Regulation - LGIC

Streamlining environmental permissions for Stormwater Management under the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry and exemptions for private residential stormwater management works

Regulation Number(s):
Ontario Regulation 525/98
Ontario Regulation 287/07
Instrument Type:
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act, Clean Water Act
Summary of Proposal:
1.New Regulation made under the Environmental Protection Act
Ontario is proposing a new regulation under the Environmental Protection Act to expand the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR), Ontario's online self-registration system, for certain businesses and residential properties that manage stormwater. Proponents of activities that are eligible to self-register on the EASR must follow rules in regulation and as such, would not require an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). This means that registrants would not have to wait up to a year for a ministry review but instead, can proceed with the activity immediately after self-registration. The new regulation would allow self-registration for eligible stormwater management (SWM) works servicing the following types of activities, commercial, institutional, light industrial, and multi-unit residential. We propose the following eligibility criteria to register SWM works on the EASR:
1. SWM works must be privately owned, i.e., not owned or to be assumed by a municipality
2. SWM works must service only the following types of sites:
a. institutional, commercial, or light industrial sites, where:
i. any processing, repair or maintenance activities is being conducted indoors; and
ii. any outdoor handling or storage of soil raw material, intermediate, finished or by-
products is contained in a manner to ensure there is no contact with stormwater.
b. multi-unit residential sites, discharging to combined sewers, or the natural environment
Before registering, a licensed engineering practitioner (LEP) must be retained to complete an evaluation of the site and an assessment, including identifying whether the works are a significant drinking water threat (SDWT).

2. Proposed Amendments to Ontario Regulation 525/98 under the Ontario Water Resources Act

Ontario is proposing to expand on the exemptions in Ontario Regulation 525/98 for low impact development (LID) works. LID is a stormwater management strategy that seeks to mitigate the impacts of increased runoffs by managing runoff close to the source. Examples of LIDs include:
• infiltration trenches
• swales
• permeable pavements
• rain gardens
Ontario is proposing to add exemptions for drainage works for roadways and railways, including railway projects by Metrolinx that are not already captured under the OWRA.

3.Proposed Amendments to Regulations made under the Clean Water Act, 2006
The ministry considered how risks to sources of drinking water could be managed under an EASR framework and determined that risks can be addressed by the rules proposed in the new EASR regulation. The proposed EASR regulation also proposes to maintain any prohibitions in source protection plans on the establishment of SWM works that are SDWT. As a result, we propose to amend Ontario Regulation 287/07 by removing the need for, limiting, or restricting the types of policies to be included in source protection plans where a SDWT is being managed through an EASR registration or prohibition. We propose to allow for amendments to be made to source protection plans without undergoing the existing amendment processes if removing policies that are no longer operative. This would reduce duplication while ensuring the ongoing protection of sources of drinking water.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposal is expected to reduce burden on the regulated community and reduce regulatory red tape for sectors such as housing, development and industrial operations.

The proposal would remove the requirement to obtain an ECA for certain stormwater management works by requiring self-registration for some stormwater management works and providing an exemption from an environmental permission for others. This would result in an overall reduction in the time, cost and resources that businesses and communities spend on seeking environmental permissions from the ministry.

The proposal would allow businesses to begin operations and infrastructure projects faster which is beneficial for the community. The changes also reduce burden for housing and infrastructure projects which supports efforts to create much needed housing supply in Ontario, boosts the province's economy and supports job creation.

We are working to develop a Regulatory Impact Assessment to determine potential costs or estimated savings related to this proposal. Please see the discussion paper for specific questions about cost considerations.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
August 31, 2023
Comments Due Date:
October 30, 2023