On September 22, 2010, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller, released his annual report for 2009/10, entitled “Redefining Conservation”. Among the report’s numerous recommendations is for the Ministry of Natural Resources to plant one billion trees in southern Ontario “to address the long-term ecological function of natural heritage systems and the impacts of climate change”. This is far more than MNR’s current target to plant 50 million trees in the province by 2020. The report also raises concerns about the tracking and oversight of the thousands of smaller landfills that were established before more rigorous regulatory requirements came into effect in 1998 when O. Reg. 232/98 (Landfilling Sites) was issued. The report notes that “very little is known about these small landfills”, some of which are still operational and some of which are closed. These “forgotten polluters” present a risk to groundwater and surface water. The report recommends that the Ministry of the Environment update Certificates of Approval for landfills.

The report is available on the Commissioner’s website.