (4)
Environmental stance of majority party:
The Progressive Conservative government under Doug Ford has implemented environmental legislation and produced climate plans without consultation from citizens. During the COVD-19 pandemic, the provincial government suspended sections of the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights, reducing the accountability requirements of the government (5). The government is using this same piece of amended legislation to justify their lack of public consultations regarding their Emissions Performance Standards industrial emissions program for 2023-2030 (6).
Percentage of 2020/2021 budget estimated to be allocated to the environment:
Total 2023-2024 Estimated Budget: $204,680,000,000
Total 2022-2023 Estimated Spending: $202,572,000,000
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $6,798,600,000 (3.32% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $6,199,000,000 (3.06% of the budget)
$599,600,000 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Environment, Conservation, and Parks:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $782,600,000 (0.38% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $742,000,000 (0.36% of the budget)
$40,600,000 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $133,200,000 (0.06% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $5,145,000,000 (2.54% of the budget)
$5,011,800,000 projected funding decrease from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $172,300,000 (0.08% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $263,000,000 (0.13% of the budget)
$90,700,000 projected funding decrease from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Natural Resources and Forestry:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $823,200,000 (0.40% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $712,000,000 (0.35% of the budget)
$111,200,000 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024 (7)
Main provincial-level legislation for environment protection:
Environmental Protection Act (1990)
Includes regulations regarding vehicles, waste management, renewable energy, oil spills, and air pollution/air quality.
Ontario Water Resources Act (1990)
Protects, conserves and manages water resources, as well as ensures they are used efficiently and sustainably. This act makes discharging pollutants into water illegal and regulates sewage discharge into water.
Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (1993)
Recognizes the value of the natural environment, as well as an individual’s right to a healthy environment. Goal: to protect, conserve and restore the environment, as well as provide for the sustainability of it.
Environmental Assessment Act (1996)
Provides for the proper management, conservation and preservation of Ontario’s environment. Example: municipalities must have their waste disposal systems approved by the Ministry.
Safe Drinking Water Act (2002)
Sets regulations to protect our health and prevent contamination of drinking water, setting strong prohibitions and penalties.
Green Energy Act (2009)
Encourages the expansion of renewable energy projects in Ontario and encourages energy efficiency across the province. The Ford government introduced legislation to repeal this act in September 2018, allowing them to stop renewable energy projects if they feel they are not needed.
Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016
Strategizes to divert waste from landfills, instead reintegrating it into our economy, with the goal of zero waste and GHG emissions. Addresses the need for more oversight and enforcement of policy and aims to create effective resource recovery systems. (8)
Specific government-based environmental programs:
In 2018, the Ontario government announced the introduction of an Ontario Carbon Trust, that would use public funds to leverage private investment in clean technology. However, Ontario’s most recent environmental bulletin did not reference the trust, and it has not yet been started (9, 10)
Next election date:
The next Ontario provincial election will take place on or before June 6th, 2026.
As of 2017, Ontario was accounting for approximately 25% of the country’s wetlands, and 6% of global wetlands, but approximately 70% of the province’s historic wetlands have been lost to land development (13, 14).
The provincial government of Ontario recently passed Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, which commits to the building of 1.5 million homes in the next decade. Unfortunately, the provincial government is insisting on building 50,000 of these homes in the Oak Ridges region of the Greenbelt, posing a massive threat to Ontario’s biodiversity (15). You can watch our recent short film, Voices of the Greenbelt, here.