Geologic Carbon Storage in Ontario

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act
Summary of Proposal:
See the Environmental Registry of Ontario notice for the details of the proposal.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
This paper explores three possible changes:

1. Narrowing the prohibitions under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act and Mining Act that relate to the injection of carbon dioxide for permanent storage.

• no change to regulatory compliance costs. Businesses are expected to benefit from the improved clarity around the prohibition and under the Mining Act, the signal that there may be future opportunities to use Crown-owned resources for carbon storage (future regulation changes would also be required before Crown resources could be used).

2. Creating the ability for NDMNRF to enter into agreements, under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, with companies that want to use wells to explore, test, pilot or demonstrate new technologies (such as carbon storage) in relation to wells used for oil, gas, solution-mined salt and underground storage. For activities that are not currently regulated under this act, entering into an agreement would make that specific project subject to the act but entering into an agreement is voluntary for proponents.

• any change to regulatory compliance costs would be voluntary for proponents. The details around the requirements of individual agreements would be project-specific and is expected to vary significantly depending on the nature of each project. We plan to solicit input from industry about potential costs that may be incurred as well as advice from the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade regarding how to consider present costs that are associated with voluntary agreements in future communications.

3. Enhancing existing protections by allowing for the issuance of orders to prevent risks to the public or environment and strengthening the accountability of corporate directors involved in activities regulated under this act.

• no change to regulatory compliance costs expected. Existing provisions in the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act already address public and environmental safety and preventative orders are proposed to allow the ministry to direct action prior to an impact occurring, but only when there are reasonable grounds to expect impacts. Corporate directors can already be held accountable for offenses committed under this act, but new provisions would provide clear authority for the ministry to consider the conduct of a corporation or its directors, in decisions made under the act.

There are no annual administrative costs to business anticipated from these proposed changes. Proponents that choose to enter into an agreement may be required to undertake studies, consultations, monitoring and reporting activities, etc. as a part of the agreement, but entering into agreements would be voluntary.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
January 11, 2022
Comments Due Date:
March 14, 2022