Proposed regulatory amendments to Ontario Regulation 267/03 under the Nutrient Management Act
O. Reg 267/03
O. Reg. 204/19
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Nutrient Management Act
Summary of Decision:
Ontario is implementing changes to the General Regulation under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 to reduce administrative burden and provide more business opportunities for farmers while protecting the environment and human health.
1) Removing the Automatic Cessation of a Nutrient Management Strategy After Five Years
The automatic cessation of a nutrient management strategy (NMS) after five years is being removed from the General Regulation. Farmers will no longer be required to complete a new NMS every five years, reducing administrative burden while maintaining the same level of environmental protections. The amendment will not affect when an agricultural operation needs a NMS and the NMS would still have to be prepared by a certified person. Other cessation triggers will remain unchanged. Process for annual review and update will be clarified and maintained.
2) Including Lower Risk Manures from Non-Farm Grazing Animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM)
Lower-risk manures, from non-farm herbivorous animals such as zebra, elephant or kangaroo are being re-categorized as a Category 1 NASM. The runoff from storage containing manure from these animals, runoff from animal yards used by these animals and washwaters from the housing of these animals will also be re-categorized as NASM 1. This amendment will apply to businesses that generate manure and agricultural operations looking to utilize them as a crop nutrient . These materials will be subject to the Category 1 NASM land application rules. Furthermore, these materials will be given an OC 1 odour category through an update to Table 3 of the Nutrient Management Tables. The Nutrient Management Tables are adopted by reference and this Decision Posting is a notice of the amendment to Table 3 for the purposes of subsection 60(6) of the NMA, 2002. The changes to Table 3 are effective as of the date of this posting.
Additional changes addressed inconsistencies in in the regulation.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The ministry anticipates minor administrative costs to business in understanding the amendments to the regulation. It is estimated that for each of the farms currently phased-in to a nutrient management strategy requirement, it would take an average of 30 minutes to do this, amounting to an average annual cost of about $17,600 for the industry.
The changes are expected to benefit the industry by providing cost savings as well as additional business opportunities. The total benefit to business is estimated to be an average of $1.2 million per year for all phased-in farms.
January 8, 2019
Summary of Proposal:
Nutrient Management Act and General Regulation:
In Ontario, the Nutrient Management Act (NMA) provides for the management of nutrients in ways that provide for the protection of the natural environment and also provide a sustainable future for agricultural operations and rural development.
The General Regulation regulates the management of a variety of prescribed materials (e.g. on-farm and off-farm materials). The Regulation prescribes rules for the management of prescribed materials on an agricultural operation, including their storage and application.
The Regulation requires certain agricultural operations to have a nutrient management strategy (NMS), nutrient management plan (NMP) or a non-agricultural source material (NASM) plan completed by a certified preparer. These documents are intended to outline the management processes and expectations to be taken by the operation to comply with the various regulatory rules through a systematic assessment process.
The NMA is jointly administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). OMAFRA approves strategies and plans and MECP ensures compliance.
Removing the Automatic Cessation of a Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) After Five Years:
Once a NMS is approved and in force at an agricultural operation, there are a number of different situations that would result in its cessation (i.e. its expiry) requiring a renewal. One of these situations is the fifth anniversary of the day on which the NMS was either approved or last prepared.
We are proposing to remove the automatic cessation of a NMS after five years. Producers would no longer be required to complete a new NMS every five years, reducing administrative burden. The proposed regulation would not affect when an agricultural operation needed a NMS and the NMS would still need to be prepared by a certified person. The other cessation situations would remain unchanged in the Regulation, and a farmer would require a new NMS when there is: 1) a new or expanding livestock housing or manure storage; 2) some changes to an anaerobic digester; or 3) if there is a change in ownership (under certain circumstances only).
Including Low Risk Manures from Non-Farm Grazing Animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material:
The Regulation includes three categories of non-agricultural source materials (NASM): Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3. Each category has different regulatory requirements. Manures from non-farm grazing animals, such as zebra, elephant or kangaroo, are currently categorized as Category 3 NASM which has the most stringent rules associated with its management. These include sampling and analysis requirements and a requirement to have a certified person prepare a NASM plan and submit it to the Director for approval.
We are proposing to re-categorize low-risk manures from non-farm grazing animals as a Category 1 NASM. This proposed amendment would apply to businesses and agricultural operations looking to utilize these manures as a crop nutrient source and could help promote improved recycling of these materials. Under the proposed amendment, a NASM Plan and OMAFRA approval would no longer be required for application of these materials since they would be designated as a Category 1 NASM rather than a Category 3 NASM. These manures would still be subject to the Category 1 NASM land application rules.
Senior Policy Advisor
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
1 Stone Road, Guelph ON, N1G 4Y2
July 1, 2019