Important notice – online applications

We strongly encourage online submissions for Environmental Compliance Approval applications through your ministry account. You can apply, track application progress and complete payments online.

If you have questions, you can contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch by phone at 416-314-8001 or 1-800-461-6290 , or by email at enviropermissions@ontario.ca.

Review the policy for Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) for Air approvals to determine if you need to comply.

When to apply for an ECA

Businesses with complex or unique types of operations, such as landfill sites or wastewater treatment plants, must apply for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). By law, your business must meet the specific conditions set out in the ECA. Your business may also be inspected to ensure conditions are met.

Businesses that engage in certain routine and lower risk activities must self-register online in the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). Businesses that register in the EASR are not required to obtain an ECA.

Apply for an ECA

To apply for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) you need to:

  1. Read the Guide to Applying for an Environmental Compliance Approval.
  2. Refer to the checklist for technical requirements for a complete Environmental Compliance Approval submission to help you determine if you are ready to submit your application.
  3. Create a My Ontario Account to access your ministry account.

Once you are logged into your ministry account, you can:

  • submit your application and supporting documents
  • make payments
  • track your application progress

Learn more about setting up your My Ontario and ministry accounts.

If you have questions, you can contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch.

Other ways to apply

You can also submit your ECA application by email if you cannot submit using your ministry account.

To submit your application, send an email to ECA.submission@ontario.ca with the following attachments:

  1. A complete Environmental Compliance Approval application form.
  2. Copies of all required supporting documents.

You will receive a confirmation email with the reference number for your application.

Do not submit payment information in your email. Learn more about payment methods for ECA applications.

One-year service standard

On January 1, 2018, a one-year service standard took effect for new higher-risk ECA applications. The one-year service standard will help avoid delays in the application and review process. Applicants will benefit from greater clarity about project requirements and timelines.

The one-year service standard applies whether you submit an ECA application online or by email. If you submit an ECA application online, you can track the progress of your application in the electronic Environmental Compliance Approval System (eECAS).

The ministry can stop the clock on the one-year service standard at the screening or review stage if the application is missing required information. Applicants will be notified as to why the clock was stopped and what is required to resume the application process. Once the required information is submitted, the process resumes and the clock is restarted.

For more information on how to submit an ECA application, refer to the ECA guide.

Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) in Air Approvals

You may need to comply with the Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) in Air Approvals policy if you:

  • are proposing a new or expanding facility that emits or is proposing to emit benzene and/or benzo[a]pyrene
  • are located in the Hamilton/Burlington area or the Sarnia/Corunna area

You may also need to attend a pre-submission meeting with the ministry to discuss your application requirements.

Learn more about pre-submission requirements for industry air approvals.

To determine if your facility needs to comply with the policy, and to plan a pre-submission meeting:

Fees

The base fee to apply for an Environmental Compliance Approval is $50–$200. Payment is non-refundable and depends on the type of activity, such as those defined in:

There are additional fees for applications requiring technical review.

Learn more about the range of fees.

Payment method

If you submit your application online using your ministry account, you can pay online by either:

  • credit card (Visa or Mastercard)
  • Interac Online
  • Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard

If you submit your application by email and payment is required, you must either pay through the application form by selecting “pay online” or mail your payment to:

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Attention: Environmental Compliance Approval, Director
Client Services and Permissions Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West, 1st Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1P5

Include the following with your mailed payment:

  • The payment page of the application form with your credit card information.  If you are paying using a certified cheque or money order, staple the cheque to the payment page.
  • The reference number of the application, which you can find in your  email confirmation.

If payment is not received, it may delay the review of your application.

Refunds

You may receive a refund of all or part of the fee if:

  • you withdraw your application before a decision is made
  • your application is not approved

Innovative technology verification pilot project

If you have an innovative, market ready environmental technology for municipal wastewater treatment, you may be eligible to participate in a verification pilot project aimed at streamlining the application process for an Environmental Compliance Approval.

Through the pilot, a qualified third-party verifier will review your technology performance claim based on existing data or the results of further testing. If successful, you’ll receive a verification statement, which will ensure that your technology’s performance claims are supported with credible, quality-assured data. The verification statement can also support your Environmental Compliance Approval application with the ministry.

If you are interested in obtaining a verification for your innovative environmental technology, you need to engage with one of the participating third-party verifiers:

More help for applicants

Use these guides, summaries and forms as you prepare to apply:

Hearings and consultation requirements

Learn more about consultation requirements for your ECA application and what to expect if the Environmental Review Tribunal holds a hearing.

Environmental Bill of Rights and Ontario’s Environmental Registry

When an application for an ECA is made, it is classified as a Class II proposal under the Environmental Bill of Rights. This means your applications must be posted for a minimum of 30 days on the Environmental Registry for public comment.

In most cases, a posting of an additional 15 days—for a total of 45 days—is required.

Exceptions

Exceptions may apply to a completed application for an ECA. This would make it exempt from public consultation under the Environmental Bill of Rights. Read the regulation for the range of exceptions.

Discretionary hearings

Under this provision, a ministry director may refer some or all of an ECA application to an Environmental Review Tribunal for a hearing. If a hearing is held, the ministry director must carry out the tribunal’s decision.

Fees

When a hearing is required, you must pay a fee of $18,000.

Appeals

You may appeal a ministry director’s decision only after a decision is made. Appeals are heard by the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). Any party to the hearing may appeal decisions by the ERT. These appeals are made to Divisional Court on a question of law, or to the minister on any other matter.

If a decision on an amended ECA is appealed, only the revised terms and conditions are considered.

Search environmental approvals

Search for Environmental Compliance Approvals, and other environmental permissions, using Access Environment.

Submit a Request for a Copy of an Environmental Compliance Approval if you need a signed copy of an ECA, or a copy of an ECA issued before January 1, 2000.

For more information

For more information about environmental permissions, contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch: