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

This class environmental assessment sets out a planning process for small to medium scale waterpower projects, such as new facilities less than 200 megawatts in capacity and most expansion projects, as per Ontario Regulation 116/01—Electricity Projects, 2001. New facilities 200 megawatts or larger must undergo an individual environmental assessment.

Learn more on the Ontario Waterpower Association website.

Proponent

Ontario Waterpower Association

Location

Ontario-wide

Type

Electricity generation

Reference number

02139

Contact

Devon Wills, Environmental Assessment Branch

devon.wills@ontario.ca

Project history

Class environmental assessment—major amendment (2020): submitted
Date submitted: December 5, 2019
Expiry of public comment period: August 22, 2020

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2018): approved
Decision date: January 26, 2018

Class environmental assessment—major amendment (2017): approved
Date submitted: June 26, 2012
Expiry of public comment period: April 20, 2016
Decision date: October 19, 2017

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2015): approved
Decision date: October 8, 2015

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2014): approved
Decision date: October 17, 2014

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2013): approved
Decision date: September 30, 2013

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2012): approved
Decision date: March 16, 2012

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2011): approved
Decision date: March 18, 2011

Class environmental assessment (2008): approved
Date submitted: October 19, 2007
Expiry of public comment period: December 14, 2007
Expiry of public comment period for ministry review: June 6, 2008
Decision date: October 8, 2008

Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: August 23, 2002
Expiry of public comment period: September 27, 2002
Decision date: November 4, 2005

Class environmental assessment—proposed major amendment (2020)

Ontario is taking the next steps to update 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, the Ontario Waterpower Association has proposed amendments to the Class EA for Waterpower Projects. The proposed amendment would create a screening process to exempt projects that are anticipated to be low impact from the full class environmental assessment process.

Projects that meet the following criteria would be eligible to go through the screening process:

  • expansion or change to an existing generation facility by less than 25% with an initial nameplate capacity:
    • less than 200 megawatts (MW) and resultant nameplate capacity of 200 MW or more
    • greater than 200 MW
  • associated with existing water management infrastructure, such as a dam, a weir, or a lock
  • limit any increase in the footprint of the water management infrastructure to 25% or less

Projects that meet the criteria will be required to notify the public, Indigenous communities and government agencies and perform a self-assessment on potential environmental effects in key areas.

Learn more about the proposed changes:

Submit your comments

Please submit comments directly to devon.wills@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 2018 version.

Class environmental assessment—minor amendment (2018)

A minor amendment to the class environmental assessment was approved on January 26, 2018.

Notice of minor amendment

The Ontario Waterpower Association proposed amendments to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects.

On October 31, 2017, the Ontario Waterpower Association submitted its request to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Environmental Assessment and Permissions Branch. Additional minor amendments were also proposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. The Director has determined that the accepted minor amendments, with and without modifications, will not substantially change the Class Environmental Assessment, do not compromise environmental protection, and will improve the implementation of the Class Environmental Assessment by providing additional clarity and guidance.

Pursuant to Subsection 8.2.1 of the Ontario Waterpower Association Class Environmental Assessment, minor amendments, with and without modifications, have been accepted by the Director of the Environmental Assessment and Permissions Branch. A copy of the Notice of Minor Amendment has been placed in the public record file and a copy has been provided to the Ontario Waterpower Association.

The Ontario Waterpower Association Class Environmental Assessment has been amended to include the following minor amendments, with and without modifications, as outlined in Table 1.

Copies of the Notice of Minor Amendment and associated attachments can be obtained from the public record file located at:

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Environmental Assessment and Permissions Branch
Floor 1
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1L5

Further information on the Ontario Waterpower Association Class Environmental Assessment can be obtained at the Ontario Waterpower Association Web Site at http://www.owa.ca.

This notice is dated January 26, 2018.

Table 1: Minor amendments for the Ontario Waterpower Association’s Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects

1. Roles and responsibilities with respect to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects process

Reference

New Section 1.6

Proposed amendment

Ontario Waterpower Association proposed: Insert content of 2014 Fact Sheet: ‘MOECC/ MNRF/ Ontario Waterpower Association Roles and Responsibilities With Respect to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects Process’

Rationale

Incorporates approved guidance to provide additional up-front clarity.

Proposed new/revised language

Refer to approved fact sheet.

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change response

Approved with changes. The ministry supports adding clarity with regards to roles and responsibilities, but notes that there is some overlap between the fact sheet content and other sections of the class environmental assessment. As such, the ministry approves including the following reference to the fact sheet in Appendix C of the class environmental assessment, rather than incorporating the proposed language into class environmental assessment: Roles and Responsibilities With Respect to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects Process, August 2014 - Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change / Ontario Waterpower Association / Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

2. Lakes and rivers

Reference

Section 5.3.1

Proposed amendment

Ontario Waterpower Association proposed: Incorporate language from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s 2015 Technical Bulletin: Location Approval for Dams

Rationale

Establishes linkage with approved Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry guidance of relevance to environmental assessment.

Proposed new/revised language
In most cases, construction of a new dam will be subject to requirements established under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA).Where an EA is required, applicants must provide MNRF with a copy of the documentation prepared during the course of satisfying requirements under the EAA such as, but not necessarily limited to: the Final Environmental Report (ER); the Statement of Completion; any other supporting material deemed pertinent to the project; and any modifications to the project made after the Statement of Completion (addendum Provisions). Additional details, including how any EAA Part II Order requests were addressed should also be disclosed. “Documentation prepared during the EA will be the Ministry’s primary tool for identifying the range of potential effects associated with construction of the dam and determining whether additional changes or conditions are required for approval to construct a new dam at the proposed location. Where an EA is not required, MNRF will identify in writing any additional information required to complete the review for location approval.” For additional information, refer to MNRF’s Technical Bulletin: Location Approval for Dams, 2015.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change response

Approved with changes. The Ministry of Natural Resources proposed some edits to the proposed language to align with the Location Approval for Dams Technical Bulletin.

Approved language as follows:

In most cases, construction of a new dam will be subject to requirements established under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). Where an EA is required, applicants must provide MNRF with a copy of the documentation prepared during the course of satisfying requirements under the EAA such as, but not necessarily limited to: the Final Environmental Report (ER); the Statement of Completion; any other supporting material deemed pertinent to the project; and any modifications to the project made after the Statement of Completion (addendum Provisions). Additional details, including how any EAA Part II Order requests were addressed should also be disclosed. “Documentation prepared during the EA will be the Ministry’s primary tool for identifying the range of potential effects associated with construction and operation of the dam and determining whether additional changes or conditions are required for approval to construct a new dam at the proposed location. Where an EA is not required, MNRF will identify in writing any additional information required by the Ministry to complete its review for location approval.” For additional information, refer to MNRF’s Technical Bulletin: Location Approval for Dams, 2015.

6. Resource material

Reference

Appendix C

Proposed amendment

Ontario Waterpower Association proposed: Add Community Engagement Toolkit for Waterpower Developers

Rationale

New Ontario Waterpower Association publication created from municipal engagement sessions in 2016.

Proposed new/revised language

Consultation: Community Engagement Toolkit for Waterpower Developers, Planning Solutions Inc., 2016.

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change response

Approved without changes.

7. Project documentation

Reference

4.4.3 Notice of Completion

Proposed amendment

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change proposed: Add requirement for project proponents to submit environmental reports to Ontario Waterpower Association for posting on its website.

Rationale

Provides further transparency and accessibility of project information by interested parties.

Proposed new/revised language

Proposed new language is marked in bold:

4.4.3 Notice of Completion

For Projects under Section 3.1.1 and Projects over 500 kW in Nameplate Capacity and for Projects Associated with Existing Infrastructure, the Notice of Completion will be directly sent to all Aboriginal communities, agencies and other parties who expressed interest when the Notice of Project or Notice of Commencement was issued and to those who participated in the consultation process. For all other categories of projects, the Notice of Completion will also be sent to the distribution list created for the Notice of Commencement. For all categories of projects, an electronic copy of the ER will be submitted to the OWA for posting on its website. Note that the deadline for comments and/or requesting a Part II Order is 30 days unless otherwise extended by the proponent.

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change response

Approved without changes.

8. Lakes and rivers

Reference

5.3.1 Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (MNRF) and Appendix C

Proposed amendment

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed: Update reference to guidance that is now outdated.

Rationale

Corrects reference that is outdated.

Proposed new/revised language

Outdated reference is marked in bold:

Section 5.3.1:

The requirements for approvals under the LRIA are summarized in Table 4 and are described in detail in the Guidelines and Criteria for Approvals under the LRIA Administrative Guide and LRIA Technical Bulletins (see Appendix C).

Appendix C:

Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act Technical Guidelines Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act Administrative Guide and Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act Technical Bulletins – Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change response

Approved without changes.

Class environmental assessment—major amendment (2017)

On October 19, 2017, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change approved a major amendment to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects submitted by the Ontario Waterpower Association.

This amendment creates a new category for small waterpower projects that have a nameplate capacity of 500 kilowatts or under and are associated with existing waterpower management infrastructure. The new category also includes projects that increase the efficiency of existing waterpower facilities, including the use, retrofitting, redeveloping, upgrading or like-for-like replacement of existing infrastructure.

Read the class environmental assessment on the Ontario Waterpower Association’s website.

Notice of approval of amendments

Proponent: Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA)
EA file number: EA-03-03-02-02

Having considered the purpose of the Environmental Assessment Act, the amendments to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects (November 2015), the amending procedures, and the submissions received, I hereby give approval and amend the Class Environmental Assessment. Please see the amended sections of the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects, in tracked changes, attached to this notice.

The proponent shall provide to the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch two copies of the consolidated approved amended Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects for its public record file and for staff use for monitoring and compliance purposes. The proponent shall also post the amended document on its web site. The consolidated document shall include any necessary formatting or other administrative changes including updates to names of government agencies or legislation as may be applicable as outlined in the amendment.

The proponents authorized to use this Class Environmental Assessment shall comply with the provisions/process as outlined in the amended document which are hereby incorporated into this approval.

Reasons

My reasons for giving approval are:

  1. The amendments were prepared in accordance with Condition 3 of its Environmental Assessment Act approval, dated October 25, 2010 and the amendment provisions outlined in Section 8.2 of its Class EA.
  2. On the basis of the proponent’s amended Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects and the proponent’s conclusion that, on balance, the advantages of this undertaking outweigh its disadvantages appears to be valid.
  3. No other beneficial alternative method of implementing the amended undertaking was identified.
  4. OWA consulted on its amendments and demonstrated that the amendments were consistent with current legislation requirements and planning practices to provide for a more effective planning process to deliver municipal infrastructure and servicing in a more efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.
  5. OWA's amendments are consistent with the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects, the purpose and provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act and are in the public interest.
  6. The Government Review Team and public review have indicated no outstanding concerns that have not been addressed or considered.

Conditions

Conditions that must be met on this approval:

  1. Table 3—Potential Effects Identification Matrix in the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects will be amended by the Ontario Waterpower Association to require proponents to consider the impact that climate may have on the project (resiliency) as well as the project’s effect on climate (mitigation).
  2. Within thirty (30) days of the approval of the amendment to the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects, the Ontario Waterpower Association must make available on a website accessible to the public, a list of all active projects, including all project notifications and documentation, being undertaken under the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects.
  3. Once the amendment has been approved, the Ontario Waterpower Association will notify:
    1. All First Nations communities in the Province of Ontario, as well as the Chiefs of Ontario by registered mail.
    2. All municipalities through the Association of Ontario Municipalities communications channels.

Dated the 19th day of October 2017 at Toronto.

Original signed by:
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
77 Wellesley Street West, 11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2T5

Class environmental assessment (2008)

On November 4, 2005, the Minister of the Environment issued a notice of approval for the terms of reference (ToR) for the preparation of a class environmental assessment (EA) for waterpower development projects, prepared and submitted by the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA).

In accordance with the approved ToR, the OWA drafted the class EA and formally submitted it to the Ministry of the Environment on October 22, 2007 for a seven week review period. The class EA was developed considerate of the advice and input received from the waterpower industry, provincial and federal agencies, Aboriginal organizations, representative associations and the public.

During the review period, comments were received from government agencies, members of the waterpower industry and other stakeholders. In response, the OWA took additional time to make minor changes and clarifications to the class EA and to respond to the comments of stakeholders. The OWA submitted responses to the comments raised and an updated class EA on March 28, 2008.

On May 2, 2008, the ministry released the notice of completion of ministry review for this class EA. The notice of completion was sent to the president of the OWA, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Aboriginal communities, all parties who made submissions during the first comment period and a distribution list of parties with known or expressed interest in the class EA.

The public, government agencies, Aboriginal communities and other interested parties were provided until June 6, 2008 to provide the ministry with comments about the proposed class of undertakings, the class EA and the ministry review. Upon the expiry of this comment period, the public and agency submissions were evaluated and approval was granted under the Environmental Assessment Act effective October 8, 2008.

Read the class environmental assessment on the Ontario Waterpower Association’s website.

Terms of reference

On November 4, 2005, the Minister of the Environment approved the terms of reference for this class environmental assessment.

Get details on the notice of approval.

Updated: July 07, 2021
Published: March 20, 2014