Proposal

Proposed Project List for comprehensive environmental assessments under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA)

Regulation Number(s):
N/A
Instrument Type:
Proposal
Bill or Act:
Environmental Assessment Act
Summary of Proposal:
On July 21, 2020, Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 which included amendments to the EAA, received Royal Assent, enabling regulations to set out the list of projects that would be subject to the Act. This was one of our first steps towards clearly identifying projects that would be subject to environmental assessment in Ontario.

Currently, projects are subject to environmental assessment based on "who" is doing the work, rather than what the project is.

The Project List for comprehensive and streamlined environmental assessments is critical to the transformational change required to modernize the environmental assessment program.

What we're consulting on

Comprehensive EA Project List
To achieve our vision for a project list that focuses on potential environmental impact, we are now consulting on a proposed list (the Comprehensive EA Project List) which will identify the projects that will be subject to the new Part II.3 of the Act (comprehensive environmental assessment) through a regulation. In some cases, we have described the project type with specific detail, and in other cases, we are looking for broad input with respect to how we should describe the projects that should be on the Comprehensive EA Project List.

Based on input received on the proposed list of projects, the ministry will seek input on a draft regulation prior to it being made.

Streamlined EA Project List
In the coming months, a second list of proposed projects that will be subject to the Streamlined Environmental Assessment provisions of the amended EAA (Part II.4) will be developed. As the ministry transitions from class environmental assessments and exemption regulations to using a new process of Streamlined Environmental Assessments, we will be consulting on the proposed list and the regulation that sets out the types of projects that would be subject to this process.

Until the Streamlined Project List is in place, the projects which undergo a Streamlined Environmental Assessment under a Class Environmental Assessment or regulation will continue to be required to do so.

Why we're developing Project Lists

Since the introduction of the EAA in 1975, there has been a need to exempt many types of projects simply because an EA was required when it was not warranted,, and we have also had to provide clarity in various statutes that certain plans are not subject to the EAA.

There are currently more than 100 exemptions under the EAA including exemptions for emergency wells, monuments, and minor road projects. Some private sector activities, such as waste management and electricity generation or transmission are also subject to environmental assessment requirements through designating regulations.

As noted, the EAA was amended on July 21, 2020 to enable the development of a project list regulation. The project list approach is consistent with the federal government and other provincial environmental assessment frameworks across Canada. It is intended to focus environmental assessment requirements and environmental oversight on high (comprehensive) and medium impact (streamlined) projects. This approach will allow us to eliminate unnecessary burden on low-impact projects and duplicative requirements, while ensuring the ministry focusses on projects that may pose a greater impact to the environment.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
20-MECP020
Posting Date:
September 14, 2020
Comments Due Date:
November 10, 2020