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The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is pleased to present the following submission concerning the Excess Soil Management Regulatory Proposal (herein referred to as the Proposal).

OSPE is the voice of the engineering profession in Ontario. As an organization, we advance the professional and economic interests of our members, many of who work in the environmental and construction sectors. OSPE is pleased to respond to this notice for public comments about the Proposal.

OSPE representatives have been active participants in numerous MOECC led meetings to gather input from stakeholders and practitioners knowledgeable about excess soil management. We are grateful for the invitations to these meetings and our advisory role in these discussions are vital activities that fulfill OSPE’s mandate to contribute to policy development and to demonstrate the vital role that engineers play in environmental stewardship.

Comments below refer specifically to the information outlined in the EBR 013-2774 notice.

OSPE Comments


OSPE commends the MOECC and the Ontario Government for introducing a regulatory framework for the management of excess soil that would clarify the responsibility of those projects that generate excess soil (“source site responsibility”). The new proposed regulation is clear and well-thought-out and based on the input and observations of excess soil stakeholders and practitioners. The MOECC and related ministries have listened to their citizens.

As outlined below, OSPE has a few comments about the new proposed regulation.

Revised Approach to Waste Designation and Reuse of Excess Soil:

MOECC listened to the clear and almost unanimous message from its stakeholders that the carte blanche designation that all excess soil be deemed waste from the time it leaves the property is not acceptable. OSPE fully supports the revised approach that now classifies excess soils directly reused in accordance with the new proposed regulation as not waste.

The three points defining when excess soil is being reused and therefore not waste are a definite improvement over previous iterations and reduce the complexity of the rules in the On-Site and excess Soil Management Regulation. As well, if the excess soil is designated as waste, the proposed regulation is clear in defining when waste Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs) are not required. This is especially important so that haulers transporting excess soil have a clear understanding of when they are exempt from waste approvals. However, when an excess soil hauling record is required, OSPE still has concerns over the accuracy and standardization of records to be filled out by haulers.

Excess Soil Management Plans:

MOECC followed OSPE and other stakeholder recommendations and raised the threshold when an ESMP may not be required to less than 2,000m3 from 1,000m3, providing that clearly defined criteria are met. OSPE supports the revised threshold and the clearly defined criteria for the exemption.

OSPE continues to support the requirement that ESMPs be prepared and certified by a QP. It will be critical that QPs have appropriate training, experience and awareness of best practices to achieve the desired outcomes of the proposed regulation. PEO and APGO must take an active role in enforcement to ensure that QPs are indeed qualified as the current definition of a QP in O.Reg. 153/04 does not alone achieve this. We recommend that PEO and APGO continue an ongoing dialogue and partnership with the MOECC ensure that QPs remain aware of, and conduct work in conformance with, MOECC expectations, evolving best practices and underpinning science.


While OSPE supports soil reuse for the purposes of reducing the carbon footprint of projects, we also support the proposed regulations for the purpose of protecting our soil and water resources, and for the opportunities the proposed legislation creates for businesses to employ innovative solutions to reduce the volume of soil requiring disposal at landfill and, the associated trucking and tippage costs. Passing of the legislation will provide practitioners and project owners with greater certainty of expectations when managing excess soil. OSPE encourages the MOECC to seek Cabinet approval for the regulation sooner than later.

OSPE supports complementary amendments to O. Reg. 153/04, aligning the requirements in O. Reg. 153/04 for soil being taken to RSC of phase two properties. OSPE, along with other stakeholders, are pleased that the requirements under the excess soil regulation will be phased in over time.

Other Comments:

OSPE is pleased that the MOECC considered our recommendation to provide options for the extension of the holding period of temporary soil storage. We support the option for a project owner to extend the temporary holding period in consultation with the MOECC District office.

OSPE agrees that the new definitions concerning when an ESMP is not required are much clearer and streamlined than the prior proposed regulation, specifically, Section 6: Requirement to prepare excess soil management plan. It also addresses the concerns OSPE expressed about the vagueness of wording in terms of what types of infrastructure are exempted.

OSPE is also pleased that the new proposed regulation is much clearer in terms of what is needed to be recorded in an ESMP (Section 7: Requirements RE: preparation, contents of plan). As well, it is commendable that procedures for the project leader and QP in the preparation of the ESMP have been clearly outlined (Section 8: Procedures to be included in plan).

While the proposed regulation provides clearer definitions of transportation of soil and its tracking, OSPE still has concerns regarding the accuracy and standardization of these mechanisms given that they may be monitored and implemented by numerous and varied types of individuals. These concerns may be mitigated by disseminating best practices documents based on experience gained in the implantation of the new regulation.

The BRAT will be a useful and practical tool. We support the recognition that preparation of a BRAT may be completed by a QP as described in Sections 5 or 6 of O.Reg. 153/04 and agree that a risk assessment continue to be limited to a QP as defined in Section 6.

Overall, OSPE supports the new proposed regulation, guidelines, and tools. We commend MOECC for their efforts in developing them. We look forward to continued engagement with the MOECC on this and other matters.