Ford is trying to change the law so his government will have absolute power to destroy Ontario’s protected natural areas. TAKE ACTION NOW.
Are you ready to help mount a massive resistance to Doug Ford’s anti-democratic attacks on Ontario’s environment?
In our last blog, we detailed Doug Ford’s latest methods to destroy the environment while avoiding public accountability. In summary:
- Ford’s government is rolling out dozens of Minister’s Zoning Orders, or MZOs, to approve construction projects on environmentally sensitive lands – like the Duffins Creek wetland in Pickering. Approving a project via MZO means Ford doesn’t have to do an environmental impact assessment, consult the public, follow local planning rules, or offer an appeals process – i.e. no accountability to the people who elected him.
- When Ford meets with resistance – like laws that might limit his government’s absolute authority – he simply changes the law. In December Ford’s government passed legislation that stripped conservation authorities’ power to reject projects that pose a flood risk. And now Ford is trying to change the law so his government can be permitted to destroy protected ecological areas…
But we still have time to stop him.
Doug Ford’s proposed open season on legally protected areas
Ford’s current attempt to change the law is almost mind blowingly draconian, like something straight out of a dystopian novel. Buried in a legislative bill about broadband internet, the Ford government is trying to amend the Planning Act so that MZOs “are not required and are deemed to never have been required to be consistent with policy statements issued under subsection 3 (1).” (Bill 257, Section 3)
What does this actually mean? Let’s break it down.
The Government of Ontario issues a Provincial Policy Statement (as part of the Planning Act) that basically specifies how land can and cannot be used. Most critically, the Policy Statement specifies that “development and site alteration shall not be permitted” in natural areas like wetlands, woodlands and wildlife habitat that have been deemed “provincially significant.”
So when the Ford government issued an MZO greenlighting the destruction of the provincially significant Duffins Creek wetlands, this may have been not only immoral but actually illegal. A group of environmental organizations launched a lawsuit against the Ford government arguing exactly this. (We have our own lawsuit against the Ford government pending.)
But rather than wait for his day in court – and risk being told to back off from destroying protected areas – Ford is simply changing the law. And not only is he changing the law for the future going forward, but he is attempting to retroactively change the law for the past. So according to the proposed legislation, the rules that exist now “are deemed to never have been required.”
No, this is not 1984. This is Ontario 2021.
Two ways for you to push back:
Public consultations now open
The proposed changes to the Planning Act are open for comment until April 3rd. ADD YOUR VOICE NOW: tell Doug Ford to reject Schedule 3 of Bill 257 and stop misusing Ministerial Zoning Orders to destroy Nature. Remind him that it is unacceptable for the Ontario government to destroy provincially significant natural areas while changing the law so he can’t be held accountable.
Flood Doug Ford’s phone line
As Ontarians, we must defend our environment and our democracy. We cannot let Doug Ford get away with this.
This is urgent. Ford is consulting with Ontarians on this latest legal change until April 3 and could take a decision shortly afterwards. Call Doug Ford’s office today to oppose his latest attempt to destroy Ontario’s environment at the expense of our democracy:
Doug Ford (Premier’s Office) phone number: 416-325-1941
Suggested call script:
“Hello Mr. Ford, [I am an Ontario voter and] I am calling on your government to reject Schedule 3 of Bill 257. It is unacceptable for your government to destroy Ontario’s significant natural areas and to change the law so you can’t be held accountable. I stand with Ontario’s natural environment and with democracy. Thank you.”
Thank-you for taking action.