Moving to a Project List Approach under the Environmental Assessment Act
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Assessment Act
Summary of Proposal:
The July 2020 amendments to the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) enabled, among other things, the move to a project list approach, which means that projects that require a comprehensive environmental assessment (EA) (previously known as an individual EA) will be listed in the regulation rather than being based mainly on who is proposing the project.
Taking this approach will better align Ontario with other jurisdictions across Canada, who use project lists to determine the types of projects that must complete an EA. The shift to a Comprehensive EA Project List would ensure environmental safeguards are in place and allow us to align some of our thresholds with those of the federal government for key sectors.
Under the proposal, most project types that currently require a comprehensive EA will continue to need one. However, we are proposing a few changes to allow some projects to instead follow a streamlined process which will continue to ensure environmental oversight and robust consultation prior to the project being able to proceed.
To move to a project list approach, we are proposing the following:
- designating and exempting regulation: new regulation identifying the projects that would be subject to comprehensive EA requirements (comprehensive EA projects regulation); this regulation would also replace O. Reg. 101/07 (Waste Management) and O. Reg. 116/01 (Electricity Projects), and the exemption in O. Reg. 231/08 (Transit Projects and Metrolinx Undertakings). The Waste Projects and Electricity Projects regulations would be revoked, and the Transit Projects regulation would be amended.
- amendments to O. Reg. 231/08 (to maintain the Project Assessment Process in O. Reg. 231/08)
- amendments to class environmental assessments (to ensure alignment between class EAs and the projects that would be subject to comprehensive EA requirements) and revoking the Class EA for GO Transit Facilities
- new regulation exempting some projects from the EAA (this new regulation will replace Regulation 334 General)
- complementary amendments to regulations made under statutes other than the EAA
- complementary amendments to and revocations of regulations and orders made under the EAA
- new transitional and general matters regulation, which sets out transition rules and general matters.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
There are no anticipated direct costs or new administrative burdens associated with the proposed comprehensive EA projects regulation and related actions. While the proposal could result in a minor, temporary increase in administrative costs mostly associated with the time taken to learn about the proposed regulatory framework, the impact to the regulated community is anticipated to be negligible.
The proposed framework will provide clarity and transparency for the regulated community and others when it comes to determining which projects would be subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. This would result in a net reduction in the administrative burden on the regulated community.
November 26, 2021
Comments Due Date:
January 25, 2022