Environmental Compliance Approval
Apply for an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for your business’ emissions and discharges related to air, noise, waste and sewage.
On this page Skip this page navigation
An Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) is a permission that allows businesses to operate their facility or site with environmental controls that protect human health and the natural environment.
Business owners who plan to carry out activities that have the potential to impact the public or natural environment must get an ECA before they can construct, operate or upgrade a facility or site in Ontario.
- Section 9 of the EPA requires an ECA for activities with emissions related to air, noise and/or vibrations
- Section 27 of the EPA requires an ECA for the transportation, management and/or disposal of certain types of waste
- Section 53 of the OWRA requires an ECA for a sewage works
Business must meet the specific terms and conditions set out in their ECA.
Types of Environmental Compliance Approvals
Different types of ECAs are available, depending on the proposed activities and your operational needs.
ECA for a single media
I ncludes requirements for an activity described under:
- EPA section 9, also known as an Air ECA
- EPA section 27, also known as a Waste ECA
- OWRA section 53, also known as a Sewage ECA
ECA for multiple media
A multi-media ECA allows for a single approval for a site that combines all air, noise, waste and sewage requirements in a single document. This option streamlines requirements that are common across all media, such as the requirement to prepare a spills prevention and contingency plan.
Multi-media ECAs provide an opportunity to align an ECA with a business’ comprehensive third party certified environmental management system, to reduce reporting requirements and redundancies.
Consolidated Linear Infrastructure ECA
A Consolidated Linear Infrastructure ECA (CLI ECA) replaces the numerous pipe-by-pipe ECAs that were previously issued for components of a municipal sewage collection system and municipal stormwater management system.
Learn more about CLI ECAs.
You may have the option to request operational flexibility, known as a flexible ECA, for certain activities that are approved under a single or multi-media ECA.
These ECAs give businesses the flexibility to make low risk operational changes—such as increasing the amount of materials they recycle or replacing outdated equipment—without having to seek permission from us.
Learn more about ECAs with operational flexibility.
Determine if you need to apply for an ECA
Many applicants hire an environmental consultant to help them navigate the ECA process.
You should also read our technical resources to help you understand the guidelines and procedures associated with ECA applications for certain activities. This information may help you determine if an ECA is required for your proposed project.
Your local ministry district office can also help guide you determine which permission you may require.
Routine and lower risk activities
If you meet the regulatory requirements for an Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR), you must register your activity in the EASR and you are not required to obtain an ECA.
Activities may include:
- automotive refinishing facilities
- commercial printing facilitates
- non-hazardous waste transportation systems
- facilities processing end-of-life vehicles
- other activities requiring assessment of air emissions
Learn more about determining if your activity must be registered in the EASR.
The ECA process
Before you apply
You may need to satisfy other federal, municipal or provincial requirements before you can apply for an ECA. As part of your project planning and before you prepare the technical aspects of your application, you should:
- Review the environmental land use planning guides which outline the environmental considerations and requirements for industrial land use, sensitive lands, sewage and water services, and private wells.
- Review the federal guidance related to environment and natural resources to identify if any federal requirements that apply to your project and determine the appropriate timeframe to satisfy the requirement(s).
- Consult with the municipality to ensure that you understand applicable by-laws, proper zoning is in place and that the activity is permitted under the municipality’s official plan.
- Consider the impacts on sources of drinking water. Learn more about Source Water Protection if the proposed activity is for sewage works or a waste disposal site.
- Determine if your project is subject to an Environmental Assessment and complete the process as required.Learn more about which sectors and projects are subject to the Environmental Assessment process.
- Identify the consultation requirements for your project and begin consultation with First Nations and Métis communities early. Learn more about consultation with First Nations and Métis communities.
- Identify the neighbour notification requirements for your project and notify adjacent property owners as required. Learn more about pre-submission notification requirements if your project disposes of or manages waste (including hauled sewage, septage, disposal sites) and is not subject to the Environmental Assessment process.
- Review the pre-submission requirements for industry air approvals (if applicable) and comply with the Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) in Air Approvals Policy. Learn more about pre-submission requirements for industry air approvals if you are proposing a new or expanded facility that emits or is proposing to emit benzene or benzo[a]pyrene and are located in the Hamilton/Burlington area or the Sarnia/Corunna area. You should plan a pre-submission meeting with the ministry at least 9 months before submitting your ECA.
- Determine if you should attend a pre-submission consultation meeting with the ministry. Learn more about how to determine if a pre-submission consultation meeting is required or recommended. For example, if your proposed project could impact water resources, then you will need input from the ministry’s Regional Technical Support Section (RTSS) to determine what additional information is necessary prior to submitting your application.
When preparing and completing your application, you should review:
- Ontario Regulation 255/11: Applications for Environmental Compliance Approvals, which sets out prescribed requirements for an ECA application
- the Guide to applying for an ECA
- the Checklist for technical requirements for a complete ECA submission
We may return your application if it is incomplete. Learn how to submit a complete application.
How to apply for an ECA
To apply for an ECA (or an amendment or renewal of an ECA), you need to:
- Sign-in through My Ontario Account to access the ministry’s online services for environmental permissions
- Set up your ministry account
Learn more about online services for environmental permissions including setting up your My Ontario and ministry accounts.
Once you have set up your ministry account , you will:
- Start a new application
- Complete the required application questions and attach supporting documents
- Attest and submit
- Pay the application fee (if applicable)
- Get your application status.
- Provide additional information through information requests (if applicable)
- Receive notification of our decision on your application
- Access your issued ECA(s) (if applicable)
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.email@example.com with the following attachments:
You will receive a confirmation email with the reference number for your application.
Do not submit payment information in your email. If your application requires payment, you must mail your payment to us. Learn more about payment methods for ECA applications.
The Minister’s requirement for fees with ECAs identifies the fees required for an ECA application.
The fee amount varies and depends on the type of activity being applied for and the reason for the application, such as:
- an application for a new ECA
- an amendment to an ECA
- a revocation of an ECA
When you apply online, the fee payment that is required will be automatically calculated for you.
You can pay for your ECA application online using your ministry account.
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
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.
The administrative processing fee payment that may be required with your application is non-refundable. However, 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
- your application is incomplete and therefore cancelled
We will review your application to ensure that your activity will not adversely affect the environment or human health.
For an overview of the ECA application process after you have submitted your ECA application, read our guidance on:
- application screening process
- technical review stage
- approval decision stage
We have a one year service standard for complex ECA applications.
You should make every effort to account for the review timelines in your project planning. In exceptional circumstances such as environmental or health impacts, infrastructure funding deadlines or compliance issues, you can contact us to request that your application be prioritized.
Every request to prioritize an application will be given due consideration. You must provide:
- the reference number of the application
- the justification for prioritizing the application
- the actual date by which you require the approval
- a copy of any correspondence with the district about the approval (optional)
Name, address or ownership changes
Learn how to change the name, address or ownership for an ECA.
Amend or renew your ECA
You should follow the application requirements if:
- you are proposing a technical change or modification to a facility or site for which an ECA has been issued
- the ECA has an expiry date and you want to continue operating
You should also refer to the EASR requirements to determine if your proposed change is required to be registered.
Read How to apply for an ECA for steps to apply for an amendment or renewal. A fee may be required with your application.
Financial assurance re-evaluation
If your ECA has terms and conditions that require you to submit a financial assurance (FA) re-evaluation proposal, submit your FA re-evaluation application either:
Learn more about financial assurance.
When to revoke your ECA
If you are closing down a business or your activity is no longer in operation, you might want to revoke the ECA.
If you provided financial assurance for your operations, we may return it to you after the ECA is revoked and we are satisfied the financial assurance is no longer required for the site.
Before applying to revoke the ECA, you should consider whether the site requires cleaning up or has post-closure terms and conditions in the ECA. For example, if your ECA for a landfill has post-closure terms and conditions related to monitoring of methane gas, the Director will not revoke your ECA.
To apply for a revocation, you should contact us and submit your application.
- Learn more about recent changes to the ECA program
- Search for ECAs along with other permissions
Use these guides, summaries and forms as you prepare to apply for an ECA:
- Installing vertical closed loop ground source heat pumps
- Noise and sound level assessments
- Rules for greenhouse operators
- Rules for treating industrial wastewater
- Rules on air quality and pollution
- Waste disposal site and landfill approvals
- Waste management systems approvals
- Water and sewage works approvals
- Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approvals
- Air and noise approvals
- Change the name, address or ownership for an ECA
- Environmental land use planning guides
- Finance assurance for environmental protection
For more information, you can contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch: