Current status

You can comment on the proposed major amendment for this class environmental assessment until 5:00 p.m. on August 22, 2020.

Learn how to submit your comment.

Project summary

The purpose of the project is to replace the current Minor Transmission Facilities Class EA, which needs to be updated to ensure consistency with current regulations and guidance documents, and to be applicable to all transmission project proponents.

Proponent

Hydro One Networks Incorporated

Location

Province of Ontario

Type

Electricity transmission

Reference number

05070

Contact

Sasha McLeod, Environmental Assessment Branch
Email: sasha.mcleod@ontario.ca

Shannon Gauthier, Environmental Assessment Branch
Email: shannon.gauthier@ontario.ca

Project history

Class environmental assessment—major amendment (2020): submitted
Date submitted: October 1, 2019
Expiry of public comment period: August 22, 2020

Class environmental assessment—amendment (2016): approved
Date submitted: December 13, 2013
Expiry of public comment period: February 7, 2014
Expiry of public comment period for ministry review: October 24, 2014
Date approved: November 16, 2016

Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: October 25, 2002
Expiry of public comment period: November 25, 2002
Decision date: February 17, 2004
Decision date: April 23, 1992

Class environmental assessment (1992): approved

Class environmental assessment—proposed major amendment (2020)

Ontario is taking the next steps to modernize its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment program to support strong environmental oversight and a strong economy, as committed to in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.

We are working with holders of Class Environmental Assessments (Class EA) to propose sensible, practical changes that would ensure environmental protections while eliminating duplication and reducing delays on projects that matter most to Ontario communities.

By looking at smarter ways of working, we’re bringing important public services and infrastructure to communities of Ontario without delay.

To support the government’s modernization initiative, Hydro One has proposed an amendment to the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities.

The proposed amendments include:

  • better aligning study requirements with environmental impact, by exempting certain project types that were typically subject to the screening process for low impact activities, including refurbishments of transmission lines and stations and installing temporary infrastructure that do not increase property area, voltage or right of way
  • administrative amendments to update the name of the class environmental assessment document, update legislation and offices, clarify emergency situations, adjust the time lapse provision, and clarify terms

Learn more about the proposed changes:

Submit your comments

Please submit comments directly to Sasha McLeod at sasha.mcleod@ontario.ca and Shannon Gauthier at shannon.gauthier@ontario.ca by August 22, 2020. An information notice related to this public consultation opportunity is posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will review and consider all comments received during the comment period.

If approved, the amended Class EA would replace the existing 2016 version.

Class environmental assessment—amendment (2016)

The Minor Transmission Facilities (MTF) Class EA was first approved under the EAA on December 27, 1980. It has been subsequently revised six times, with the present version having been approved on April 23, 1992. In 1996, Hydro One submitted an amended MTF Class EA to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) for review and approval. The MOECC review of Hydro One’s 1996 submission was put on hold due to the opening of the electricity market to competition and the new Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects). Hydro One determined that the 1996 submission would need to be replaced and significant amendments to the MTF Class EA would be required for the following reasons:

  • To ensure consistency with the Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects);
  • To comply with the MOECC’s Code of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario; and
  • The most recent version of the Class EA refers to Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One Networks Inc.) as the sole proponent. As a result of Ontario Regulation 116/01, all applicable private and public transmission projects are subject to this Class EA. The MTF Class EA therefore needs to be amended to reflect its applicability to all transmission project proponents.

Because of the nature of the amendments required for the MTF Class EA to meet the three above requirements, Hydro One opted to treat the Amended MTF Class EA as a new Class EA that was being prepared instead of following the process for simply making amendments to an existing Class EA.

On December 13, 2013, Hydro One submitted the proposed Amended MTF Class EA to the MOECC for approval. The Amended MTF Class EA was made available for public inspection and comment for a seven-week period which ended on February 7, 2014. The Government Review Team, which includes federal, provincial and local agencies, reviewed the proposed Amended MTF Class EA to ensure that the information and conclusions of the proposed Amended MTF Class EA were valid, based on their agencies’ mandates. The public, Aboriginal communities and interested organizations also had an opportunity to review the proposed Amended MTF Class EA and submit their comments to the MOECC. All comments received by the MOECC are considered by the Minister before a decision is made about the proposed Amended MTF Class EA, including comments and concerns related to implementing projects using the proposed Amended MTF Class EA.

The Class EA was approved on November 16, 2016.

Terms of reference

These Terms of Reference (ToR) for Amending the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities set out how Hydro One Networks Incorporated (Hydro One), as the lead proponent, proposes to meet the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) requirements for the review of and revisions to the existing Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (Class EA). The Class EA was first approved under the EAA by Order-in-Council number 3436/80 dated December 27, 1980. The most recent revision (#6) was approved on April 23, 1992, by Order-in-Council number 1173/92 and refers to "Ontario Hydro" (now Hydro One Networks Inc.) as the sole proponent.

The Class EA is being amended at this time for three reasons:

  • The current approval for the Class EA was due to expire on April 30, 1997; however, the ministry extended the approval to allow Hydro One time to prepare an amended Class EA. With this Terms of Reference, Hydro One Networks is pursuing approval of a new amended Class EA.
  • To ensure consistency with Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects), made under the EAA in April 2001, as well as other applicable amendments to the EAA, Regulation 116/01 defines the types of electricity projects that are designated as undertakings to which the EAA applies. The Regulation and the associated draft Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects, March 2001, establishes three electricity project categories, each with their own EA requirements.
  • The most recent revision to the Class EA (#6) refers to Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One Networks Incorporated) as the sole proponent. As a result of Ontario Regulation 116/01 all applicable private and public transmission projects are subject to this Class EA. The Class EA therefore needs to be amended to reflect its applicability to all transmission project proponents.

Amendments to the Class EA are being considered in order to:

  • respond to the opening of Ontario’s electricity marketplace;
  • address any relevant changes to the EAA;
  • include all applicable private and public transmission facilities;
  • revise/delete the current rationale of the need for proposed transmission facilities;
  • revisit the activity categories included and excluded in the Class EA;
  • review potential environmental effects and associated mitigation approaches;
  • ensure consistency with Regulation 116/01;
  • include a process for dealing with Part II Order requests;
  • review and improve the efficiency and effectiveness for the approval, renewal and amendment processes;
  • ensure a comprehensive consultation process;
  • include effectiveness, effects and compliance monitoring and reporting requirements; and,
  • recognize and, where possible, address the requirements of related provincial legislation as well as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

Class environmental assessment (1992)

The Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities was approved on April 23, 1992 (Order-in-Council number 1173/92). The purpose of the Class EA is to provide a set of processes which allow proponents to assess their projects and activities in accordance with the requirements of the EAA. Projects and activities included under the Class EA are carried out routinely and have predictable environmental effects that can be readily mitigated with proven methods and technologies. All projects within the class of undertakings can be planned and constructed in accordance with a common set of processes. The set of processes ensures adherence by the individual proponent to an appropriate environmental study before implementing any undertaking within this class. Provided the process is followed, projects and activities included under the Class EA do not require formal review and approval under the EAA. Upon successful completion of the appropriate process, as described in the Class EA, the undertaking is considered to be approved. The process that is implemented through approval of the Class EA addresses the intent of the EAA by providing for the identification, evaluation and selection of a preferred method of addressing environmental effects and the appropriate mitigation giving due regard to the need to protect the environment.

Updated: July 08, 2021
Published: March 20, 2014