Providing Authority to Waive or Alter the 30-day Waiting Period for Class Environmental Assessment Projects
Bill or Act:
Bill 69: Reducing Inefficiencies Act (Infrastructure Statute Law Amendments), 2023
Summary of Decision:
Bill 69, Reducing Inefficiencies Act (Infrastructure Statute Law Amendments), 2023 received Royal Assent on May 18, 2023. Schedule 1 of the Act amends the Environmental Assessment Act to provide the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks the authority to waive or alter the 30-day waiting period after the completion of a Class EA process. This amendment came into force on Royal Assent.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
There are no direct compliance costs or new administrative burdens associated with the legislative amendment.
Savings and burden reductions are not provided by this proposal as it would give the Minister the authority to alter or waive the 30-day waiting period. Time savings for proponents are anticipated, where the Minister exercises the authority. The change would benefit proponents, such as municipalities and developers by allowing construction to begin sooner.
February 27, 2023
Summary of Proposal:
Currently, there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period following the public comment period specified in a notice of completion or addendum (the waiting period) for a project required to undergo a Class EA process. The waiting period provides the Minister with an opportunity to consider intervening under Section 16 of the Environmental Assessment Act on their own initiative by issuing an order to require a higher level of assessment or to impose additional conditions on a project before it may proceed (Section 16 Order).
Subsection 15.1.1 (5) of the Environmental Assessment Act prohibits a person from proceeding with a Class EA project or a change to a Class EA project during the waiting period. This prohibition applies even if the minister does not intend to intervene.
We are proposing an amendment to the Environmental Assessment Act to provide the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks with the authority to make an order providing that the prohibition in subsection 15.1.1 (5) ceases to apply. An order could only be made following the public comment period provided for under a Class EA. The proposed amendment would not impact existing Class EA requirements, and the ability to request a Section 16 Order would continue. This proposed amendment would help projects to be built sooner, where the Minister exercises the proposed new authority. We are also proposing to repeal certain transition provisions in the Act related to amendments made in 2020, as these provisions are no longer needed. These proposed amendments are set out in Schedule 1 of Bill 69 (Reducing Inefficiencies Act (Infrastructure Statute Law Amendments), 2023).
Environmental Assessment Modernization Branch
135 St Clair Ave West
Royal Assent Date:
May 18, 2023