Waterpower Exemption from Permits to Take Water
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Ontario Water Resources Act
Summary of Decision:
Minister's Regulation to revoke existing Permits to Take Water held by Waterpower facilities
We are taking the next step to ensure safe, secure, and reliable sources of water for all Ontarians. To reduce duplication and streamline processes for the waterpower sector, we have removed existing permits to take water for waterpower facilities. To do this, we created a Minister's regulation under the Ontario Water Resources Act, while maintaining environmental protections under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act and the Class Environmental Assessment process.
This action follows amendments to the Ontario Water Resources Act that were passed in December 2019 as part of Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act. The amendments exempt waterpower facilities from requiring a permit to take water. Despite this exemption, all existing permits for waterpower facilities remained in effect until being revoked by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
To maintain environmental protections, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also created a new Minister's regulation under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act to ensure continued oversight of methyl mercury impacts of waterpower facilities. Mercury-related requirements that were previously administered through permits to take water will continue to be addressed through the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, including:
• Monitoring and reporting
• Notification to local communities of fish consumption advisories
2019 Ontario Water Resources Act Amendments
On October 28, 2019, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks posted proposed amendments to the Ontario Water Resources Act for a 30-day comment period.
The ministry decided to proceed with the amendments to the Ontario Water Resources Act consistent with the proposal as described. These legislative amendments received Royal Assent on December 10, 2019 and took effect immediately.
October 28, 2019
Summary of Proposal:
There is duplication and overlap of approvals between the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for waterpower facilities. We are reducing this regulatory burden and streamlining processes by moving towards a one-window approvals system for the industry through the latter ministry.
Environmental Policy Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West
December 10, 2019