On May 17, 2010, the Ontario Minister of Economic Development
and Trade introduced Bill 68, the Open for Business Act, 2010. The
omnibus Bill is intended to transform the government-to-business
relationship by streamlining government services and cutting
so-called red tape. That red tape includes a number of
Bill 68 includes over 100 proposed revisions to some 50 pieces
of provincial legislation administered by 10 different ministries.
Those that may be of most interest to the environmental community
include the following .
Amendments to the EPA and OWRA to adopt a risk-based approach
for approvals that focuses resources on activities that pose the
greatest risk to the environment; establishing a searchable online
registry for low-risk activities; and creating an electronic
Amendments to the Waste Management Act to permit municipalities
to appoint inspectors and provide inspectors with enhanced powers
of entry and investigation.
To address issues raised by the land development industry, the
Ministry of Natural Resources is proposing amendments to the
Conservation Authorities Act that would streamline the approval
process, ensure greater consistency in permit decisions and ease
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is
proposing amendments to the Drainage Act that would
improve clarity, remove duplication and simplify notice and filing
Also of interest to many of our readers, the Ministry of the
Attorney General is proposing amendments to the Professional
Engineers Act to improve self-governance and remove citizenship
requirements for a Professional Engineer Licence, making it easier
for internationally trained engineers to work in Ontario.
The most exciting of the changes to the EPA deal with the new
streamlined approvals process. The Ministry of the Environment
estimates that the risk-based approach to environmental approvals
and the online applications process could reduce application costs
for businesses by as much as 25%. If the legislation is passed, the
Ministry would "gradually roll out the new requirements
through tough regulations throughout 2011 and 2012,"
aaccording to Environment Minister John Gerretsen.
Certificates of approval under EPA sections 9 (processes and
equipment) and section 27 (waste management systems and waste
disposal sites) and under section 53 of the OWRA 2 (sewage works)
would all be replaced by "environmental compliance
approvals". A new Part II.1 of the EPA and associated
regulations would set out the process for obtaining environmental
Certain low-risk activities, to be set out by regulation, will
not require an environmental compliance approval. Instead, under a
new Part II.2 of the EPA, such activities would only need to be
registered in an Environmental Activity and Sector Registry
(although registration may require the submission of information,
reports or records). Such activities would be governed by rules
prescribed by the regulations rather than by specific terms and
Significant other changes are being proposed for the EPA,
including broadening the scope of administrative penalties,
amending the jurisdiction of the Environmental Review Tribunal to
award costs, and provisions dealing with financial assurance.
However, most of these have not been posted (as yet) on the
Environmental Registry. The Ministry of the Environment has only
posted a discussion paper dealing with the approvals modernization
initiative on the Registry for 45-days of public comment on March
2, 2010 (see
In that posting, the Ministry indicated that it could use an
applicant's past history of non-compliance to weed out the bad
apples. Bill 68 would add a "past conduct" clause to the
EPA allowing the Director to suspend, revoke or refuse to issue an
environmental compliance approval if the past conduct of the
applicant or its directors or officers affords reasonable grounds
to believe that the person will not engage in the activity in
accordance with the EPA/OWRA or regulations.
Finally, the bill would expand the Ministry's inspection
powers by permitting provincial officers to require a regulated
person to "respond to reasonable inquiries" for the
purposes of determining compliance with legislation.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
In June, 2016, Justice Faieta of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded damages of $57,712.31 plus interest against legal counsel who failed to file a claim within the required limitation period.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).