ONTARIO PROPERTY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ALLIANCE
Post Office Box 483, Durham, Ontario, N0G 1R0
Phone: (519) 369-2195 / Fax: (519) 369-2992
March 26, 2004
Open Letter To:
Honourable Steve Peters, Minister, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Honourable Leona Drombrowsky, Minister, Ontario Ministry of Environment
Honourable David Ramsay, Minister, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources
The letterhead coalition, founded in 1994 with a mandate to protect, and entrench in law, the rights and responsibilities of private landowners counts among its voting members a number of trade associations and advocacy groups in different geographic locations across Ontario.
These regional organizations view with increasing concern the number and complexity of government decrees that directly affect the lives and livelihood of their individual members. They share a common perception that, over the past 30 years, layer upon layer of government regulations have been arbitrarily imposed on lifetime assets of rural citizens with little notice and no just compensation.
It appears these prescriptions, many described by their urban authors as essential to environmental protection or, that failing, to “the public good”, are selectively interpreted and applied by district offices representing various provincial and federal government departments. Thus is use, collateral worth and market value of private property eroded through regulatory overkill administered by an army of unelected bureaucrats. In the absence of a constitutional or Charter right to own real estate in Canada, this legislated injustice has produced and, unless soon and properly corrected, will continue to nourish the seeds of “rural revolution” now taking root across Ontario and, indeed, across Canada.
Regulatory excess in this province is often seen by its victims as “different strokes for different folks” in different areas as applied by district office staff of different agencies. Thus OPERA believes a clear statement for circulation to its member groups that outlines the degree of autonomy vested in field administrators reporting to your Ministry might help defuse a potentially explosive situation.
Please therefore advise location and current manager of your district offices in Ontario together with confirmation that each of those satellites are, in fact, empowered to interpret and apply, or perhaps even invent, Ministerial policy as it sees fit. If that confirmation cannot be provided we ask that your office forward to us a written outline of the interpretative limits and allowable latitude under which such branch locations are expected to function when enforcing Ministerial policies and regulations.
ONTARIO PROPERTY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ALLIANCE
c.c. Premier Dalton McGuinty
Honourable Michael Bryant, Attorney General and Democratic Renewal
Honourable Greg Sorbara, Minister, Ontario Ministry of Finance
Honourable John Gerretsen, Minister, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Mr. Richard Patten, MPP, Chair, Ontario Legislation and Regulations Committee