Permitting and compliance are under the purview of dedicated ministry staff who make evidence-based decisions based on best available science. These individuals are referred to as statutory decision-makers (SDMs) and are given these authorities under legislation.
- It is important to note, the ministry is legally obligated to consider all permit applications.
- Ministry statutory decision-makers not only possess good judgment about environmental management, but they make their decisions based on administrative law.
- An SDM's administrative law decision always has three essential characteristics:
- A clear understanding of relevant statutes and regulations.
- Procedural fairness is central to the process. Extensive public and First Nation consultation is an integral part of the permitting process.
- Discretion is exercised independently, and is consistent with the purposes of the statutory power being exercised.
- Where human health is a factor to consider, SDMs consult with technical-health experts before making a permitting decision.