Regulation - LGIC

Updating environmental assessment requirements for transmission lines

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Assessment Act
Summary of Decision:
To help support expanded access to lower carbon energy sources from Ontario's electricity grid, we have aligned our thresholds that determine which transmission lines require an individual environmental assessment with thresholds used by the Federal government for international electrical transmission lines.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
There are no direct compliance costs or new administrative burdens associated with the proposed regulation. Cost savings to proponents are anticipated as a result of following the Class EA process to address the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act compared to completing an individual EA.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
July 5, 2021
Summary of Proposal:
Ontario is updating the almost 50-year-old Environmental Assessment (EA) program to support building safer and stronger communities, while maintaining environmental protection. As part of our modernization efforts, we are proposing changes to the environmental assessment requirements for certain transmission line projects, under the Environmental Assessment Act.

These proposed changes, if approved, will update the EA requirements for critical transmission infrastructure, while ensuring strong environmental protections are in place. These changes will support expanded access to lower carbon energy sources from Ontario's electricity grid, promote regional economic development and shorten-times for building critical infrastructure projects across the province. The proposal will also benefit First Nations Communities by streamlining the process for off-grid communities in the Far North to connect to the transmission network.

Proposed changes to thresholds
We are proposing to change the provincial voltage and distance thresholds for transmission lines that require an individual environmental assessment. The proposed changes would align with the thresholds in the federal regulation under the federal Impact Assessment Act that designates international electrical transmission lines, namely 75 kilometres (km) or longer and a voltage of 345 kilovolts (kV) or greater.

We are proposing that establishing transmission lines:
- 75 km or more in length and 345 kV or greater in voltage would be required to complete an individual environmental assessment.
- more than 2 km in length and with a nominal voltage of 115 kV or more, but which do not meet the criteria for an individual environmental assessment, would follow the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (Class EA), as amended from time to time.

This proposal relates only to establishing transmission lines that are not associated with generation facilities that are subject to the Environmental Screening Process under O.Reg. 116/01 (Electricity Projects).
Contact Address:
Environmental Assessment Modernization Branch
135 St Clair Ave West
4th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Effective Date:
January 1, 2022