Proposed amendment to Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act Dam Construction Regulation (Ontario Regulation 454/96) to specify that approval is not required for alterations, improvements and repairs to existing dams in cases where they are governed by an agreement between the Minister and the dam owner.
Bill or Act:
Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act
Summary of Decision:
A decision was made to proceed with the proposal and amend Ontario Regulation 454/96 (Construction). The regulation was filed by the Registrar of Regulations on November 27, 2017 and published on eLaws the same day. This amended regulation will come into force January 1, 2018.
The amendment to the regulation provides relief from LRIA approval for certain types of alterations, improvements and repairs to existing dams where an agreement is in place between the dam owner and the ministry. LRIA policy provides direction for the ministry to consider entering into agreements with qualified dam owners for work on existing dams.
The regulation amendment supports the ministry's multi-year efforts to modernize the administration of the LRIA. The amendment streamlines the LRIA approvals process, as both the agreement and LRIA approval outline similar requirements that a qualified dam owner must meet to address MNRF interests when undertaking alterations, improvements and repairs. This new process will encourage qualified dam owners to make improvements that will enhance public safety, property and the environment.
June 26, 2017
Summary of Proposal:
The Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA) provides the legislative authority to regulate the design, construction, operation, maintenance and safety of dams in Ontario.
The LRIA provides the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the authority to make regulations prescribing circumstances in which approval is required under subsection 14(1) or section 16 of the LRIA. Ontario Regulation 454/96 (Construction) outlines the circumstances in which LRIA approval is required.
Dam owners must obtain MNRF approval under Section 16 of the LRIA prior to making alterations, improvements or repairs to an existing dam for those works that may affect the dam's safety or structural integrity, the waters or natural resources.
In March 2016, MNRF approved new LRIA guidance on the administration of Section 16 of the LRIA (Alterations, Improvements and Repairs to Existing Dams Technical Bulletin). This Technical Bulletin provides direction on MNRF for entering into agreements (or memorandums of understanding) for work on existing dams with dam owners who have:
• A portfolio of dams
• Extensive experience in the operation and maintenance of dams, and
• Demonstrated successful design and implementation of similar proposed alteration, improvement and repair works at dams.
The proposed regulation amendment allows MNRF to implement approved 2016 policy direction for entering into LRIA section 16 agreements. The proposed amendment would allow MNRF to govern alterations, improvements and repairs to existing dams for qualified dam owners through an agreement, and remove the duplicative requirement for LRIA section 16 approvals.
The ability for MNRF to enter into agreements is provided in section 4 of the LRIA, which states that the Minister may enter into agreements with any government or person dealing with the management, protection or use of lakes and rivers and the design, construction, operation, repair, maintenance, alteration or removal of dams or other works in lakes and rivers.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Crown Lands Section
300 Water Street
January 1, 2018