Proposed legislative amendments to the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021 under the Less Red Tape, Stronger Economy Act, 2023

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021
Summary of Proposal:
Proposed legislative amendments to the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021 and subsequent regulatory changes

1.Collection of Utility Infrastructure Data

Section 20.1 of the BBFA authorizes the Minister to collect utility infrastructure data from those who own or operate infrastructure within 10 metres of a designated broadband project to inform the construction of the project.

Efforts during implementation have shown that the provision to be "within 10 metres of a designated broadband project" may not be sufficient to inform internet service providers' (ISP) network design processes in some circumstances, resulting in multiple iterations of network design and subsequent data requests in those cases. A broader scoping of the geographic area to which data requests apply would enable data collection that could better inform network design.

A proposed amendment to the BBFA would, if passed, authorize the Minister to make regulations that clarify the geographic area for which infrastructure owners must submit data. Following this, MOI would propose a Minister's regulation that would allow data requests to apply to a broader geographic area to streamline processes for design and construction of projects.

2.Municipal service and right of way (ROW) access

Under Section 10.1 of the BBFA, municipalities are required to respond to requests for ROW access from ISPs within 10 or 15 business days, during which time the municipality must either approve the request or inform the ISP of a material deficiency/issue that, according to the municipality, the ISP must address to obtain approval.

Currently, some municipalities may require ISPs to enter into municipal access agreements as a condition for permit approvals and cite their absence as a material deficiency under the BBFA. Negotiations over municipal access agreements may cause significant delays to project timelines.

A proposed amendment to the BBFA, if passed, would authorize the Minister to make regulations that would aim to provide more clarity on permissible delays for municipal permitting.

3.Definition of 'proponent'

The current definition of a "proponent" under the BBFA means "a person who carries out or proposes to carry out or is the owner or person having charge, management of a project". The proposed technical housekeeping amendment would replace "project" with "broadband project" to further clarify/align with the BBFA.

Building Broadband Faster in Ontario Guideline

Released on November 30, 2021, the Guideline was developed by MOI, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and partner ministries to provide clarity and guidance on processes and timelines for broadband projects. The Guideline was updated on August 4, 2022 to reflect changes made under the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022. MOI is proposing another update to the Guideline to include:

•Dispute Resolution: New information on pathways for resolving disputes between parties to support compliance with the BBFA and speed up deployment
•Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Permitting Process: Revise to reflect the new MTO permit instructions/processes related to broadband projects
•Cost Apportionment: Additional guidance on cost apportionment of make-ready work between the proponent of a designated broadband project and a distributor
•Regulatory Amendments: Revise information on existing BBFA regulations, including amendments made to O. Reg. 436/22 and the revocation of O. Reg. 782/21
•General: Ensure guideline is up-to-date
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
Proposed legislative amendments to the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021 and subsequent regulatory changes

The proposed legislative amendments to the BBFA would, if passed, have a limited impact on the resources of municipalities and those who own or operate utility infrastructure, who currently must adhere to service timelines and submit data upon request. As the proposed legislative amendments do not create any new requirements in and of themselves, they are not expected to result in any significant cost increases or adverse impacts for impacted stakeholders and small businesses, including municipalities and infrastructure owners.

Where resource burden arises, (e.g., smaller municipalities) tools would be available to support their activities. Infrastructure Ontario has established the Technical Assistance Team to provide support to municipalities related to permit requests and would explore opportunities to support the timely development of municipal access agreements.

The proposed amendments, if passed, are anticipated to result in cost savings for ISPs undertaking designated broadband projects due to streamlined processes for data collection and network design as well as increased opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure for broadband deployment. The proposal is expected to benefit ISPs and Ontarians by expediting construction of broadband infrastructure and provision of high-speed internet access.

If passed, the proposal would be implemented through the creation of Minister's regulations that would clarify the existing requirements related to municipal permit approvals and related to data collection from those who own or operate utility infrastructure. If these possible subsequent regulations are expected to create significant compliance costs, MOI would consider their impact through a subsequent regulatory impact assessment.

Building Broadband Faster in Ontario Guideline

The proposed updates to the Guideline would not introduce any compliance costs not already outlined in previous legislation or regulation. Additionally, the updates would not impose costs on small businesses. Many small businesses across Ontario will benefit from access to high-speed internet.

An updated Guideline would result in significant benefits. The regulated sector benefits from the timely updates to the Guideline as it successfully provides improved clarity of the requirements in legislation and regulation. As such, timely updates to the Guideline would provide project proponents, utilities, municipalities, and those who own or operate utility infrastructure with plain language information about the new dispute resolution framework, cost apportionment, and the Ministry of Transportation's permitting process for broadband projects.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
April 6, 2023
Comments Due Date:
May 21, 2023
Contact Address:
Ministry of Infrastructure
Broadband Strategic Policy and Analytics Branch
College Park
777 Bay St
4th Flr Suite 425
ON M5G 2E5