Class EA for Provincial Transportation Facilities
Project information about this class environmental assessment.
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You can comment on a proposed major amendment for this class environmental assessment until 5:00 p.m. on August 22, 2020.
We are also proposing to exempt some Ministry of Transportation Class EA projects from the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.
This class environmental assessment establishes a planning and approval process for a variety of projects that are carried out, in, for, and by the Ministry of Transportation.
Ministry of Transportation
For the Class EA:
Gavin Battarino, Environmental Assessment Branch
For the proposed exemption regulation:
Antonia Testa, Environmental Assessment Branch
Exemption regulation proposal (2020)
Proposal date: July 8, 2020
Expiry of public comment period: August 22, 2020
Class environmental assessment—major amendment (2020): submitted
Date submitted: July 8, 2020
Expiry of public comment period: August 22, 2020
Class environmental assessment—amendment (2014): submitted
Date submitted: February 24, 2014
Expiry of public comment period: November 6, 2014
Class environmental assessment—amendment (2011): submitted
Date submitted: November 9, 2011
Expiry of public comment period: December 23, 2011
Class environmental assessment (1999): approved
Date submitted: December 19, 1997
Expiry of public comment period on ministry review: December 25, 1998
Decision date: October 9, 1999
Exemption regulation (2020)
Ontario is updating its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment program to support building safer and stronger communities. In our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, we committed to supporting environmental planning by addressing duplication, streamlining processes, improving service standards to reduce delays, and better recognizing other planning processes.
We are committed to building a strong environmental assessment program that considers the input of local communities and focuses on projects that have the highest impact to the environment.
Proposed exemption regulations: Bradford Bypass and Ministry of Transportation Provincial Transportation Facilities Class EA projects
The Ministry of Transportation reviewed critical transportation infrastructure and identified priority projects that previously went through an environmental assessment process but were not implemented. These projects include the Bradford Bypass, an individual environmental assessment project, and several Ministry of Transportation Provincial Transportation Facilities class environmental assessments (Class EA) projects. As part of our environmental assessment modernization efforts, we are proposing to exempt these projects from the Environmental Assessment Act.
These projects are currently subject to other requirements that ensure environmental protection. For example, the Bradford Bypass is subject to conditions of the Environmental Assessment Notice of Approval, and the Ministry of Transportation Class EA for Provincial Transportation Facilities is subject to the addendum process and other Ministry of Transportation Class EA requirements.
By reducing duplication in environmental assessment processes, and better recognizing other planning processes, we are bringing important public services and infrastructure to communities faster.
Status of the Bradford Bypass
On August 28, 2002, we approved the individual environment assessment for a new freeway to connect Highway 400 in Bradford West Gwillimbury to a northerly extension of Highway 404 in East Gwillimbury.
As a condition of this approval (Condition 4 of the Notice of Approval), the design and construction of the highway became subject to the Ministry of Transportation Class EA. Currently, the Ministry of Transportation is required to prepare a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) for the preliminary design and a Design and Construction Report(s) (DCR) for the detailed design of the Bradford Bypass.
What the proposed exemption regulation would do
The proposed regulation would exempt the Bradford Bypass from requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act subject to conditions, as appropriate. The Ministry of Transportation would no longer be required to fulfill Condition 4 of the EA Notice of Approval and complete a TESR or DCR(s) that would typically be required in accordance with the Ministry of Transportation’s Class EA. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation would not be required to distribute a Notice of Completion for the TESR or DCR(s) which would normally initiate a 30-day public consultation period.
If the proposed regulation is approved, then the Ministry of Transportation would:
- implement the Bradford Bypass project as approved in the environmental assessment process;
- be required to fulfill all other conditions of the 2002 EA Notice of Approval, as well as other technical design commitments made in the environmental assessment;
- be required to notify the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, other interested stakeholders, and Indigenous communities if there were any changes to the Bradford Bypass project;
- submit an Indigenous Consultation Plan to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and continue to consult with Indigenous communities;
- report annual progress on meeting conditions of the proposed regulation until all conditions have been fulfilled; and
- be able to apply for and obtain permits and approvals required for construction, subject to consultation or other requirements.
To maintain strong protection of our environment, the Ministry of Transportation would continue to document environmental investigations, impact assessments, proposed mitigation strategies, consultation plans and findings, and obtained permits and approvals in technical reports. The Ministry of Transportation would follow all other legislation as well as ministry standards and practices.
Status of Ministry of Transportation Class EA projects
The Ministry of Transportation has several proposed projects that have completed the Ministry of Transportation Class EA process for Group A and B projects. These projects have completed a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) but have not been implemented.
If a project has not been implemented within five years of completing a TESR, the Ministry of Transportation is required to do an addendum in accordance with the Ministry of Transportation Class EA. The purpose of an addendum is to consider any significant changes which have taken place since the submission of the original Class EA project. The changes may include new conditions in the study area, new government policies, new engineering standards, or new technologies for mitigating measures.
What the proposed exemption regulation would do
The proposed regulation would exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act, these Ministry of Transportation Class EA projects that have not been implemented despite completing the Class EA process, and that are now subject to the five-year addendum process.
With this proposed change, the Ministry of Transportation would no longer be required to complete the addendum process.
The proposed regulation includes conditions that would require the Ministry of Transportation to:
- issue a public notice to proceed with the implementation and construction of the project(s) in accordance with the completed Class EA;
- begin the construction of these projects within 10 years of the regulation;
- continue consultation with Indigenous communities;
- fulfill conditions of a Minister’s decision on Part II Order requests that have already been submitted for these projects, as applicable;
- proceed with the detail design for these projects as well as obtaining project-specific permits and approvals; and
- continue to follow all other legislation, standards and practices.
Working smarter to protect our environment and serve our communities
The proposed regulation for the Bradford Bypass and Ministry of Transportation Class EA projects would support the maintenance and implementation of critical roadway infrastructure in Ontario and facilitate the seamless movement of people across the province.
The proposed regulation would also allow the province to focus resources on more significant, complex infrastructure projects with the greatest potential for impacting the environment, rather than projects that have already completed a previous environmental assessment process, environmental impacts are already well understood.
Ontario is currently consulting on these sensible and practical proposed changes to ensure strong environmental oversight while reducing delays and focusing resources on projects that matter most to Ontario communities.
Class environmental assessment—proposed major amendment (2020)
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, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has proposed an amendment to its Class EA for Provincial Transportation Facilities (MTO Class EA). The proposed amendment would align assessment requirements with environmental impact, reduce duplication, and increase efficiency of the assessments.
The proposed amendments include:
- Changing the MTO Class EA Project Groupings to better align project assessment requirements with environmental impacts and to reduce duplication:
- Exempting all Group D projects from the requirements of the MTO Class EA in accordance with the provisions set forth in More Homes, More Choices Act, 2019;
- Exempting additional projects that are considered to be low impact (e.g. safety, reconstruction/rehabilitation of like for like, and general improvement and upgrade projects);
- The renaming of projects Groups to more accurately reflect the types of projects that can be carried out under each Group;
- The shifting of certain types projects to lower or higher groups to better align them with more appropriate process specific assessment requirements; and,
- The option to “step down” a Group B project to a Group C has been removed.
- The creation of a Screening Process to exempt Group C Projects from the requirements of the MTO Class EA.
- Eliminating the requirement to advance Group C or Group B projects beyond preliminary design by ending the MTO Class EA process with the completion of a Transportation Environmental Study Report and removing the requirement to prepare and make available for review a Design and Construction Report.
- Inclusion of an MTO led issues resolution strategy.
- Updating the requirements for transit projects to be consistent with O. Reg. 231/08: Transit Projects and Metrolinx Undertakings.
- Editorial changes and a restructuring of the document to make it easier to read and understand, including updating outdated references to legislation, organizations and terminology.
Learn more about the proposed changes:
Submit your comments
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 2000 version.
Class environmental assessment—amendment (2014)
On November 23, 2011 the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change advised the public that amendments to the Ministry of Transportation Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities (MTO Class EA) had been submitted for review and approval. The amendments were proposed to update the MTO Class EA in accordance with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Codes of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario.
Prior to making a decision, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change made the proposed MTO Class EA amendments available for a 30 day public and agency comment period. The purpose of which was to notify interested members of the public, Aboriginal communities and potentially affected agencies of the submission, and to solicit comments on the proposed amendments. Based on the comments received, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) made a number of revisions to the proposed amendments.
On February 24, 2014 the MTO submitted revised amendments to the MTO Class EA for review and a decision.
Proposed changes to the 1999 MTO Class EA document include the following:
- Class EA document was rewritten to be easier to read and understand;
- The Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) is the only Class EA document for Group A and B projects. Under the 2000 Class EA, additional reports are required to document the planning and detail design stages of a project. Under the proposed amended Class EA, MTO may produce these documents but they are not part of the Class EA process;
- The Class EA process will be considered complete after preliminary design work is completed. The completion of the Class EA process for Group A and B projects will be documented in a Class EA Process Completion Statement. That Statement will be issued after the Notice of Completion is published and the 30 day public review has been completed with no unresolved Part II Order requests;
- A five-year review of MTO's Class EA will be mandatory. The results of the five-year review may lead to additional amendments;
- Other minor amendments such as inclusion of new project types in Groups B and C.
The amendments to the Class EA are intended to provide for an up-to-date, more user-friendly document that:
- Provides for an efficient transportation planning and design process
- Seeks to protect, conserve and wisely manage environmental features and functions
The proposed amendments to the MTO Class EA will be posted for a 45-day public review and comment period starting September 22, 2014. Interested members of the public are invited to submit their written comments by November 6, 2014 to the person listed in the contact section of this posting. All comments received during the comment period will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
Class environmental assessment—amendment (2011)
The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has operated under an approved Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) since 1979, for provincial transportation projects and activities. The Class EA contains the principles of environmental assessment, defines the categories of MTO projects and activities to which the Class EA applies, and identifies the main stages of the decision-making process that MTO follows to comply with the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). The Class EA is authorized under Part II.1 of the EAA and is subject to approval by the Minister of the Environment.
Providing MTO follows the approved Class EA when undertaking projects and activities, no further EAA approval is required.
MTO's current Class EA was approved through an Order-in-Council in 1999. A minor amendment was made in 2000. In 2009, MTO decided to commence a review of the current Class EA. Amendments have been prepared in response to suggestions for improvements received from MTO staff, regulatory agencies and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.
The MTO has submitted a request to approve proposed amendments to its Class Environmental Assessment to the Minister of the Environment.
Class environmental assessment (1999)
On December 19, 1997 MTO submitted an EA document to support an application for approval of their Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) for the Provincial Highways Program which includes the planning of various provincial transportation facilities listed within the Class EA document. The Environmental Assessment Act provides for the preparation of Class EAs for approval by the Minister. A Class EA is an approved planning document that defines a group of projects and activities and the environmental assessment processes which the proponent commits to following for each of these undertakings. The government review of this environmental assessment was published on November 25, 1998 for a 30-day public comment period. This project was approved on October 9, 1999.