Proposed regulatory amendments to Ontario Regulation 267/03 under the Nutrient Management Act

ERO number
013-4388
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Nutrient Management Act, 2002
Posted by
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
January 8, 2019 - February 22, 2019 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
January 8, 2019
to February 22, 2019

Decision summary

Ontario is implementing changes to the General Regulation under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 to reduce administrative burden and provide more business opportunities for farmers while protecting the environment and human health.

Decision details

Nutrient Management Act and General Regulation

In Ontario, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (NMA) provides for the management of materials containing nutrients in ways that will enhance the protection of the natural environment and provide a sustainable future for agricultural operations and rural development. The General Regulation regulates the management of prescribed materials on agricultural operations, including their storage and application. Prescribed materials means ASM (e.g. manure) and NASM (e.g. sewage biosolids). The Regulation requires certain agricultural operations to have a nutrient management strategy (NMS), nutrient management plan (NMP) or a non-agricultural source material (NASM) plan completed by a certified person to ensure that prescribed materials are managed appropriately and in accordance with the General Regulation. The NMA is jointly administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). An OMAFRA Director approves NMSs and NASM plans and MECP ensures compliance.

Amendment Proposal

Between January 8, 2019 and February 22, 2019, Ontario posted a notice for proposed amendments to O. Reg. 267/03 (General) as part of Ontario’s Open for Business Action Plan. Expected outcomes include reducing burden and ensuring the requirements are outcome-focused and evidence-based, while continuing to protect the environment. There are two main changes to the regulation included in the proposal.

1) Removing the Automatic Cessation of a Nutrient Management Strategy After Five Years

The automatic cessation of a NMS after five years is being removed from the General Regulation. Farmers will no longer be required to complete a new NMS every five years, reducing administrative burden while maintaining the same level of environmental protections. The amendment will not affect when an agricultural operation needs a NMS and the NMS would still have to be prepared by a certified person. Cessation triggers related to new or expanded livestock housing or manure storage, changes to anaerobic digesters, or changes to ownership or control will remain unchanged. Operators subject to a NMS will still need to conduct an annual review and prepare any update(s) to the strategy. This is an existing requirement. Environmental protection will be enhanced by clarifying the annual review and update process.

2) Including Lower Risk Manures from Non-Farm Grazing Animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM)

Lower-risk manures, from non-farm herbivorous animals such as zebra, elephant or kangaroo are being re-categorized as a Category 1 NASM. A non-farm herbivorous animal is a mammal that is not a farm animal or a primate and whose primary diet, in its natural state, is obtained by grazing or browsing on herbivorous materials. The runoff from storage containing manure from these animals, runoff from animal yards used by these animals and washwaters from the housing of these animals will also be re-categorized as NASM 1. This amendment will apply to businesses that generate these materials and agricultural operations looking to utilize these materials as a crop nutrient source and could help promote improved recycling of these materials. Once in effect, a NASM Plan and OMAFRA approval will no longer be required for application of these materials since they would be designated as a Category 1 NASM rather than a Category 3 NASM. These materials will be subject to the Category 1 NASM land application rules. Furthermore, these materials will be given an OC 1 odour category through an update to Table 3 of the Nutrient Management Tables. The Nutrient Management Tables are adopted by reference and this Decision Posting is a notice of the amendment to Table 3 for the purposes of subsection 60(6) of the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 and these changes to Table 3 are effective as of the date of this posting.

Comments received

Through the registry

15

By email

7

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

During the 45 day consultation period, a total of 19 comments were received. Most of the feedback from the consultation was supportive of the two proposed amendments. A decision was made to proceed with the proposed amendments as they were posted, with the addition of the following changes in response to comments received and to improve clarity and reduce inconsistencies in the regulation:

  • Clarifying that a nutrient management strategy, nutrient management plan (NMP) and a NASM plan should be treated as a “living document” representing a single record that is updated from time to time;
  • Clarifying the annual review and update process associated with NMS’s, NMPs and NASM plans;
  • Clarifying the definition of commercial fertilizer, the meaning of manure and the accounting of prescribed materials in NMSs;
  • Making the NASM plan amendment requirements more consistent with the NMS amendment requirements; and
  • Clarifying that manure generated by farm animals, and associated runoff, located at a non-agricultural operation is agricultural source material which responds to stakeholder comment.

Supporting materials

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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
Address

1 Stone Road West
Ontario Government Building, 2nd floor, Southwest
Guelph, ON
N1G 4Y2
Canada

Office phone number

Connect with us

Contact

Greg DeVos

Phone number
Email address
Office
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
Address

1 Stone Road West
Ontario Government Building, 2nd floor, Southwest
Guelph, ON
N1G 4Y2
Canada

Office phone number

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Original proposal

ERO number
013-4388
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Nutrient Management Act, 2002
Posted by
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Proposal posted

Comment period

January 8, 2019 - February 22, 2019 (45 days)

Proposal details

Nutrient Management Act and General Regulation

In Ontario, the Nutrient Management Act (NMA) provides for the management of nutrients in ways that provide for the protection of the natural environment and also provide a sustainable future for agricultural operations and rural development.

The General Regulation regulates the management of a variety of prescribed materials (e.g. on-farm and off-farm materials).  The Regulation prescribes rules for the management of prescribed materials on an agricultural operation, including their storage and application.  The Regulation requires certain agricultural operations to have a nutrient management strategy (NMS), nutrient management plan (NMP) or a non-agricultural source material (NASM) plan completed by a certified preparer. These documents are intended to outline the management processes and expectations to be taken by the operation to comply with the various regulatory rules through a systematic assessment process.

The NMA is jointly administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). OMAFRA approves strategies and plans and MECP ensures compliance.

Removing the Automatic Cessation of a Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) After Five Years

Once a NMS is approved and in force at an agricultural operation, there are a number of different situations that would result in its cessation (i.e. its expiry) requiring a renewal. One of these situations is the fifth anniversary of the day on which the NMS was either approved or last prepared.

We are proposing to remove the automatic cessation of a nutrient management strategy after five years. Producers would no longer be required to complete a new nutrient management strategy every five years, reducing administrative burden. The proposed regulation would not affect when an agricultural operation needed a NMS and the NMS would still need to be prepared by a certified person. The other cessation situations would remain unchanged in the Regulation, and a farmer would require a new NMS when there is: 1) a new or expanded livestock housing or manure storage; 2) some changes to an anaerobic digester; or 3) if there is a change in ownership (under certain circumstances only).

Including Low Risk Manures from Non-Farm Grazing Animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM

The Regulation includes three categories of NASM: Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3. Each category has different regulatory requirements. Manures from non-farm grazing animals, such as zebra, elephant or kangaroo, are currently categorized as Category 3 NASM which has the most stringent rules associated with its management. These include sampling and analysis requirements and a requirement to have a certified person prepare a NASM plan and submit it to the Director for approval.

We are proposing to re-categorize low-risk manures from non-farm grazing animals as a Category 1 NASM. This proposed amendment would apply to businesses and agricultural operations looking to utilize these manures as a crop nutrient source and could help promote improved recycling of these materials. Under the proposed amendment, a NASM Plan and OMAFRA approval would no longer be required for application of these materials since they would be designated as a Category 1 NASM rather than a Category 3 NASM. These manures would still be subject to the Category 1 NASM land application rules.

Analysis of Regulatory Impact

It is anticipated that there would be no net increase in burden to businesses.

The proposed changes will benefit agricultural operations by reducing administrative burden and reducing compliance costs. Minimal administrative costs could include the time required by agricultural operators to read and understand the regulatory changes, should they be approved.

Removing the automatic cessation of a nutrient management strategy after five years will reduce administrative burden by removing the requirement to prepare a new nutrient management strategy every five years, even if there were no changes to the operation.

Including low-risk manures from non-farm grazing animals as Category 1 Non-Agricultural Source Material (NASM) will eliminate sampling and analysis requirements and eliminate the need to prepare a NASM Plan.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from January 8, 2019
to February 22, 2019

Connect with us

Contact

Greg DeVos

Phone number
Email address
Office
Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch
Address

1 Stone Road West
Ontario Government Building, 2nd floor, Southwest
Guelph, ON
N1G 4Y2
Canada

Office phone number