This consultation was open from:
June 15, 2021
to July 30, 2021
OMAFRA and MECP are proposing to remove the five-year expiry of the Agricultural Operation Planning (AOP) certificate in the O. Reg. 267/03 made under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002. The ministries are also proposing housekeeping amendments to the Regulation and Nutrient Management Protocol in order to add clarity and streamline processes.
In Ontario, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (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 Regulation regulates the management of a variety of nutrients (e.g. agricultural source material and non-agricultural source material). The Regulation prescribes rules for the management of prescribed materials on an agricultural operation, including their storage and land application. The Regulation requires the development (by a certified preparer) of a farm-based Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) and/or Nutrient Management Plan (NMP).
Individuals or businesses that wish to prepare their own NMS or NMP must obtain an Agricultural Operation Planning (AOP) certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). AOP certification is required every five years. To certify, the applicant must pay a fee, take 2 courses and apply for the certificate. Each course is a two-day course.
Prior to amendments made in 2019, a new NMS needed to be prepared every five years. It was the intention that individuals who prepared NMSs would need to obtain their AOP certificates every five years so that they were able to successfully complete a NMS. Given that the five-year automatic cessation of NMS was removed, OMAFRA and Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) are proposing to amend the Regulation to remove the automatic five-year expiration associated with an AOP certificate. Instead, it is proposed that AOP certificates will never expire. This will reduce costs and training burden for farmers who prepare their own NMSs and NMPs.
The ministries are also proposing to make housekeeping amendments to the Nutrient Management Protocol (“the Protocol”). The Protocol was first made in 2003 and was last updated in 2012. Since this time there have been numerous updates to the Regulation. The Protocol provides technical and scientific details and standards in addition to those set out in the Regulation and is incorporated by reference into the regulation. Over the years, changes have been made to the Regulation which are no longer reflected in the Protocol.
Some references in the Protocol need to be updated to reflect the proposed amendments, other updates are required to clarify requirements and fix broken web links. By updating the Protocol, we will simplify rules and streamline processes by reducing confusion and ensuring that up to date resources are provided.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact
There may be some administrative costs associated with reviewing the amended Regulation; however, these costs would be entirely offset by the savings associated with this proposal. Currently, individual farmers or farm businesses with a NMS must obtain an AOP certificate every five years. This requires an individual take two courses at $158.20 per course every five years. Each course requires they spend two days in either in class or online training. There are currently 170 certificate holders in Ontario. We anticipate this will result in a total savings for the industry of approximately $238,000 every five years.
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