Moving to a project list approach under the Environmental Assessment Act (updated)
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Assessment Act
Summary of Proposal:
Ontario is taking continued action to modernize its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment process that is not reflective of best practices and that places undue burden on proponents that may not lead to environmental benefits and results in unnecessary cost for critical infrastructure projects.
As part of modernizing the EA process, we are proposing changes that allow more projects to follow a streamlined EA process.
These proposed changes will better align Ontario with other jurisdictions across Canada, including the federal government, who use project lists to determine the types of projects that must complete a comprehensive environmental assessment.
Projects that are proposed to follow a streamlined process will continue to ensure environmental oversight and robust consultation prior to the project being able to proceed.
Environmental standards and protections will remain in place and continue to be a top priority for the government as we work to ensure Ontario has good paying jobs, affordable housing and a strong economy.
Changes to Proposal
In November 2021, Ontario consulted on proposed regulations and related actions to move to a project-list approach to designate projects that would require a comprehensive environmental assessment (currently referred to as an individual environmental assessment) under the Environmental Assessment Act.
Ontario is now seeking input on revisions to the proposal to allow for more projects to follow a streamlined process to reduce timelines for these projects while continuing to provide opportunities for consultation and environmental oversight.
The revised proposal is to move all transportation (highways and rail) and electricity transmission projects that had been proposed for a comprehensive EA to a streamlined EA process. The revised proposal also includes a new transition provision for waterfront projects.
The revised proposal does not include any changes to what was previously proposed for waste projects, waterpower facilities or large oil electricity generation facilities.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Overall, savings are anticipated where a project is able to follow a streamlined process as a result of the Comprehensive EA Projects regulation.
Direct costs or administrative burdens associated with the Comprehensive EA Projects Regulation and related actions are not anticipated.
The new framework would provide clarity for the regulated community and others on which projects are subject to the requirements of a comprehensive. This represents a net reduction in the administrative burden on the regulated community.
March 10, 2023
Comments Due Date:
May 9, 2023
August 2023 Update: Ontario is implementing some policy elements from the November 2021 proposal Moving to a Project List Approach under the Environmental Assessment Act. An update is provided on that proposal notice, available at the link below.