Regulation - Minister

Drainage Act Regulatory Proposal Consultation

Regulation Number(s):
O. Reg 500/21
O. Reg 381/12
Instrument Type:
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Drainage Act R.S.O. 1990
Summary of Decision:
The new Minister's Regulation under the Drainage Act has been modified from the regulatory proposal, which was posted on the Environmental Registry, based on the feedback received.

The new streamlined minor improvement process has been modified from the original proposal to:
-Increase the length of time for the completion of an engineer's report from 90 days to 180 days.
-Allow adjacent properties owned by related individuals (e.g. spouses, siblings, parent/child) to be eligible under the minor improvement criteria.
-Include stronger environmental protections as qualifying criteria, such as prohibiting minor improvement projects that are in wetlands or involve drainage enclosures. Projects in wetlands and drainage enclosures will have to go through the existing approval process set out in section 78 of the Drainage Act.
-Eligible projects will also have to demonstrate that the project does not change the existing drainage capacity or erosion potential.

A new minor improvement form has also been developed for the process. This requires a consequential amendment to O. Reg 381/12.

New Prescribed Persons include Ontario Parks if any of its lands will be drained by the drainage works. The Regulation will also clarify that the Council of each Band of each Reserve that may be drained by the drainage works is a prescribed person for proper notification

One of the proposed criteria for the Engineer's Report process was also modified. Any extra cost to the project resulting from the design changes has been increased to 33% from 10%. The regulation also clarifies that the costs apply to the whole project.

Finally, based on stakeholder feedback, the DART Protocol will not be incorporated by reference into the Minister's Regulation at this time. The DART Team will be reconvened to update the DART Protocol for future consideration of incorporation by reference in the regulation. Municipalities who want to use the protocol continue to have ability to do so.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The incremental average annual present value of direct compliance cost savings is estimated to be approximately up to $898,100 with a net cost savings of $809,400. The majority of these cost savings are from the minor improvement process and the reduction in time an engineer would need to spend on a report for an eligible low-risk minor improvement project. These combined province-wide savings would be passed on to property owners who pay for drainage projects. Streamlining the Drainage Act process for minor improvements could also reduce the time required for municipal authorization of a project which could reduce project delays.

New administrative costs are expected with the new Minister's Regulation. These costs relate primarily to learning about the new minor improvement process and process for updating the engineer's report which is outlined in the Regulation. For example, it was estimated that municipalities, drainage engineers, drainage superintendents, conservation authorities and rural property owners would need to spend time learning about the regulation since they would be involved with a minor improvement project or process to update an engineer's report. This is estimated at a one-time cost of $11,900. In addition, assumptions were made as to the amount of time rural property owners in Ontario would need to spend learning about the minor improvement process, which is an estimated one-time cost of $80,200. Some administrative costs ($1,700) are also expected for the municipality to help facilitate the process for the new engineer's process.

This brings the total administrative direct compliance cost to $93,800 for the streamlined minor improvement process and process for updating the engineer's report in the new Minister's Regulation.

There are no compliance costs for the new minor improvement form.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
December 9, 2020
Summary of Proposal:
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is proposing a new Minister's Regulation to implement the amendments that were made to the Drainage Act under the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 (formerly Bill 197), which received Royal Assent on July 21, 2020.

The amendments enable development of a new Minister's Regulation which would:

o Provide a simplified process for minor improvements to municipal drains;
o Simplify the process for approving updates to engineer's reports for changes to the design
made during construction; and,
o Adopt the Drainage Act and Conservation Authorities Act Protocol (DART Protocol) by

The new Minister's regulation would address stakeholder concerns regarding existing municipal
drains while maintaining environmental standards.

The proposed regulation supports the government's commitment to reduce burden and promote economic development by streamlining processes, saving time, cutting costs and reducing project delays.

Please see the Drainage Act Discussion Paper which outlines the proposed changes.
Contact Address:
Effective Date:
June 30, 2021