Here are some excerpts from last week's Ontario provincial budget,
promising further increases in fees relating to the environment.
Contaminated sites fees, water taking charges, fees for
environmental compliance approvals and for hazardous waste will all
go up by almost $10 million. The fees are discussed at the end of
the chapter, 2012 Ontario Budget: Chapter I: Transforming Public
The Auditor General and the Commission on the Reform of
Ontario's Public Services also recommended that greater
emphasis be placed on prevention and the polluter-pay principle.
This recommendation applies to Ontario's contaminated sites.
The Province also recognizes that those responsible for creating
pollution and waste should generally bear the costs of
environmental programs and services.
Water Taking Charges Program — Phase 2
Increasing demand and environmental concerns place added
pressure on the Province to ensure the sustainable use of water
(e.g., to conserve and sustain water resources for present and
future generations). By applying a user-pay model, the Water Taking
Charges program passes some of the costs of water quantity
management programs onto commercial and industrial water users.
This also gives businesses an incentive to better conserve water
and ensure more efficient and sustainable processes, and creates
opportunities for economic development and clean-technology jobs in
The first phase of the program was successfully implemented in
April 2007, and set a charge of $3.71 per million litres for
high-consumption water users such as manufacturers of bottled
water, ready-mix concrete and fertilizers. This phase affected
approximately 100 facilities in Ontario.
As part of its five-year review of the program, including
consultations, the government will review the current charge
framework to assess the adequacy of the charge rate and ensure that
the program recovers costs as fully as possible.
Implementing Phase 2 of the program will expand the user-pay
base and apply the charge to most of the remaining industrial and
commercial water users in Ontario. Some of the affected sectors
include construction, petroleum, mining, food production and
recreational facilities. The charge rate to be paid by Phase 2
facilities will be determined as part of the program review.
It is estimated this initiative will generate $3.5 million in
2013–14, and $6.0 million in 2014–15 and
Environmental Compliance Approvals
To move towards full-cost recovery, the government will revise
the fee structure for Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA) and
the related Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). If a
business's activities impact the natural environment (such as
by releasing pollutants into the air, onto land or into water),
that business needs an approval from the Ministry of the
Environment to operate legally in Ontario.
The fee structure for this approvals system has not been revised
since 1998. In the past, a business had to apply for multiple
approvals for individual processes and pieces of equipment. Today,
a business can register on the EASR and/or apply for a single ECA
that addresses all of the business's emissions, discharges and
The government will consult on an updated ECA and EASR fee
structure to ensure that it appropriately reflects a new modernized
approvals system and to ensure that the program is fully
cost-recovered. Additionally, the ministry will establish service
standards and provide electronic service delivery that will ensure
timely and efficient approvals for businesses.
It is estimated this initiative will generate $3.8 million in
2013–14 and ongoing.
Hazardous Waste Fees
Another environmental fee that will be revised is the Hazardous
Waste Fee, which has not been updated since 2002. The government
tracks the generation, movement and disposal of hazardous and
liquid industrial waste to help ensure a safer and cleaner
environment for Ontario. Fees are based in part on manifests (i.e.,
the record of waste being shipped) and on tonnage of waste
Raising tonnage fees will improve program cost recovery and
provide greater incentives to reduce or recycle waste. In addition,
the increase in fees will be borne by the larger generators of
hazardous waste. The fee for paper manifests will be increased,
which will help encourage greater use of the lower-cost electronic
It is estimated this initiative will generate $2.5 million in
2014–15 and ongoing."
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