Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022

ERO number
019-6192
Notice type
Act
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal Updated
Proposal posted
Comment period
October 25, 2022 - December 9, 2022 (45 days) Open
Last updated

Update Announcement

Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 was passed by the Legislature and received Royal Assent on November 28, 2022. We have extended the deadline of this posting to enable your feedback to continue to be submitted so that it can help inform the implementation of this proposal as well as future initiatives. You may also want to consider submitting comments on other related postings and/or providing your comments directly to the Ministry at tom.north@ontario.ca. We updated the notice on November 23, 2022 to extend the comment period by another 15 days. We updated the posting on October 26, 2022 to include a link to Bill 23 (Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022 – Schedule 10) and the York Region Wastewater Advisory Panel Report.

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
December 9, 2022

Proposal summary

The province is proposing new legislation that, if passed, would require the expansion of crucial wastewater treatment services for York Region and the construction of a phosphorus reduction facility to remove phosphorus from drainage water that flows into Lake Simcoe. The ministry is seeking comments on the proposed legislation.

Proposal details

More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022

Everyone in Ontario should be able to find a home that is right for them. But too many people are struggling with the rising cost of living and with finding housing that meets their family’s needs.

Ontario’s housing supply crisis is a problem which has been decades in the making. It will take both short-term strategies and long-term commitment from all levels of government, the private sector, and not-for-profits to drive change. Each entity will have to do their part to be part of the solution to this crisis.

Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. That’s why the Ontario government is taking bold and transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.

To support More Homes Built Faster: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan 2022-23, the government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, which, if passed, would ensure that cities, towns, and rural communities grow with a mix of ownership and rental housing types that meet the needs of all Ontarians.

These changes are providing a solid foundation to address Ontario’s housing supply crisis over the long term and will be supplemented by continued action in the future.

Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022

The proposed Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act, 2022

The proposed Act would require York and Durham Regions to work together to do everything in their powers to enlarge and improve the existing York Durham Sewage System to convey sewage from communities in upper York Region (Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury) to the Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Durham Region for treatment and discharge into Lake Ontario. Implementation of this proposal would accommodate growth and housing development in the upper part of York Region to 2051.

The proposed Act would also require prescribed municipalities to work together to do everything in their powers to implement the Lake Simcoe phosphorus reduction project once certain provisions of the proposed Act are proclaimed.

Prescribed municipalities would be required to develop, construct and operate a new treatment facility that will remove phosphorus from drainage water that flows from the Holland Marsh and ultimately into Lake Simcoe.

The proposed legislation would exempt both projects from the Environmental Assessment Act and end the existing environmental assessment process for the Upper York Sewage System Solutions Environmental Assessment application.

York, Durham and other proponent municipalities would instead be required to prepare environmental impact reports about the projects and consult with the public and potentially impacted Indigenous communities about the projects and those reports. Required consultation with Indigenous communities will commence once the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks provides the regions with a list of potentially impacted Indigenous communities.

The reports must contain details about the sewage works and any approvals required to implement the projects, the anticipated cost, the potential impacts to the environment of the projects and the mitigation of those impacts. The proposed Act requires the preparation of the reports to commence immediately following its enactment.

The reports must be provided to the Minister and made available to the public and the Indigenous communities to be consulted. The completed reports must be provided to the Minister and made available to the public and the Indigenous communities to be consulted.

Once the Minister is satisfied with the environmental impact report and the consultation that has been carried out, the Regions can move forward to apply for the required Environmental Compliance Approvals for the projects. The proposed Act also exempts instruments classified under other legislation that are required for the implementation of the projects from posting on the Environmental Registry for comment, similarly to other projects that are exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act.

While this removes third party leave to appeal rights related to those instruments, appeal rights of instrument holders will remain in place.

The proposed Act would also contain discretionary development control powers on designated project lands similar to those the government implemented in respect of transit projects to facilitate the implementation of the projects.

The proposed Act would also repeal the York Region Wastewater Act, 2021.

Wastewater Servicing for Upper York Region

York Region requires wastewater servicing capacity to meet growth needs in the Towns of Aurora, Newmarket, and East Gwillimbury to 2051.

In October 2021, the province established the York Region Wastewater Advisory Panel (the Panel) to analyze viable wastewater servicing options utilizing up to date information. The Panel has been engaging with stakeholders and Indigenous communities for almost a year and has undertaken detailed analyses of various servicing options.

The report of the Panel outlines a solution whereby York Region would optimize existing infrastructure, combined with several capital upgrades already identified in York’s water and wastewater master plan, with some modifications. Under this solution, the wastewater from the growing communities of Aurora and Newmarket, and East Gwillimbury would flow to and through the existing York Durham Sewage System for treatment at Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant and then be discharged to Lake Ontario.

The capital upgrades to the existing York Durham Sewage System would include increasing capacity at existing pumping stations, construction of new or twinned forcemains, and upsizing or twinning sanitary sewer pipes.

The Panel indicated that the estimated cost to build and operate the solution would be approximately $861 million. This is opposed to approximately $1.665 billion estimated to build and operate York Region’s preferred solution identified in the Upper York Sewage Solution Environmental Assessment that would have discharged into Lake Simcoe.

The proposed Lake Ontario solution would meet the timing needs for projected growth and maintain strong protections for vital water resources. This solution would cut the project’s greenhouse gas emissions in half compared to the Lake Simcoe option, and prevent additional phosphorus loads to Lake Simcoe while ensuring phosphorous discharges to Lake Ontario would be well within protective limits.

Protecting Lake Simcoe

The Holland Marsh is located within the West Holland sub-watershed, and occupies an area of approximately 24 km2, which is one of the largest sub-watersheds in the Lake Simcoe basin. The water levels in the marsh are maintained through a series of canals and the Art Janse Pumping Station located at the north end of the Marsh.

In 2004, the Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority (LSRCA) completed an environmental assessment study to examine ways of addressing the phosphorus input to Lake Simcoe from this sub-watershed by evaluating various alternatives. Based on a detailed evaluation process and public and agency feedback, the preferred alternative was determined to be a combination of alternative solutions, which included maintaining and implementing further Best Management Practices as well as centralized treatment of the flow from the Art Janse Pumping Station.

In April 2021, the province announced that it would provide $24 Million over three years to implement the project.

Once constructed, this new facility aims to reduce over five tonnes of phosphorus from entering Lake Simcoe on an annual basis. It will also help reduce the overall risk of algae blooms that could impact water intakes and improve the water quality and ecological health of Lake Simcoe. The proposed legislation sets out a process to ensure this important project moves forward.

Other information

Regulatory impact statement

The proposed Act will impact York and Durham Regions by requiring them to work together and do everything in their powers to expand and improve the existing York Durham Sewage System to convey sewage from communities in upper York Region (Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury) to the Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Durham Region for treatment and discharge into Lake Ontario.

The proposed Act would also require prescribed municipalities to work together and do everything in their powers to implement the Lake Simcoe phosphorus reduction project once certain provisions are proclaimed.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Environmental Assessment and Permissions Division
Address

135 St Clair Avenue West
14th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Canada

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Contact

Blair Rohaly

Phone number
Email address
Office
Environmental Assessment and Permissions Division
Address

135 St Clair Avenue West
14th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Canada

Connect with us

Contact

Blair Rohaly

Phone number
Email address
Office
Environmental Assessment and Permissions Division
Address

135 St Clair Avenue West
14th Floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1P5
Canada

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