Legislative Framework for Modernizing Environmental Approvals

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Bill 68
Summary of Decision:
As a result of public consultation on the proposal, the Ministry received a total of 54 comments.
The comments received were considered by the Ministry in developing legislative amendments to the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act to support the Ministry of the Environment’s Modernization of Approvals initiative.

The submissions were generally supportive of the policy paper. Some comments, which will inform later stages of this project, were related to program design (e.g., online systems and how they would function) and to possible future regulations.
Assuming the Bill is passed, as regulations are developed and changes are implemented, the Ministry will continue to consult with a variety of program groups and organizations through the technical working groups, Stakeholder Roundtable, meetings with Aboriginal communities and others, and through future postings on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry.

Draft legislation was introduced on May 17, 2010. Please see schedule 7 of Bill 68, the proposed Open for Business Act, 2010, for more information.

The Ministry has also posted a Proposal Notice for the proposed Open for Business Act, 2010 for public comment. Please see EBR Registry Number 011-0317.

Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
June 23, 2010
Summary of Proposal:
The Ministry has recognized that there are challenges facing the current Certificate of Approvals process in Ontario and, as a result, is considering a possible framework for modernization. The attached document provides details on a proposed approach to amend the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) that would continue to protect the environment and improve service to business. Should the proposed framework be adopted and legislation passed, additional regulatory and policy decisions would also be required.

Over the years, the government has introduced incremental changes to the process to keep the Certificates of Approval system efficient, effective and to improve delivery. Over time, businesses and the government have identified that the approvals process requires broader changes. The most notable aspects of the proposed modernized approvals process are:

- Introducing a new, simplified process for activities that could be categorized as either lower-risk, less-complex or that have standard requirements, while continuing to be protective of the environment and human health
- Creating provisions for single-site, multi-media permits or single, multi-site approvals
- Providing service delivery standards and on-line tools to support government to business interaction for approvals related processes
- Improving public transparency through improved reporting and an on-line public information website to access approvals related information

The proposed framework for a modernized Certificate of Approvals process for Ontario will improve the Ministry’s work in protecting environmental and human health and increase the efficient and effective use of Ministry resources to provide better service to businesses and better transparency to the public.

Contact Address:
Joy Williams
Senior Engineer
Ministry of the Environment
Environmental Programs Division
Program Planning and Implementation Branch
Modernization of Approvals
135 St. Clair avenue West
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 325-7560
Fax: (416) 325-7962
Royal Assent Date:
April 26, 2010