This consultation was open from:
May 29, 2023
to July 13, 2023
MNRF is proposing regulatory changes to Ontario Regulation 244/97 under the Aggregate Resources Act to expand the list of changes that can be made to site plans without ministry approval (subject to conditions) and proposing a policy that would provide direction for changes to licences, permits and site plans where ministry approval is required.
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Ontario’s aggregate industry plays a key role in our government’s vision to Build Ontario, supporting vital development and jobs across the province. Aggregates are a key part of building critical infrastructure like homes, schools, hospitals, roads and subway tunnels, which support our growing communities. Approximately 160 million tonnes of aggregate are needed in Ontario each year with most of the aggregate produced in Ontario coming from private land in the southern region of the province where the most market demand exists.
The regulatory framework that manages aggregates must be fair, predictable and adaptive enough to be effective, while managing and minimizing the impact that extraction operations may have on the environment and communities that surround them. Since 2019, MNRF has consulted several times on the regulatory framework for aggregates and made changes to the Aggregate Resources Act, Ontario Regulation 244/97, and the Provincial Standards for Aggregates in Ontario, with these objectives in mind.
In order to provide meaningful consultation, MNRF is proposing both a regulation amendment and a new policy in this notice.
Proposed regulation amendment
On September 1, 2020, changes to Ontario Regulation 244/97 came into effect, which set out eligibility criteria and requirements that allow operators to self-file certain prescribed changes to existing site plans for some routine activities without requiring approval from the ministry (subject to conditions set out in the regulation).
This approach has effectively reduced burden and provided efficiency to aggregate operations, while continuing to manage the impact of lower-risk activities on aggregate sites.
We are now proposing regulatory changes to Ontario Regulation 244/97 to expand the list of eligible site plan changes that can be made without ministry approval when certain conditions are met. This proposal includes:
- changing site entrances or exits
- adding, removing or re-locating above-ground fuel storage
- where processing activities have already been approved for the site, adding the importation of materials for recycling
- adding, removing or re-locating portable processing equipment or portable asphalt or cement processing equipment for public road authority projects
All proposed site plan changes in this list would be added to Ontario Regulation 244/97 section 7.2 (1) and be subject to the eligibility conditions in 7.2 (2) and (3) of the regulation. In addition, the proposed activities would be subject to the detailed conditions outlined in the attached document entitled Proposed site plan amendments eligible for self-filing in the 'Supporting materials' section below.
Proposed policy changes
We are also proposing a new policy to clarify requirements and the approach to public notification and consultation for amendments to authorizations that do require ministry approval. Amendment requests can include changes to site plans, conditions of a licence or permit, or any other information normally included on licences or permits (e.g., name of operator, address, etc.). As a result, amendments vary in type and complexity and can range from small or administrative changes to significant changes to operations and rehabilitation. When proposed amendments would result in significant changes to operations or rehabilitation at an aggregate site, public notification and consultation may be required. The proposed policy is intended to provide direction on the requirements for applying for an amendment, guide ministry decision-making for amendment applications (including what constitutes significant and non-significant amendments) and provide direction on notification and consultation requirements for certain amendments.
The notification and consultation requirements described in this policy are separate and distinct from the Crown's constitutional obligation to consult with Indigenous peoples. The ministry will continue to assess whether proposed amendments have the potential to adversely impact Aboriginal or treaty rights and will consult with Indigenous communities where required. Consultation with Indigenous communities may be required in addition to any public notification or consultation that are required by this policy and may be required in circumstances where public notification or consultation are not.
Please see the full proposed policy entitled Applications to amend licences, permits, and site plans under the Aggregate Resources Act in the 'Supporting materials' section below for more details. If approved, this policy would replace the following aggregate policies and procedures:
- POL 2.02.00 Adding, Rescinding or Varying a Licence Condition
- PRO 2.02.00a Adding, Rescinding or Varying a Licence Condition: By Licensee
- POL 3.03.00 Adding, Rescinding or Varying a Wayside Permit Condition
- PRO 3.03.00a Adding, Rescinding or Varying a Wayside Permit Condition: By Permittee
- POL 4.03.01 Adding, Rescinding or Varying an Aggregate Permit Condition
- PRO 4.03.01a Adding, Rescinding or Varying an Aggregate Permit Condition: By Permittee
- POL 2.03.00 Licence Site Plan Amendments: By Licensee
- PRO 2.03.00 Licence Site Plan Amendments: By Licensee
- POL 3.04.00 Wayside Permit Site Plan Amendments
- PRO 3.04.00a Wayside Permit Site Plan Amendments: By Permittee
- POL 4.04.00 Aggregate Permit Site Plan Amendments
- PRO 4.04.00a Aggregate Permit Site Plan Amendments: By Permittee
The anticipated environmental consequences of the regulatory and policy proposals are anticipated to be neutral when compared with the current environmental impacts associated with amendments to existing aggregate authorizations.
For the regulatory proposal to enable a broader list of amendments to site plans that can be done without ministry approval, specific eligibility criteria and conditions are proposed to be defined in regulation to minimize the changes to environmental impacts. Current prescribed operational standards continue to apply to all pits and quarries which include setbacks from environmentally significant features.
Amendment applications that require ministry approval will be considered from an impacts perspective and applicants may be required to provide additional technical information or reports to assess potential impacts and, where necessary, recommend mitigation measures. If changes are deemed by the ministry to be significant changes to operations or rehabilitation, public consultation and notification may be required to support the application and approval decision by the ministry. Where a proposed amendment has the potential to adversely impact an Indigenous community’s Aboriginal or treaty rights, the ministry may delegate the procedural aspects of consultation to applicants to understand and, where required, accommodate impacts to those rights.
The anticipated social consequences of the proposals are neutral to negative. The regulatory proposal to allow more site plan amendments without ministry approval may be perceived as lessening ministry oversight for aggregate operations or reducing the opportunity for public and Indigenous community involvement in aggregate approvals. However, each specific activity would be subject to eligibility criteria and conditions to ensure that other required approvals are obtained and that impacts are minimized. The activities in this proposal would have historically been considered minor amendments to a site plan where public and Indigenous notification and consultation generally would not have been required.
The proposed policy includes modernizing and clarifying timelines, processes and requirements for public notification and consultation, and does not change the ministry’s current approach to assessing whether amendments trigger the duty to consult and consulting with Indigenous communities where required. This would ensure that those who may be impacted by the changes and agencies with relevant expertise and oversight roles are notified about significant changes to aggregate operations.
Regulatory impact analysis
The proposed changes are anticipated to result in a net positive burden reduction for aggregate operators and no additional cost increases to business.
The proposed regulatory changes to allow for certain amendments to site plans without ministry approval would improve processes and reduce administrative costs to business by allowing certain prescribed changes to existing operations to be made sooner. The additional policy clarity for those amendments needing ministry approval would provide business certainty in terms of the consideration of the type of amendment, application requirements, processes, and public and Indigenous notification and consultation for their business planning when requesting an amendment from the ministry.
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.
300 Water Steet
2nd Floor South
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300 Water Steet
2nd Floor South
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