Current status

Ontario is proposing an exemption to the Environmental Assessment Act and a new policy under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act for all projects in provincial parks and conservation reserves, to reduce delays and put greater focus on the projects that matter most to communities.

Learn more about the proposals for the exempting regulation and new policy.

Project summary

An exemption regulation has been proposed to remove all requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act for projects in provincial parks and conservation reserves.

To maintain strong environmental oversight, we are also proposing an Environmental Impact Assessment Policy under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (PPCRA) to replace the requirements under the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.

Proponent

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Location

Ontario

Type

Resource

Reference number

99021

Contact

Cindy Batista, Environmental Assessment Branch

cindy.batista@ontario.ca

Project history

Exemption regulation and new policy proposals (2020)
Date submitted: July 8, 2020
Expiry of public comment period: August 22, 2020

Class environmental assessment—amendment (2015): submitted
Date submitted: April 24, 2015
Expiry of public comment period: November 2, 2015

Class environmental assessment (2004): approved
Date submitted: October 15, 2001
Expiry of public comment period: December 21, 2001
Expiry of public comment period for ministry review: April 12, 2002
Decision date: September 23, 2004

Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: November 1, 1999
Expiry of public comment period: December 17, 1999
Decision date: April 20, 2000

Proposed exemption regulation and new policy (2020)

Ontario is updating its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment (EA) program to support building safer and stronger communities. In our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, we committed to supporting environmental planning by addressing duplication, and improving processes and service standards to reduce delays.

We are committed to building a strong EA program that considers the input of local communities and supports strong environmental oversight by focusing more resources on projects that have the highest impact to the environment.

Proposed exemption regulation

As part of our EA modernization efforts, we are proposing to exempt all projects, by or on behalf of the ministry, in provincial parks and conservation reserves from the Environmental Assessment Act.

This includes projects such as the management of existing parks, fish, wildlife and land, projects for provincial parks or conservation reserves including new, or refurbishment of structures, campgrounds and facilities, and water and shoreline work.

Proposed Environmental Impact Assessment Policy

To maintain strong environmental oversight, we are also proposing an Environmental Impact Assessment Policy under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (PPCRA) to replace the requirements under the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves. If the proposed regulation and new policy are approved, this new policy will guide assessment of environmental impacts, as well as consultation with government agencies, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public, and the Crown’s duty to consult.

Overall, the proposed changes will:

  • focus on projects which will require assessment as they have higher potential to harm to the environment;
  • result in a process for assessment and consultation through a policy under the PPCRA rather than the Environmental Assessment Act; and,
  • still provide a process for issue resolution.

By finding ways to work smarter, Ontario is bringing important public services and infrastructure to communities faster.

Public consultation on the exemption regulation proposal

A proposal notice related to this proposed exemption regulation and new policy is posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment until August 20, 2020.

Learn more on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

Please submit comments and questions about the proposed exemption regulation to Cindy Batista at cindy.batista@ontario.ca or at 437-248-0058.

If you have any questions about the proposed new policy, please contact Tim Marchand at tim.marchand@ontario.ca or calling 226-378-6998.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will review and consider all comments received during the comment period. A subsequent decision notice will be posted.

Class environmental assessment—amendment (2015)

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has proposed an amendment to align its class environmental assessment (EA) with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s code of practice for preparing, reviewing and using class environmental assessments in Ontario (2014).

The proposed amendments include:

  • updating references to legislation, regulation and policy or practice changes
  • removing historical references that no longer apply
  • adding text about administrative aspects of the class EA process
  • changes and additions to a category of projects to allow better assessment of potential risks
  • adjusting the approach for the dispositions of rights to crown resources
  • changes to the criteria used to screen projects
  • more information about the procedural aspects of Part II Order requests
  • more information about Aboriginal consultation and Duty to Consult requirements

If approved, the amended class EA would replace the existing 2004 version.

Consultation

The proposed amendments were posted for a public review and comment period from May 29 to November 2, 2015.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change will consider all comments received during the comment period as part of the decision-making process.

Learn more on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.

Class environmental assessment (2004)

On September 23, 2004 the Minister of the Environment approved this class EA with conditions.

This class EA replaces:

  • an exemption order for projects and activities for or located in provincial parks and conservation reserves—MNR-59/2
  • exemption orders for establishing, amending and rescinding boundaries of, and acquiring land for, new or existing provincial parks and conservation reserves—MNR-61, MNR-63 and MNR-65

MNR must review the class EA every 5 years. Any necessary revisions will be made using the appropriate amending procedures.

Terms of reference

On April 20, 2000 the Minister of the Environment approved the terms of reference for this class environmental assessment.

Get details on the notice of approval.