The Ontario Ministries of Rural Affairs and of Agriculture and Food have each proposed a draft Statement of Environmental Values under the Environmental Bill of Rights. The Ontario Environmental Commissioner has, for many years, called for all ministries who make decisions with significant environmental impact to have Statements of Environmental Values. In theory, they will make better environmental decisions if their staff have to consider their Statements of Environmental Values first. A previous Statement of Environmental Values applied to the former Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. With the separation of this Ministry into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs, new Statements of Environmental Values were needed.
Statements of Environmental Values are supposed to explain how the purposes of the Environmental Bill of Rights are to be applied when decisions that might significantly affect the environment are made by the ministry and how consideration of the purposes of the Environmental Bill of Rights should be integrated with other considerations that are part of decision-making in the ministry. We are not aware of any evidence that ministries make better decisions after adopting an SEV, but we suppose that they can’t hurt and MIGHT help.