Environmental Assessment Act R.S.O. 1990, Subsection 7(1)

This Review is subject to the provisions of Ontario Regulation 616/98 which sets out a deadline for the completion of this document. The deadline for the completion of the Ministry Review was August 15, 2014. This paragraph and the giving of the Notice of Completion are the notices required by subsection 7(3) of the Environmental Assessment Act.

The Ministry Review documents the ministry’s evaluation of the Class EA and takes the comments of the government agencies, the public and Aboriginal communities into consideration.

Executive summary

Who

Hydro One Networks Incorporated (Hydro One)

What

Ministry Review of the proposed Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities

When

Class EA submitted: December 13, 2013
First inspection period: December 13, 2013 to February 7, 2014
Amended Class EA submitted: June 30, 2014
Ministry Review comment period: September 15, 2014 to October 24, 2014

Where

The Class EA will apply to minor transmission facility activities across the province.

Why

To update the Class EA to comply with the 2014 Code of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario, Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects), and to include references to private sector transmission proponents due to the opening of the electricity market to competition.

Conclusions

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has concluded that the applicant has prepared the Class EA in accordance with the approved Terms of Reference and the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.

Class Environmental Assessment process

A Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) is a proponent driven planning process designed to incorporate the consideration of the environment into decision-making by assessing the effects of an undertaking on the environment. In Ontario, the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) sets out the general contents for the preparation of a Class EA, as well as the ministry’s evaluation process. For those proponents and undertakings subject to the EAA, approval under the EAA is required before the undertaking can proceed.

Applicants preparing a Class EA are required to identify specific categories and sub-categories of undertakings to which the Class EA would apply, and provide a planning process for evaluating the environmental effects of each individual undertaking. The Class EA may require proponents to consider actions to prevent, change, mitigate or remedy potential environmental effects. When preparing a Class EA, the applicant must consult with interested stakeholders including government agencies, public, non-governmental organisations as well as Aboriginal communities and organisations.

A Class EA submitted for approval under the EAA differs from a project-specific environmental assessment (EA). The Class EA is unique because it receives approval for a planning process for an entire class of projects. This allows each project in the class to be carried out in accordance with the requirements and planning process set out in the Class EA.

Once the Class EA is approved, proponents do not need to apply for approval under the EAA for each individual project provided they follow the procedures in the Class EA. However, proponents are required to monitor implementation and effectiveness of the Class EA and compliance with the EAA approval.

When following an approved Class EA, proponents of individual projects within the class of undertakings address a wide range of potential effects on the natural, social, cultural and economic environments to ensure the protection, conservation and wise management of the environment. A Class EA provides the framework for a proponent to determine, on the basis of the environmental effects, if an undertaking should proceed, and if so, how any environmental effects can be managed.

1.1 Terms of Reference

The first version of the Class EA was approved under the EAA on December 27, 1980. It has been subsequently revised six times, with the previous version having been approved on April 23, 1992. In 1996, Hydro One submitted an amended Class EA to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) for review and approval. The MOECC review of Hydro One’s 1996 submission was put on hold due to the opening of the electricity market to competition and the new Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects Regulation). Hydro One determined that the existing Class EA would need to be replaced and significant amendments to the existing Class EA would be required for the following reasons:

  • To ensure consistency with the Electricity Projects Regulation;
  • To comply with the MOECC's Code of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario (Code of Practice); and
  • The most recent version of the Class EA refers to Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One Networks Incorporated) as the sole proponent. As a result of the Electricity Projects Regulation, all applicable private and public transmission projects are subject to this Class EA. The Class EA therefore needs to be amended to reflect its applicability to all transmission project proponents.

Because of the extensive nature of the amendments required for the Class EA to meet the three above requirements, Hydro One opted to treat the amendments to the Class EA as a new Class EA that was being prepared instead of following the process for making amendments to the existing Class EA.

Preparing a new Class EA is a two-step application to the MOECC. The first step requires the applicant to prepare and submit a Terms of Reference (ToR) for review and decision. The ToR is the work plan or framework for how the Class EA will be prepared.

In May 2003, Hydro One submitted a ToR to amend its Class EA. On February 17, 2004, the Minister approved the ToR. The ToR sets out the issues and opportunities to be considered in amending the Class EA, and a range of proposed amendments. The ToR established the scope and purpose for the Class EA and it outlined the content of the Class EA using the requirements of the EAA and the MOECC's standards for all Class EAs as the starting point. The ToR also outlined a consultation plan for developing the Class EA.

1.2 Class Environmental Assessment

Once the ToR is approved by the Minister, the applicant can proceed to the second step of the Class EA process and prepare the Class EA. The Class EA must be prepared in accordance with the approved ToR and the requirements of the EAA. Once the applicant has prepared the proposed Class EA, including consultation, the proposed Class EA is submitted to the MOECC for review and approval.

On December 13, 2013, Hydro One submitted the Class EA to the MOECC for decision. The Class EA was made available for public inspection and comment for a seven-week period which ended on February 7, 2014. The Government Review Team (GRT), including federal, provincial and local agencies reviewed the Class EA to ensure that the information and conclusions of the Class EA were valid, based on their agencies' mandates. The public, Aboriginal communities and interested organizations also had an opportunity to review the Class EA and submit their comments to the MOECC. All comments received by the MOECC are considered by the Minister before a decision is made about the Class EA, including comments and concerns related to implementing projects using the Class EA.

During this inspection period, comments were submitted by the GRT and Aboriginal communities. No comments were received from the public or other stakeholders. The comments were for the most part suggestions for improvement in the following areas: clarifications and minor editorial comments; categorizing emergency rehabilitation activities; consultation and documentation requirements; the appropriateness of screening criteria for identifying potential impacts on cultural heritage resources; and planning process steps. Additional time was provided to Hydro One in order to hold discussions and respond to the comments received by making revisions to the Class EA. Hydro One provided the MOECC with a revised Class EA on June 30, 2014.

1.3 Ministry Review

The EAA requires the MOECC to prepare a review of the Class EA, known simply as the Ministry Review. The Ministry Review is the MOECC's evaluation of the Class EA. The purpose of the Ministry Review is to determine if the Class EA has been prepared in accordance with the approved ToR and therefore meets the requirements of the EAA and whether the evaluation process in the Class EA is sufficient to allow the Minister to make a decision about the Class EA.

The Ministry Review outlines whether the information contained in the Class EA supports the recommendations and conclusions for the proposed class of undertakings. MOECC staff, with input from the GRT, evaluates how well the provided clear and complete documentation of such consultations. The Ministry Review also provides an overview and analysis of the public, GRT and Aboriginal community comments on the Class EA.

The MOECC considers the conclusions of the Ministry Review when making a decision; the Ministry Review itself is not the decision making mechanism. The Minister’s decision will be made following the end of the five-week Review comment period. The Minister’s decision is subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

The Ministry Review comment period allows the GRT, the public and Aboriginal communities to see how their comments on the Class EA have been considered. During the Ministry Review comment period, anyone can submit comments on the Class EA, and the Ministry Review. In addition, anyone can request that the Minister refer the Class EA, or any matter relating to the Class EA, to the Environmental Review Tribunal for a hearing if they believe that there are significant outstanding environmental effects that the Class EA has not addressed. Requests for a hearing can only be made during this comment period. The Minister will consider any requests and determine if a hearing is necessary.

On December 13, 2013, a Notice of Completion of the Class EA was posted on the MOECC's EA activities website and was published in the Globe and Mail. An information notice was also published by the MOECC on the Environmental Bill of Rights Environmental Registry. The Ministry Review and Class EA will also be made available for viewing at the offices of the MOECC. The Notice of Completion indicates that this Review has been completed and is available for a five-week comment period from September 15, 2014 to October 24, 2014. Copies of the Ministry Review have been placed in the same public record locations where the Class EA was available during the initial comment period, and copies have been distributed to the GRT members and potentially affected or interested Aboriginal communities. A copy of the Class EA will also be made available on the MOECC's EA Activities website and at the public record locations.

The proposed Class Environmental Assessment

2.1 Description

The largest subsidiary of Hydro One Incorporated, Hydro One Networks Incorporated is a crown corporation that operates 97% of the high voltage transmission grid throughout Ontario and serves 1.3 million customers in rural areas across the province in its capacity as Ontario’s largest distribution utility. Since before the original Class EA was approved in 1980, Hydro One (then Ontario Hydro) had been the only proponent for minor transmission projects subject to the Class EA. It was not until the opening of the electricity market and the enactment of the Electricity Projects Regulation in 2001-2002 that this situation changed, with other companies being able to undertake transmission projects in the Province of Ontario.

The Class EA has been written to be consistent with the Electricity Projects Regulation, the Code of Practice, and to be applicable to all transmission project proponents. The Class EA would replace the previous version, which was approved on April 23, 1992.

A Class EA sets out a standardized planning process which must be approved by the Minister and the Lieutenant Governor in Council for a group or class of undertakings. The class of activities is routinely carried out and has predictable environmental effects which can be readily managed. The activities that Hydro One is proposing to be covered by the Class EA fall within this description. Projects defined within a Class EA require no further approval under Section 5 of the EAA, conditional upon being planned according to the procedures set out in the Class EA document and not being subject to a Part II Order request (or bump up). All Class EAs include a Part II Order provision whereby any interested stakeholder or member of the public may request that the Minister order that an individual EA be carried out for a particular project.

The Class EA includes a description of different project categories that are based upon the potential for effects on all aspects as described in the EAA. The categories are defined in the Electricity Projects Regulation and include:

  • Category A: Transmission projects not subject to the EAA;
  • Category B: Transmission projects subject to the Class EA that are not associated with Category B generation facilities; and
  • Category C: Transmission projects requiring an individual EA.

Only Category B projects are subject to the Class EA. Category B projects are defined as:

  • Minor transmission lines greater than 2 kilometres in length and:
    • Having a nominal capacity of 115 kilovolts (kV); or,
    • Having a nominal capacity higher than 115 kV and less than 500 kV.
  • Replacement of poles/towers and/or changes in the right-of-way of existing transmission lines having a nominal capacity of equal to or greater than 115 kV and less than 500 kV;
  • Upgrading or modifying transmission lines such that the transmission line has a nominal capacity of equal to or greater than 115 kV and less than 500 kV;
  • Transmission stations (including telecommunication stations) equal to or greater than 115 kV and less than 500 kV; or
  • Modifying or expanding a transmission station such that the modified station has a nominal capacity of equal to or greater than 115 kV and less than 500 kV.

The Class EA includes a screening process that does not require the Class EA process to be followed for Category B projects that will have negligible net environmental effects and have not had any issues raised by interested or potentially affected parties. The screening process involves sixteen screening criteria, all of which must be met for a project to qualify for being screened out of the Class EA process. The Class EA also describes the consultation and documentation requirements for projects subject to the Class EA process and those eligible for the screening process. The Class EA also states that if during the screening process (which requires consultation with the public and Aboriginal communities) an interested or affected party identifies potential direct or indirect effects that cannot be addressed, then the proponent will subject the project to the Class EA process.

The Class EA includes a description of administrative processes for monitoring environmental effects and the effectiveness of the Class EA in delivering an efficient planning process and protecting the environment, for amending the document, and a process for Part II Order requests. The Class EA includes a compliance monitoring and reporting program to be undertaken: by proponents regarding the status of projects that they have carried out under the Class EA; and by the applicant (Hydro One) regarding the effectiveness of the Class EA in being an efficient planning process and in remaining compliant with the EAA and other applicable legislation. The goals of the monitoring program include evaluating compliance with the provisions of the Class EA and identifying opportunities for continuous improvement. The compliance monitoring program includes the development of annual compliance reports that will be prepared and submitted to the MOECC for review.

The Class EA describes a process for making both major and minor amendments to the document, and requires a rationale for why an amendment to the document is being requested and identifies who can bring amendments forward to the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch (Director) of the MOECC. The Class EA also requires that Hydro One undertake a review of its document and submit it to the Director every five years to evaluate the effectiveness of the environmental protection planning of the Class EA and compliance with the EAA approval.

Where an activity undertaken by a proponent and subject to the EAA may potentially affect the environment, such activity can be elevated to an individual EA by way of a Part II Order request made by the Minister. The Class EA describes the process to make a request to the Minister for an activity and how it will be considered by the MOECC and the Minister when making his/her decision.

2.2 Evaluation of the Class Environmental Assessment

2.2.1 The class of undertakings

The projects subject to the Class EA are the same as those included in the Electricity Projects Regulation which, by definition are expected to have known and mitigable environmental effects (Category B), as outlined in Section 2.1. The project list is also consistent with the previous versions of the Class EA and accurately captures the range of projects undertaken by the industry on a regular basis.

The Class EA also allows for a strict process to screen out Category B projects which would have negligible net environmental effects. These screened-out projects would not be subject to the Class EA process unless an interested or affected party raises an issue that cannot be addressed, in which case the project would be subject to the full Class EA process. Hydro One provides examples of undertakings that would generally be screened out, including:

  • Replacement, relocation and/or addition of wood pole structures or steel transmission structures along existing right-of-ways;
  • Construction of overhead transmission lines between 2 and 4 km in length;
  • Underground transmission lines in urban areas;
  • Construction of a 115 kV transmission station;
  • Land acquisition of no more than four hectares for the modification of an existing transmission station; and
  • Construction of telecommunication stations for the purpose of security and monitoring of the electricity transmission system.

Projects requiring an individual EA are identified in the Electricity Projects Regulation as Category C projects—those subject to the EAA that are not Category B projects.

Conclusion:
Hydro One has provided a clear description of the class of undertakings.

2.2.2 Reasons for using a Class Environmental Assessment

The Class EA has been in place since 1980 and applies to a range of undertakings that are regularly implemented across the province. The Class EA provides a standardized and effective assessment process to meet the planning needs of proponents and the requirements of the EAA.

Hydro One determined that the existing Class EA would need to be replaced and significant amendments to the Class EA would be required to be consistent with the Electricity Projects Regulation and to be applicable to all transmission project proponents.

Because of the extensive nature of the amendments required for the Class EA to meet the above requirements, Hydro One opted to treat the amendments to the Class EA as a new Class EA that was being prepared—instead of following the process for making amendments to the existing Class EA.

Preparing a new Class EA is a two-step application to the MOECC. The first step requires the applicant to prepare and submit a Terms of Reference (ToR) for review and decision. The ToR is the work plan or framework for how the Class EA will be prepared. In May 2003, Hydro One submitted a ToR to amend its Class EA. On February 17, 2004, the Minister approved the ToR.

Conclusion:
The MOECC is satisfied with Hydro One’s rationale for the use of and amendments to the Class EA.

2.2.3 Similarities and differences among undertakings

The similarities among undertakings are that all of the projects in the class involve environmental effects that are mitigable, predictable and that tend to be related to construction (because these projects involve minimal operational impacts); high-voltage facilities in the class all have similar safety and security risks that are known and mitigable; the projects are often routine in nature that relate to existing infrastructure (e.g., replacing wood pole structures or transmission tower structures, upgrading or modifying transmission lines, and modifying or expanding transmission stations), and all undertakings in the class share a common purpose the provision of reliable power and/or connecting generation sources with customers through the transmission network.

The differences among undertakings in the class will vary from each other depending on a variety of factors including: setting (rural or urban), new infrastructure or modifications to existing infrastructure, project length and footprint (e.g., length of transmission line or size of transmission station), operating voltage, and scope of impacts (e.g., proximity to natural features, impact on local flora and fauna, species at risk, local water table depth, etc.).

Conclusion:
Hydro One has provided a sufficient description of the nature of similarities and differences to be expected in activities in the Class EA.

2.2.4 Environmental effects of activities in the Class EA

The Class EA identifies in general terms that the environmental effects of activities in the class will vary from project to project based on the environmental setting and location. The proposed activities may occur within an undisturbed setting or they may occur within a previously disturbed site. The Class EA outlines the expected range of environmental effects, recognizing that a wide variety of agricultural, societal, and natural environmental elements may be affected by the projects covered under the Class EA. Forty-six environmental effects are presented in the Class EA to illustrate the range of potential impacts and environmental considerations, and include the following: impacts to agriculture, noise and vibration, archaeological resources, electric and magnetic fields, disturbance to traditional land used by First Nations and Métis communities, emissions, changes in natural physiography, impacts to surface water and groundwater features, impact on intake protection zones, soil contamination, loss of forested land, loss or fragmentation of habitat, and impacts on species at risk.

These impacts will be assessed in accordance with the guidance provided by the Class EA. Mitigation measures for the expected range of environmental effects are presented in Appendix E of the Class EA.

Conclusion:
The Class EA identifies the general range of potential environmental effects of its proposed activities and recognizes the importance of mitigating the potential environmental effects.

2.2.5 Consultation process for Class EA projects

The Class EA provides guidance on how proponents are to consult with those who may be interested in or affected by an undertaking, including the public, municipalities, government agencies, and First Nations and Métis communities. The Class EA provides a flexible framework which can be adjusted based on interest in the undertaking and specifies minimum consultation and documentation requirements including the preparation of an Environmental Study Report for all projects that are not screened out. While class projects that are screened out do not require an Environmental Study Report, the proponent is required to advise the MOECC's Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch and applicable Regional EA Coordinator of all projects that have been successfully screened out.

The Class EA also describes the specific approach to consulting with Aboriginal communities and how it will be documented. Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms the existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of Aboriginal peoples. This requires the Crown to consult, and where appropriate accommodate, Aboriginal communities when it has knowledge of an existing or asserted Aboriginal or treaty right, and contemplates conduct that may adversely affect the right in question. For projects planned under the Class EA that have the potential to adversely impact Aboriginal or treaty rights, the Crown may use the Class EA as a vehicle to fulfill its consultation obligations with Aboriginal communities. The Class EA identifies that if the duty to consult arises, the Ministry of Energy, on behalf of the Crown, will identify the communities to consult and delegate to the proponent the procedural aspects of consultation, and may provide additional direction on consultation requirements.

Key consultation principles are presented to guide the proponent’s approach to communication and consultation during the Class EA process and they include elements such as timeliness, transparency, clarity, respectful dialogue, ongoing opportunities for all interested parties to provide meaningful input, and full and fair consideration of all input received. In addition, the Class EA states that communications with interested or affected parties do not end upon completion of the Class EA process; provisions for subsequent communications with interested parties are also provided.

A range of consultation activities are specified in the Class EA including mandatory notification points (at both commencement and completion of the Class EA process), as well as opportunities for the public, Aboriginal communities and government agencies to review project documentation. Consultation methods such as Public Information Centres and workshops are discussed, as are notification techniques such as newspaper advertisements, press releases, flyer delivery, direct mail, maintaining a project website, and social media.

Conclusion:
The Class EA provides an appropriate framework for proponents to use to ensure that adequate consultation occurs with the public, Aboriginal communities and government agencies.

2.2.6 Methods for evaluating and implementing activities

The Class EA provides a clear planning process and framework for the identification and evaluation of the proposed activity. The Class EA provides a clear definition of projects in the class (Category B transmission projects that are not associated with Category B generation facilities, as classified by the Electricity Projects Regulation) that allows for the identification of projects subject to the class. The Class EA provides a logical and detailed evaluation methodology which includes consideration of a range of environmental effects, and consultation requirements to engage interested parties and those potentially affected by the proposed undertaking by providing information and providing opportunities for input and comments. The Class EA also includes clear requirements on the content and format of reports and notices, as well as guidance for project implementation including adherence to commitments made in the Environmental Study Report, effects monitoring and implementation of mitigation measures.

Conclusion:
The Class EA provides a clear description of the process to be used to evaluate a proposed undertaking along with a discussion of project implementation.

Results of the ministry review

The Ministry Review provides the analysis of the Class EA. The Ministry Review is not intended to summarize the Class EA, nor present the information found in the Class EA. For information on the planning process, refer to the Class EA as it outlines how proponents will proceed through the planning process to address the requirements of the EAA.

As noted earlier, the Ministry Review does not make a decision about the Class EA. That is the decision of the Minister.

3.1 Conformance with ToR and EAA

The MOECC coordinated an analysis of the Class EA with the GRT that, in part, looked at whether the requirements of the ToR and EAA have been met.

Section 14(2) of the EAA outlines the required contents for a class environmental assessment, including: a description of the class of undertakings to which the class applies; the reasons for using a class environmental assessment; the similarities and differences to be expected among the undertakings in the class; the expected range of environmental effects that may result from proceeding with undertakings in the class, and their corresponding mitigation measures; the process for consulting with the public and persons who may be affected by the undertaking; and the evaluation method(s) for identifying the preferred and final design of an undertaking. Section 2.2 of this Ministry Review discusses how EAA these requirements have been satisfied by the Class EA.

In addition to the standard required contents of all Class EAs, the ToR identified that the Class EA would address additional matters including consideration of cultural heritage resources. Regarding requirements identified in the ToR, the Class EA: includes a screening criterion and environmental effects relating to impacts on cultural heritage resources; is consistent with the Electricity Projects Regulation regarding the categories of electricity projects; and is now applicable to all potential proponents.

Appendix A of this Ministry Review summarizes this analysis and identifies how the EAA and ToR requirements have been addressed in the Class EA.

Conclusion:
The Class EA followed the framework set out in the ToR and demonstrated how the required components of the EAA have been met.

3.2 Consultation

One of the key requirements of the EAA is consultation completed during the preparation of the Class EA. This consultation is the responsibility of the proponent and must be undertaken prior to the submission of the proposed Class EA to the MOECC and in accordance with the consultation plan outlined in the ToR. The consultation plan included engaging with government agencies, members of the public, Aboriginal communities and organizations, local distribution companies, and other interested groups or individuals, each of which were provided information and granted opportunity for providing input at key stages during the preparation of the Class EA. Included with the submission of the Class EA was documentation of consultation undertaken by Hydro One with the public, GRT and Aboriginal communities and organizations. Hydro One provided a review and comment period on the draft Class EA from July 12, 2013 to August 26, 2013. This comment period on the draft Class EA was provided to the GRT, Aboriginal communities, local distribution companies and municipalities.

Hydro One revised the document in an effort to address comments provided on the draft Class EA. The Class EA was submitted to the MOECC on December 13, 2013. This triggered the commencement of the First Inspection Period, a seven-week period during which the public and other interested parties are granted the opportunity to review and comment on the Class EA.

Once the Class EA was submitted to the MOECC, additional MOECC-driven consultation was undertaken during and after the December 13, 2013 to February 7, 2014 comment period. This included direct notification to the GRT and Aboriginal communities, documentation made available at numerous MOECC offices, as well as posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights website and the MOECC's EA Activities website. Interested parties were provided with the opportunity to review the Class EA and to submit comments to the MOECC on whether the requirements of the ToR had been met, and on the Class EA itself. All comments received by the MOECC during the Class EA comment period were forwarded to Hydro One for a response. Hydro One provided a response to all parties that provided comments during the review period, and amended the Class EA to address a number of comments more directly. Unless otherwise indicated, no further comments were submitted to the MOECC after the response from Hydro One was provided. Summaries of all comments received along with Hydro One’s responses are included in Tables 1 and 2 of Appendix B of this Ministry Review.

Government Review Team

Hydro One employed the following efforts to solicit advice and input from government agencies, municipalities, local distribution companies, and other agencies:

  • Direct notification of approval of the ToR and the Class EA;
  • Direct notification of opportunity to comment on the draft Class EA;
  • Posting notices on the Hydro One website;
  • Documentation available for viewing at the MOECC offices;
  • Meetings and discussions with government agencies; and
  • Posting notice in the Globe and Mail on December 13, 2013 for the First Inspection Period

Conservation Ontario, the MOECC and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) provided comments on the draft Class EA. Hydro One made efforts to address all of these comments before submitting the Class EA to the MOECC. The comments and responses are provided in the Class EA Record of Consultation.

During the First Inspection Period (December 13, 2013 to February 7, 2014), a number of municipalities and agencies stated that they were satisfied with the Class EA and had no comments, as listed in Appendix B of this Ministry Review.

Comments were provided by the following government agencies:

  • MOECC;
  • MTCS;
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF);
  • Infrastructure Ontario;
  • Ministry of Energy;
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;
  • Ministry of Research and Innovation;
  • Conservation Ontario; and
  • MNDM.

In general, municipalities and government agencies did not have significant concerns with the Class EA. Many comments asked that the Class EA provide additional information about certain topics (e.g., consultation requirements, Part II Order request submissions, and the screening process) or requested minor text revisions.

Infrastructure Ontario and the MOECC's Northern Region EA Coordinators asked for clarification regarding the Crown contact for the duty to consult with interested and potentially affected Aboriginal communities. The Class EA now identifies the Ministry of Energy as the Crown contact for this matter.

MOECC's Northern Region EA Coordinators noted that references to potential environmental effects seemed to be confined to effects to the natural environment, rather than the other aspects of environment as defined in the EAA (social, economic, cultural and built). The Class EA was revised such that Appendix A of the Class EA includes a definition of environmental effects that agrees with the definition of environment per the EAA, and the varied and extensive list of potential environmental effects and associated mitigation measures in Appendix E of the Class EA reflect the broader definition of environment to include natural, social, economic, built and cultural impacts.

The MTCS requested additional text and edits largely relating to cultural heritage resources. Hydro One made the suggested changes to the Class EA.

Government comments that required additional discussions and action following the First Inspection Period are discussed in Section 3.3 of this Ministry Review. The MTCS Culture Division and the MOECC also worked directly with Hydro One to provide detailed recommendations and identify specific modifications to the Class EA. A summary of the GRT's comments, Hydro One’s responses, and the MOECC's evaluation is provided in Table 1 of this Ministry Review.

Some comments made by the GRT were addressed through responses, and in some cases Hydro One also revised the Class EA to further address concerns. The amended Class EA was submitted to the MOECC on June 30, 2014. Some comments raised by the MTCS Culture Division may require ongoing discussions with Hydro One to address more thoroughly. Key issues are discussed in more detail in Section 3.3 of this Ministry Review.

Public consultation

Hydro One used a variety of consultation methods to consult with the public which included:

  • Opportunity to comment on the draft Class EA;
  • Posting notices on the Hydro One website;
  • Documentation available for viewing at the MOECC offices; and
  • Posting notice in the Globe and Mail on December 13, 2013 for the First Inspection Period.

No public comments were received during the draft Class EA comment period or the First Inspection Period.

Aboriginal community consultation

Hydro One sought input from all Aboriginal communities and Métis organizations across Ontario.

Hydro One employed the following efforts to solicit advice and input:

  • Direct notification of approval of the ToR;
  • Direct notification of opportunity to comment on the draft Class EA;
  • Hydro One held five information sessions with interested Aboriginal communities:
    • Sault Ste. Marie – August 24, 2012

(19th Annual Assembly of the Métis Nation of Ontario, with 66 people who attended the Hydro One Class EA workshop);

  • Toronto – October 23, 2012 (attended by representatives from seven Aboriginal communities);
  • Thunder Bay – November 21, 2012 (attended by representatives from eight Aboriginal communities);
  • Timmins – December 5, 2012 (attended by representatives from six Aboriginal communities); and
  • Sudbury – January 16, 2013 (attended by representatives from five Aboriginal communities).

Comments on the draft Class EA were provided by one community, and Hydro One responded directly to address these concerns. The comments and responses are provided in the Record of Consultation. Hydro One took into account the input provided by written submission and in the five Aboriginal community information sessions when finalizing the Class EA prior to submission to the MOECC.

On August 21, 2013, Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation provided comments on the draft Class EA, expressing its concerns that the Class EA will infringe upon its rights title and interests. On September 30, 2013, Hydro One replied to the new Chief of Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, clarifying that Class EA does not change consultation requirements as they pertain to Aboriginal and treaty rights and that it is not related to the provision of land and legal instruments over territory, but rather that its purpose is to provide direction to transmission utilities on conducting environmental assessments for specific small-scale projects under the EAA. The comments and response are provided in the Record of Consultation. No further comments have been provided by Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation to Hydro One or to the MOECC regarding the Class EA.

During the seven-week First Inspection Period, the following communities provided comments on the Class EA:

  • Chippewas of Georgina Island;
  • Historic Saugeen Métis;
  • Red Sky Métis Independent Nation; and
  • Sand Point First Nation.

The Chippewas of Georgina Island stated their support for any other First Nation that has concerns with the Class EA, and asked for an extension to the comment period. MOECC granted the Chippewas of Georgina Island an extension for comments until February 21, 2014. The MOECC contacted the community on February 12, 2014 to remind them of the opportunity for them to provide comments, but no comments were submitted.

The Historic Saugeen Métis submitted several comments on the Class EA which included: affirming the importance of addressing cultural heritage resources and recognizing Métis communities; recognizing the importance of Crown consultation early in the screening process; to consider adding proponent accountability for consultation to the consultation principles listed in Section 4.1 of the Class EA; and to consider adding to the reporting requirements other accountability mechanisms such as service delivery priorities, participatory assessments, certification systems, participation agreements and memoranda of understanding. Hydro One responded to the requests for additional details on proponent accountability, stating that the manner(s) in which consultation is conducted and the adequacy of consultation are best defined on a case by case basis rather than through the Class EA document. No subsequent comments have been submitted by the Historic Saugeen Métis. The MOECC agrees on the importance of proponent accountability regarding consultation on undertakings subject to the class. While the Class EA does not list accountability as one of the consultation principles, the Class EA includes a number of requirements to ensure proponent accountability in the consultation process. These include: the consultation principles that include early and ongoing consultation; fair consideration by the proponent of all input received during the consultation process; and the incorporation of these comments into decision-making and project documentation. Additionally, the proponent is accountable for consulting and working with interested persons to satisfy their concerns. If a concern cannot be resolved by the proponent, the concerned party may request the proponent or Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to elevate the project to an individual EA (referred to as a Part II Order).

The Red Sky Métis Independent Nation suggested minor edits to make the language in the document more inclusive of Métis communities and asked that the consultation protocols of all available and established First Nation and Métis communities be included in the Class EA. Hydro One revised the Class EA to ensure the language was more inclusive of Métis communities but did not include protocols in the document. The Class EA does support following specific communities' consultation protocols by requiring proponents to directly engage all interested and potentially affected Aboriginal communities, which would involve due consideration of established and available consultation protocols for First Nation and Métis communities.

Sand Point First Nation asked for edits relating to more specifically identifying First Nation governments for notification, First Nations and harvesting sites and traditional areas as part of the environmental inventory and screening criteria; adding reference to First Nations Land Use Plans as typical data sources in Appendix C of the Class EA; identifying that consultation with First Nations and municipalities be included in Appendix E of the Class EA for drinking water threats; and inquired if there is a process to appeal or re-propose amendments to the Class EA. Hydro One responded to these concerns by clarifying how the document addresses these concerns, and Sand Point First Nation has not provided any additional comments. The MOECC is satisfied that the current wording in the Class EA adequately captures the concerns at an adequate level of detail. The Class EA outlines consultation methods, notification techniques, a section specific to consultation with First Nations and Métis communities, and states that the proponent is to consult with interested and potentially affected parties (this would include those parties who may be impacted by activities related to the proposed undertaking which may also be considered to be drinking water threats, according to the applicable Source Protection Plan(s) for the project area). In Appendix C (Environmental Inventory) of the Class EA, First Nations and Métis lands, land use records, treaties and land claims are listed as typical data sources, as are Source Protection Plans—all of which are used by the proponent to help inform the Class EA process for a proposed undertaking. Section 5.1 of this Ministry Review states that that requests for amendments may be brought forward by First Nations and Métis communities, as well as by Hydro One, government ministries or agencies, members of the public, and other interested persons.

Long Lake #58 First Nation indicated that it would provide comments and also indicated its interest in meeting with MOECC or Hydro One to discuss the Class EA. Hydro One met with Long Lake #58 First Nation on February 6, 2014 and sent a letter to the community as a follow-up to the meeting, thanking them for the opportunity to meet and discuss the Class EA, and granting the community until February 21, 2014 to submit comments. Long Lake #58 First Nation did not provide comments to MOECC.

Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, Caldwell First Nation, and Northern Lights Métis Council indicated satisfaction with the Class EA and indicated that they had no further comments. The following communities indicated (by way of signed Acknowledgment of Receipt forms) that they would provide comments: Brunswick House First Nation, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Sagamok Anishnawbek, Shawanaga First Nation, and Six Nations of the Grand River. The MOECC contacted these communities in January 2014 to remind them of the opportunity to provide comments, but no comments were submitted.

The MOECC is satisfied that the comments raised by the Aboriginal communities during the comment period have been adequately addressed by Hydro One. The MOECC is satisfied that Hydro One recognizes that Aboriginal peoples have an important role in the planning process. All Aboriginal community comments, including Hydro One’s responses and the MOECC's evaluation are provided in Table 2 of Appendix B of this Ministry Review.

Conclusion:
The Class EA has satisfied the consultation requirements of the ToR and is consistent with the MOECC's expectations for Class EA documents and followed the guidance outlined in the Code of Practice for consultation. The documentation provided in support of the Class EA documents the consultation methods used by Hydro One to engage the GRT, the general public, interested stakeholders and Aboriginal communities during the development of the Class EA, setting out the issues and concerns raised and how they were addressed. The MOECC is satisfied with the level and type of consultation that occurred during the preparation of the Class EA and that Hydro One was responsive to addressing concerns and incorporated suggestions for improving the document.

3.3 Key issues

There were some issues raised by the GRT that could not be quickly resolved by Hydro One to the commenting agency’s satisfaction. In an effort to work to resolving these issues, additional discussion (through correspondence and/or meetings) and action was required. These issues are discussed below.

Cultural heritage resources

The MTCS Culture Division provided comments on the Class EA related to potential impacts to cultural heritage resources. The key concerns raised by the MTCS that will be described in further detail are as follows:

  • A request for a Heritage Management Process to develop a framework for developing a process to evaluate and assess potential impacts to cultural heritage resources; and
  • A request for a more detailed description of all environmental effects and mitigation for specific activities (counter-poise installations, conductor stringing and decommissioning).
Heritage management process

The MTCS asked that a condition of approval be placed on the Class EA requiring that Hydro One complete a Heritage Management Process within one year. After further discussions with Hydro One and the MTCS, the MOECC is satisfied that the information provided in Appendix E of the Class EA offers sufficient guidance to proponents regarding mitigation of potential effects on cultural heritage resources to a reasonable level of detail for the purpose of the EAA. Nevertheless, the MOECC encouraged Hydro One to continue discussions with the MTCS to investigate the viability developing a more specific Heritage Management Process for the Class EA that would provide a more comprehensive framework to address project-specific construction and operational impacts to heritage features.

Description of environmental effects and mitigation for specific activities

The MTCS asked for details to be provided in the Class EA about how evaluations of archaeological potential would be assessed and how cultural effects will be considered by all proponents for the following three types of projects in the class: counter-poise installations, conductor stringing, and decommissioning. Hydro One responded by stating that the Class EA presents a framework that is to be applicable to all projects in the class and that the three types of projects referenced above by the MTCS are matters that are defined during the planning stage for a proposed undertaking. The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA provides a general framework that includes a requirement for proponents to adequately identify and assess a full range of environmental effects and mitigation, including those related to cultural and archaeological resources. In addition, this process can be refined on a case-by-case basis by the proponent in consultation with the MTCS to ensure that any effects are properly considered.

Hydro One’s construction guidelines

MOECC's Northern Region EA Coordinators and MTCS noted that Hydro One’s Environmental Guidelines for the Construction and Maintenance of Transmission Facilities (Construction Guidelines) are referenced in the Class EA and commonly in initial notices for recent projects, and requested that these be publicly available. Since Hydro One considers the Construction Guidelines to be proprietary, it has instead revised the Class EA to more generally identify mitigation measures to meet the same intent of the Construction Guidelines but to be applicable to all proponents. Hydro One removed all reference to the Construction Guidelines and listed mitigation measures for typical environmental effects for projects in the class (Appendix E of the Class EA).

Consistency with other Class EAs

Some of the comments received by members of the GRT related to seeking to make amendments to the Class EA so that the process was more consistent with that of other Class EAs in Ontario.

Amendment process

MOECC's Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS) requested that the consultation period for major amendments to the Class EA be changed from 30 days to 45 days—a time period that is in agreement with other Class EAs and that grants additional time for public consideration. Hydro One revised the Class EA to require a 45-day consultation period for major amendments.

Delay in project implementation

In accordance with other Class EAs and the Environmental Screening Process of the Electricity Projects Regulation, the EASS requested Hydro One revise the Class EA to state that if construction is not initiated within five years of the filing of the Statement of Completion, the Environmental Study Report will be reviewed by the proponent to determine if any changes are required. Hydro One agreed and the change is reflected in the Class EA.

Review period for addendum to an Environmental Study Report

In accordance with other Class EAs, MTCS asked that the review period for an Addendum to an Environmental Study Report be extended to 30 days (from the 15-day comment period in the previous Class EA). Hydro One agreed and the change is reflected in the Class EA.

Part II Order requests and issues resolution

MOECC's Northern Region EA Coordinators requested that the Class EA clarify that if a Part II Order request is submitted, the proponent and requester(s) can work together to resolve the issues prior to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change making a decision on the Part II Order request. Additionally, MOECC's Northern Region EA Coordinators asked that the document state that proponents have the option to voluntarily elevate a project to the individual EA process if there remain outstanding issues (of a significant enough nature to warrant this approach). Although the response provided by Hydro One does not address the issue, the issue is adequately addressed because Section 4.0 of the Class EA encourages proponents to seek to resolve issues that arise, the Class EA references the Code of Practice as guidance for issues management, and Section 3.4.4 of the Class EA states that the proponent may choose to voluntarily elevate the project to an individual EA.

A number of Aboriginal communities provided comments on the Class EA and identified some key issues, including those regarding:

  • The importance of cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and land use;
  • Proponent accountability in consultation; and
  • Effectively engaging with Aboriginal communities.

These issues are discussed based on each community’s specific concerns in Section 3.2 of this Ministry Review, including the actions taken by Hydro One to address the comments, to the satisfaction of the MOECC.

Conclusion
Overall, the MOECC is satisfied that Hydro One has adequately responded to all Aboriginal communities' and GRT comments through its responses and revisions to the Class EA.

Summary of the ministry review

The Ministry Review has explained the MOECC's analysis of the Class EA. The Class EA clearly defines the class of projects, provides a framework for proponents to assess the potential environmental effects of minor transmission facility activities, and seek ways of reducing potential impacts to the extent possible. The Class EA also provides proponents with guidance on how to engage and address the concerns of the public, interested stakeholders, agencies and Aboriginal communities.

The MOECC is satisfied that Hydro One provided sufficient time and opportunities for the GRT, the general public, stakeholders and Aboriginal communities to comment on the Class EA prior to submitting it for review and approval. During the first inspection period, concerns were raised by the GRT and Aboriginal communities, but these have been addressed through subsequent revisions to the Class EA and/or responses made by Hydro One. The MOECC is satisfied that there are no outstanding public, GRT and Aboriginal community concerns.

This Review concludes that the Class EA complies with the requirements of the ToR and that it meets EAA requirements by adequately identifying: the class of undertakings; the reasons for using a class EA; the similarities and differences among undertakings in the class; environmental effects of activities in the class; a process for consulting during the Class EA planning; and a framework for evaluating and implementing activities.

What happens now

The Ministry Review will be made available for a five-week comment period. The Ministry Review along with a copy of the Class EA will be posted on the MOECC's website, and will be made available at public viewing locations of the offices of the MOECC. Notice of the publication of the Ministry Review, and public viewing locations will be posted on the Environmental Registry. During the five-week comment period, all interested parties, including the public, interested stakeholders, the GRT and Aboriginal communities can submit comments to the MOECC about the Class EA and the Ministry Review. At this time, anyone can request that the Minister refer either all or part of the Class EA to the Environmental Review Tribunal for a hearing if they believe that their concerns have not been addressed.

At the end of the Ministry Review comment period, MOECC staff will make a recommendation to the Minister concerning whether the Class EA has been prepared in accordance with the ToR and the requirements of the EAA and whether the proposed undertaking should be approved. When making a decision, the Minister will consider the purpose of the EAA, the ToR, the Class EA, the Ministry Review, the comments submitted during the Class EA and the Ministry Review comment periods and any other matters the Minister may consider relevant.

The Minister will make one of the following decisions:

  • Give approval of the Class EA;
  • Give approval of the Class EA subject to conditions; or
  • Refuse to give approval of the Class EA.

Prior to making that decision, the Minister may also refer either part of or the entire Class EA to mediation or refer either part of or the entire Class EA to the Environmental Review Tribunal for a hearing.

If the Minister approves, approves with conditions or refuses to give approval to the Class EA, the Lieutenant Governor in Council must concur with the decision.

5.1 Modifying or amending the Class EA

Should the Class EA receive approval, further modifications or amendments to the Class EA are possible. The process is described in Section 5.1 of the Class EA, whereby Hydro One or any other party may submit written requests for amendments to the Class EA to the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch (for minor amendments), or the Minister (for major amendments). The Class EA recommends that any outside party consult with Hydro One before submitting a proposed amendment, addressing the specific concern or issue being addressed, the reason for the proposal and the proposed amendment itself.

Section 5.6 of the Class EA states that every five years, Hydro One must review the Class EA to ensure it remains compliant with the EAA and other applicable legislation, regulations and policies. The MOECC may require that consideration of a minor or major amendment be deferred for consideration as part of the five-year Class EA review or may require that the Class EA be updated in the interim.

Public record locations

The public record for the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (Class EA) can be reviewed during normal business hours at the following Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change office:

Environmental Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West, Floor 12A
Toronto, Ontario

Fax: 416-314-8452

The Ministry Review, Class EA and Notice of Completion are also available at the following locations:

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

Central Region
5775 Yonge Street, 8th floor
Toronto, Ontario
M2M 4J1

Eastern Region
1259 Gardiners Road, Unit 3
Kingston, Ontario
K7P 3J6

Northern Region
435 James Street South, Suite 331
Thunder Bay, Ontario
P7E 6S7

Southwestern Region
733 Exeter Road, 2nd floor
London, Ontario
N6E 1L3

West Central Region
119 King Street West, 12th floor
Hamilton, Ontario
L8P 4Y7

Barrie District Office
54 Cedar Pointe Drive, Unit 1203
Barrie, Ontario
L4N 5R7

Ottawa District Office
2430 Don Reid Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1H 1E1

Peterborough District Office
300 Water Street, 2nd floor
Peterborough, ON
K9J 8M5

Sudbury District Office
199 Larch Street, Suite 1101
Sudbury, Ontario
P3E 5P9

Making a submission

A five-week public review period ending October 24, 2014 will follow publication of this Review. During this time, any interested parties can make submissions about the proposed undertaking, the environmental assessment or this Review. Should you wish to make a submission, please send it to:

Agatha Garcia-Wright, Director
Environmental Approvals Branch
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
2 St. Clair Avenue West, floor 12A
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 1L5
Fax: 416-314-8452

Re: Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities

Attention: Wesley Wright, Project Officer

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Environmental Assessment Act, unless otherwise stated in the submission, any personal information such as name, address, telephone number and property location included in all submissions become part of the public record files for this matter and can be released if requested.

Appendix A: Environmental Assessment Act requirements

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Problem/opportunitiesDescription of the class of undertakings to which it applies: section 14(2)(1)The Class EA must describe the undertakings for which approval is being sought. The ToR identifies that the class of undertakings will include the activities subject to the screening requirements of Ontario Regulation 116/01 (the Electricity Projects Regulation) for transmission facilities, transformer stations, telecommunication facilities, and protection and control equipment.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA clearly identifies the class of undertakings for which approval is being sought (including transmission facilities, transformer stations, and telecommunication facilities), consistent with the approved ToR and the Electricity Projects Regulation.

The MOECC is satisfied that the class of undertakings has been adequately described.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Reasons for using a Class EAA description of the reasons for using a Class EA with respect to undertakings in the class. Section 14(2)(2)The Class EA must clearly identify the reasons for developing a Class EA for the class of undertakings.

Analysis of the EA

The activities covered by the Class EA are routinely carried out and have predictable environmental effects which can be readily managed. The proposed Class EA will ensure impacts and benefits of minor transmission facilities are considered in a consistent matter, and provides a framework to address and respond to input from the public, Aboriginal communities and government.

Hydro One determined that the existing Class EA would need to be replaced and significant amendments to the Class EA would be required for the following reasons:

  • To ensure consistency with the Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Electricity Projects);
  • To comply with the 2014 Code of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario (Code of Practice); and
  • The most recent version of the Class EA refers to Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One Networks Inc.) as the sole proponent. As a result of Ontario Regulation 116/01, all applicable private and public transmission projects are subject to this Class EA. The Class EA therefore needs to be amended to reflect its applicability to all transmission project proponents.

The MOECC is satisfied with the reasons for the development of the Class EA.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Reasons for using a Class EAA description of the similarities and differences to be expected among the undertakings in the class. Section 14(2)(3)The Class EA must outline the similarities and differences to be expected among the undertakings in the class.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA outlines the similarities shared by all of the undertakings in the Class: they involve environmental effects that are mitigable, predictable and that tend to be related to construction; high-voltage facilities have similar safety and security risks; and the sharing of a common purpose (the provision of reliable power and/or connecting generation sources with customers through the transmission network).

The Class EA outlines the differences among the undertakings in the class, which will vary from one another depending on a variety of factors including: geographic conditions (rural/urban settings, proximity to natural features, etc.), new infrastructure or modifications to existing infrastructure, length/capacity/ location of transmission line, size of tower/station, operating voltage.

The MOECC is satisfied with the outline of similarities and differences to be expected among the undertakings in the class.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Environmental considerations related to undertakings to which the Class applies.A description of the expected range of environmental effects that may result from proceeding with undertakings in the class. Section 14(2)(4)The Class EA must outline the potential environmental effects from undertakings within the class.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA outlines the expected range of environmental effects, recognizing that a wide variety of agricultural, societal, and natural environmental elements may be affected by the projects covered under the Class EA. These impacts will be assessed in accordance with the guidance provided by the Class EA.

The MOECC is satisfied with the list of potential environmental effects from undertakings in the class.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Environmental considerations related to undertakings to which the Class applies.A description of measures that could be taken to mitigate against adverse environmental effects that may result from proceeding with undertakings in the class. Section 14(2)(5)The Class EA must provide reference to the types of mitigation measures which can reduce or mitigate adverse environmental effects from undertakings within the class.

Analysis of the EA

A range of potential impact management (mitigation) measures are provided as an appendix in the Class EA for environmental effects typical for projects of this class. Potential negative effects will be identified early in the Class EA screening and planning process in order to develop specific mitigation measures.

The MOECC is satisfied with the mitigation measures presented to reduce environmental effects that may arise from undertakings in the class.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
EvaluationA description of the process to be used by a proponent of a proposed undertaking to consult with the public and with persons who may be affected by the undertaking. Section 14(2)(6)The Class EA must provide guidance on public consultation processes which proponents can use when planning projects under the class.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA provides guidance on how proponents are to consult with the public and those who may be affected by an undertaking. The Class EA provides a flexible framework which can be adjusted based on the public and stakeholder interest in the undertaking and specifies minimum documentation requirements including the preparation of an Environmental Study Report for all projects that are not screened out.

Class projects that are screened out require consultation with potentially affected persons but do not require an Environmental Study Report. Instead, the proponent is required to advise the MOECC's Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch and applicable Regional EA Coordinator of all projects that have been successfully screened.

The MOECC is satisfied with the public consultation guidance provided in the Class EA.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
EvaluationA description of the method to be used to evaluate a proposed undertaking with respect to the matters described in paragraphs 4 to 6. Section 14(2)(7)The Class EA must provide direction on how proponents are to evaluate the impacts of proposed undertakings including assessing potential environmental impacts, mitigation measures which can be utilized and methods to consult with the public.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA outlines the process for evaluating alternatives based on the natural environmental, socio-economic environment, technical and cost factors, assessing net effects in both a qualitative and quantitative manner to identify the relative differences among the potential effects for each alternative in order to select the preferred alternative.

In addition, advice is provided on the coordination of the EA process with other Class EAs and key federal and provincial legislation. Further, the Class EA provides direction on how to determine appropriate mitigation measures for a proposed undertaking, and outlines methods for determining the public consultation methods which are appropriate based on the circumstances of the undertaking.

The MOECC is satisfied with the methodology presented to evaluate a proposed undertaking, including consideration of potential environmental effects, mitigation measures and public consultation.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
EvaluationA description of the method to be used to determine the final design of a proposed undertaking based upon the evaluation described in paragraph 7. Section 14(2)(8)The Class EA must provide a framework which allows proponents to identify and describe the proposed undertaking in a level of detail that is appropriate to the setting.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA requires that an Environmental Study Report be prepared for each Category B project, including information relating to the consultation efforts made to engage interested and potentially affected parties, and documentation presenting the decision-making process in a transparent manner. The proposed undertaking must be described in a manner that is sufficient for the decision-making process to be clearly understood.

The MOECC is satisfied with the method to be used to determine the final design of a proposed undertaking based upon the evaluation of alternatives.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentConsider dropping the term Minor in the title due to the irrelevance of the term in the context it is currently used.

Analysis of the EA

Hydro One considered dropping the term minor from the title but decided to instead keep it, to avoid confusion because the number and type of projects subject to the class remain largely unchanged.

The MOECC is satisfied with Hydro One’s decision to maintain the term minor in the title of the Class EA.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentThe amended Class EA will address any applicable effects of the new open market on the Class EA process.

Analysis of the EA

Other than making the Class EA available to private sector companies, the new open market did not have any specific effect on the Class EA process.

The MOECC is satisfied that Hydro One has addressed effects of the open market on the Class EA process.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentAll potential proponents will be asked for their comments and input throughout the amendment process.

Analysis of the EA

Hydro One has consulted with 73 local distribution companies on the Class EA, with opportunities for providing comments.

The MOECC is satisfied with the consultation efforts by Hydro One to involve potential proponents during the amendment process.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentReview current (1992 version) classification activities, develop applicable activity categories for amended Class EA and include an applicable definition of transmission and telecommunication facilities as well a provision for new technologies.

Analysis of the EA

Projects are classified into three activity categories within the Class EA: Category A projects are those with no EAA requirements; Category B projects refer to Category B transmission projects (as defined in the Electricity Projects Regulation) that are not associated with electricity generation facilities, and Category C projects are those requiring an individual EA. The Class EA applies only to Category B projects.

Definitions for transmission station and telecommunications tower are provided in the Class EA. A provision for new technologies is included in Section 2.3.

The MOECC is satisfied that the activities classification was reviewed and that definitions were included regarding transmission and telecommunication facilities, as required by the ToR.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentThe process steps to undertake a Class EA will be listed and a graphic of process included in Class EA documentation.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA process steps are provided in Section 3.3 and presented in Figure 6.

The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA process steps are presented graphically and in the text.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentThe amended Class EA will explore opportunities to coordinate with the requirements of the MOECC's Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects (Electricity Projects Guide), the Class EA for Waterpower projects and this Class EA with the aim to increase efficiency and reduce duplication.

Within the Class EA process, Hydro One will make a commitment that when individual project approvals are sought under the Class EA, the transmission proponent will work with other affected proponents to ensure that all other relevant EAA requirements are met.

Analysis of the EA

Section 5.7 of the Class EA addresses the potential opportunities to coordinate this Class EA with other EA requirements for a project, including other Class EAs and federal EA requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The Class EA requires that proponents identify EA and other approvals that are required for the project, as well as the timing of those approvals.

The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA speaks to the benefits of coordinating this Class EA with other EA requirements for projects under this class, and that it encourages proponents to do so.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentPotential environmental effects and the associated mitigation approaches currently outlined in the Class EA will be reviewed.

Analysis of the EA

The list of potential environmental effects and associated mitigation measures was reviewed and additional effects have been added as a result of new information and comments from review agencies and potentially affected parties. These include: contamination of organic or identity preserved crops; and effects on archaeological resources, built heritage resources, land used by First Nations and Mêtis communities, tourism and recreation resources, and electric and magnetic fields.

The MOECC is satisfied that environmental effects and mitigation measures have been reviewed for the Class EA.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentNumerous opportunities will be provided for open consultation for First Nations and Aboriginal organizations to enable full participation in the development of the amended Class EA. This consultation will recognize and respect their distinct legal, historical and cultural status within the Province of Ontario and the role of traditional ecological knowledge in environmental assessment.

Analysis of the EA

Since 2012, Hydro One has notified all Aboriginal communities and Mêtis organizations regarding the proposed amendments to the Class EA. This consultation has included five information sessions (in Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Timmins and Sudbury), a Hydro One review period from July 12, 2013 to August 26, 2013 and an MOECC review period from December 13, 2013 to February 7, 2014, and efforts of Hydro One to satisfactorily resolve any issues or concerns raised by Aboriginal communities and Mêtis organizations during this time.

Additionally, Section 4 of the Class EA outlines principles and practices to proponents for consultation, including with First Nations communities and Mêtis organizations.

The MOECC is satisfied that Hydro One has made reasonable efforts to engage Aboriginal communities and Mêtis organizations across the province to participate in the development of the amended Class EA.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentThe Class EA will provide an overview of federal EA triggers and the requirements of the CEAA, other applicable federal legislation and key contact information.

Analysis of the EA

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has changed substantially since the writing of the ToR. CEAA 2012 no longer includes triggers for a federal EA; instead, there are Regulations Designating Physical Activities identifying the physical activities that may require an environmental assessment by the Canadian EA Agency.

The Class EA includes a list of federal agencies, including the criteria for when they should be added to a project mailing list.

The MOECC is satisfied that the CEAA and federal agencies are considered in the Class EA, with direction provided to proponents regarding when to contact the federal departments.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentThree types of monitoring will be considered in the Class EA. Effectiveness monitoring which relates to the Class EA process itself. Effects monitoring which relates to actual environmental impacts as well as the effectiveness of mitigation measures. Compliance monitoring, which relates to whether projects are planned in accordance with the Class EA process. Requirements, responsibility for and timing of each type of monitoring will be outlined in the amended Class EA. The development of an adaptive management process to assess monitoring results will also be considered.

Analysis of the EA

The definition for 'monitoring' is included in Appendix A of the Class EA and is the same as that from the Code of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario. The Class EA describes the requirements and timing of effectiveness monitoring, as well as the requirement for proponents to submit to Hydro One an annual summary report for Class EAs. The annual summary reports include all projects that have been carried out under the Class EA as well as the status (if completed or not), and the status of any Part II Order requests submitted for a project. This assists with compliance monitoring by tracking the number of projects that may not have been planned in accordance with the Class EA process (and therefore have not been completed, possibly due to the submission of a Part II Order request). Effects monitoring requirements are provided in Section 3.7 of the Class EA.

The MOECC is satisfied that monitoring requirements are adequately addressed in the Class EA.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentDelays in project implementation and the process for amending the Class EA will be reviewed and included in the amended Class EA. Amendments to the Class EA will be reviewed for the purposes of:
  • Clarifying any portion of the document or process;
  • Improving the efficiency or the effectiveness of the process described in the document; and/or
  • Extending the Class EA to projects that may not have been previously included in the class definition.

Analysis of the EA

The Class EA states that if construction is not initiated within five years of the filing of the Statement of Completion, the Environmental Study Report must be reviewed to determine if any changes are required.

The Class EA document is to be reviewed by Hydro One every five years to ensure it remains compliant with applicable legislation, regulations, policies, and the EAA, and the results of the review are to be submitted to the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch.

Section 5.1 of the Class EA details the process for amending the Class EA. The wording has been updated to reflect additional proponents other than Hydro One, reference to the Electricity Projects Regulation, and separate amendment processes for making minor or major amendments.

MOECC is satisfied that commitments in the ToR regarding delays in project implementation and Class EA amendment process have been fulfilled.

EA decision making processEAA and ToR requirementsDescription and characteristics of the requirements
Additional CommitmentsAdditional ToR commitmentA list of pertinent Ontario and federal government acts and guidelines to assist project proponents in planning and designing their projects will be included in the Class EA.

Analysis of the EA

Hydro One included in the Class EA a list of pertinent Ontario and federal government legislation. The MOECC is satisfied that this commitment has been satisfied.

Appendix B: Submissions received during initial comment period

Submissions are available in hard copy at the public record locations listed in this ministry review

Table 1: Government Review Team Comment Summary Table

Comment #1

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Class Environmental Assessment History & Section 1.0. Please add (2011) after the Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #2

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 1.2. Although some projects may fit the technical description of a project that is allowed to proceed under the Class EA process, it may not be appropriate for the project to use the Class EA framework if the project is overly complex. Including a caveat in the Class EA that speaks to this issue would provide more clarity and transparency. Please add the following sentence to the end of the first paragraph of this section:

The purpose and intent of this Class EA is to define a process to assess small scale, minor transmission facilities that have predicable environmental effects that can be easily mitigated. Although some projects may fit the technical description of a project that is allowed to proceed under the Class EA process, it may not be appropriate for the project to use the Class EA framework if the project is overly complex. Proponents should give careful consideration to the merits of conducting an individual environmental assessment (EA) for their projects based on the scope of the project, the significance of environmental impacts, and the potential risk of Part II Order requests.
Proponent’s response

This option has always been available but never exercised by Hydro One since the Class EA came into effect in 1980. The level of assessment carried out under this Class EA may be equivalent to that required for an individual EA. Complex Category B transmission projects may require more intensive study and consultation but will still have the benefit of a more timely approval process under this Class EA.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA encourages proponents to resolve issues raised during the Class EA process, and that it includes discussion of the provision for submitting Part II Order requests.

Comment #3

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.0. Figure 1 is blurry and difficult to read. Please include a more legible diagram.

Proponent’s response

Diagram was revised

(Note that this figure is now Figure 6)

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #4

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.2.1. In accordance with Section 3.1.2 and Section 6.1.7 (page 45) of the Code of Practice, the do nothing alternative must be considered and an examination of one alternative should be compared against the do nothing alternative. It is recommended the last sentence in this section be revised accordingly:

  • The do nothing alternative will be included in the Environmental Study Report (ESR), which is prepared for the Class EA project, and will be discussed during consultation activities.
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #5

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.3.1. The last sentence of the first paragraph states: …man-made constraints, highway and urban centres. To improve clarity, it is recommended this be changes to human-made constraints or infrastructure/land use constraints.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #6

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.3.2. It is unclear how a proponent would be able to identify all potentially-interested stakeholders without issuing an initial notice. More clarification is needed regarding the single notification process. Minor revisions may be needed to the second paragraph of this section to improve clarity and transparency.

Proponent’s response

To clarify the Class EA projects involve at minimum Initial and Final Notification. For more details please see Section 4.3 Notification Techniques.

For better clarity, the second last paragraph in Section 3.3.2 was removed.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #7

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.3.3. Please capitalize Director in the last sentence in this section.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #8

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.3.4. Noise impact assessments identifying sensitive receptors and potential noise impacts should be part of the project documentation (as applicable) in order to ensure all effects can be considered during the Class EA process. Please include noise impacts/studies as an example of environmental data that is collected. This also should be included in Appendix C.

Proponent’s response

Noise effects are addressed in Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) applications and there is no need to include it in EA applications. Noise requirements can be readily met for all stations. This has been demonstrated in numerous ECA applications. It is inefficient for the MOECC to review the same material at the EA stage and then again during the ECA stage. It also forces engineering to be advanced to meet proposed requirements. In an EA, we can commit to meeting ECA filing and noise level requirements.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that detailed information regarding sensitive receptors will be provided to MOECC during the ECA application stage.

Comment #9

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.1. The use of the word draft is confusing. In the EA process, a draft usually implies that the document is still in its preliminary stages of development and is not ready for formal submission or any formal comment period. However, this section proposes that a draft ESR will be prepared for each project and made available for comment once a final notice (i.e. Notice of Completion) is issued. In this context, the ESR is not considered a draft document. It is recommended the term draft in relation to ESR be removed throughout the amended Class EA document, including the title of this section (i.e. ESR).

Proponent’s response

The use of the term draft is common practice. We have often released drafts for comment, even for individual EAs and terms of reference. We did not want to give the impression that it was finalized before release for comment.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied with Hydro One’s rationale for keeping the wording consistent with how it has been in the currently approved Class EA document.

Comment #10

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.1. It is recommended that the list of content for the Environmental Study Reports be revised to better reflect the previous sections of the document. For instance:

  • A description of the alternatives for the project
  • A description of a study area for the project and the existing environment
  • A description of the potential environmental effects (positive and negative)
  • A description of the preferred alternative
  • A description of the consultation that was undertaken, including the consultation program and consultation activities/events, a list of agencies contacted, summary of concerns or issues and how they have been or have attempted to be addressed;
  • A description of the other applicable permits and approvals required for the project
Proponent’s response

The list of content for Environmental Study Reports was revised to better reflect the previous sections of the document as follows:

  1. Name and description of the proposed project.
  2. A description of the need (justification) for the proposed project.
  3. A description of the alternatives for the project, including maps.
  4. A description of a study area for the project and the existing environment.
  5. A description of the potential environmental effects (positive and negative).
  6. A description of the preferred alternative.
  7. A description of the consultation that was undertaken.
  8. A description of other applicable permits and approvals required for the project.
  9. A description of mitigation measures and predicted net effects.
  10. A description of any required environmental monitoring.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #11

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.2. To improve clarity, the first sentence of this section should be revised accordingly: Upon completion of the draft ESR, a Final Notification (i.e. Notice of Completion) will be distributed…

Proponent’s response

The first sentence of Section 3.4.2 was revised to state: Upon completion of the draft ESR, a Final Notification (i.e., Notice of Completion) will be distributed…

Also, see Hydro One’s response on comment pertaining to Section 3.4.1 and draft ESR.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #12

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.4. A copy of any Part II Order requests should be sent to the Environmental Approvals Branch (EAB). Please revise accordingly

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #13

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.4. Consider including a Freedom of Information (FOI) clause, advising how written submissions will be handled for the purposes of freedom of information. Information, such as Part II Order requests, will be maintained in the public record file at EAB. Contact EASS for guidance on proposed wording.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA is not intended to clarify the application of other pieces of legislation. FOI applies to public and not private organizations. FOI requests relating to filed information plus Part II Order requests, would be subject to MOECC procedures and would not necessarily involve Class EA proponents. If an FOI request was submitted directly to Hydro One, it would be processed according to legislated requirements. If it was submitted to a private transmission company, they have no legislative obligation to respond. It is best to remain silent. The added benefit is that changes to FOI legislation would not impact the Class EA parent document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied with Hydro One’s rationale for not include an FOI clause.

Comment #14

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.4. In accordance with other Class EAs (e.g. Conservation Ontario Class EA, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) Class EA, and Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) Class EA), decisions on Part II Order requests will be made normally within 45 days of receipt of all project documentation provided by the proponent (not 30 days). Please revise accordingly.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #15

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.4. This section should also clearly state that the review of any Part II Order requests will be commenced upon receipt of all information (from requester/proponent/other agencies) after the review period following the issuance of the Final Notification. Please revise accordingly.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #16

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.4.4. It is recommended that the Class EA incorporate some form of an issue resolution process prior to the EAB processing a Part II Order request. The issue resolution process should occur after the Final Notification is issued. Refer to the last three paragraphs of section 7.5.1 of the MNDM Class EA for more details.

Proponent’s response

The identification and resolution of issues should take place throughout the Class EA process and not be focused on a special issue resolution process following Final Notification. The Class EA Document will state that The proponent will continue discussions with the requester to attempt to resolve the concern(s) raised in the Part II Order request.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that states that the proponent will continue discussions with the requester to attempt to resolve the concern(s) raised in the Part II Order request Additionally, Appendix B outlines subsequent communication with interested parties after issuance of the Statement of Completion and prior to construction.

Comment #17

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section. 3.4.4. PIIO Requests currently is written that a PIIO request will only be considered 'valid' by the Minister after the following :

  1. Proponent has issued the final notification
  2. The proponent has indicated to the minister that it cannot resolve issues. Point two would only be applicable if, following a submission of a PIIO request to the Ministry, the proponent asked the MOECC for time to try to resolve issues, prior to the MOECC reviewing and making a decision on that PIIO. Only then, would the MOECC need an indication from the proponent that issues cannot be resolved. However, a PIIO is valid regardless of point number two.

Request:

  1. Remove statement #2 and
  2. Include a line in this section that a proponent may aim to resolve an issue with a PIIO requester, and if so, can ask that the MOECC defer its review of the PIIO until the proponent follows up with the MOECC on this matter, and advises MOECC that the issues can or cannot be resolved.
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #18

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.5. To improve logical flow and clarity, the title of this section should be revised as follows: Statement of Completion

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #19

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.5. The MOECC does not post ESR documents on the MOECC website. Please revise accordingly: Once the review period of the draft ESR is complete, the proponent will incorporate all comments raised during the review period into the report and finalize the ESR. Once the ESR is finalized, a copy will be placed on the proponent’s project website, and sent to the EAB at the MOECC and the Regional EA Coordinator at the appropriate MOECC Regional Office for filing. The proponent will complete and submit the Statement of Completion....

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #20

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.8. The addendum and Notice of Filing of Addendum should be submitted to the appropriate MOECC Regional Office. Please revise the second paragraph accordingly: The addendum will be filed with the ESR, and a copy will be sent to the Regional EA Coordinator at the applicable MOECC Regional Office. A Notice of Filing of Addendum will be provided to all affected parties. A Notice of Filing of Addendum should also be placed in a local newspaper…

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #21

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.8. Other Class EAs allow for longer public comment periods for the review of addendums. In accordance with these other Class EAs document (e.g. MNDM Class EA, OWA Class EA). It is strongly recommended that the comment period for addendums be expanded to 30 days.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #22

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 3.8. This section should state that a Part II Order may be requested on an addendum, and pertain only to the changes to the project proposed in the addendum. To improve logical flow and clarity, please revise the third paragraph and last sentence of this section accordingly:

Fifteen days will be allowed for affected parties to review the change addendum and register any objections or concerns. It may be requested that the undertaking, as documented in the addendum, be subject to a Part II Order, in accordance with the procedures set out in Section 3.4.4 of this Class EA. During the review period no work will be undertaken which might adversely affect that part of the project under review. If there are no objections/concerns, or Part II Order requests during the review period,the project can proceed.
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #23

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.1.1. The Director of EAB is the approval authority for minor amendments. This should be clearly stated. Please add the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph of this section: The Director of the EAB is the approval authority for minor amendments.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #24

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.1.1. Minor amendments do not need to be submitted twice to the Director of the EAB. If the Director of EAB agrees that the proposed amendment(s) is valid and is appropriate for a minor amendment, then it will be approved by MOECC without consultation. Please revise the last paragraph of this section accordingly: Hydro One will bring forward the request for minor amendment(s) to the Class EA to and the Director of the EAB at the MOECC and provide the Director with the description and rationale for each amendment. The Director of the EAB will reach the opinion as to whether the proposed amendment(s) is considered to be valid and minor. The Director shall provide notice of the decision to Hydro One. The Director must also state reasons for the decision. Given the limited scope and administrative nature of minor amendments to this Class EA, they will be approved through an abbreviated process that will not require public notice.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #25

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.1.2. To improve clarity, please review the first paragraph of this section accordingly:

Major amendments would include significant changes to this Class EA Document or changes that have significant effect on how the Class EA is carried out. Major amendments may include changes to the range and type of projects within the Class EA, changes to the Class EA Screening Process eligibility criteria, or changes to the project review processes in the Class EA.
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Comment #26

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.1.2. The Minister of the Environment is the approval authority for major amendments. This should be clearly stated. Please add the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph of this section: The Minister of the Environment is the approval authority for major amendments.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #27

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.1.2. Major amendments do not need to be submitted twice to the MOECC. If the Director of EAB agrees that the proposed amendment(s) is valid and a major amendment(s), then consultation will be carried out. In accordance with other Class EAs, a 45 day consultation period is recommended. Please revise the last two paragraphs of this section accordingly:

Hydro One will bring forward the request for major amendment(s) to the Director of the EAB at the MOECC and provide the Director with the description and rationale for each amendment. The Director of the EAB will reach the opinion as to whether the proposed amendment(s) is considered to be valid and major. If the Director of the EAB agrees that the proposed amendment is valid and is for a major amendment(s), a consultation period of 45 days shall be carried out by Hydro One. Hydro One will develop the consultation plan that will be submitted to the Director of the EAB for review and approval. Government ministries and agencies, municipal planners, members of the public, First Nations and Mêtis communities and other interested persons will be invited to submit comments on the proposed amendment(s) to the Director of the EAB with a copy to Hydro One. Based on the comments received and further consultation with Hydro One’s response to the comments, the Minister of the Environment or delegate will do one of the following…
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #28

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.2. In accordance with other Class EAs and the Environmental Screen Process pursuant to Ontario Regulation 116/01, the duration of project approvals should be five years instead of ten years. Furthermore, the Class EA itself will be subject to a review every five years so projects subject to this Class EA should also be subject to the same five year timeline. Please revise the last sentence of the first paragraph in this section accordingly: Consequently, if construction is not initiated within ten five years of the filing of the Statement of Completion, the ESR will be reviewed to determine if any changes are required.

Proponent’s response

The last sentence of first paragraph in this section was revised to state: Consequently, if construction is not initiated within five years or more of the filing of the Statement of Completion, the ESR will be reviewed by proponents to determine if any changes are required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #29

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.3. The appropriate MOECC Regional Office should also be notified of the desire for a project already in progress to proceed under newly revised provisions of the Class EA. Please revise the second sentence of the last paragraph accordingly: The project has the option to proceed under the newly revised provisions of this Class EA Document through discussions with the Director of the EAB and the appropriate Regional Offices at the MOECC and by providing rationale.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #30

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.4. Ensure that the examples of the types of emergency situations that may arise are related to undertakings subject to this Class EA. Include a statement clarifying that emergency measures should be limited to what is required to prevent/stop the adverse effect and to ensure no additional adverse effects are created. Please clarify that the proponent should notify the affected members of the public and affected government agencies, including the nearest Regional and District Office of the MOECC and the EAB of the MOECC that emergency measures are about to be undertaken (i.e. prior to commencement of any response). If this is not possible, the appropriate contacts shall be made as soon as possible (i.e. within 30 days following the commencement of any response). In addition, please clarify that the proponent should forward a written report of the emergency to the nearest Regional and District Office of the MOE, and the EAB, following completion of actions taken to alleviate or correct the emergency situation. The report will contain the information already listed.

Proponent’s response

The statement in Section 5.4 Emergency Situation suggests that Hydro One would initiate projects based on threats to safety, human life, etc. This statement is misleading and has caused a confused response from the MOECC.

If a tornado or ice storm takes out a tower, we will probably rebuild it in place. There will be an automatic outage and the goal is to restore service. As a result this section was rewritten to state:

There may be emergency situations that take facilities out of service. They include ice and wind storms, tornadoes and flood conditions. The impacts of power disruption can be severe and there may also be associated safety hazards. In the vast majority of these situations, the Class EA will not apply. In fact, other legislation such as the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Water Resources Act, plus associated emergency response commitments will take precedence. First priority will be to return facilities to service. If there are any associated effects of power restoration or follow-up remediation and monitoring, this will be carried out in consultation with the Ministry of the Environment and other affected regulatory agencies.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #31

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.5. In accordance with Section 6.2.6 of the Code of Practice, the annual report is prepared by the applicant of the Class EA, with the assistance of the proponents who used the Class EA to implement projects in the previous annual period. Please revise the first and last paragraphs of this section accordingly:

The applicant is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Class EA Process by ensuring that the document remains relevant and current. Compliance monitoring of the Class EA will aim for continuous improvement, as well as ensure that its proponents meet legislative and regulatory requirements. Hydro One, as the applicant of this Class EA, is responsible for producing an annual compliance report for projects that are subject to the Class EA Document, with the assistance of project proponents who use this Class EA. The report will encompass the following: Hydro One will submit the annual compliance report to the MOECC (Branch and Local Regional Office) every February.

One approach to obtaining the necessary information from proponents is through the distribution of surveys. For instance, the Conservation Ontario Class EA uses a Proponent Conservation Authority Evaluation Form to collection the necessary information for evaluating the effectiveness of its Class EA and to deliver on commitments made its Class EA. Refer to Conservation Ontario Class EA for more details.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One is not in a position to monitor the effectiveness of Class EA processes conducted by other proponents (who may in fact, be competing transmitters in Ontario). As requested, by the MOE, the following commitments were added:

Section 5.5, first paragraph:

Hydro One, as the applicant of this Class EA, is responsible for producing an annual compliance report for projects that are subject to the Class EA Document, with the assistance of project proponents who use this Class EA. The report will encompass the following:

Section 5.5, second last paragraph:

All Class EA proponents will be required to provide an annual summary report describing Class EA processes conducted in a calendar year. The reports will be submitted to Hydro One for consolidation into a single annual report. The consolidated report will contain all submissions received by February 25th of each year. The onus is on each transmission proponents to conform to the deadline and Hydro One will not assume responsibility for missing reports. The required format for each report is included in Appendix H.

Section 5.5, last paragraph: Hydro One will submit the annual compliance report to the MOECC (EAB Branch and Local Regional Office) every February.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #32

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.5. Bullet c - replace proponent with Hydro One

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #33

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.5. Bullet f - summary table should also include projects carried out by other proponents. Hydro One would need to consult with other proponents to ensure they capture all projects using this Class EA (e.g. through a survey)

Proponent’s response

In the Bullet f was changed to state: A summary table listing all projects that have been carried out by proponents using the Class EA Process …

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #34

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.5. Bullet h - would be better placed right below bullet d to improve logical flow and clarity.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #35

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.6. To improve logical flow and clarify, please revise this section accordingly:

The Class EA Document is to be reviewed by Hydro One every five calendar years. A five year review report is to be prepared and submitted in February following every five years from the date of approval of this Class EA. This process will ensure that the Class EA Document remains compliant with applicable legislation, regulations and policies, and the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA).

Hydro One (the applicant) will provide, a five year review report to the Director of the EAB at the MOECC with the results of the review. The results will include a summary of issues and amendments that were identified during the five year period, and how those issues and amendments have been, or will be, addressed. Any changes or updates can be made using the amending procedures described in Section 5.1 of this document.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #36

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 5.7.2. To improve clarity, please revise the last sentence of the first paragraph accordingly:

A coordinated approach will be discussed with the appropriate MOECC offices with the expectation of a single EA process, a single application and a single review process that ensures the fulfillment of all Class EA requirements, including consultation and documentation.
Proponent’s response

After discussion with the MOE, the last sentence of the first paragraph was revised accordingly: A coordinated approach will be used when multiple Class EAs apply. The process will be jointly developed with the MOECC and other Class EA proponents on a case-by-case basis.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #37

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC, previously the Ministry of the Environment) Environmental Assessment Services Section (EASS)

Summary

Section 6.4. It is recommended that proponents also consider cumulative effects when planning a project.

Proponent’s response

The following statement was added in Section 6.5: Class EA proponents will consider cumulative effects when planning projects. The assessment will include the proposed undertaking and any other proposed undertakings in the immediate project area where documentation is available (e.g., other environmental assessments).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #38

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Consider re-naming the abbreviated screening process used for minor projects within this Class EA as some project proponents and their environmental consultants often confuse the term Class EA Screening Process with the screening process established under Ontario Regulation 116/01.

Proponent’s response

We understand that this may be confusing, however the Class EA Screening Process has been used for years and, changing the name would create more confusion than keeping it. Two processes can be distinguished by their first name (Class EA Screening Process versus Environmental Screening Process-full name of the screening process under O.Reg. 116/01).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #39

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Consider re-examining the type of projects and examples that qualify for this Class EA abbreviated screening process. The proposed amendments seem to expand the list of projects, and some seem to have potential to be more significant.

Proponent’s response

The intent was to give examples of projects likely to have insignificant effects based on our past experience. Most of the examples relate to work in disturbed environments that have historically proven to result in insignificant effects.

The application of the screening criteria is the basis for identifying potential risks, not the list of examples.

Class EA projects (projects are assessed on a case-by-case basis) will be screened using the 16 screening questions along with consultation with directly affected municipal, provincial and federal government officials, government agencies, First Nations and Metis communities, potentially affected and interested persons, affected businesses and interest groups to identify any environmental concern. If any environmental situations (e.g., environmental and socio-economic effects) are identified during this stage, the answers to some of the 16 screening questions will be Yes. Consequently the undertaking will be assessed under the Class EA Process (see section 3.0 of the Class EA document).

Subsequently, MOECC staff has requested that the language be softened in the second paragraph of section 3.3.3. E.g. based on experience with projects captured by this Class EA, some projects do not have significant environmental effects and do not require following the full Class EA process, and rather, can follow a Screening Process. This comment has been incorporated into the Class EA.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #40

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Consider using a potential effects identification matrix for projects subject to the full Class EA process. A matrix would provide a structured framework to help ensure a systematic evaluation of the net environmental effects, providing better guidance to proponents; assisting stakeholders understanding of the approach; and contributing to better transparency and consistency of Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

There are many ways to identify potential effects on the environment. Hydro One’s experience does not support using a potential effects identification matrix.

Proponents are required to identify potential effects considering the environment as described in the EAA (this approach is followed in the Class EA Document. Appendix E provides guidelines to identify potential effects). Proponents are welcome to use any available tools they deem necessary.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the use of a potential effects identification matrix was considered but not adopted by Hydro One.

Comment #41

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

It is recommended that the initial screening is completed prior to the initial notification. More information provided during initial consultation would be helpful, particularly since it may be the only notice when a project is screened out. Thus, scope initial analysis of potential effects and a description of the remaining processes could be available with the initial notice. (This would be a change for this Class EA, however it is now common in many)

Proponent’s response

It is standard practice to notify stakeholders as early in the process as possible and before any judgment is made about potential effects.

Provisions have been made to subject the project to the Class EA process described in Section 3.0 (e.g., if any of the 16 screening questions are answered yes or possibly or if a directly affected parties raises a significant concern that cannot be resolved (Section 3.3.3)).

After discussion with the MOECC it was agreed that the below proposed changes be applied to Section 3.3.2 for the purpose of clarification:

For some projects eligible for the Class EA Screening Process (see Section 3.3.3), the consultation process may be carried out consistent with project-specific circumstances on a case-by-case basis. This is more appropriate to the scope of minor projects that are less environmentally significant. Any such consultation will respect the intent of the notification process and the proponent’s commitment to public consultation.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #42

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Considerations Throughout Document. Hydro One’s Environmental Guidelines for the Construction and Maintenance of Transmission Facilities (Hydro One Guidelines) are referenced in the proposed Class EA and commonly in initial notices for specific projects. If it is being used as a reference document, it should be easily available to the public and agencies, such as Hydro One’s website.

Proponent’s response

This document is an internal document that was prepared for Hydro One professional staff to meet Hydro One safety and construction standards. The Province initiated a competitive process for the licensing of transmission projects; consequently, the document is no longer available for public distribution. Further, there is no obligation for other proponents to use Hydro One’s guidelines. Hydro One will remove references to the Environmental Guidelines for the Construction and Maintenance of Transmission Facilities from the Class EA Document and also from initial notices. The details will be provided in the ESR for the specific project.

The MOECC has requested that since the referenced guideline is not being made available, and the Class EA is for broad use (i.e. not only Hydro One), then reference to the Guideline should be removed. To fill that gap in information, an appendix to highlight the best management practices (BMPs) to be used should be included (as used in other class EAs).

After discussion with the MOECC, it was agreed that the reference to the Guideline should be removed from the Document and Appendix E Typical Mitigation Measures should be used as a guide for proponents while establishing their own detailed set of environmental guidelines and practices.

Section 6.0 of the Class EA Document was revised to state:

This chapter describes the physical components and activities associated with the projects covered by this assessment. All proponents should consider establishing their own detailed set of environmental guidelines and practices based on the relevant criteria set out in the Class EA, which could then be followed and consistently applied to projects in order to satisfy the requirements of the Class EA. Appendix E provides typical mitigation measures to assist proponents when developing their environmental guidelines and practices.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied that all references to Hydro One’s Guidelines have been removed and that the mitigation measures contained in Appendix E satisfy the request for BMPs.

Comment #43

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Considerations Throughout Document. Better describe the purpose, need, process and mitigating measures for projects related to property acquisition and retirement. Limited details are provided or seem vague. For example, expropriation of land approach is found in Appendix B related to subsequent communication.

Proponent’s response

The original intent was to address on a project-specific basis the life cycle activities (from planning through retirement). Approval would not be sought for independent acquisition or retirement activities. Each Class EA project identifies the fact that acquisition is necessary and explains the rationale. In the early years of EA, there was pressure to speak to retirement effects and make commitments about future use. This is extremely difficult because such activities will be undertaken in the distant future. This is further complicated, because the ownership of rights of way was transferred to the Ministry of Infrastructure. The commitments in ESRs must therefore be limited to recognizing new technologies, refurbishment and expansion possibilities, etc. Equipment may be taken out of service, but the likelihood is high that the route and site would be retained for future use (i.e., because electrical service would still be needed in a stable or growing community). The result is that we can't speak in detail about process or mitigating measures.

Property acquisition is no longer subject to the EAA. The term property acquisition was removed from Section 1.1 Class Definition (items: a, b, and c).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that details regarding property acquisition and retirement are project-specific and best addressed by the proponent rather than the Class EA.

Comment #44

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Considerations Throughout Document. Ensure consultation refers to interested and affected parties (not just affected parties, or directly affected parties, as referenced in many places). This would better reflect the EA principles as outlined in the MOECC Code of Practice Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. See response to the following comments provided in this document:

  • Comment #29
  • Comment #37
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #45

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Considerations Throughout Document. Ensure that it clearly reflects a broad interpretation of the term environment, consistent with the EAA definition. In many places the wording only seems to refer to potential effects to the natural environment and not social, economic, or cultural conditions.

Proponent’s response

We use the term environmental effects throughout the Document. This term applies to the environment as per the EAA. See definition of environmental effects in Appendix A-Glossary of Terms and Acronyms.

Also, see response to the following comments provided by the Northern Region EA coordinators at the MOECC:

  • Comment #34
  • Comment #45
Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the term environment is broadly defined and reflects the definition in the EAA.

Comment #46

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Considerations Throughout Document. Ensure that the document requires notifying the EA Coordinator at the applicable MOECC Regional Office, including for the initial notice, final notice, statement of completion, ESR addendum, emergency situations and copies of any bump up requests. EA Coordinators in the regional offices are the assigned MOECC leads for Class EA projects, until a bump up request is submitted.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

See response to the following comments provided by the Northern Region EA coordinators at the MOECC:

  • Comment # 50
  • Comment # 53
  • Comment # 55
  • Comment # 61
  • Comment # 71
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #47

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Class Environmental Assessment History. Adjust wording to better reflect eligible Category B projects or quality with some Category B projects. The second (and last) paragraph states This Class EA Document is relevant to Category B projects. Isn't this Class EA Document only relevant to Category B projects that are not associated with a Category B generation project?

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as follows:

This Class EA Document is relevant to Category B transmission projects that are not associated with a Category B generation project.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #48

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 1.0. Update purpose to be clear that it pre-approves certain classes of projects. As written it implies that MOECC approves using a single process certain frequently occurring projects.

Proponent’s response

This statement has been a part of the Class EA since 1992.

We have not found it confusing.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that further clarification is not required.

Comment #49

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 1.1. Adjust Item a. ii. To provide clarity. The Note states that Line projects with a nominal voltage of 500 kV are excluded. This may imply that they are exempt rather than subject to an Individual EA (Category C)

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #50

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 1.1. Adjust Item a. ii. To provide clarity. The Note states that Line projects with a nominal voltage of 500 kV are excluded. This may imply that they are exempt rather than subject to an Individual EA (Category C)

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #51

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 1.1. Revise wording of this section to clarify that new transformer stations between 115 kV and 500 kV are covered by this Class EA.

Proponent’s response

For clarification please refer to the first sentence under item a) in Section 1.1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the wording in Section 1.1 is sufficiently clear.

Comment #52

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 1.2. In paragraph 3, insert the words the review period associated with the prior to Final Notification. Current wording is unclear and could result in misunderstanding by commenting agencies/individuals.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #53

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 2.0. Current wording provides very specific purpose for likely the most common projects but appears incomplete. Simplify with broader purposes, or add purposes for other types of projects subject to this Class EA.

Proponent’s response

This section provides purposes for line and station projects (all types of projects) subject to the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities. We do not believe that it is incomplete.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #54

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.0. In first paragraph adjust wording …provided that the planning process set out in the approved Class EA Document is followed.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #55

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.0. In third paragraph replace so insignificant as to be of no concern with minimal.

Proponent’s response

The benefit of the change is unclear. The term minimal is subjective and subject to challenge.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied with the current wording.

Comment #56

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.0 - Figure 1: Use fill or thicker lines to highlight minimum consultation steps, and ensure that final figure has a better resolution and is clearer.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. (note that figure is now Figure 6)

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #57

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.0 - Figure 1. Add add draft ESR in Final Notification box.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #58

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.0 - Figure 1 Move Part II Order request to replace Yes under Unresolved Opposition. In its place add Voluntary Elevation.

Proponent’s response

To date, Hydro One has not voluntarily elevated a project and does not expect to do so in the future.

Pertaining to Figure 1, the MOECC has requested that the arrow leading from PIIO request should then point to Minister’s decision, with two options (deny with or without conditions or grant (individual EA). The current information is not accurate.

After discussion with the MOE, it was agreed that Hydro One will revise Figure 1 to incorporate this comment.

**Please note that the previous Figure 1 is now Figure 6 in the Class EA Document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the figure has been revised and that Section 3.4.4 states that the proponent may choose to voluntarily elevate the project to an individual EA.

Comment #59

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.0 - Figure 1: Replace Issue ESR with Statement of Completion and final ESR.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. (note that figure is now Figure 6)

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #60

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.2. At the end of the 4th paragraph, the words subject to should be added prior to applicable EA processes. The current wording is incorrect, and also suggests that all transmission facilities associated with generation facilities will be subject to an EA process, whereas this is not the case for transmission lines less than 115kV where associated with a waterpower facility.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #61

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.1. Add wording to clarify that potential project effects will include direct and indirect effects on the environment, using its broad definition set in EAA.

Proponent’s response

This clarification can be found in the glossary.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #62

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.1. In first paragraph, last two sentences, the wording should be reviewed/clarified. The term environmental constraints may have been used inappropriately.

Proponent’s response

We do not think that this term is used inappropriately. This term is very common in EA planning.

The term environmental constraints is a planning consideration and not an effect per se. Furthermore, the word environmental is an adjective that refers to an environment as a whole (e.g., as per the EAA)

Status

The MOECC is satisfied with the use of the term environmental constraints in this context.

Comment #63

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.1. In second paragraph intent/wording of last sentence should be reviewed and clarified. The meaning of this sentence is not clear. Use of jargon like existing severances will not likely be easily understood by members of the public.

Proponent’s response

This is a common term in EA planning. We will clarify that is municipal land severances.

Subsequently MOECC staff has requested that the language be changed to read: Other boundary location opportunities may include such features as favourable property fabrics and appropriate zoning. The Class EA was revised accordingly.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #64

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.1. In third paragraph add Notice and before ESR. Clarifies study area is also provided in notices as references in Section 3.3.2 second c).

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #65

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.2. For item b:

  • Add notify the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) and local planning boards…
  • Delete the reference to notifying districts. Districts are not incorporated, and do not have administrative staff.
  • Replace identify any of their official plan policies concerning environment matters that may be affected by the project with identify Official Plan provisions relevant to the project.
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #66

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.2. In Items b and g, reference to potentially affected municipalities and property owners should be revised to potentially affected and/or interested. As indicated in the Class EA Code of Practice, proponents must consult with potentially affected and other interested persons.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #67

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.2. In item f, consider replacing the phrase that may have lands or interests which may be potentially affected by the project with terminology such as potentially affected/interested Aboriginal communities.

Proponent’s response

The wording used is appropriate. Item f refers to the Crown’s duty to consult. This falls within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Energy. Please also refer to Section 4.1.1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the wording does not need to be changed.

Comment #68

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

For initial notification content, revise items listed by adding:

  1. tentative project schedule
  2. At the end of Item c: showing the project location and boundaries and extent of the study area;
  3. To Item e: including a link to a website where the Class EA document may be obtained;
  4. To Item g, after the words contact information: including name, address, telephone, fax and e-mail address.
  5. Date when input or comments are to be provided by proponent.
  6. If screened out, advise the public’s right and process to send a Par II Order request to the Minister.
  7. Consider including an FOI clause, advising how written submissions will be handled for the purposes of freedom of information.

These additional requirements will assist the public in understanding the proposal and participating actively in the EA process.

Proponent’s response

We do not feel these additions are appropriate.

Initial Notification is carried out before much of this information is available. Initial Notification announces the start of a Class EA process. The focus is on the need and the study process to follow.

Subsequently, MOECC staff has requested to include items 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 if available during the preliminary stages of a project, for increased transparency and public accessibility to be involved in the process. Regarding FOI: as per page 56 of the Codes of Practice for Class EAs, all notices need to include the FOI statement that is outlined in the Codes.

Items 3, 4, 5 and 7 were incorporated. After discussion with the MOE, it was agreed that item 6 is not applicable to the Class EA Screening Process. If any identified effects cannot be addressed, a project will be subject to the Class EA Process. Also see response 4.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #69

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

31. Section 3.3.2 (first full paragraph after itemized list) Consider re-examining this paragraph and its intent, and re-wording to clarify meaning. As written, the process seems like a conundrum and the sequence of events outlines in this paragraph doesn't flow in a logical order. How do stakeholders express concerns prior to the initial notification to inform the decision that a single notification is sufficient?

Minor process changes may be required in this section, allowing describing a single notice being issued when project is screen out and no stakeholder concerns are anticipated. If the screening process was moved before initial notice, the initial decision could be made based on the screening and the proponent’s existing experience. The analysis (or summary) could then be available with the initial notification to better inform stakeholders.

Proponent’s response

To clarify, Class EA projects involve initial and final notification. For more details please see Section 4.3 Notification Techniques.

For better clarity, the second last paragraph in Section 3.3.2 was removed from the Class EA Document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that this Class EA process includes multiple contact points with potentially affected and interested parties, and that the deletion of the second last paragraph improves clarity in the notification process.

Comment #70

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.3. To item e add contamination to land. Environmental protection includes clean and safe air, land and water.

Proponent’s response

Project will not add contamination to land. This would be misleading.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #71

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.3. Instead of using term acceptable or such insignificant environmental effects consider using terms such as minimal, predictable and mitigable or manageable. The term acceptable can be subjective and could vary depending on a person’s perspective. Predictable and mitigable are existing terms to describe Class EA activities.

Proponent’s response

Sentence has been revised, and the term significant was used, as per discussion with the MOECC.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #72

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.3. For first paragraph, review wording of this paragraph and revise to ensure that the broad meaning of the word environment is being used (as defined by the EAA), to minimize the use of objective terms, and to clearly state when projects will no longer be eligible for the screening process.

Use of the term environmental situations in the first sentence seems to suggest that only impacts to the natural environment are being considered. This paragraph should clearly state that the Screening Process may not be used if any of the screening criteria apply. The wording used should ensure that both direct and indirect effects are considered.

Proponent’s response

The term environmental situation does not imply natural environment only. The screening process relies on criteria. If the criteria cannot be met, the Class EA process (as explain in Section 3.0) applies.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #73

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.3. For 4th paragraph, to clarify the intent, the last sentence could be replaced with wording such as: The screening criteria listed below will be applied in all situations; additional factors may be considered if other potential concerns are identified.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #74

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

For Screening Criteria:

  1. Item a, first line delete the word environmental and add the word policies to the items listed.
  2. Item b, replace the phrase lands zoned residential with lands zoned to permit residential or other sensitive land uses
  3. Review the use of the words significant and significantly throughout the list, and consider deleting
Proponent’s response
  1. The benefit of implementation of the change is unclear.
  2. The benefit of implementation of the change is unclear. We would not apply a full Class EA if a municipal policy opposed transmission infrastructure.
  3. The word significant is commonly used in the Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects, 2011 (see page 8 Category C projects).

Subsequently, MOECC staff have requested their original suggestion of wording for point 2 be applied, since there are other sensitive uses ( such as hospitals and daycares) that may also need to be considered when siting facilities:

Item b, replace the phrase lands zoned residential with lands zoned to permit residential or other sensitive land uses.

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #75

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.3. For first paragraph after list, replace the wording If a directly affected party during the Class EA Screening Process subsequently raises a significant concern that cannot be resolved with more appropriate wording, such as: If an interested or affected party during the Class EA Screening Process identifies potential direct or direct effects that cannot be addressed, …

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. The definitions of the Interested Persons and Interest Groups were changed as follows:

  • Interest Groups: Interest groups are organizations with an interest in a particular undertaking within a project study area. Interest groups often include groups or clubs, naturalist organizations, agricultural organizations, sports or recreational groups, organizations from the local community, municipal heritage committees, ratepayers associations, cottage associations, and businesses.
  • Interested Persons/Parties Interested persons are individuals with an interest in a particular undertaking and live within a project study area. Persons with an interest in a particular undertaking often include neighbours. And individuals. Interested persons are not required to demonstrate that they will personally be affected by a particular undertaking. Interested persons are often called stakeholders.

Note: the onus is on interested persons/parties to identify their interest in a project as early as possible. In the initial notification state it is unreasonable to expect the proponent to identify all potentially interested persons/parties.

See response to comment #7 and #29 provided in this document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #76

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.3. For third paragraph, replace the word relevant prior to Regional Offices with the Regional EA Coordinator at the applicable MOECC Regional Office.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #77

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.4. Consider replacing this very general description of information with a more detailed approach.

Proponent’s response

As this description has been successfully applied for over 30 years, we do not see a benefit in making this change.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that Appendix C, as referenced in this section, provides proponents with sufficient guidance.

Comment #78

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.4. Please see memorandum for recommendation for expanding full Class EA process (e.g. identification matrix)

Proponent’s response

There are many ways to identify potential effects on the environment. Hydro One’s experience doesn't support using a potential effects identification matrix.

Proponents are required to identify potential effects considering the environment as described in the EAA (this approach is followed in the Class EA Document. Appendix E provides guidelines to identify potential effects). Proponents are welcome to use any available tools they deem necessary. See response to comment #3 provided in this document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the use of a potential effects identification matrix was considered but not adopted by Hydro One.

Comment #79

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.4. Consider adding additional text at the beginning of this section to clarify that this section applies to the full Class EA process (i.e. projects not eligible for the abbreviated screening process)

Proponent’s response

This is consistent with Figure 1 Class Environmental Assessment Process.

Subsequently, MOECC staff has requested that a couple of introductory lines be included to clarify that this section follows from the initial notification stage and is applicable to the Class EA process (see Figure 1). The Class EA was revised accordingly.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #80

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.4. For item f, replace reference to legislation with air, land, water, wildlife.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #81

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.4. For last paragraph in section, consider replacing the term key environmental issues with terminology such as potential direct and indirect effects to the environment.

Proponent’s response

The term key environmental issues applies to both direct and indirect effects. There is no benefit to the replacement of this word.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the wording is acceptable.

Comment #82

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.4. For last paragraph in section, consider replacing the second sentence with wording such as: The Draft ESR will include the following or remove normally. This section should clearly establish minimum requirements for the content of the draft ESRs. Introductory sentences should be revised to clarify that these are minimum requirements.

Proponent’s response

These comments refer to Section 3.4.1.

The word normally in the first sentence in this Section was removed.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #83

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.3.5. Suggest referencing broad effects to environment earlier in the document.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #8 provided in this document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #84

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.1. State that as a minimum the draft ESR shall be made available at a location that is a public facility (e.g. library), and on the proponent website.

The Class EA Code of Practice outlines that proponents should present sufficient and varied opportunities for consultation. There are still people that do not find the internet accessible.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #85

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

For first paragraph review proposed wording and revise to clarify.

It is not clear from the proposed wording whether notice is to be given to all of those listed, or only to those groups/individuals who have indicated a continued interest in the proposed project.

Proponent’s response

The first paragraph of Section 3.4.2 was revised to state:

Upon completion of the draft ESR, a Final Notification will be distributed to inform potentially affected and interested persons, First Nations and Mètis communities, municipal, provincial and federal government officials, government agencies, affected businesses and interest groups that the report is complete and the review period is commencing.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #86

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.2. Revise items listed under Final Notification as follows:

  • For item c add at the end: with a map showing the project location and boundaries and extent of the study area
  • For item d add at the end: including a link to a website where the Class EA Document may be obtained
  • For item f add: telephone and fax number, email address
  • For item j delete the phrase: or advice on how this information may be obtained
  • Include a brief description of the opportunity for a Part II Order request

These additional requirements will assist the public in understanding the proposal and participating actively in the EA process. In addition, consider including an FOI clause, advising how written submissions will be handled for the purposes of freedom of information.

Proponent’s response

The items listed under Final Notification was revised to state:

  1. Name and description of the proposed project.
  2. Name of the proponent for the project.
  3. A description of the need (justification) for the proposed project.
  4. Geographical location of the study area, with a map showing the project location and boundaries and extent of the study area.
  5. Name of the approved Class EA Document under which the project has been planned and a link to the Document.
  6. Name, telephone, fax number, and address within the proponent’s organization that can provide further details on the project.
  7. Advise that comments on the proposed project should be received within the specified time frame by a specified person in order to receive consideration.
  8. Advise that the draft ESR is available for review at specific locations.
  9. The start and end dates of the review period.
  10. The rights given to the public under this Class EA Document, including the Part II Order requests
  11. A brief description of the opportunity for a Part II Order request.
  12. The address of the MOECC where any Part II Order requests may be sent.
  13. A statement that the proponents can legally proceed with the project under the EAA if no Part II Order requests are submitted during the review period.
  14. The date of publication of the notice.

See response to comment #13 provided by EASS

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #87

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.3. In second sentence add, and a copy sent to the Regional Environmental Assessment Coordinator at the appropriate Regional Office. It is important that they receive direct notification of projects as Regional Coordinators are the MOECC contacts for Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #88

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.3. Review and revise the last sentence in second paragraph to clarify the intent of will recommend appropriate actions to the MOECC.

The meaning of this statement is not clear. What kind of recommendations should MOECC anticipate? Should this indicate that the proponent should advise EAB and the Regional Office to expect Part II Order request(s)?

Proponent’s response

The last sentence in the second paragraph was revised to state:

If all expressed opposition cannot be satisfied, the proponent will advise the MOECC (Regional Office and EAB the following:

  • Issues raised during the ESR review period
  • Explanation of action taken
  • Explanation of why concerns cannot be resolved
  • Recommended next steps
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #89

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.4. Revise items list as follows:

  • For item d consider deleting
  • In item g, delete the word environment

Is it appropriate that the requestor should have to identify alternatives to the project?

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #90

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.4. In second paragraph, clarify intent of to a higher level of assessment. Please be specific with expectation. Are there other higher levels of assessment beyond asking the proponent to voluntarily conduct an Individual EA?

Proponent’s response

The text was revised to state: If a concern cannot be resolved by the proponent, the concerned party (requester) may request the proponent to elevate the project to a higher level of assessment (Individual EA).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #91

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.4. In third item b, last sentence add: providing a copy to the Regional EA Coordinator at the appropriate Regional Office.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #92

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.4.4. Consider adding paragraph(s) that:

  • Refer to the use of different conflict resolution approaches
  • Reference the opportunity for the concerned part and proponent to agree on additional time to resolve the issue and if so the process. (A formal approach for extending a timeline provides clarity, demonstrates a willingness to address concerns and may prevent submitting a Part II just to meet the timeline)
  • Clarify that, once a Part II Order requested, proponents and requestors can choose to work together to resolve the outstanding concerns prior to EAB formally considering the Part II Order request(s), and that they should formally advise EAB that they wish to do this. The wording should also specify that proponent’s commitments made after Final Notification is issued must be documented. The project must be implemented in accordance with the commitments in the ESR; and any additional commitments made by the proponent and any conditions imposed by the Minister resulting from Part II Order requests.
Proponent’s response

See response to EASS's comment #16.

The MOECC has requested that reference to the Codes of Practice be included to identify generic approaches to issues resolution. The Class EA was revised accordingly.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #93

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.5. In second sentence, add the words and the Regional EA Coordinator at the appropriate Regional Office following the words sent to the EAB.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. See response to the comment #9 provided in this document

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #94

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.5. Delete third sentence referring to posting on MOECC website. MOECC does not currently or plan to post ESRs on their website.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #95

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.6. Broaden content to address subsequent consultation with interested parties, as suggested by the heading (not just those with properties that are directly affected). The content only addresses follow-up communication where the project directly affects private land. In addition, consider adding relevant details from Appendix B (Appendix B is only four paragraph).

Proponent’s response

Section 3.6 was revised to state: The acceptance of a proposed project under this process does not end communications between the proponent and the public interested and affected parties. Provisions for subsequent communication with interested persons and individuals whose property is affected by an undertaking are detailed in Appendix B.

Also, the second paragraph of Appendix B was revised to state: Where appropriate (i.e., as set out in the ESR) a public information centre (PIC) may be held to provide interested persons with information about upcoming construction activities. This includes tower locations, construction and restoration operation activities.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #96

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.7. Consider revising wording to address compliance monitoring, where necessary. Content addresses only monitoring to confirm environmental effects and the effectiveness of mitigation. Compliance monitoring has not been addressed.

Proponent’s response

The first sentence of Section 3.7 was revised to state: The ESR will describe the follow-up and environmental monitoring planned for the project. The purpose will be to ensure the implementation of mitigation measures and to confirm environmental effects and the effectiveness of mitigation techniques.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #97

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.7. Confirm Guidance includes environmental monitoring and if not add specifics to Class EA document or guideline.

Proponent’s response

Yes, the Guideline includes environmental monitoring.

Subsequently, the MOECC suggests if reference material is not made publically available, then these references should be removed from the Class EA. In place, an appendix highlighting BMPs should be provided. See Response on comment 5.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA includes discussion about environmental monitoring and that the information provided in Appendix E satisfies the request for BMPs.

Comment #98

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.8. For first paragraph revise wording to incorporate:

  • Consultation regarding proposed changes should occur with interested and affected parties (not just affected parties)
  • Proponents should also be required to identify potential effects, preferably through completing a potential effects identification matrix.
  • If, following evaluation of the proposed change and consultation, no effects are identified, proponents should be required to document that result and the evaluation/consultation process on the project file and make this information available on their website.
Proponent’s response

The following was added to Section 3.8:

If the changes are not considered significant, the MOECC (Regional Office and EAB) will be notified and the changes will be described on the website.

See response to the comment # 3 provided in this document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #99

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.8. For second paragraph revise wording:

  • In first sentence replace the word relevant with Regional EA Coordinator at the applicable
  • In second sentence, add interested and prior to the words affected parties
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

See response to the comment #19 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #100

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 3.8. For second, third and 4th paragraph reference a minimum of and consider changing 15 days to 30 days

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

See response to comment #20 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #101

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 4.0. For last two lines at bottom of page consider making further guidance available to assist proponents. Will the Ministry of Energy be providing proponents with additional guidance to assist them in determining the duty to consult may be triggered, so they know when they should contact the Ministry of Energy?

Proponent’s response

We understand that additional guidance will be determined on a project-by-project basis.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #102

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 4.1.2. In the first paragraph, include information to advise where proponents can obtain a copy of the EA Government Review Team List.

Proponent’s response

In the first paragraph, the second sentence was changed to state: From the outset of the planning process, the proponent will seek to inform and receive input from provincial and federal government officials and government agencies with jurisdiction or interest related to the proposed project. Appendix B of the MOECC Code lists Government Agencies and their areas of interest.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #103

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 4.1.4. In first full paragraph, add initial notice. References key notice provision.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #104

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 4.2. In first paragraph add reference to initial and final notice being a minimum and screened out projects only provided with one notice. This change will clarify expectation and better align with Class EA Code of Practice.

Proponent’s response

Section 4.2 describes consultation in general and not special notification. Refer to the following sections for required information:

  • Section3.3.2-Initial Notification
  • Section 3.4.2-Final Notification
  • Section 3.3.3-Class EA Screening Process
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #105

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 4.2. For second paragraph refer to sufficient and varied opportunities appropriate to proposal.

Proponent’s response

The word sufficient was added to the sentence.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #106

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 5.2. In first paragraph, shorten the ten year time frame to five years. In addition, revise wording to clarify that the proponent is to review the initial ESR to determine if it is still valid (e.g. no changes to project needed, no new effects identified, no new mitigation measures required, no new consultation required).

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #27 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #107

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 5.2. In second paragraph, revise wording to add requirement that documentation be placed on the project file, and notice of completion of the review be posted on the proponent’s website.

Proponent’s response

The wording in this paragraph is consistent with the MOECC Code of Practice: Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario, January 2014.

In this paragraph, the wording was changed to state:

  • The review of the ESR will be documented and if changes to the project or project commitments are required, an addendum to the project’s ESR will be prepared…

Subsequently, the MOECC has further noted: Section 5.2 seems to be contradictory to section 3.5. If the final ESR is to be posted on the website - any addendum materials should also appear there. Section 3.5 states: 3.5 Statement of Completion Once the review period of the draft ESR is complete, the proponent will incorporate all comments raised during the review period into the report and finalize the ESR. Once the ESR is finalized, a copy will be placed on the proponent’s project website, and sent to the EAB at the MOECC and the Regional EA Coordinator at the appropriate Regional Office for filing.

The proponent will complete and submit the Statement of Completion form to the MOECC along with the finalized ESR - at which point the project is considered acceptable, and can proceed as outlined in the final ESR.

The MOECC has requested to add a line to this section indicating that the documentation will be provided on the project file and notice of completion of the review be posted on the proponent’s website.

After discussion with the MOE, it was agreed that Hydro One will revise Section 3.8 Addendum to ESR to add: The addendum will be filed with the ESR, and a copy will be sent to the Regional EA Coordinator at the applicable MOECC Regional Office and will be posted on the proponent’s website.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #108

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 5.3. Clarify intent, e.g. consider changing second sentence to: The project should continue using the previous Class EA (dated 6 April 1992) process. The Projects for which Initial Notification has been issued section is confusing.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as follows:

Projects for which Initial Notification has been issued

If the Initial Notification for a project has been issued before the amendments to this Class EA Document are approved by the Minister, or Director of the EAB at the MOE, the project is considered to be in progress. The project should continue using the previous Class EA Process (dated Apr. 92). The project has the option to proceed under the newly revised provisions of this Class EA Document through discussions with the Director of the EAB and the appropriate Regional Offices at the MOECC and by providing rationale. If the project conforms to this Class EA Document, all participants must be notified and the project must meet all the requirements of this Class EA.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #109

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 5.4. Add appropriate Regional EA Coordinator. The EA Coordinators in the regional offices are the assigned MOECC leads for Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

See response to comment #9 provided in this document.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #110

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 5.7.2. Remove reference to single application. Term application may be confused with applications to apply for different permits and approvals.

Proponent’s response

This section was revised as per EAB requirement. See response to comment #35 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #111

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Section 5.7.2. Recognize that the more detailed process should be followed or additional steps may be necessary to meet the intent of the different Class EAs. Pursuing a single process is reasonable but needs to clarify that the process should still meet the intent and steps of the different Class EAs.

Proponent’s response

This section was revised as per EAB requirement.

See response to comment #35 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #112

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendices. Consider adding another appendix including templates for the notices. Including templates can assist proponents and help ensure consistency.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One is reluctant to add a template for notices as they may change and it will lead to requirements for amendment. Also, notice templates are available in the MOECC Code of Practice.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that notice templates are not required.

Comment #113

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix C. For the third and seventh bullet under Cultural Heritage Typical Data Sources include single tier municipalities. The wording present excluded these municipalities.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

In Appendix C, under Human Settlement, a bullet for MMAH was added.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #114

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix C. Add a bullet for MMAH. The MMAH is the planning approval authority for most unincorporated areas.

Proponent’s response

In Appendix C, under Human Settlement, Typical Data Sources a bullet for MMAH was added.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #115

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix C. For Typical Data Types, a bullet for groundwater and surface water feature should be included, not just those identified in SPPAs.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

This comment was discussed with Regional MOECC Office and it was suggested that that term surface water bodies and ground water may also be used.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #116

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix C. For Typical Data Types, confirm use of Municipal Register of Listed and Designated Properties, as this is typical terminology for cultural resources, not natural features.

Proponent’s response

Municipal Register of Listed and Designated Properties was added to cultural resources.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #117

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix D. In preamble add wording to clarify where proponents can obtain a current copy of the MOECC Government Review Team List.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #118

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix D. For Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, include projects in unincorporated areas in the right hand column list, as they are the planning approval authority for most of these areas.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #119

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix D. Under Ministry of the Environment specify Regional Environmental Assessment Coordinator at the applicable Regional Office.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #120

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1 For Surface Water, add reference to:

  1. Contamination from runoff (in first or add new concern)
  2. Develop site-specific erosion and sediment control plan (e.g. stormwater drainage)
  3. No herbicide along shoreline
  4. Maintain or replace vegetation along shoreline or other means of sediment control (e.g. fencing or hay bales)
  5. Activities may be scheduled during drier or winter seasons (6. Discharge of wastewater from dewatering activities in compliance with any required permits and approvals from MOE
  • Protecting surface water intakes
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

  1. This is covered by spills and sediment control (Note This was discussed with MOECC Regional Office and agreed upon)
  2. Develop site-specific erosion and sediment control plan as required (e.g. storm water drainage) is already included.
  3. Use of herbicide along shoreline is part of the maintenance activities not relevant to the projects subject to the Class EA
  4. Sediment control is addressed in the stream bank erosion
  5. The statement Activities may be scheduled during drier or winter seasons was added

The statement Discharge of wastewater from dewatering activities in compliance with any required permits and approvals from MOECC was added

The statement Protecting surface water intake was added.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #121

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1. There should be an item for surface water intakes that are protected under SPPA and SPPs - they are not all ground water sources.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. In Table 1, under SURFACE WATER, the following was added:

Effects: Intake protection

Mitigation Measures: Surface water intake protection zones will be identified and protection implemented as required.

Project Phase: Planning and Design, Construction and Maintenance

Note: This was discussed with MOECC Regional Office and was clarified that SPPA refers to Source Water Protection areas

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #122

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1. Reference to Regulation 153 is confusing. What does Ontario Regulation 153/04 Records of Site Condition have to do with wastewater discharge?

Proponent’s response

Reg. 153/04 water criteria are used to determine contaminants in the water that we plan to discharge during the construction activities.

Subsequently, the MOECC has requested that the document be changed to read: Various guidelines and legislation may apply to meet regulatory standards, including Provincial Water Quality Objectives, Ontario Drinking Water Standards or Guidelines and if appropriate, Regulation 153 and Regulation 347. The Class EA was revised accordingly. Proponents are required to follow the regulations. If clarification is required, the proponent may contact the MOECC. We do not think that it needs to be a requirement that they contact the MOECC.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #123

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1. To simply list a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) does not seem sufficient to address the concern.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One will address this comment by adding the following sentence to the existing text under GROUNDWATER AND WATER SOURCE PROTECTION, Lowering of Aquifer

  • A Permit to Take Water (PTTW) addresses impacts to receptors by including hydrogeological modelling, monitoring and contingency plans.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #124

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1. For Groundwater, replace measure for wastewater discharge to reflect discharge of wastewater from dewatering activities in compliance with required permits and approvals from MOECC.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #125

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1. For Groundwater, for the lowering of aquifer concern, after reference to PTTW, add to ensure the conservation, protection, management and sustainable use of Ontario’s water.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #126

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1. For Soils, add reference and appropriate mitigation measures for soil contamination.

Proponent’s response

The new row under SOILS, Wind/Water erosion was added:

Mitigation Measures: Soil is collected and tested to the Regulation 153/04 soil criteria. Clean soil may be re-used on site. Contaminated soil will be disposed in accordance with applicable legislation.

Project Phase: Construction

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #127

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Northern Region EA Coordinators

Summary

Appendix E-1 Add reference and appropriate mitigation measures for waste management.

Proponent’s response

A new row was added titled:

  • GENERAL WASTE MANAGEMENT (including Liquid Waste, Hazardous Waste, Non-Hazardous Waste)

Below this heading, the following was added:

Environmental Concern: Appropriate disposal of waste

Mitigation Measures: Minimize waste produced, and segregate and recycle where possible.

Test, handle, store, transport and dispose of waste in accordance with Federal, Provincial and Municipal legislation as applicable.

Manage wastes in accordance with Ontario Environmental Protection Act, Regulation 347.

Project Phase: Construction and Maintenance

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #128

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Hydro One is advised to check the updated Code of Practice for Preparing and Revising Class EAs released on February 5, 2014 to ensure that the amended Class EA is generally consistent with the provisions of the updated Code.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One is aware of the updated MOECC Code of Practice for Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario released January 2014.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #129

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

The Guide to the Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects is currently being updated. Before the Class EA amendments are finalized, Hydro One is advised to check consistency w the updated Electricity Guide when it is available.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One is aware of the updated Electricity Guide released January 2011.

Hydro One has considered the changes.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #130

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Class Environmental Assessment History Instead of there are requirements… this statement may be revised to say the Ministry of Natural Resources must meet its requirements under the EAA before making a decision whether or not to dispose of the Crown resource to help clarify who will be responsible for meeting the requirements in this case.

Proponent’s response

This language is consistent with the language in the Guide to the Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Project. Category A, B, and C projects are governed by regulation Ontario Regulation 116/11. The purpose of this Class EA is to outline the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act as it applies to only Category B transmission projects.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #131

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Class Environmental Assessment History In view of the ongoing exercise of updating the Electricity Guide, it is likely that section references would change. In addition, the same goes for the updated Class EA Code of Practice.

Proponent’s response

No response necessary.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #132

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Section 1.0. To be consistent with wording in the Electricity Guide, it is suggested that acceptable be replaced with predictable environmental effects that can likely be mitigated.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #133

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Section 1.0. Add Green Energy Act, 2009.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One agreed to add a reference to the Green Energy Act to the list of potentially applicable legislation.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the Green Energy Act has been added to the list of potentially applicable legislation in the Class EA.

Comment #134

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Section 2.1. Bullets b-d: Are these additional projects intended to support distributed generation? If that’s the case, then the Class EA document may need to address the piece-mealing provision of Ontario Regulation 116/01 (Section 1(3)).

Proponent’s response

Distributed generation can fall within item (d).We are not aware of any related problems with Ontario Regulation 116/11.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #135

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Section 2.3. Should this be scoped to only include new technologies that have met some evaluation criteria for suitability either through an industry or government process?

Proponent’s response

This is best carried out on a project-specific level when the technology can be assessed under specific environmental conditions.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the current wording is acceptable.

Comment #136

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Program Support Unit

Summary

Section 3.3.3. Bullet f, include species at risk.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested. (The MNRF also requested this change, MNRF comment #7)

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the current wording is acceptable.

Comment #137

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.1. Municipal and/or public consultation should be incorporated into the consideration of the need for new transmission facilities if available.

Proponent’s response

The project need will be described in the early stages of the EA Process. It is important to remember that need may result from a provincial government priority initiative (see Section 3.1) or the recommendation of independent agencies such as the OPA. As a rule, the transmitter will accept the recommendations of an independent agency as a starting point for the Class EA Process.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #138

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.3.2. Refer to comments for Appendix D, Table D-1.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #139

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.3.3. Bullet h) indicated that the Class EA includes construction of telecommunication stations. Since this Class EA applies to both Hydro One projects and private undertakings, it would be helpful to clarify that it only includes telecommunication stations of Hydro One’s.

Proponent’s response

This Class EA applies to Minor Transmission Facilities. This includes Telecommunication Stations/Towers which support communication between major transmission facilities. This applies to all transmission proponents.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #140

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.4.1. This section lists the required information for a draft ESR. We recommend that the title of this section be changes to Section 3.4.1 Environmental Study Report and draft ESR in this Class EA should also be changed to ESR (see below comment for additional reasoning).

Proponent’s response

See response to the comment #9 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #141

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.4.2. This section proposed an amendment that required a Final Notification for the draft ESR, rather than for the final ESR. This is a departure from the previous Class EA, and from all EA processes that are currently approved. The MOECC EA Coordinators do not support the circulation of a draft ESR with the final notification for public and government agency review. The practice in the Regional Office is not to review draft reports for Class EA projects. Although some Class EAs and guidelines encourage the proponent to circulate draft reports for comment upon request, this is done before the final notification step, so that proponents can address the concerns and comments prior to the final notification step.

Proponent’s response

See response to the comment #9 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #142

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.4.2. This section lists the required information for a Final Notification. It is recommended that including both the mailing address and the email address for the Minister be added to the end of Item k).

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #143

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.4.2. It is recommended that Item e should be changed to: e. Description of this Class EA under which the project has been planned.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #144

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.4.2. It is recommended that the title of this section should be changed to Section 3.4.2 Notice of Study Completion as the Statement of Completion is actually the final notification for the undertaking.

Proponent’s response

This section refers to the Final Notice which is part of the consultation process with parties other than the MOECC.

The Statement of Completion is explained in Section 3.5 and we can add reference to it in Section 3.4.2.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #145

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.5. It is recommended that the title of this section should be changed to Section 3.5 Statement of Completion for consistency.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #146

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.5. It is recommended that the title of this section should be changed to Section 3.5 Statement of Completion for consistency.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #147

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.5. This section states that the ESR will also appear on the MOECC website. It is recommended that this statement be removed, as posting of EAs on the MOECC website does not occur for Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

See response to comment #18 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #148

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.5. The MOECC Regional EA Coordinators are not aware that any other Class EAs require the proponent to file the Class EA documents with MOECC's EAB. If filing a copy of the streamlined EAs with the MOECC's EAB is not standard practice, this Class EA should not require the proponent send a copy to MOECC's EAB. It is recommended that the second sentence be amended to read as follows: Once the ESR is finalized, a copy will be placed on the proponent’s website, and also sent to the applicable MOECC Regional EA Coordinator for filing.

Proponent’s response

See response to the comment #18 provided by EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #149

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.8. It is recommended that the first sentence of the second paragraph be reworded to read as follows: The addendum will be filed with the ESR, and a copy will be sent to the relevant MOECC Regional EA Coordinator.

Proponent’s response

See response to the comment #18 provided by EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #150

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.8. This section states that a notice of filing of addendum will be provided to all affected parties. The Class EA should clarify what is meant by all affected parties. For example, would this include all adjacent landowners, and parties that provided comments and expressed interest in the original Class EA project?

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #37 and #60 provided by the Northern Region EA coordinators at the MOECC.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #151

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 3.8. It would be helpful if this section included the information required in a notice of filing (for example, the right to request a Part II Order, Minister’s address etc.)

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #21 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #152

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 4.1.2. This section states that the MOECC maintains a list of provincial and federal government agency contacts who review EAs, and that the Government Review Team list can be consulted throughout the Class EA process. These two sentences should be removed from the Class EA. The Regional MOECC Offices do not maintain a government review team list for distribution to proponents. The GRT is associated with Individual EA projects, not Class EA projects. It if the responsibility of proponents to prepare distribution lists for Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #65 provided by the Northern Region EA coordinators at the MOECC.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #153

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 4.2. This section states that interested parties may review and comment on the draft ESR. As stated above, Regional Offices do not generally review draft ESRs for Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #9 provided by the EASS.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #154

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Section 6.4. This section is an added policy meant to consider climate effects. However, it really does not indicate how Hydro One intends to do so. It is recommended that more specific information should be provided to guide the Class EA process for minor transmission facilities.

Proponent’s response

The statement was jointly developed by the MOECC and Hydro One. More specific information will be provided on a project level (varies from project to project).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied with the guidance provided in the Class EA.

Comment #155

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

This section makes reference to a dated MOECC guideline, namely MOECC's guideline for the Decommissioning and Clean-Up of Sites in Ontario. With the coming of Ontario Regulation 153/04 (Record of Site Condition) of the Environmental Protection Act, this ministry’s reference to the guideline (Decommissioning and Clean-Up of Sites in Ontario) document has diminished over time. Under certain scenarios, following the requirements of Ontario Regulation 153/04 are mandatory (i.e. Section 14 of EPA), and in other situations its use can be voluntary. To address this, it is recommended that the last sentence of the second paragraph be reworded to read as follows:

In addition, if a station site is suspected to be environmentally contaminated, the decommissioning of facilities will follow the guidance provided by Ontario Regulation 153/04 (Record of Site Condition) of the Environmental Protection Act.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #156

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix A. Approval - the first sentence says approval in the context of this Code of Practice… The document being amended is not a Code of Practice, it is a Class EA. It is recommended that the first sentence be removed from the definition.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #157

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix A. Environmental Assessment - the first sentence indicates that an EA is a study which assesses the potential effects of an individual process. It is recommended that this be changed to project or class of projects.

Proponent’s response

The word process was replaced with the word project.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #158

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix A. One project - one process - there is a definition for this term, even though the term does not appear in the Class EA. Sections 5.7.1 and 5.7.2 discuss coordination with other processes, but these sections do not refer to one project - one process. It is recommended that this definition be removed.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #159

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix A. Telecommunication Station and Telecommunication Tower - since this Class EA applied to both Hydro One projects and private undertakings, it would be helpful to clarify that it only includes telecommunication stations of Hydro One. Companies like Bell also construct telecommunication stations, but not for the purpose of monitoring electricity distribution systems, so it is unlikely that they would be covered by this Class EA.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment #3 provided by the Regional EA coordinators at the MOECC (excluding Northern Region).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #160

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix A Terms of Reference - it would be helpful to clarify at the beginning of the definition that ToR applies to Individual EAs only, not to Class EA projects.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #161

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix C. Typical Data Types should include Lake Simcoe watershed under the heading Natural Environment Resources.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #162

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix C. Typical Data Sources lists MOECC as a source for Source Water Protection Areas. Shouldn't it refer to Conservation Authorities as the source for this information?

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #163

Submitter

Ministry of the Environment - Regional EA Coordinators (excluding Northern Region)

Summary

Appendix D. It is recommended that Table D-1 be amended so as to ensure, in all circumstances, the Notices of Commencement, Notices of Completion, and all requests for comments must be directed to the Regional EA Coordinator at each of the MOECC Regional Offices.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Appendix D was revised to state: Ministry of the Environment (MOE): EAB and Regional EA Coordinator at the appropriate Regional Office(s).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #164

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 1.2. Many facilities share a common purpose: to provide reliable power to communities and commercial enterprises and/or connect generation sources with customers through the transmission network Is this not also the case for transmission projects regardless of size and potential for environmental effects? Not just projects in this Class EA.

Proponent’s response

There is a common purpose of the projects which is to supply reliable power. The scope of these projects vary and thus the need for the Class EA Screening process and Class EA process.

Generation is subject to another process. See the MOECC's Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects, 2011

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #165

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 2.2. Members of the public reviewing projects under this Class EA and wanting to refer to the Class EA would likely find a more thorough Glossary helpful. e.g., transformer station, switching station, regulating station

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

The following definitions were added:

  • Transformer Station: A group of electrical components or elements including transformers arranged to transfer power from one voltage level to another. A transformer station may also function as a switching station at the various voltage levels and provide for an interchange or redistribution of power among the circuits at each voltage level.
  • Switching Station: An electrical station which interconnects transmission lines through automatic switching devices (e.g., circuit breakers). Its purpose is to permit subdivision of the transmission system to limit the amount of it that is lost as the result of a fault, or to allow portions of the system to be removed from service for operating or maintenance purposes. There are no electrical power transformers or regulators located in the Switching Station. There is no power generation produced at the station.
  • Regulating Station: An electrical station containing at least one electrical power transformer arranged to only regulate voltage. Power voltage transfer occurs only at Transformer, Transmission or Distribution Stations. There is no power generation produced at the station.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #166

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 3.2. Alternatives to the undertaking must be reasonable from both technical and economic perspectives… Add environmental; assuming EAA definition of environment that includes social and cultural conditions, per Glossary.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #167

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 3.3.2. The sentence Each ministry, department or agency will be asked to provide… should be changed to state Each ministry, department, agency or other organization will be asked to provide… Community groups, agricultural producers/organizations, business associations, First Nations, etc. would not consider themselves to be 'agencies.'

Proponent’s response

This sentence deals with a need to identify concerns related to policies, mandates and/or jurisdictions only. The previous sentence was revised to state ....in addition to the MOE, municipal, provincial and federal government officials, government agencies, First Nations and Mètis communities, potentially affected and interested persons, affected businesses, and interest groups will be notified of the need for the project, the transmission alternatives being considered, the project study area and will be asked to provide comments.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #168

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 3.3.2. The following sentence: b) Notify all potentially affected lower, upper or single-tier municipalities… should be changed to state: b. Notify all potentially affected lower, upper or single-tier municipalities or separated cities…

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

See MOE, Northern Region EA Coordinators, comment 20.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #169

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 3.3.3. The following sentence under Screening Criteria c. high capability agricultural lands should be changed to state: c. Prime Agricultural Lands, which includes Specialty Crop Areas (as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act) and/or Canada Land Inventory Classes 1, 2 and 3 lands Use of current definitions. The term 'high capability agricultural lands' is not currently used.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #170

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 4.0. Revise the following sentence Consultation is a two-way communications process to involve interested and affected persons, businesses, groups and First Nations and Mètis communities to parallel the list in section b on page 22, including municipal, provincial and federal agencies, as well as affected/interested persons.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested (Section 3.3.2, page 13).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #171

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 4.1.2 and 4.1.3. It is recommended to revise the following sentence …by way of direct correspondence, phone calls, and/or by reviewing and commenting on the draft ESR. to add a reference to Internet-based consultation. Web-based consultation methods are available now and more may emerge in future.

Proponent’s response

The last sentence of the second paragraph of this section was revised to state: Other methods of consultation may occur during meetings, by way of direct correspondence, phone calls, and/or by reviewing and commenting on the draft ESR and by using Internet-based consultation where appropriate

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #172

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 4.2.3. Proponents could consider using project websites as another tool for consultation beyond workshops, etc. (i.e. Website need not be restricted to making information available) There are several software packages available for e-consultation.

Proponent’s response

Section 4.2 was revised to provide better clarity.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #173

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 4.3. It is recommended to revise the following sentence … via the project website or via social media… Social media is becoming a mainstream tool.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #174

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 5.4. It is recommended to revise the following sentence: a. Location and nature of the actions taken to add timing since it is due to time constraints in an emergency that the Class EA process was not followed.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #175

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 5.5. Question regarding a bullet f) A summary table listing all projects that have been carried out by Hydro One… Why only Hydro One - should this list not also include all projects by other proponents? Since Hydro One is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of this Class EA process, shouldn't all projects be included? Unless Hydro One does not have access to information about these other projects.

Proponent’s response

This bullet has been rewritten to read: A summary of Class EA projects planned and completed for which Part II Order requests were made (indicate if they were granted, denied, or denied with condition).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #176

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Section 6.1.2. It is recommended to revise the following sentence under Right-of-Way Requirements: a) City Streets. Where a circuit is to be installed in urban areas and will… to state: Community Streets: Where a circuit is to be installed in a settlement area Proposed wording is more inclusive of settlements of all sizes (cities, towns, rural settlement areas)

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #177

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Appendix C - Environmental Inventory: AGRICULTURE Data types and data sources are incomplete and/or out of date. The entire text needs to be replaced as follow:

Description

  • This factor considers agricultural production and associated practices through analysis of the capability of the land for agricultural production along with the present use and productivity of that land.

Typical Data Types:

  • Crops grown on perennial root stock (e.g. grapes, apples, tender fruit, asparagus, ginseng)
  • Specialty Crop Areas as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 under the Planning Act
  • Prime Agricultural Lands as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 under the Planning Act
  • Soil type and relative sensitivity to damage from construction and installation of electricity facilities (e.g. susceptibility to compaction)
  • Areas designated in municipal Official Plans as Prime Agricultural Areas (or their equivalent if not yet designated) as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 under the Planning Act
  • Potential for farm property fragmentation/severance by proposed Right of Way or transformer station
  • Agricultural infrastructure (e.g. livestock facilities, drainage systems, irrigation systems, fencing, on-farm agricultural product storage and/or processing facilities)
  • Agriculture-related infrastructure (e.g. grain drying facilities, cold/dry storage facilities for agricultural crops, wineries, roadside markets/stands, agricultural research facilities, agricultural biogas systems)
  • Organic agriculture operations - crops and livestock (e.g. pesticide use within Right of Way)
  • Agricultural field access from public roads and farm lanes
  • Field size requirements for farm operational efficiency and flexibility (e.g. ability to plant and harvest crops with large equipment)

Typical Data Sources:

  • Canada Land Inventory - Land Capability for Agriculture http://www.giscoeapp.lrc.gov.on.ca/web/OMAFRA/EMB/AIA/Viewer/viewer.html http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/landuse/gis/portal.htm http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/landuse/gis/soil_data/nts.htm
  • County soil maps http://sis.agr.gc.ca/cansis/publications/surveys/on/index.html?__utma=1.1020924616.1390858701.1390858701.1390858701.1&__utmb=1.8.10.1390858701&__utmc=1&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1390858701.1.1.utmcsr=(direct)|utmccn=(direct)|utmcmd=(none)&__utmv=1.|1=tag_visitor_type=internal=1&__utmk=94338333
  • Census of Agriculture, Statistics Canada http://www.statcan.gc.ca/ca-ra2011/index-eng.htm http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/stats/welcome.html#first
  • Municipal Official Plan land use schedules
  • Aerial photography and satellite imagery
  • Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) property mapping and assessment codes
  • Roadside and field inspections
  • Discussions with agricultural producer organizations (e.g. local Federations of Agriculture) to access data they may have and identify any site-specific concerns
Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #178

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Appendix C - Environmental Inventory: HUMAN SETTLEMENTS It is recommended to revise the List of Typical Data Types: Urban settlement, Rural residential development to state: Settlement areas - urban and rural; Rural residential development Rural residential development, since it refers to residential lots in the countryside, is not the same as residential development in rural settlements.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #179

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Appendix C - Environmental Inventory: HUMAN SETTLEMENTS Delete: Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs do not hold relevant data on Human Settlements. We assume that Hydro One is a member of Land Information Ontario (LIO) and can access all relevant data through LIO.

Proponent’s response

This section was revised by taking out and adding Land Information Ontario.

Hydro One can access all relevant data through LIO.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #180

Submitter

Ministry of Agriculture and Food & The Ministry of Rural Affairs

Summary

Appendix D - Notification Requirements It is recommended to revise the following: Applicable Class EA Projects: Projects affecting agricultural operations, specialty crop soils and Classes 1-3 Agricultural lands, except in urban designations. To state: Applicable Class EA Projects: Projects proposed to be located in Specialty Crop Areas as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) under the Planning Act, or on Prime Agricultural Lands (Canada Land Inventory Classes 1-3 lands) also as defined in the PPS, or projects expected to affect agricultural operations throughout Rural Areas as defined in the PPS; except where the above lands have been designated as 'Urban' in a municipal Official Plan. The revision clarifies references to Specialty Crop Areas and Prime Agricultural Lands; clarifies that agricultural operations are located throughout Rural Areas as defined by the PPS; and clarifies the 'Urban' exception.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #181

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

The provisions for coordinating this Class EA with other EAA processes are inconsistent with direction MNRF has received from MOECC. This may cause problems when this Class EA and MNRF's Class EAs are triggered for a project. Based on a discussion with Gavin Battarino, on February 14, 2014, MNRF understands that MOECC intends to revise the coordination provisions in the Hydro One Class EA.

Proponent’s response

The last sentence of the first paragraph in Section 5.7.2 was revised to state:

A coordinated approach will be used when multiple Class EAs apply. The process will be jointly developed with the MOECC and other Class EA proponents on a case-by-case basis.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #182

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

The Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities does not describe how a proponent should consider implementation of projects subject to this Class EA within provincial parks or conservation reserves. This is a concern as MNRF has a mandate to manage these areas pursuant to the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act (PPCRA), where the maintenance of ecological integrity is the first priority. There are additional requirement for utility corridors in protected areas, such as requiring approval of the MNRF and conditions for approval under section 21 of the PPCRA. These should be referenced in the Hydro One Class EA.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment 1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #183

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

The implications of expanding the list of proponents for this Class EA are unclear. A licensed transmitter is not defined in the document. Therefore there is uncertainty as to how this proposed change may affect areas in which MNRF has transmission lines for protected area purposed. The Class EA for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves (Class EA-PPCR) includes projects such as install new, replace, upgrade, or maintain existing service of utility, which including electricity distribution lines. It is unclear to MNRF whether there is overlap between the Class EA-PPCR with the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities. Further discussions may be warranted.

Proponent’s response

Under definition of term Proponent in Appendix A the following was added:

Proponents that may use the Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities to carry out class environmental assessment projects involve Hydro One Networks Inc., local distribution companies, licensed transmitters, industrial customers, etc., who may design, construct and operate transmission facilities (this involves station and line projects with transmission voltages, i.e., 115 kilovolts [kV], 230 kV, and 500 kV).

The following definition of licensed transmitter has been added to Appendix A:

Licensed Transmitters Licensed transmitters are companies that must be licensed by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) if they are interested in owning, building, operating and maintaining the transmission network (i.e., 115 kilovolts [kV], 230 kV and 500 kV lines and stations) (see Section 1.1). Also, see response to comment 1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied. The MOECC is satisfied that the PPCRA has been added to the list of potentially applicable legislation in the Class EA.

Comment #184

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

There may be implications related to approvals required under section 21 of the Provincial Parks and Conservation Resources Act (PPCRA) and the inclusion of telecommunication facilities as part of transmission line projects subject to this Class EA. Further discussions may be warranted.

Proponent’s response

Telecommunication facilities are normally federally regulated; as a result, they do not need specific attention in our Class EA.

PPCRA approval follows EA but would be an important consideration during the course of a Class EA process (i.e., we need to understand requirements and assess the risks associated with the subsequent approval, like the many other approvals that could apply).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the PPCRA has been added to the list of potentially applicable legislation in the Class EA.

Comment #185

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Section 1.3. (b) This Class EA assumes that environmental impacts are low and primarily restricted to construction but does not consider landscape level impacts, which can be significant and permanent. Landscape level impacts would be a concern in larger protected areas and across large areas of Crown land.

Proponent’s response

Visual and landscape effects are considered (see Visual and Esthetic Resources in Appendix C).

The following was added to the Fish and Wildlife section (Appendix E) as a mitigation measure to Loss of habitat, breeding grounds and/or food source for wildlife, as well as fragmentation due to vegetation removal:

  • Consideration of landscape level impacts, including habitat fragmentation.

Section 1.3 outlines similarities between Class EA projects: b) Environmental effects tend to be construction-related. Long-term operating environmental effects are limited because there are no significant emissions to air or water, or waste production.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #186

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Section 3.3.1. Constraints associated with policy and land use direction (e.g., other land use designations, such as Enhanced Management Areas, provincial parks or conservation reserves, dedicated protected areas) should be considered in defining the study area, in addition to technical and environmental considerations. Policy direction should include avoiding protected areas in the study area, where feasible, due to potential conflicts with purpose and objectives of the PPCRA and associated site specific management direction.

Proponent’s response

The second sentence in the first paragraph of Section 3.3.1 was revised to state: the boundaries of the study area will be established by considering the proposed alternatives in relation to the occurrence of known potential environmental effects, constraints associated with all relevant legislation and land use policies, and technical constraints.

The last sentence of the first paragraph of Section 3.3.1 was changed (as per the MOECC request) to state:

  • The environmental constraints may take the form of ecologically sensitive areas (e.g., rivers, lakes, wetlands), and human-made constraints

The second last sentence was revised to state:

  • Other boundary location opportunities may include such features as favourable property fabrics or existing land ownership patterns.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #187

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Section 3.3.3. Suggest adding a reference related to the potential to affect a species at risk and/or their habitat. Based on MNRF's understanding of coordination between Class EAs, a minor transmission project requiring an Endangered Species Act permit may also trigger MNRF's Class EA-RSFD and/or Class EA-PPCR. This may need to be accounted for early in the project evaluation process.

Proponent’s response

In Section 3.3.3 under Screening Criteria, item f. was revised to state:

  • cause significant interference with the movement of any resident or migratory fish, wildlife species, species at risk, or their respective habitats.

All approval requirements are to be identified during early project planning. This does not necessarily affect the screening decision.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #188

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Section 3.3.4. While this section focuses on information related to environmental resources within a study area, consideration should also be given to inclusion of existing resource management plans (e.g., forest management plan, fisheries management plan, Community based land use plan in the Far North) that occur or will occur within the study area/ this could be added here or a new section created.

Proponent’s response

Please note that Section 3.3.4 is referring to the environment as described in the EAA. Details are available in Appendix C.

For example The Forest Resources section has Forest Management Plans listed under Typical Data Sources. Under Natural Environment Resources in Appendix C, fisheries management plans was added as a Typical Data Type and approved community based land use plans, under the Far North Act, 2010 was added as a Typical Data Source.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #189

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Appendix C. Important information about proposed resource allocation, resource management, protected areas and land uses on Crown lands is contained in a variety of resource management plans which should be captured under Typical Data Sources for Natural Environment resources.

Typical Data Types

  • Add: Designated areas of provisional protection, and designated protected areas in approved community based land use plans, under the Far North Act, 2010.

Typical Data Sources

  • Add: Designated areas of provisional protection, and designated protected areas in approved community based land use plans, under the Far North Act, 2010.

Recreational Resources

  • Add: Community based land use plans approved under the Far North Act, 2010.

Natural Environment Resources Description

  • Add: …areas of provisional protection and designated protected areas.
  • MNRF notes that protected areas are not identifies as either a data type or source in this appendix, except under recreation resources. There are several places where they should be identified, as these types of values may also occur in protected areas: cultural heritage resources, natural environment resources, visual and aesthetic. In general, examples of data sources for protected area values would include management direction and inventories.
  • Description of natural environment resources, data types and sources is incomplete. Several Provincial Policy Statement natural heritage features are not mentioned (e.g. significant woodlands, significant wildlife habitat). Key data sources and guidance are not mentioned (e.g. natural heritage reference manual, significant wildlife habitat technical guidelines, Natural Heritage Information Centre, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest and site district reports).
Proponent’s response
  1. The following was added to the Typical Data Types section under Natural Environment Resources: Designated protection and designated protected areas in approved community based land use plans, under the Far North Act, 2010.
  2. The following was added to the Typical Data Sources section under Natural Environment Resources: Approved community based land use plans, under the Far North Act, 2010.
  3. The following was added to the Typical Data Types section under Recreational Resources: Community based land use plans approved under the Far North Act, 2010.
  4. The following was added to the Typical Data Types section under Natural Environment Resources: Protected areas (e.g., provincial parks, conservation reserves).

Item 3: the natural environment resources, data types are sources provided are examples and not intended to be exhaustive lists (i.e., always subject to change). However, Natural heritage features (e.g., significant woodlands, significant wildlife habitat) has been added to the Typical Data Types, and Natural heritage reference manuals, guidelines and databases (e.g., Natural Heritage Information Centre) has been added to the Typical Data Sources under Natural Environment Resources.

Please note that specific mitigation measures will be developed through consultation with the MNRF for a specific project.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #190

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Appendix D. There is no guidance for directing a proponent to the appropriate part of MNRF for information on specific values, data etc. There is only one contact given for MNRF. The Class EA should be clear on whom proponents must contact when a project is subject to this Class EA (i.e. local, regional or main office).

Proponent’s response

This comment has been incorporated in Appendix D, Table D-1 and now states: Ministry of Natural Resources: relevant local or regional offices.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #191

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Appendix E Mitigation measures described may be insufficient in protected areas with respect to the values present, maintaining ecological integrity, and conditions for approval by the Minister for a utility corridor in a protected area.

Proponent’s response

Please note that the specific mitigation measures will be developed through consultation with the MNRF for a specific project.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #192

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Appendix E Mitigation for protected areas should consider the value of the protected area as a whole, with the principle of avoiding crossing a protected area as the highest priority

Proponent’s response

Please note that the specific mitigation measures will be developed through consultation with the MNRF for a specific project. However, the following has been added as a mitigation measure for Loss of natural features under Significant Natural Features in Appendix E:

  • Significant natural features, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest, sensitive areas, and protected areas are avoided where possible.
Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #193

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Appendix E There is no consideration of landscape level impacts and mitigation (e.g. fragmentation). This appears to be a gap for this type of linear development. MNRF can help develop appropriate mitigation measure language for landscape level impacts.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA lists a number of examples but the list is not exhaustive. Fragmentation has been added to the environmental concern under Fish and Wildlife section in Appendix E: Loss of habitat, breeding grounds and/or food source for wildlife, as well as fragmentation, due to vegetation removal.

Also, the following has been added as a mitigation measure in this section: Consideration of landscape level impacts, including habitat fragmentation.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #194

Submitter

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF, previously the Ministry of Natural Resources)

Summary

Appendix E Mitigation of impact to significant earth science values is not considered.

Proponent’s response

All effects that Class EA projects may have on the Environment, as defined in the EAA, are considered. The Class EA lists a number of examples but the list is not exhaustive. However, the following has been added as a mitigation measure for Loss of natural features under Significant Natural Features in Appendix E: Significant natural features, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest, sensitive areas, and protected areas are avoided where possible.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #195

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Class Environmental Assessment History MTCS is recommending insertion of guidance for projects not subject to the Class EA.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA parent document should restrict itself to projects within the Class EA (Category B). Category A & C projects are governed by regulation O.Reg.116/01. From a practical standpoint, proponents are unlikely to refer to the Class EA on Category A projects. Regardless of the length, the proposed insertion will not be effective or binding. Similar to other legislation, the Class EA does not affect (strengthen or diminish) the application of the Ontario Heritage Act nor does it give higher visibility to the Ontario Heritage Act.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that guidance for projects not subject to the Class EA is not required.

Comment #196

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 1.1. MTCS is questioning the exemption regarding replacement of angle poles and towers: Item b. i. The work requires replacement of poles or towers (other than angle poles or towers)

Proponent’s response

Reference to angle poles or towers was deleted.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #197

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 1.3. Please revise the text as follows: All projects subject to this Class EA Document have predictable environmental effects that can likely be mitigated.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #198

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.3.1. MTCS has expressed concern with the term man-made constraints found in the Class EA. It is proposed that the term be replaced with cultural heritage constraints.

Proponent’s response

The two terms are not synonymous. Within the EAA, the definition of environment includes structures, buildings, etc. that are human-made. There may well be project-related environmental effects which do not affect cultural heritage value. Hydro One is of the view that the existing terminology is more inclusive than the proposed terminology.

The last sentence of the first paragraph was revised to state: The environmental constraints may take the form of ecologically sensitive areas (e.g. rivers, lakes, wetlands), and significant human-made constraints (e.g. building, structures, cultural heritage resources, etc.).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied with the use of more inclusive language.

Comment #199

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.3.2. Include text stating that if a project affects a known or potential heritage property, the proponent will contact the appropriate authority (e.g. municipality, MTCS, Ontario Heritage Trust).

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #200

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.3.3. MTCS challenged examples of undertakings which typically have insignificant environmental effects. This is based on the perception that heritage resources may be inadvertently overlooked. Any activity with ground disturbance, theoretically, can present risks to cultural heritage effects.

MTCS wishes to reiterate and reinforce its previous position, i.e., that determination of significant effects for cultural heritage should be considered separately from natural heritage. Hydro One should adopt the wording that MTCS recommended previously.

Proponent’s response

The intent was to give examples of projects likely to have insignificant effects. Most of the examples relate to work in disturbed environments and have historically failed to demonstrate significant environmental effects. The examples do not preclude carrying out archaeological studies, nor do they prelude consideration of the screening criteria. We can all agree that any project has the potential for having some environmental effects. Application of the screening criteria, rather than the list of examples, is the basis for identifying potential risks.

The recommended wording suggested by MTCS, regarding the differentiation of the significant effects for cultural heritage and natural heritage, was utilized. The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #201

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.3.3. Amend the text as follows: Result in detrimental effects to natural heritage or cultural heritage resources (which may include built heritage resources, cultural heritage landscapes, and / or archaeological resources).

Proponent’s response

TThe Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #202

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.3.4. The text should refer to archaeological resources (versus archaeological sites) as it is a broader and more inclusive term.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #203

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.3.4. MTCS is recommending expansion of the Class EA to provide further guidance and best practices on managing heritage resources. The recommendation goes on to include Category A projects (termed pre-approved). A condition of approval is recommended requiring preparation of a Heritage Management Process, within one year.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One has internal guidelines, manuals and training programs to enable staff to conduct environmental assessments. The Class EA has historically been used as a process document and not a compendium of mitigation practices (i.e., given the wide range of projects, broad definition of the environment and potential mitigation practices). Any such changes from a heritage perspective would be precedent-setting, greatly enlarge the Class EA and prompt similar requests from other agencies. As MTCS is aware, the Class EA will be used by other proponents, who may be competitors to Hydro One. It is inappropriate for Hydro One to prepare manuals for other proponents or attempt to influence how they carry out heritage assessments.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the information provided in Appendix E offers sufficient guidance to proponents regarding mitigation of potential effects on cultural heritage resources to a reasonable level of detail for the purpose of the EAA.

Comment #204

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.5. MTCS is requesting that Hydro One notify interested parties that the ESR has been finalized. Through subsequent discussion, the request was extended to include a recommended extension to the review period for Class EA addenda.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One posts the final ESR on our website for interested parties. Upon request, Hydro One can notify interested parties that the ESR is finalized.

The comment period for Addendum was extended to 30 days

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #205

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 3.8. MTCS notes the potential for design changes and the need to increase the notification period to at least 21 days.

Proponent’s response

The comment period for Addendum was extended to 30 days.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #206

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 5.2. MTCS has recommended that the projects must be implemented within 5 years of filing the ESR rather than a 10 year period in the Class EA.

Proponent’s response

Projects within the Class EA are essential provincial infrastructure. After five years, the ESR will be subject to an update but there should not be a mandatory implementation date that would require restarting the Class EA process.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #207

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 6.0. MTCS is requesting a copy of Hydro One’s Construction Guidelines. MTCS had taken the position that the document is needed to clearly understand the effects of projects covered by the Class. A copy was provided by Hydro One to MTCS and apparently misplaced, but MTCS was provided with another copy.

Proponent’s response

Hydro One’s Construction Guidelines document was never intended to describe the effects of projects under the Class EA. It was written for Hydro One professional staff. Hydro One has already explained that the Province initiated a competitive process for licensing of transmission projects, consequently, the document is no longer available for public distribution. Further, there is no obligation for other proponents to use Hydro One’s guidelines.

The Guidelines document has no formal status under the EAA, and was not filed for approval and is not part of the amendment process. MTCS has worked with Hydro One on several hundred projects since the Class EA was created. The best source of information on effects is project-specific EA documentation. Hydro One would be pleased to brief MTCS on potential effects but the request for internal guidelines materials is beyond the scope of the Class EA amendment process.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that all references to Hydro One’s Guidelines have been removed and that the mitigation measures contained in Appendix E satisfy the request for BMPs.

Comment #208

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 6.1.1 - Figure 2.0 MTCS noted the potential effects of counter-poise installations. The MTCS has requested details about how evaluations of archaeological potential would be assessed and requested assurance that cultural effects will be considered by all proponents.

The Class EA should describe the steps that all proponents should take in planning and executing the projects that are subject to it. A clear description of those steps should be enough to establish a uniform and consistent approach for all proponents and the public. The Class EA currently is not satisfactory in its approach to addressing cultural heritage resources.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA describes a process that will be used for all projects within the class. It does not provide procedural details about how effects will be identified, mitigated etc. for specific project activities. These are matters that are defined during the planning stages of those projects and addressed during the consultation process.

Further, Hydro One is not a regulator and cannot ensure that actions of other proponents (who may now be competitors) are appropriate. A Class EA has described a process and specific procedures to address a wide range of information collection, impact prediction and mitigation alternatives.

Status

Issues regarding counter-poise installations are project-specific and are therefore better addressed by the proponent rather than through the Class EA.

Comment #209

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 6.1.1 - Conductor Stringing Similar to the comment above regarding counter-poise installation, MTCS has requested details about conductor stringing and use of puller-tensioners. MTCS requested procedural details governing how this will be done by all proponents.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment 15.

Status

Issues regarding counter-poise installations are project-specific and are therefore better addressed by the proponent rather than through the Class EA.

Comment #210

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Section 6.5 - Decommissioning MTCS noted the potential effects of counter-poise installations. The MTCS has requested details about how evaluations of archaeological potential would be assessed and requested assurance that cultural effects will be considered by all proponents.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment 15.

Status

Issues regarding decommissioning are project-specific and are therefore better addressed by the proponent rather than through the Class EA.

Comment #211

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Appendix A - Cultural heritage MTCS has recommended including the definitions of the following terms:

  • Archaeological Resources
  • Archaeological Potential
  • Consultant Archaeologist
  • Cultural heritage resources
  • Built heritage resources
  • Cultural heritage landscape
  • Cultural heritage value of interest
  • Ground Disturbance Cultural heritage
  • Technical cultural heritage studies

MTCS has recommended minor alterations to the definitions of the terms:

  • Archaeological Potential; and
  • Cultural Heritage Resources
  • Technical cultural heritage studies
  • Qualified persons
Proponent’s response

As previously advised, Hydro One incorporated the definition of the terms mentioned into the body of the Class EA Document as follows:

  • Archaeological Resources
  • Archaeological Potential
  • Cultural heritage resources
  • Built heritage resources
  • Cultural heritage landscape

The other terms were not added because they are not found in the Class EA.

Appendix A - Glossary was revised to state:

  • Areas of Archaeological Potential Means areas with the likelihood to contain archaeological resources. Methods to identify archaeological potential are established by the Province. The Ontario Heritage Act requires archaeological potential to be confirmed through archaeological fieldwork.
  • Cultural Heritage Resources Include built heritage resources, cultural heritage landscapes, and archaeological sites that have been determined to have cultural heritage value or interest for the important contribution they make to our understanding of the history of a place, an event, or a people. Criteria for determining significance have been established by the Province. While some significant cultural heritage resources may already be identified and inventoried by official sources, the significance of others can only be determined after evaluation.

Appendix A- Glossary was revised to add the following definition:

  • Technical cultural heritage studies - may include archaeological assessments (Stage 1-4); historic research, site analyses and evaluations of cultural heritage value or interest; heritage impact assessments; heritage conservation plans; or studies of mitigation options appropriate to each.
  • Qualified persons mean individuals - professional engineers, architects, archaeologists, biologist, wetland ecologist, ornithologist, etc. - having relevant, recent experience in the conservation of cultural and natural heritage resources.

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #212

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Appendix C - Cultural Heritage Resources MTCS recommended edits and additional items to lists for Typical Data Types and Typical Data Sources in this section.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #213

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Appendix C - Natural Environment Resources Please add MTCS as a typical data source regarding archaeological registered sites.

Proponent’s response

MTCS has been added as a typical data source for the new cultural heritage resources section.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #214

Submitter

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Summary

Appendix E - Societal Impacts MTCS is recommending expansion of the Class EA to provide further guidance and best practices on managing heritage resources. The recommendation goes on to include Category A projects (termed pre-approved). A condition of approval is recommended requiring preparation of a Heritage Management Process, within one year

Proponent’s response

See response to comments 10 and 15.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the information provided in Appendix E provides sufficient guidance to proponents regarding mitigation of potential effects on cultural heritage resources.

Comment #215

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Entire Class EA Document It is not clear in Hydro One’s Class EA document with respect to secondary land uses on MOI owned corridors that: a) such uses are not subject to Hydro One EA; and b) such uses are subject to the MOI Public Work Class EA process. Clarification should be integrated into the amendments identifying that secondary uses on MOI owned corridors are subject to the MOI Public Work EA. For any secondary use on the provincially owned corridors, the Province has implemented the Provincial Secondary Land Use Program (PSLUP). Under this program, any use not related to the transmission of electricity on lands owned by MOI is subject to the MOI Public Work Class EA. The proposed amendments should include a specific section addressing secondary uses on Hydro One corridor. Information should be incorporated into the Class EA process identifying when the MOI Public Work Class EA is required to be completed, including a link to the MOI Public Work Class EA.

Proponent’s response

Secondary land uses are not a member of the Class EA and do not warrant a special section addressing secondary land uses on Hydro corridors (and the relationship with other Class EA's or the process to be followed).

In Section 1.1 Class Definition of the Class EA the following note was added: Secondary land uses on MOI owned corridors are not subject to the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #216

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Section 3.1. Clarify whether changes required by third party projects include changes to transmission facilities required to accommodate secondary uses.

Proponent’s response

Clarification: changes required by third parties would not include Secondary Land Uses.

Also, see response to comment 1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #217

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Section 3.1. Clarify whether secondary uses are captured in the section referencing projects resulting from provincial government priority initiatives.

Proponent’s response

Secondary land uses on MOI owned corridors are not subject to the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities. Also, see response to comment 1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #218

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Section 3.1. Consider specifically referencing the MOI Public Work Class EA for secondary uses.

Proponent’s response

See response to comment 1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #219

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Section 4.1.1. Clarify whether the Ministry of Energy is the primary Crown contact for the duty to consult where Hydro One establishes a need for changes to existing transmission facilities to accommodate secondary uses.

Proponent’s response

We understand that Ministry of Energy is the primary Crown contact for the duty to consult for all projects subject to the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities. It is rare for secondary land uses to trigger the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities; however if this happens it will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #220

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Section 6.1. Consider referring to the PSLUP and the applicability of the MOI Public Work Class EA process for secondary use undertakings.

Proponent’s response

This is not required because the Class EA does not apply to Secondary Land Uses. The paragraph Secondary Use of Hydro One Property in Section 6.1 was removed from the Document as it is outdated. Also, see response to comment 1.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #221

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Appendix A Consider including a definition of secondary uses and the PSLUP.

Proponent’s response

A definition of Secondary Land Uses was added to Appendix A. Note: IO to provide definition of Secondary Land Uses.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #222

Submitter

Infrastructure Ontario

Summary

Any negative impacts to land holdings, such as the taking of developable parcels of IO managed land or fragmentation of utility or transportation corridors, should be avoided. Providing additional information to proponents for projects on provincially owned hydro corridors will ensure that projects remain on schedule and within budget.

Proponent’s response

Negative impacts to IO lands will be addressed in the same way as any other affected land holder.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #223

Submitter

Ministry of Energy

Summary

Section 4.1.1 Please add the following sentence to the end of the sixth paragraph (second last paragraph): Where a duty to consult obligation is identified, the proponent shall fulfill the responsibilities delegated to it by the Crown to the satisfaction of the Crown prior to concluding the Class EA Process. In addition, please remove the last sentence from the last paragraph in this section:

Proponent’s response

The Class EA was revised as requested.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #224

Submitter

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Summary
  • Provided no comments on the amendment
  • Provided information on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012
Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #225

Submitter

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Summary
  • No comments on the amendment
  • Provided information that the Fisheries Act was amended on November 25th, 2013.
  • DFO has developed an on-line guidance tool for proponents to self-assess their projects to determine if it requires DFO's review
Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #226

Submitter

City of North Bay

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #227

Submitter

City of Timmins

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #228

Submitter

City of Hastings

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #229

Submitter

Guelph/Eramosa Township

Summary

Concern regarding disposal of wastewater and surface water discharged on the municipal properties from dewatering activities and any exposed risks to source protection

Proponent’s response

Discharge is covered by the Environmental Protection Act (EPA)/Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and Permit To Take Water (PTTW). If the plan is to discharge to municipal sewers or road allowances, this will be discussed with the municipality for specific projects.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #230

Submitter

Municipality of Chatsworth

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #231

Submitter

Municipality of Magnetawan

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #232

Submitter

Municipality of Middlesex

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #233

Submitter

Municipality of Trent Lakes

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #234

Submitter

Municipality of West Elgin

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #235

Submitter

Town of Cochrane

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #236

Submitter

Town of Midland

Summary

No comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #237

Submitter

Town of Orangeville

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #238

Submitter

Town of Whitby

Summary

Consistency is needed between the MOECC Code of Practice and legislation with the draft amended document, as well as consistency of language. Mandatory and prescribed language vs. discretionary language. Using stronger language in areas that have previously been described as mandatory or prescribed will provide clarity for the reader of the document.

Proponent’s response

The goal is to be consistent with the MOECC Code of Practice and Guide to Environmental Assessment Requirements for Electricity Projects.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the amendments result in greater consistency with these documents.

Comment #239

Submitter

Town of Whitby

Summary

Cross references improve readability and are important to include so that the reader can easily reference other sections that are important and relevant.

Proponent’s response

We have attempted to cross-reference where appropriate.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #240

Submitter

Town of Whitby

Summary

Section 4.2 Consultation Methods is too vague. It is essential that a minimum number of mandatory meetings and communications are set out to create transparency for the proponent entering into the process and for the public.

Proponent’s response

The Class EA applies to a wide range of projects in a number of locations. Flexibility in the Class EA is required to allow proponents to tailor communication needs according to project-specific circumstances.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #241

Submitter

Township of Black River-Matheson

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #242

Submitter

Township of Bonnechere Valley

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #243

Submitter

Township of Cramahe

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #244

Submitter

Township of Edwardsburgh

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #245

Submitter

Township of Lake of Bays

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #246

Submitter

Township of Madawaska Valley

Summary

Concern regarding vegetation control and the possible use of herbicides and pesticides. A large majority of the Township consists of lakes and streams, it is of utmost importance that these natural resources and groundwater are preserved and protected.

Council opposes the use of anything that could potentially negatively impact these vitally important resources.

Proponent’s response

This is a project-specific issue that will be addressed during the Class EA process.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #247

Submitter

Township of Minden Hills

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #248

Submitter

Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #249

Submitter

Township of Uxbridge

Summary

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Table 2: Aboriginal Communities Comment Summary Table

Comment #1

Aboriginal Community

Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek

Summary of Comments

Satisfied with the Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response is required.

Status

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is satisfied.

Comment #2

Aboriginal Community

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)

Summary of Comments

Section 3.3.2. The second sentence in the first paragraph should include First Nation Governments.

Appendix E - Groundwater and Water Source Protection Temporary or permanent drinking water threat - this should include consultation with First Nations as well as municipalities in order to take proper action to manage threat

Proponent’s response

Hydro One prefers to make reference to First Nation communities as opposed to governments. Government would imply elected Chiefs and Council. In our view, Community has a broader meaning and includes non-elected representatives. As you know, some First Nations have hereditary chiefs and non-elected organizations that should be notified as well.

The appendix largely addresses mitigation rather than consultation with various agencies, and communities on the effect to be mitigated. We can confirm that consultation with First Nations would include all issues potentially affecting that community (see Section 4.0 Consultation).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the current wording in the Class EA adequately captures the requirements for consultation with First Nation and Mètis communities at an adequate level of detail.

Comment #3

Aboriginal Community

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)

Summary of Comments

Section 3.3.3. Under Screening Criteria a) First Nations should be included.

In addition, Screening Criteria o) should include harvesting sites such as rice beds, and blueberry patches.

Proponent’s response

The screening criteria set out in Section 3.3.3 relate to potential effects. A specific reference to those potentially affected would not be consistent with other criteria and raise expectations for the mentioning of other communities, groups and agencies. Hydro One believes that the existing criteria will consider First Nation interests. Although not specifically mentioned, criteria o) includes consideration of potential effects on harvesting areas including rice beds and blueberry patches.

The MOECC is satisfied that the screening criteria in the Class EA capture the broad range of environmental effects at an adequate level of detail.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the current wording in the Class EA adequately captures the requirements for consultation with First Nation and Mètis communities at an adequate level of detail.

Comment #4

Aboriginal Community

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)

Summary of Comments

Section 3.3.4. This section should include traditional areas such as hunting and fishing areas and cemeteries.

Proponent’s response

Our environmental inventory is very broad, based on the broad definition of environment in the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). Although not specifically mentioned, hunting and fishing areas and cemeteries would be inventoried as part of cultural heritage resources (item c), human settlements (item d) and natural environment resources (item f).

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the current wording in the Class EA adequately captures the concerns at an adequate level of detail.

Comment #5

Aboriginal Community

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)

Summary of Comments

Section 5.1.2. Concern regarding lack of appeal mechanism for decision on major amendments validity by the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch at the MOECC. Is there a process to appeal or re-propose amendments?

Proponent’s response

The amendment process is more proactive and requires more work up front rather than later in the process. Requests for major amendments may be proposed by First Nation and Mètis communities. The proposed amendments must identify concerns or issues, and reasons for the amendments. In addition, the proponent will monitor the effectiveness of the Class EA process by submitting the annual report to the MOECC (please see Section 5.5 Compliance Monitoring). The purpose of these activities is to allow the MOECC to make an informed decision.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #6

Aboriginal Community

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)

Summary of Comments

Section 5.7 Coordination of processes should always ensure stakeholder, public and First Nation community engagement is effective. Remove the words, where feasible.

Proponent’s response

To clarify that statement, where feasible refers to coordination between different Class EA processes not to the effectiveness of the engagements of the stakeholder, public and First Nation communities.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #7

Aboriginal Community

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation)

Summary of Comments

Appendix C - Human Settlement Typical Data Sources should include First Nation Land Use Plans and Zoning By-laws.

Proponent’s response

Appendix C - Human Settlement, Typical Data Sources includes First Nations reserve lands. Full respect will be given to the particular First Nations and Mètis communities affected land and issues raised on the specific projects

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #8

Aboriginal Community

Chippewas of Georgina Island

Summary of Comments

If any other First Nation has any concerns, the Chippewas of Georgina Island will stand behind them fully.

Proponent’s response

No response is required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #9

Aboriginal Community

Chippewas of Georgina Island

Summary of Comments

The Chippewas of Georgina Island would like an extension to review and comment on the Class EA.

Proponent’s response

No response is required.

Status

The MOECC extended the Class EA comment period to February 21, 2014, but no further comments were received.

Comment #10

Aboriginal Community

Historic Saugeen Mètis

Summary of Comments

Historic Saugeen Mètis commends Hydro One on inclusion of cultural heritage resources in Section 3.3.3 Screening Criteria.

Historic Saugeen Mètis commends Hydro One on provision to address Aboriginal concerns with the Crown early in the screening process (Section 3.3.3).

Historic Saugeen Mètis commends Hydro One in using inclusive terminology (First Nation and Mètis communities), identifying concerns with the consultation process, and addressing responsibility of the Crown for the duty to consult (Section 4.0).

Proponent’s response

No response is required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #11

Aboriginal Community

Historic Saugeen Mètis

Summary of Comments

Section 4.1. Please consider including proponent accountability to Consultation Principles. Provisions must be incorporated to keep the project proponent accountable. There is a need to ensure real collaboration and partnership is occurring through the consultation process not merely tick a box consultation. A genuine two way process, with ongoing dialogue, which fosters relationships, should be the goal of any consultation activity, Subsequently, there should be a mechanism to keep the proponent accountable to these goals.

In addition to reporting requirements already incorporated in the document, please consider adding some other kinds of accountability mechanisms (service delivery priorities, participatory assessments, certification systems, participation agreements and memorandum of understanding).

Proponent’s response

Consultation is a mandatory requirement of the EAA and the Class EA. The adequacy of consultation is determined on a project by project basis and not through the Class EA.

The proposed mechanism relates to how consultation is conducted. Given the broad characteristics of Class EA projects consultation mechanism should be defined on a case by case basis.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA requirements will ensure proponent accountability in undertaking consultation with First Nation and Mètis communities.

Comment #12

Aboriginal Community

Northern Lights Mètis Council

Summary of Comments

Satisfied with the amended Class EA and has no comments

Proponent’s response

No response is required.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #13

Aboriginal Community

Red Sky Mètis Independent Nation (RSMIN)

Summary of Comments

Section 4.0. RSMIN has concerns with the statement on the Environmental Registry Number 012-0524 indicating that additional text in the Class EA regarding Aboriginal Consultation and the Duty to Consult requirements is considered a proposed major amendment. RSMIN submits the following recommendation: Since 2009, RSMIN has received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Offers through the New Relationship Fund to assist in capacity building and with formal consultation for activities taking place within RSMIN territory.

RSMIN would like to share some insight regarding their consultation activities in hope that consideration will be given to revising Section 4.0 to reflect the richness of these experience with an enhanced vision of consultation that goes beyond obligation.

Many First Nation and Mètis communities have established aboriginal consultation protocols. Inclusion of these protocols (where available) in the project consultation plan demonstrates a respect for the Aboriginal community and establishes cultural sensitivity and understanding of the issues of the Aboriginal peoples. For example, given the word significant occurs 37 times in this document and have different interpretation depending on circumstances and perspective, inclusion of Aboriginal Consultation Protocols in the planning process would assist in mutual understanding of the terminology.

Consultation is:

  1. An on-going learning opportunity meaningful to all parties
  2. Relationship building
  3. Understanding of the various perspectives and roles played within systemic process
  4. Beneficial to an undertaking- enhanced project planning and community acceptance; may be a regulatory requirements but is also good business practice
  5. A means of co-existence between and project and the individuals impacted by the project that benefits all
  6. Decision will be based on a better understanding of the real risk they will be facing-beyond the legal and regulatory requirements for Aboriginal consultation
  7. Identifying the local Aboriginal Peoples’ key issues, priorities, and decision-makers and revealing the key project-related concerns that must be met to earn support from Aboriginal Peoples
  8. Early identification of community issues, concerns , and decision-making from a risk assessment perspective, as opposed to a positional perspective (us vs. them; who’s right vs. who’s wrong; and who wins vs. who loses), or a process perspective (follow the government guidelines to the letter), can greatly decrease the risk of delays or misunderstandings.
Proponent’s response

Thank you for sharing your views on consultation. For projects within your area of interest, we would be pleased to include your protocol within our consultation plans. We are concerned that the expectations vary from Community to Community and are therefore reluctant to make commitments regarding protocols that we have not seen or have yet to be developed.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied that the Class EA requirements will ensure all interested and potentially affected First Nation and Mètis communities are suitably engaged and consulted during the Class EA process.

Comment #14

Aboriginal Community

Red Sky Mètis Independent Nation (RSMIN)

Summary of Comments

Appendix C - Human Settlements Under Typical Data Types, First Nations lands is currently listed. Please revise this bullet point to include and/or Mètis, so that the point reads: First Nations and/or Mètis lands.

Proponent’s response

Appendix C - Human Settlements will be changed to state:

  1. First Nations and Mètis lands

Our assumption is that if First Nations and/or Mètis lands are potentially affected, the inventory will address both interests.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.

Comment #15

Aboriginal Community

Red Sky Mètis Independent Nation (RSMIN)

Summary of Comments

Appendix D Under Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, the following point is included: Potentially affecting First Nations Communities where land claims or litigation are involved. Please revise this sentence to include and/or Mètis, so that the sentence will read: Potentially affecting First Nations and/or Mètis Communities where land claims or litigation are involved.

Proponent’s response

Comment will be incorporated.

Status

The MOECC is satisfied.