This consultation was open from:
April 5, 2019
to May 21, 2019
We are proposing a regulation that outlines how conservation authorities permit development and other activities for impacts to natural hazards and public safety. The proposed regulation will make rules for development in hazardous areas more consistent to support faster, more predictable and less costly approvals.
Description of the Regulation
Prohibited activities set out in Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act as amended by Schedule 4 of the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 include:
- Development in areas related to natural hazards such as floodplains, shorelines, wetlands and hazardous lands (i.e. lands that could be unsafe for development because of naturally occurring processes associated with flooding, erosion, dynamic beaches or unstable soil or bedrock); and
- Interference with or alterations to a watercourse or wetland.
The Ministry is proposing to create a regulation further defining the ability of a conservation authority to regulate prohibited development and other activities for impacts to the control of flooding and other natural hazards.
This regulation would replace Ontario Regulation 97/04 which governs the content of conservation authority regulations under the current Section 28(1) of the Act, as well as all existing conservation authority regulations (O.Reg. 42/06, O.Reg. 146-148, O.Reg. 150-153, O.Reg. 155-172, O.Reg. 174-182, and O.Reg. 319/09).
Consolidating and harmonizing the existing 36 individual conservation authority-approved regulations into 1 Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry approved regulation will help to ensure consistency in requirements across all conservation authorities while still allowing for local flexibility based on differences in risks posed by flooding and other natural hazards.
For the purposes of this regulation the Ministry is also proposing to:
- Update definitions for key regulatory terms to better align with other provincial policy, including: “wetland”, “watercourse” and “pollution”;
- Defining undefined terms including: “interference” and “conservation of land” as consistent with the natural hazard management intent of the regulation;
- Reduce regulatory restrictions between 30m and 120m of a wetland and where a hydrological connection has been severed;
- Exempt low-risk development activities from requiring a permit including certain alterations and repairs to existing municipal drains subject to the Drainage Act provided they are undertaken in accordance with the Drainage Act and Conservation Authorities Act Protocol;
- Allow conservation authorities to further exempt low-risk development activities from requiring a permit provided in accordance with conservation authority policies;
- Require conservation authorities to develop, consult on, make publicly available and periodically review internal policies that guide permitting decisions;
- Require conservation authorities to notify the public of changes to mapped regulated areas such as floodplains or wetland boundaries; and
- Require conservation authorities to establish, monitor and report on service delivery standards including requirements and timelines for determination of complete applications and timelines for permit decisions.
These regulations are a critical component of Ontario’s approach to reducing risks posed by flooding and other natural hazards and strengthening Ontario’s resiliency to extreme weather events.
Ensuring conservation authority permitting decisions focus and deliver on their core mandate of protecting people and property from flooding and other natural hazards is part of the government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to help communities and families prepare and respond to climate change. The proposed changes will also provide the business sector with a clear and consistent regulatory environment in which to operate and will help to make approval processes faster, more predictable and less costly.
As more extreme weather events occur that threaten our homes, businesses and infrastructure, it’s important to ensure conservation authorities deliver on their core mandate for protecting people and property from flooding and other natural hazards. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of these regulations is critical component of this government’s strategy for strengthening Ontario’s resiliency to extreme weather events.
Once established, the province is also proposing to bring into force un-proclaimed sections of the Conservation Authorities Act associated with conservation authority permitting decisions and regulatory enforcement.
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is consulting on a proposal to ensure that conservation authorities focus and deliver on their core mandate, and to improve the governance of conservation authorities. For more information, visit Environmental Registry notice 013-5018.
Public consultation opportunity
Written comments and other feedback related to this posting can be sent directly to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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