Metrolinx - Permit for activities that will result in a significant social or economic benefit to Ontario

Instrument type: Permit for activities that will result in a significant social or economic benefit to Ontario

ERO number
019-4075
Ministry reference number
CR-D-002-21
Notice type
Instrument
Act
Endangered Species Act , R.S.O. 2007
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
January 7, 2022 - February 6, 2022 (30 days) Open
Last updated

There is no requirement to post this notice on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, but we want to hear your thoughts. Submit a comment and tell us what you think. Learn about the consultation process and types of notices on the registry.

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
February 6, 2022

Proposal summary

We are seeking public input on a proposal for a permit from Metrolinx under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 in relation to the Yonge North Subway Extension, which may adversely impact species at risk. The proposal considers avoidance options, reasonable alternatives, and proposed actions to minimize adverse effects to the species.

Location details

Site location details

The exact area of impact for the Yonge North Subway Extension is not yet known. A larger area, known as “Study Area”, is being considered for the final designs of the project.

The Study Area extends approximately eight kilometres north from Finch Station in the City of Toronto to Vaughan, Markham and Richmond Hill. Approximately six kilometres of the extension is underground, and approximately two kilometres is at surface level. An additional one kilometre of surface-level track at the northmost portion supports subway operations.

Site location map

The location pin reflects the approximate area where environmental activity is taking place.

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Proponent(s)

Metrolinx
130 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 3P5
Canada

Why consultation isn't required

We are not required to consult the public on this permit proposal. Section 32 of the Environmental Bill of Rights exempts instrument proposals that are issued as a step toward implementing a project that has been approved under the Environmental Assessment Act. The Yonge North Subway Extension is a project that was approved under the Environmental Assessment Act.

We are voluntarily posting this notice to advise the public of this proposal and to invite the public to submit written comments to the contact person identified in this notice.

Proposal details

Ontario is committed to protecting species at risk and strong environmental oversight, while we work to improve public transit in a way that is both economical and transparent.

Metrolinx is seeking a socio-economic permit in relation to the Yonge North Subway Extension that will improve public transit along the Yonge subway line.

The Yonge North Subway Extension will involve the construction of below and above ground:

  • subway transit line
  • stations
  • associated infrastructure

A significant portion of the line is planned to be constructed underground. It will involve activities such as:

  • vegetation disturbance and removal
  • site grading
  • filling
  • excavation
  • stockpiling of soil or other materials
  • construction of retaining walls, rails and roads as are necessary to construct the project within the Study Area

The following species at risk have been observed within the study area for the project:

There is evidence that the following species may be found within the study area:

Collectively, these nine species at risk are referred to as “the species” in the context of this notice.

Much of the Study Area has not yet been surveyed in detail for the species at risk. The proposed permit would require surveys to confirm or refute the presence of the additional species before construction activities begin.

Protecting species under the Endangered Species Act

Ontario provides protections for species at risk and their habitats under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Sections 9 and 10 of the ESA provide protection for individual members of a species and their habitat if that species is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario List as either:

  • extirpated
  • endangered
  • threatened

Under clause 17(2)(d) of the ESA, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks may issue a permit authorizing a person to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by sections 9 or 10 if the Minister is of the opinion that:

  • the activity authorized by the permit will result in a significant social or economic benefit to Ontario
  • the activity authorized by the permit will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species in Ontario
  • reasonable alternatives have been considered, including alternatives that would not adversely affect the species, and the best alternative that would allow the projects to continue has been adopted
  • reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects on the species are required by conditions of the permit

Significant social or economic benefit to Ontario

The Yonge North Subway Extension is expected to result in significant social and economic benefits to Ontarians, such as:

  • bringing rapid transit to new areas
  • reducing emissions from vehicular traffic
  • encouraging transit-oriented development
  • improving overall mobility and quality of life for Ontarians in the GTA

The Yonge North Subway Extension is expected to make it faster and easier for more people to travel between York Region and downtown Toronto, and beyond, while cutting down on traffic congestion and pollution.

Reasonable alternatives being considered

Metrolinx is exploring reasonable alternatives, including those that would avoid adverse effects on the species and their habitat. Many of these alternatives will be refined in the detailed planning stages of the projects.

The proposed permit will provide clear direction on:

  • species-specific avoidance measures
  • reasonable measures to minimize adverse effects on species
  • mitigation and compensation requirements

This way, if final project layout and design result in impacts to the species and their habitat, the proposed permit would provide species-specific guidance for project planners to develop and implement designs with reduced impacts on species at risk and their habitat.

Actions to minimize negative effects to the species

Metrolinx is seeking ways to minimize adverse effects on the species and their habitat. These may include:

  • conducting studies to confirm or refute the presence of the species before beginning construction
    • working at the time of year when the species are less sensitive to disturbance
    • if habitat will be removed:
      • removing it at the time of year when the species are less likely to be present
      • creating new or enhancing existing habitat for the species to compensate for the habitat that was removed
    • if any members of the species will be removed (i.e. Butternut), compensating for these impacts through actions that benefit the species (e.g. plantings)
    • educating contractors on how to identify the species at risk and what steps to take should the species at risk be encountered within the study areas
    • monitoring the effectiveness of any steps taken to minimize adverse effects on the species and taking additional steps if they are ineffective

Other information

A government response statement, which outlines protection and recovery actions the government will take and support, exists for the following species and will be considered before a decision is made on whether to issue a permit:

A government response statement has not been published for Chimney Swift.

Posting this proposal on the Environmental Registry does not imply that we will issue a permit. A permit may only be issued where the legal requirements set out in clause 17(2)(d) of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 have been satisfied.

Comment

Let us know what you think of our proposal.

Have questions? Get in touch with the contact person below. Please include the ERO number for this notice in your email or letter to the contact.

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Contact

Clairissa Myschowoda

Phone number
Office
Species at Risk Branch - Permissions and Compliance
Address

300 Water Street
4th Floor, South tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Connect with us

Contact

Clairissa Myschowoda

Phone number
Office
Species at Risk Branch - Permissions and Compliance
Address

300 Water Street
4th Floor, South tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

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