We have blogged previously about Bill 66, the re-(re)introduction of the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act. This is the third time that the Ontario government has introduced a Bill of this nature to the Legislature. Previous versions of the proposed act (specifically, Bill 100, introduced in June 2012, and Bill 6, introduced in February 2013) died on the order paper.
The proposed act would, among other things, purportedly
- Help fight climate change, reduce harmful algal blooms, and protect wetlands and other coastal areas.
- Monitor and report on the health of the lakes.
- Bring people together to take action on priority issues.
- Build on Ontario’s leadership in protecting the Great Lakes, including our Great Lakes Strategy and partnerships with Canada, Quebec, U.S.A., and the Great Lakes states.
The proposed legislation has, in general, been warmly received by environmental groups. However, some concerns have been expressed about certain aspects of the Bill, particularly a provision that would allow Cabinet to create, through regulation, exemptions for “any person or class of person from any provision of [the] Act or regulations,” subject to any established conditions or restrictions.
The Standing Committee on General Government intended to held public hearings today and tomorrow on the Bill (September 23-24). For anyone interested in commenting on the Bill and who will not be appearing before the committee, written submissions are being accepted by the Clerk of the Committee until tomorrow, September 24th at 6 p.m.