This notice is for informational purposes only. There is no requirement to consult on this initiative on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. Learn more about the types of notices on the registry.
Why consultation isn't required
The health and well-being of Ontarians is the government’s number one priority. These are unprecedented times and this serious situation has evolved quickly. That is why our government has taken decisive action to do whatever we can to keep individuals and families safe and stop the spread of this terrible virus.
As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, we are working to ensure our government is able to quickly respond to time-sensitive needs so operations can continue, and goods and services can be delivered to the people of Ontario. That is why we have temporarily exempted the requirement to post proposals for acts, regulations, policies and instruments to the Environmental Registry for up to 30 days after Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency is lifted.
Environmental protections continue to be a vital consideration in all government decision-making.
We are committed to continuing public transparency on environmental decision making and have posted this bulletin to inform the public about our decisions during this unprecedented emergency period.
Nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians. Ontario recognizes that some developers and municipalities have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are taking necessary steps to protect the health of all Ontarians while ensuring continuity of important operations and protecting the environment.
While environmental protection remains a priority, we recognize that in some cases temporary relief from government regulations may be needed to maintain operations due to staff shortages or to support physical distancing, and to support quick response to emergencies.
Delayed implementation of the excess soil regulation
In December 2019, the Lieutenant General in Council made the new On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation, O. Reg. 406/19 (excess soil regulation) under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). The excess soil regulation clarifies rules related to the reuse and management of excess soil, including:
- standards for appropriate reuse of excess soil
- when excess soil is designated as a waste
- when waste-related approvals are required for soil management under Part V of the EPA
The excess soil regulation is being phased in. Some provisions would have come into effect on July 1, 2020. However, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are temporarily delaying the implementation of the new regulation for managing excess soil by six months.
As a result, these provisions are temporarily delayed and will now come into effect on January 1, 2021.
In the meantime, the ministry’s current waste regulatory framework will continue to apply, and the ministry will take action with any non-compliance or to address any concerns as it applies to the management and disposal of excess soil.
The ministry will also continue to work with municipalities and other stakeholders to:
- understand and implement the regulatory changes
- encourage early adoption of changes as appropriate
Consequential amendments that were made at the same time as the excess soil regulation to O. Reg. 153/04 (Records of Site Condition), Regulation 347 (General Waste Management) and O. Reg. 351/12 (Waste Management Systems EASR Regulation) are also delayed and will come into effect on January 1, 2021.
Other implementation dates in the excess soil regulation have not changed, including implementation of provisions dealing with the excess soil management planning requirements and the Registry which remain coming into effect on January 1, 2022, as well as other provisions on January 1, 2025. Similarly, the excess soil regulation will continue to grandfather contracts related to excess soil management entered into before January 1, 2021.
Amendment to the Records of Site Condition Regulation
We have also amended O. Reg. 153/04 (Records of Site Condition Regulation), to exempt temporary health facilities or residential facilities that are built on land previously used for community or commercial purposes in response to emergencies declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Because a temporary health or residential facility is considered a more sensitive use under the EPA, an RSC is required to be filed in the Environmental Site Registry before the facility can be established on property or in a building that is used for a less sensitive use, such as an industrial, commercial or community use.
The work to file an RSC requires:
- retaining a qualified person
- conducting one or more environmental site assessments
- possibly soil remediation
This work can take several months or longer. This would create a significant delay where these temporary facilities are required urgently to respond to a declared emergency.
This exemption would apply to:
- a temporary facility established in response to the current emergency, such as COVID-19 testing tents or isolated medical structures
- the establishment of a temporary facility responding to any future declared emergencies, including any future phases of the pandemic
All other requirements that are part of the ministry’s legislative framework, including the regulation of waste management and discharges to the natural environment, would continue to apply to the operation of these temporary facilities, and the ministry will take action in response to environmental concerns, if they emerge.
Environmental protections continue to be a vital consideration in all government decision-making. We are all working together to combat this outbreak and hope that normal business operations will resume as soon as possible.
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