The Environmental Bill of Rights Project
The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) is one of the most significant environmental laws of our time that protect and conserve the environment. The EBR recognizes that while the government has the primary responsibility for protecting, conserving and restoring the natural environment, the people of any country has the right to participate in government decisions about the environment and the right to hold the government accountable for those decisions.
Each student will summarize the EPR documents. In this assignment, students will add to or modify the EBR document in a way to fit into the UAE legislation.
If you want to exercise your right to participate in environmental decision-making, then you need to read this book and this guide, the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), which enacted in 1993 in Canada, specifically in Ontario, passed by the legislature of Ontario . It is the best way to involve all the people citizens and residents to participate, in any environmental decision because it guarantees the right of everyone to do that. It includes our rights to recognize and comment on the laws and policies that may possibly impact our environment and communities. It also gives individuals the rights to request an investigation if any environmental law is violated and to ask the government or the ministry to review if the law could be improved to protect the environment in a better way. That’s why I think that this is the best time to present and to share a review on how important is the EBR, and to ensure it is upheld and implemented properly or not.
Many countries have done the same thing or something similar to the EBR but can have names other than this. While others don’t have any environmental rights legislation or laws. The main objective of this paper is to summarize the guide to exercising rights in EBR and how it works, in addition to looking at its applicability in the UAE and its effectiveness.
2.0 Identification of the main issue:
2.1 What is the EBR?
The Environmental Bill of Rights established in 1993 in Canada, but it was enacted in 1994. The main purpose of it was to protect and conserve the environment in addition to protecting the right of Ontario residents to live in a healthful environment, by preventing or reducing any released pollutants that may be harmful to the environment as well as the health . It also conserves and manages Ontario’s natural resources, which include plant and animal life. Furthermore and what differentiates the EBR, is that it gives the opportunity for the people to involve and participate to give their ideas, solutions, and decisions to make the environment a better place to live in. They can help in making a change with government assistance, and help in developing strategies and policies that protect the environment from any risks and threats. To achieve these goals, the EBR provides all the tools necessary for residents to participate in government environmental decisions and can hold the government accountable for its decisions. It also provides residents with access to the courts to protect the environment and ensures their protection against anyone who may impede their access to the courts. Moreover, it is important to take in consideration that the EBR designed the process and the residents, government ministries, and the ECO must follow when the rights of the EBR are exercised.
2.2 How the EBR Works?
Every resident of Ontario is entitled to participate, under the EPR For example, if a person saw or witness a discharge of waste or dumping outside the designated areas, or the residents of an area were concerned about the presence of an industrial facility near a residential area, they have the right to report any of these actions in the ministries subject to the EBR which include: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (MAA), or Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). Citizens and ministries should also be aware of a number of things to exercise their rights easily. For example, there is what called Statement of environmental values (SEVs), which is required of all ministries and their employees as a guide to them and guiding them in making decisions about policies and regulations that may affect the environment. The SEV should explain how the ministry will take the environment into consideration when making a decision, how the ministry will apply the purposes of the EBR, and how the ministry will integrate its environmental values with social, economic and scientific considerations when it makes environmentally significant decisions.
Also, the EBR established the Environmental Registry, which is an online database that provides public access to information about environmentally significant proposals and decisions made by the Ontario government. Ministries provide an opportunity for the public to submit comments on such proposals. And this is applicable in the United Arab Emirates. There is an online website called 'Sharik', established by the UAE Government to keep the public informed and consult them on all issues that affect them.
3.0 Analysis and Evaluation
3.1 Exercising Your EBR Rights:
The EBR gives people a way to help in shaping the environmental policies, acts, and regulations in order to protect the environment. Therefore, they have the right to receive notification and comment on the government’s environmental proposals from the beginning.
3.1.1 How to comment on a proposal posted on the environmental registry:
In order to comment on a proposal, there are a specific processes to follow in posting an environmental significant proposal. Firstly, A proposal is posted by a ministry on the Environmental Registry, and it shows all the policies and regulations and their updates, so they are available to everyone, and the people can easily review and comment on the updates in a specific time (about 30 days). After that, the ministry will review the comments then they will decide according to people agreement. In this point, ministries should review each individual comment in order to successfully make a choice.
3.1.2 How to Appeal Ministry Decisions on Instruments:
There are five ministries that classify instruments according to their environmental significance, and they give permits and licenses for factories these ministries are: Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. In the UAE there is something similar to that and it is applied which is “Trakhees”.
3.1.3 Application for review and investigation:
People can request for new decision to be reviewed, for any decision that can cause harm to the environment, with new evidence, for example: if someone wants the government to review clean air standards to ensure they are strong enough. The ministry can decide based on the evidence that is collected. Also, people have the right to ask for an investigation if there is any harmful action for the environment, for example, If there is an oil spill in the ocean which is harmful to the marine life and damage the environment, people can ask the ministry to open an investigation, and they have to collect evidence and apply a detailed application that includes all the information about the environmental violence.
3.1.4 Sue to protect a public resource and Nuisance:
Citizens have the right to sue a party for harming the environment or breaching the environmental regulations. Individuals have no right to sue for harming a public source receive any personal rewards. It should be only done for the benefit of the public and the protection of the source.
Citizens have the right to sue for any damages or loss resulting of public nuisance causing harm to the environment. For example, a person facing damages due to widespread air pollution can sue for damages. There are no requirements to get the consent of the Attorney’s General. However, farmers who wish to sue for public nuisance have to obtain the approval of Normal Farm Practices Protection Board. Otherwise, they cannot sue for any harm caused by nuisance under the Farming and Food Production Protection Act in 1998.
Employees who are exposed to environmentally harmful activities and forced to work under these circumstances may sue their employer without the fear of reprisal. Employees are protected from the harm, dismissal, or penalization that could be done by their employer. They are also entitled to the protection when they do not follow the words of their employer to obey the laws.
To sum up, Environmental Bill of Right help in ensuring the right of people to give their opinion and participate in taking a new decision that can positively improve the environment, so if we see or know any actions that could harm our environment, we can play a role to stop these actions. In addition, I suggest that this document (the EBR), be applied and used because it is concerned with ensuring the right of people to protect the environment and will contribute greatly to preserving and not depleting our environment. It can also be applied in the UAE because it is very interested in contributing to not harm our environment and because people can also participate in it. Also, to offer the EBR in different languages.
- Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights and You (1993). An Introduction to the Environmental Bill of Rights. Toronto: Government of Ontario. Retrieved from https://media.assets.eco.on.ca/web/2016/03/EBR_2015_April15_2016_englishweb.pdf
- Sharik.ae (2011), Retrieved from :https://www.government.ae/en/participate/consultations https://media.assets.eco.on.ca/web/2016/03/EBR_2015_April15_2016_englishweb.pdf