Statement from Environmental Defence’s Water Program Manager, Kelsey Scarfone, on Ontario’s misleading Annual Report on Drinking Water and its troubling contradictions to Bill 66
Toronto, Ont., –This afternoon, the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks released the Minister’s Annual Report on Drinking Water. The report outlines the strong and comprehensive regulations that protect Ontario’s drinking water from the source to the tap, but completely ignores the fact that these protections are currently under significant threat.
Bill 66, introduced last week, allows municipalities to pass an ‘open-for-business’ bylaw that would exempt them from the very protections the government so proudly trumpets in its report. Specifically, Bill 66 overrides the Ontario Clean Water Act and 38 source water protection plans that safeguard sources of drinking water across Ontario, as well as the Great Lakes Protection Act and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
The Minister’s report also makes reference to Ontario’s new environmental plan. But any commitments to drinking water protection in the environmental plan amount to little more than a statement of good will, while Bill 66 is an actual piece of legislation that undercuts all of these protections. These contradictions cannot be ignored.
Ontario’s drinking water sources will be under significant threat if Bill 66 passes. This report is misleading and dishonest. In it, the Ontario government is celebrating the comprehensive drinking water legislation that it has very recently put under significant threat.
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