RESOLUTION # 1 (External)

Submitted to:Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

Submitted by:OHBA Land Development Committee

Date:September 23, 2019

Subject: Modernization of Approvals: Environmental Assessments & Environmental Compliance Approvals

Whereas: the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has legislative and regulatory authority over a variety of environmental approvals impacting new housing, land development and critical infrastructure including:

  • Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs);
  • The Environmental Assessment process;

Whereas: the MEC Preleased a Made in Ontario Environment Plan on November 29, 2018 that states the Ministry will:“Look to modernize Ontario’s environmental assessment process, which dates back to the 1970s, to address duplication, streamline processes, improve service standards to reduce delays, and better recognize other planning processes”; and

Whereas: On April 25th, the MECP released a discussion paper on modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment program (Environmental Registry 013-5101) to which OHBA responded with a submission on May 24, 2019;

Therefore be it resolved that:that the scope of Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) process should be adjusted to avoid duplication with the concurrent and more robust Planning Act processes. There is significant scope overlap and duplication of work required by the MCEA and Planning Act processes.To that end, there should be an exemption from the MCEA process for all development occurring and fully regulated under the Planning Act; and

Therefore be it further resolved that: The MECP should establish an expedited process similar to the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) for other types of infrastructure under MECP’s purview; and

Therefore be it further resolved that: The Part II Order process for Municipal Class EA schedules should be streamlined. Specifically, while Bill 108 fully exempts Schedule A and A+ projects from the requirements of the EA Act, OHBA further recommends that the Minister’s authority for responding to Part II Order requests should be delegated to senior Ministry staff (Director level) for both Schedule B and C projects,with appropriate guidelines and decision time frames (rather than sign-off by the Minister); and

Therefore be it further resolved that: OHBA recommends that MECP introduce “system-wide ECAs” across all municipalities for storm, sanitary and SWM infrastructure:

  • A similar concept is being used successfully for water systems in a number of municipalities today;
  • There is no “value add”as part of the MECP’s review and approval ofcurrent storm, sanitary and SWM ECA process going to the Ministry for review and final sign off;
  • The review of SWM ECAs are the most egregious and take the MECP as much as 8-12 months to approve.This is a total duplication of the review by a municipality and CA, and in some cases even MNRF;
  • Under “system-wide ECA” a municipality has the license to take a systems approach and has final sign off (MECP will still monitor for compliance);and

Therefore be it further resolved that:With respect to Low Impact Development (LIDs), OHBA recommends that the MECP should either
a) clarify the interpretation of the Ontario Water Resources Act, or if necessary, b) re-word regulatory exemptions to include LID measures on private lots from an ECA approval.

The MECP’s recent practice of requiring an ECA for LIDs adds a host of practical and administrative issues for the developer and future homeowners. It is important for the following:

  • There used to be no ECA required for infiltration systems on private lots since the outlet is the ground, but over past two-to-three years MECP has been interpreting the OWRA differently and is now requiring ECAs for in filtration systems on private lots. This discourages developers from implementing infiltration LIDS, obligates future private property owners to complete cumbersome monitoring and reporting.These ECAs (and thus monitoring requirements) get registered on title and transferred to individual private property owners meaning the MECP will literally receive thousands of these ECAs.
  • Section 53 (6) (a) of the Ontario Water Resources Act can be interpreted to provide an exception to the requirement for an ECA if the works drain to the ground via infiltration since the facility outlet to the ground is not included in the list of outlet options included in this clause.
  • Alternatively, an exception clause could be added to Section 3 of O. Reg. 525/98 to include the wording “is an infiltration or filtration Low Impact Development facility located on a private lot”.

    MOVED:N. Mracic  SECONDED:C. Shindruk