Regulation - LGIC

Proposed amendments to regulations made under the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Water Resources Act to make modifications to Environmental Activity and Sector Registry requirements and exemptions for low risk short-term water taking activities

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg. 63/16
O. Reg. 387/04
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act
Summary of Decision:
The ministry is moving forward with amending regulations made under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act to streamline permissions for certain low risk short-term water taking activities. These amendments align approval requirements with the activity's level of risk, while maintaining environmental oversight.

For the rest of the decision posting, see ERO posting 019-2525.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed amendments are expected to reduce burden on the regulated community and contribute to economic recovery following the state of provincial emergency, primarily for the construction and development sector.

The amendments will result in a higher number of low risk short-term water taking activities being eligible for exemption or registration on the EASR. This will result in an overall reduction in the time, cost and resources that proponents spend on seeking environmental permissions.

Reducing regulatory burden for construction activities is expected to make it easier to build infrastructure which is vital to the province's economic recovery as it enables trade, supports public transit, creates jobs, and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas reduction, among other benefits.

Water taking activities that are eligible for self-registration are required to meet rigorous requirements that are protective of the environment. The ministry retains the ability to inspect water taking activities to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Depending on the type and complexity of the water taking activity, proponents are expected to benefit from savings of $10,000 or more per project. Assuming that a business undertakes three to five construction projects a year, this may translate to cost savings of $30,000 to $50,000 or more per year. Larger linear projects such as public transit and pipelines would benefit from savings upwards of $20,000 per project.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
October 6, 2020
Summary of Proposal:
Purpose of proposed changes:

Ontario is proposing changes that would move low-risk, short-term water taking activities, such as pumping tests, to a more flexible approval process to allow businesses to begin operations faster and ensure that Ontario's water resources continue to be safeguarded in accordance with the province's strict environmental standards.

Proposed regulatory amendments to the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) made under the Environmental Protection Act:

We are proposing amendments to the EASR regulation to:
品ntroduce certain pumping tests as a new prescribed activity for registration on the EASR; and
瀕odify existing EASR requirements related to construction site dewatering and road construction to remove certain restrictions that do not further environmental outcomes and create undue burden for businesses and individuals.

To ensure that the registered water taking activities are carried out in accordance with best management practices and in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment:
病ll registered activities will be required to comply with applicable regulatory requirements designed to protect the natural environment.
病ll registered activities will be required to comply with the criteria contained in the EASR regulation, including operating criteria that are protective of the public and the environment, including assessment requirements, public notification protocols, surface water protections, erosion and sediment control measures, contingency plans, record keeping provisions and public complaint procedures.
病ll registered activities will be required to be implemented in accordance with a water taking design report that is prepared by a Qualified Person ("QP"), who must meet minimum professional criteria. For example, the QP must be a professional geoscientist or a professional engineer for construction site dewatering.
付he ministry will retain its ability to inspect water taking activities and ensure that they are complying with all necessary legal requirements.

While it's possible that the prescribed activities may interfere with the water supply for other users and may include discharge to the natural environment, the proposed measures will ensure adequate protection of water resources and the environment and minimize impact on other water users. Higher risk and more complex water taking activities, including long-term water taking activities, will continue to be subject to ministry review and require ministry approval to ensure that human health and the environment are protected. This ensures that the level of ministry oversight is proportionate with the potential environmental and human health risks associated with water taking activities.

Registration on the EASR is immediate, which means registrants may complete their assessments, register online and undertake the water taking activity immediately once confirmation of registration has been given. The ministry does not actively review such registrations at first instance. However, registrants will have to abide by all relevant regulatory obligations (including record keeping) related to the registered activity.

To see the rest of the posting, see ERO posting 019-2525.
Contact Address:
Effective Date:
July 1, 2021