Proposed updates to Records of Site Condition: A Guide on Site Assessment, the Cleanup of Brownfield Sites and the Filing of Records of Site Condition

ERO number
019-2551
Notice type
Policy
Act
Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
January 4, 2021 - April 4, 2021 (90 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
April 4, 2021

Proposal summary

We are proposing updates to the document Records of Site Condition: A Guide on Site Assessment, the Cleanup of Brownfield Sites and the Filing of Records of Site Condition (RSC Guide) to help those involved in brownfields redevelopment projects in Ontario understand the Record of Site Condition (RSC) program processes and requirements.

Proposal details

The Updated Record of Site Condition Guide

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ (ministry) brownfields program has undergone significant changes since the original RSC Guide was published over 15 years ago. These changes include regulatory amendments implemented in 2011 and 2019, changes to processes and policies, and the recent introduction of the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation.

The ministry also has a better understanding of where the regulated community needs more guidance, including requirements related to site characterization of an RSC property.

Improved guidance will support high quality RSC and Risk Assessment (RA) submissions, which are key to reducing the time it takes to file an RSC on the Environmental Site Registry, which supports economic development through the redevelopment of brownfield properties.

An updated RSC Guide will help the public understand how the environment and human health is protected through the ministry’s brownfields program and the RSC filing process. It can also serve as a valuable tool for people interested in redeveloping a brownfields property as it supports informed decision-making related to the RSC process and provides clarity on the role of a qualified person and regulatory requirements.

The updated RSC Guide also provides an overview of the recently introduced On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation (O. Reg 406/19) under the Environmental Protection Act, which includes clear rules and new standards that encourage reuse of excess soil while protecting human health and the environment.

An updated RSC Guide is another way the ministry supports brownfields redevelopment, which generates economic investment, uses existing infrastructure, revitalizes communities and rehabilitates contaminated properties which reduces risks to the environment and protects human health.

Other Updated Guidance

We are also seeking feedback on two other proposed guidance documents related to the RSC program: Updates to the Procedures for the Use of Risk Assessment under Part XV.1 of the Environmental Protection Act and Technical Guidance for Soil Vapour Intrusion Assessment.

For more details on these proposals, see Environmental Registry of Ontario Notices 019-2546 and 019-2557.

Key Stakeholders

We are interested in feedback from qualified persons who undertake environmental site assessment work to support the submission of RSCs for filing on the Environmental Site Registry.

Municipalities are also key stakeholders in the ministry’s RSC program. Municipalities support compliance with provincial regulatory requirements by withholding municipal building permits until an RSC is filed on the Environmental Site Registry when properties are moving to a more sensitive use. Municipal feedback on the RSC Guide’s ability to communicate the RSC program framework and provide clarity on provincial regulatory requirements will be helpful before publishing.

Background

Brownfields are properties that may be contaminated due to historic industrial or commercial land use. They are often underutilized, derelict and/or vacant. Some examples of brownfields include former gas stations, dry cleaners, foundries, factories, or shipping yards.

The ministry’s RSC program provides a framework for redeveloping these properties in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. This standardized process also provides certain protections from future legal liability for municipalities and the property owner.

The cornerstone of this process is the RSC, a document that summarizes the environmental condition of a property at a point in time based on the completion of environmental site assessments. Each RSC:

  • is based on the results of one or more environmental site assessments
  • is conducted by a qualified person
  • may involve the completion of an RA and the development of property specific standards
  • may involve remediation work
  • is certified by a qualified person that the property meets the applicable site condition standard, or a standard specified in a RA for the intended use
  • is filed to the Environmental Site Registry once regulatory requirements are met

The updated RSC Guide reflects regulatory changes implemented in 2011 and 2019 and describes the legal requirements for:

  • assessing the environmental condition of a site
  • the cleanup of a brownfield site (i.e., a site that may be contaminated due to past use, such as a former industrial site)
  • the process to submit an RSC for filing on the Environmental Site Registry under the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Regulation 153/04

The RSC program is intended to encourage more people to undertake brownfields redevelopment, which has environmental, economic and social benefits for communities, such as:

  • generation of economic investment and local jobs in the construction industry
  • higher property values leading to increased property tax revenue for municipalities from the RSC property and adjacent properties
  • the efficient use of existing infrastructure and proximity to public services (e.g. schools, hospitals and transit)
  • rehabilitation of contaminated properties which reduces risks to environmental and human health
  • catalyzing community revitalization (e.g. counteracting negative social stigmas associated with abandoned or underutilized properties)

Supporting materials

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