Saturday April 19, 2014


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Getting answers to environmental questions

Environmental petitions process
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British Columbia is known for the unique beauty of its diverse landscape and wildlife.

Like Canadians across the country, residents of British Columbia are proud of their natural heritage and are increasingly concerned with protecting it.

To help Canadians get answers to their environmental questions and concerns, Parliament introduced the environmental petitions process in 1995. The commissioner of the environment and sustainable development administers the process on behalf of the Auditor General of Canada.

The process is a simple one, which allows residents of Canada to pose questions to ministers of federal departments and agencies about environmental and sustainable development matters that fall within federal jurisdiction. Ministers are required to reply in writing to the petitioner within 120 days.

With the petitionerís consent, the commissioner posts both the petition and the ministerial reply on the website of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. This helps increase public awareness of the issues that have been raised as well as the governmentís response.

Environmental petitions to date have covered a diverse range of issues affecting British Columbians, such as oil tankers on the West Coast, salmon farming, wild fisheries, air and water pollution, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), toxic substances and climate change.

To help petitioners navigate the process, the commissioner has prepared a guide, called Getting Answers.

For more information on the environmental petitions process, contact the Office of the Auditor General at 1?888-761-5953 (ext. 2923) or petitions@oag-bvg.gc.ca.

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