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How Environmental laws and policies are made

CITIZENS CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS AT VARIOUS POINTS AND IN VARIOUS WAYS!

Laws and regulations:

  • Before legislation is introduced into provincial Legislatures or the Parliament, government departments usually conduct extensive public consultations

  • Draft legislation proposals (bills) undergo three readings in the legislature’s chambers before becoming law. Debate on bills occurs during second and third reading.

  • Citizens can also ask to make presentations to multi-party legislative committees at the second reading of the bill.

  • Although a bill has passed the voting in a legislature, its coming into force may be postponed for various reasons — such as the political resistance by interest groups. For example, in 1981, the federal Parliament passed a motor vehicle fuel consumption law that has never been brought into force.

Policy making process has nowadays become broader and more inclusive — these days there are more opportunities for concerned citizens to influence the direction and contents of particular policies than ever before. This is especially true with respect to the regulation of air pollution, an area in which many important decisions are effectively made and implemented as policy as opposed to law.

While our legal and policy making processes are complex and often frustrating to navigate, there are enormous opportunities for citizens to become involved and make a difference. As governments, particularly at the provincial level, cut back their environmental protection budgets, the need for citizens to monitor and reform the institutions and processes we rely on to protect our air resources is greater than ever.

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