Proposal to exempt projects or activities related to land claim settlements and other agreements with Indigenous communities from the Environmental Assessment Act

ERO number
019-1805
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Environmental Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
July 8, 2020 - August 22, 2020 (45 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
August 22, 2020

Proposal summary

We are proposing to exempt projects or activities related to land claim settlements, and other agreements with Indigenous communities dealing with land, from the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. This will reduce burden and eliminate duplication as part of our plan to modernize Ontario’s environmental assessment program.

Proposal details

Environmental assessment modernization

Ontario is updating its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment (EA) program to support building safer and stronger communities. In our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, we committed to supporting environmental planning by addressing duplication, and improving processes and service standards to reduce delays.

We are committed to building a strong EA program that considers the input of local communities and focuses on projects that have the highest impact to the environment.

Proposed changes

Currently under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA), these projects or activities, as a result of the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs’ (IAO) settlements or agreements, may be undertaken by several proponent ministries (e.g. Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services) with requirements under various class environmental assessments.

These types of projects or activities related to land claim settlements typically do not impact the current use of a property and have low-impact on the environment.

IAO has existing land settlement or agreement processes that can provide:

  • a mechanism to address the evaluation and consultation for these projects and activities with government agencies and the public
  • an opportunity to fulfill the Crown’s duty to consult

As such, it is not necessary to undertake additional consultation or evaluation under the EAA. The proposed changes would:

  • result in a single process for evaluation and consultation
  • ensure stakeholders have one-window for consultation and issues resolution
  • eliminate duplication
  • shorten timelines
  • reduce overall cost of settling Indigenous land claims

The proposed exemption would apply to projects or activities resulting from a land claim settlement, or other agreement between Ontario, an Indigenous community and typically Canada regarding land or an interest in land. This includes, but is not be limited to:

  • the disposition, release or transfer of land, interests in land or related interests in Crown resources
  • the acquisition or acceptance of land or interests in land
  • activities carried out in advance of or to prepare lands for disposition or transfer, including allowing interim uses of lands or related Crown resources by the Indigenous community

Implementation and timelines

If the proposed exemption is approved, there would no longer be any requirements for these projects or activities under various class environmental assessments under the EAA.

If any of these types of projects or activities are subject to a declaration order at the time the regulation comes into force, they would not be affected by the regulation.

Other information

An Indigenous land claim is a formal submission of an Indigenous community stating that it has legal entitlement in respect of land. For additional information regarding Indigenous land claims, please see the link below.

Burden reduction

There are no direct compliance costs or new administrative burdens associated with the proposed regulatory amendments for this proposal, as there are existing processes to address the requirements of the EAA. There are also other applicable provincial and federal approvals and permits that would still be required.

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