About the ERT

ERT Role

The ERT is an administrative tribunal that holds hearings and issues decisions, reports or recommendations based on law, evidence and a duty to protect the environment.

The ERT resolves applications and appeals under the following statutes: the Clean Water Act 2006, the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, the Consolidated Hearings Act, the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Bill of Rights 1993, the Environmental Protection Act, Nutrient Management Act 2002, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act, the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016. The ERT also hears matters under the Greenbelt Act, 2005, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act and the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.

Under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, Members of the ERT are appointed by the Minister of Natural Resources as Hearing Officers to conduct hearings. The Hearing Officers issue reports or make recommendations concerning appeals of decisions of the Niagara Escarpment Commission regarding development permit applications. Members are also appointed to conduct public hearings for the purpose of making recommendations regarding proposed Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) amendments.

Pursuant to a designation as the Office of Consolidated Hearings, the ERT administers hearings as requested under the Consolidated Hearings Act. Under that authority, a Joint Board is established in order to combine into one hearing a multiplicity of hearings that may be required before different tribunals under various acts on matters relating to the same undertaking. A Joint Board usually consists of Members of the ERT and the OMB, and is empowered to hold a hearing to consider all of the matters under all of the prescribed acts that govern the undertaking and for which hearings are required.

ERT History and Jurisdiction

The ERT was established under the Environmental Review Tribunal Act with the merging of the Environmental Assessment Board and the Environmental Appeal Board. All the roles of those two Boards were taken on by the ERT at that time.

When the Ontario Water Resources Act passed in 1970, the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) was created. The EHB heard some of the matters of the Ontario Water Resources Commission, established in 1956. The EHB then became the Environmental Assessment Board in 1975. It held hearings about waste or sewage disposal sites as well as environmental assessments. It also had a role in appeals from decisions of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and in Joint Board hearings under the Consolidated Hearings Act. These areas were assumed by the ERT.

The Environmental Appeal Board, established under the Environmental Protection Act, held hearings on appeals about decisions made by Directors of the Ministry of the Environment. In 1978, this Board also took on the hearings role of the Pesticides Appeal Board, which was established in 1973.