Proposed regulatory amendments to support implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement
Bill or Act:
Ontario Water Resources Act
Summary of Decision:
On April 24, 2014, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change posted a regulatory proposal to support the implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (Agreement).
A decision has been made to proceed with the proclamation of legislative amendments required to give effect to the regulations, and with regulations, consistent with the proposal:
1. Amendments to Water Taking Regulation (Ontario Regulation 387/04 under Ontario Water Resources Act) to:
- Manage water takings according to provisions of the Agreement;
- Regulate new or increased transfers of water from one Great Lake watershed to another based on standards of the Agreement; and
- Retain existing exemptions for watering livestock or for domestic purposes unless a new or increased transfer of 379,000 litres per day or more is established.
2. Amendments to Classification of Proposals for Instruments Regulation (Ontario Regulation 681/94 under the Environmental Bill of Rights) to identify that proposals for water transfers would be subject to posting on the Environmental Registry in a manner consistent with existing rules for posting water-taking proposals, including existing exemptions.
Ontario is strengthening protection of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin by managing large water takings and transfers within the basin in ways that are consistent with the Agreement signed by Ontario, Québec, and the eight U.S. Great Lakes states. The legislative proclamations and regulatory amendments will complete Ontario's remaining commitments under the Agreement, allowing the Agreement to fully come into force.
The regulations were filed with the Registrar of Regulations on November 27, 2014 and come into effect on January 01, 2015.
April 24, 2014
Summary of Proposal:
Ontario is proposing to implement provisions of the Agreement related to managing water takings and transfers of water between Great Lakes watersheds, that is, from one Great Lake watershed to another. These proposals are consistent with best practises in other jurisdictions, and would set a basin-wide, common decision-making standard for new proposals. Ontario is proposing to amend the Water Taking Regulation (Ontario Regulation 387/04 under the Ontario Water Resources Act) and the Classification of Proposals for Instruments Regulation (Ontario Regulation 681/94 under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993). The provisions of the Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario's Water Act, 2007 that amend the Ontario Water Resources Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 would also be proclaimed in order to authorize and give effect to the amended regulations and to ensure the Ministry's Permit to Take Water program aligns with Ontario's commitments in the Agreement.
The Ministry has prepared a document that summarizes the proposed regulatory changes and the legislative amendments that would need to be proclaimed. This document can be accessed through the link provided in this notice.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Land and Water Policy Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 6
Phone: (416) 212-4703
Fax: (416) 326-0461
January 1, 2015