Part I: 2019-20 published plan

Ministry overview

Purpose

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is responsible for protecting Ontario's air, land, water, species at risk and their habitat, tackling climate change and managing Ontario’s parks and conservation reserves for present and future generations of Ontarians.

The ministry is also committed to balancing a healthy environment with a healthy economy, maintaining our strong environmental protections while creating jobs and respecting taxpayers.

We accomplish this by:

  • Using the best available science and research to develop and deliver policies, legislation, regulations, standards, programs and services.
  • Enforcing compliance with environmental laws.
  • Working with partner ministries, other governments, Indigenous partners and organizations, industry, stakeholders and the public.
  • Monitoring and reporting to track environmental progress.

Ministry contribution to priority outcomes

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) leads government action to protect, restore and enhance the environment to ensure public health and environmental quality.

Our ministry will make better use of data and information to improve the long-term protection of our environment (e.g., Climate Change Impact Assessment).

Our ministry is also focused on improving the services we deliver to Ontarians. Risk-based compliance promises to reduce burden on business while holding those who don’t comply to account.

Ministry programs

On November 29, 2018, Ontario released its proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan that will help protect our air, land and water, address litter and reduce waste, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families prepare for climate change.

The plan, Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, was posted on the Environmental Registry.

Building More Resilient Communities to Climate Change Impacts and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ontario’s proposed environment plan aims to build resilience to climate change and do our part to continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through affordable, effective, practical and cost-effective means. The plan reflects Ontario’s commitment to addressing climate change in a way that considers the province’s specific priorities and region-based challenges and opportunities.

The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan includes commitments that will guide the ministry’s climate change activities in 2019-20, focusing on action in six key areas:

1. Building Resilience

To improve our understanding of how climate change is currently impacting the province and how these conditions will evolve over the coming decades, the ministry is launching Ontario’s first-ever climate change impact assessment.

We will make it a priority to get real, local data about climate impacts in Ontario and ensure that information is made available to decision-makers in the public and private sectors across Ontario to help them make informed decisions.

We are also working with other ministries to update government policies to improve local climate resilience such as modernizing the Building Code to better equip homes and buildings to be better able to withstand extreme weather events.

2. Continuing to do Our Share: Achieving the Paris Agreement Target

The environment plan establishes a greenhouse gas reduction target for Ontario to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target that aligns with the federal government's Paris commitments. This target will help us focus our efforts and provide a benchmark for the ministry to assess provincial progress on the climate change mitigation components of the plan.

3. Make Polluters Accountable

The environment plan proposes to make polluters accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions by establishing emissions performance standards for large emitters of greenhouse gases.

Ontario’s proposed approach would help Ontario reduce emissions and meet its greenhouse gas reduction target while recognizing the unique circumstances of Ontario’s economy.

We propose emissions reductions standards that recognize the unique circumstances of Ontario’s economy and its manufacturing sector. These emissions standards consider factors such as trade exposure, competitiveness and process emissions.

Ontario’s proposed emissions performance standards would reduce emissions from industry, helping Ontario achieve its proposed emissions reduction target without imposing a carbon tax.

4. Activate the Private Sector

Ontario intends to establish an emission reduction fund to leverage private investment in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario. In 2019-20, the ministry will refine the design and mandate of the fund with the goal of unlocking private capital to give Ontario businesses and residents new and more affordable ways to invest in energy efficiency and clean technologies that save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario will commit to ensuring funding of $400 million over four years to unlock over $1 billion of private capital.

We will also explore ways to enable others to be environmental leaders and do their part in developing environmental solutions. This includes helping unleash the resourcefulness and creativity of our private sector.

5. Use Energy and Resources Wisely

The proposed environment plan commits to using energy and resources wisely to develop climate solutions that will save energy and money and improve waste and resource management, including a proposal to increase access to clean and affordable fuels.

6. Doing our Part: Government Leadership

Ontario is also committed to making climate change a cross-government priority and developing a governance framework to support integrating climate change considerations into all policy and operational decision making across government.

In support of this commitment, we will continue to lead the Climate Change Leadership Team, a cross-government group established in January 2019 by Treasury Board Secretariat and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (co-chairs) with representation from Cabinet Office and eight other ministries.

Protecting our air, lakes and rivers

Clean Water

The ministry’s environment plan outlines actions that Ontario will take to protect and conserve the province’s water, manage its water resources, and keep our beaches clean for swimming, recreation, enjoyment and traditional use.

Continuing work to restore and protect our Great Lakes

  • Building on previous successes and continuing efforts to protect water quality and ecosystems of the Great Lakes through partnerships with the federal government under agreements and plans such as the Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement (COA) and the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan.
  • Negotiating a new Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement (COA).
  • Reviewing and updating Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy to continue to protect fish, parks, beaches, coastal wetlands and water by reducing plastic litter, excess algae and contaminants along our shorelines, and reducing salt entering waterways to protect our aquatic ecosystems.

Continuing to protect and identify vulnerable waterways and inland waters

  • Continuing implementation of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to protect and restore important natural areas and features of the lake.
  • Protecting the quality of Lake of the Woods by continuing to work with partners on reducing phosphorus.
  • Working with communities in Muskoka to identify issues and stresses facing the region, and to promote effective watershed management and protection through the Muskoka Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative.
  • Increasing transparency through real-time monitoring of sewage overflows from municipal wastewater systems into Ontario’s lakes and rivers, including working with municipalities to ensure that proper monitoring occurs, and that the public is aware of overflow incidents.
  • Updating policies related to municipal wastewater and stormwater to make them easier to understand, and considering how wastewater and stormwater financing could be updated to improve investment and support new and innovative technologies and practices.
  • Completing an Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) review for Muskrat Lake, including an assessment of the need for new or updated environmental policies and tools to address phosphorus loadings, algae growth and other nutrient issues in the lake.

Protecting Ontario’s Drinking Water

Ontario is a North American leader in water protection and innovation in order to sustain water resources for future generations. We will continue to protect water resources by:

  • Keeping Ontario’s drinking water among the best protected in the world through robust and comprehensive legislation, rules and standards, source protection, annual monitoring and implementing reporting requirements.
  • Improving wastewater and stormwater management, including addressing real-time monitoring and reporting of sewage overflows, and updated wastewater and stormwater policies to make them easier to understand.
  • Working collaboratively with First Nations and Canada to support the resolution of long-term drinking water advisories (LTDWAs) and to support the long-term sustainability of each community’s water infrastructure.
  • Conducting long-term monitoring of source water and treated drinking water for non-regulated and emerging contaminants at multiple locations in Ontario, including four First Nations communities.
  • Reducing pollutants, including salt and plastics, in the Great Lakes and other inland lakes by supporting community efforts and working with other levels of government and jurisdictions on joint action plans such as Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan.
  • Working together to ensure that the science that supports source protection remains relevant and up-to-date and is integrated into ministry decision making.
  • Working with Indigenous communities and stakeholders on the remediation of mercury-contaminated sediments in the St. Clair and English-Wabigoon Rivers.
  • Ensuring sustainable water use and water security for future generations.
  • Help people conserve water and save money.

Clean Air

Although Ontario’s air quality has improved significantly, some areas of the province still experience poorer air quality due to pollution. In the environment plan, Ontario committed to continuously working to ensure cleaner air.

Ongoing actions to improve Ontario’s air include:

  • Operating a network of 39 ambient air monitoring stations across the province to measure and track common air pollutants and provide the public with real-time air pollutant data.
  • Operating a road side air monitoring network to better understand traffic-related air pollution in highly urbanized environments.
  • Reducing emissions of smog-causing air pollutants in Ontario.
  • Reducing vehicle emissions by enhancing the heavy-duty emissions inspection and maintenance program and strengthening on-road enforcement.
  • Developing and implementing comprehensive health-based standards, and technology-based site-specific standards and technical standards for industrial sectors.
  • Working in partnership with municipalities, industry, public health units, community stakeholders and indigenous communities to create unique solutions to local air quality concerns.
  • Working with the federal government and other provinces and territories to develop Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • The Vehicle Emissions and Enforcement Unit will deliver tailored compliance approaches based on risk to target specific transportation sectors and heavy-duty commercial vehicles presenting the greatest threat to air quality. A new, emissions testing program for heavy-duty vehicles will launch and ensure that Ontario continues to lead Canada in reducing harmful smog-causing pollutants and black carbon, a climate change agent.
  • The ministry will continue to implement the multi-year Sarnia Air Action Plan to address air quality concerns, improve local ministry programs, and reduce the ambient concentrations of priority air contaminants.

Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities

The ministry released the Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper for public consultation on the Environmental Registry. Feedback on the discussion paper will help the province move forward with a clear, comprehensive and outcome-based approach to reducing litter and waste in our communities by supporting a number of actions, including:Announcing an official day of action on litter in Ontario.

  • Continuing the wind up of existing waste diversion programs for electronic products, hazardous and special wastes, and putting in place new rules making producers responsible for their products and packaging at the end of life in a cost effective and efficient manner.
  • Issuing guidance to help municipalities, businesses and institutions meet their targets under the Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement.
  • Establishing a working group with industry and municipalities to build consensus on how compostable packaging and products can be best managed.
  • Seeking commitments from the federal government to support increased diversion of waste plastic.
  • Modernizing waste regulations to reduce regulatory burden and put more focus on diversion outcomes.
  • Developing guidance to increase diversion in multi-unit residential buildings.
  • Reviewing the obstacles in the current regulatory requirements and approvals processes.
  • Giving municipalities and the communities they represent more say in landfill approvals process.

The ministry will also be finalizing its excess soil and brownfields regulations following extensive consultation with stakeholders. The proposed changes were posted for public consultation on the Environmental Registry. The regulatory framework recognizes soil properly reused as a resource instead of waste.

Conserving Land and Greenspace

Ontario Parks provides leadership and delivery in the management and protection of natural heritage areas in Ontario.
Ontario Parks continues to identify significant natural heritage features and landscapes and defining effective ways to protect them by:

  • Supporting the creation of new trails across the province.
  • Providing Ontario families with more opportunities to enjoy provincial parks and increase the number of Ontarians taking advantage of parks by 10 per cent or approximately one million more visitors while protecting the natural environment.
  • Reviewing the management of provincial parks and conservation reserves to ensure effectiveness.

Protect Species at Risk

Ontario is home to more than 30,000 species of plants, insects, fish and wildlife. The Endangered Species Act, 2007 provides for the protection of species and their habitats that are at risk ofdisappearing from Ontario. Following its 10-year review in January 2019 of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, the ministry released proposed changes on the Environmental Registry for public consultation. Ontario is taking the following actions to ensure that species at risk and their environments are protected:

  • Ensuring independent science is the basis for all species listings.
  • Enhancing government oversight and enforcement powers to ensure compliance with the act.
  • Improving transparent notification of new species’ listings.
  • Appropriate consultation with academics, communities, organizations and Indigenous peoples across Ontario on species at risk recovery planning.
  • Creating new tools to streamline processes, reduce duplication and ensure costs incurred by applicants are directed towards actions that will improve outcomes for species and habitats.

Conservation Authorities

Ontario is proposing to amend the Conservation Authorities Act to modernize conservation authority operations to ensure they focus and deliver on their core mandates of protecting people and property from the threats and impacts of natural hazards such as flooding and conserving natural resources. The ministry released a legislative proposal on the Environmental Registry for public consultation, regarding:

  • Conservation authorities’ core mandatory programs and services.
  • Updating how conservation authorities use municipal levies to pay for programs and services.
  • Streamlining and standardizing the role conservation authorities play in permitting and municipal planning, reducing overlap and making approvals faster and less costly.
  • Improvements to conservation authorities’ governance and accountability.

Ontario is also developing a suite of regulatory and policy proposals to support the proposed amendments and to focus conservation authority development permits on the protection of people and property.

Strong Enforcement and Transparency

Ontario remains committed to providing transparency and access to government information. In line with this government commitment, we will be providing information about spills and incidents occurring in communities, including the ministry’s response. To help address the most serious environmental challenges in a responsible, effective, measurable and balanced way, we will continue to:

  • Hold polluters accountable with strong enforcement and tougher penalties for breaking environmental laws. In May 2019, the ministry invited public comment on a proposal to strengthen enforcement tools available to front-line provincial officers and to enable penalties to remove the economic benefit of breaking environmental laws.
  • Work towards implementing new standards on response times the public can expect based on the type of incident they report.
  • Reduce regulatory burden by providing front-line environmental officers with better tools and information to ensure a risk-based focus on the most serious violators and high-risk polluters.

Modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Program

Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commits to modernizing Ontario’s environmental assessment process to address duplication, streamline processes and reduce delays, and better recognize other planning processes.

On April 25, 2019, the ministry released a discussion paper to consult on a modern vision for the environmental assessment program. The discussion paper explains key features of the environmental assessment process, communicates some immediate actions the ministry is proposing, and sets out a vision to modernize the environmental assessment program that:

  • Ensures better alignment between the level of assessment and level of environmental risk associated with a project;
  • Eliminates duplication between environmental assessment and other planning and approvals processes;
  • Finds efficiencies in the environmental assessment process and related planning and approvals processes to shorten the timelines from start to finish; and
  • Goes digital by permitting online submissions.

The ministry is also proposing to move ahead with clear, quick wins in the short-term to improve the environmental assessment program, including:

  • Exempting municipal and provincial low-risk projects from the Environmental Assessment Act, as no other province requires assessments on such projects.
  • Limit requests to the Minister asking for projects to go to a higher level of assessment, i.e. “bump-up” which results in delays by:
    • Limiting the criteria to bump-up projects to constitutionally protected aboriginal or treaty rights or matters of provincial importance only,
    • Setting specific time limits for the submission and decision on bump-up requests, and
    • Limiting requesting ability to only those that live in Ontario.

Delivering and modernizing efficient and effective environmental approvals

The ministry will build on the progress it has made to reduce regulatory barriers making it more efficient for businesses to obtain environmental approvals, while maintaining high standards for environmental protection.
Actions to support ongoing modernization include:

  • Promoting high-quality submissions with enhanced screening for application completeness, which reduces the workload associated with reviewing improperly prepared applications.
  • Continuing to implement initiatives to speed up the permissions process for low-risk and less complex activities:
  • Eliminate duplicative environmental compliance approvals that will enable developers to install sewage collection systems to service new developments without additional approvals.
  • Afford more resources for high-risk applications.
  • Implement new regulations to remove barriers including certain requirements for Record of Site Condition for low-risk development.
  • Examine low-risk and less complex water-taking activities that could potentially be exempted from the permit to take water requirements and/or may be eligible for the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry.
  • Explore opportunities to reduce regulatory burden for new and emerging Combined Heat and Power systems technology where risks to environment may be low and out of step with current legislative framework.
  • Improve service delivery and client experience through continued onboarding of permissions onto the Permissions Enterprise Platform.

Effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement

The ministry’s research, monitoring, inspection, audits, investigations and enforcement activities are ensuring the ongoing protection of Ontario’s air, land and water. The ministry will continue to support this goal by:

  • Conducting monitoring programs to understand the impacts of human activities on our environment.
  • Identifying emerging environmental concerns and tracking progress on solving problems.
  • Analyzing and testing water, air, vegetation and soil samples in the ministry’s laboratories.
  • Collecting fish samples from around the province, analyzing them for toxic substances such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins and providing easy-to-use information about the types and amounts of fish that are safe to eat.
  • Undertaking environmental monitoring in the Far North, and ensuring that local First Nation communities are involved and provided with the results.
  • Undertaking monitoring of pesticides in the environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • Carrying out compliance promotion, inspections, audits, investigations and prosecutions to support compliance through risk-based regulatory programs using a comprehensive suite of compliance tools, to protect the environment and human health from regulatory non-compliance, pollution incidents and spills.
  • Inspecting municipal residential drinking water systems on an annual basis, and inspecting labs licensed to carry out drinking water testing at least twice a year.
  • Conducting risk-based, non-hazardous and hazardous waste program inspections and compliance activities to address non-compliance issues. The ministry also offers education and outreach information to encourage voluntary compliance and reduce the need for future enforcement activities.
  • Working with industry, stakeholders and the public to ensure compliance with environmental standards.

Ministry administration

Ministry administration supports ministry operation by providing strategic advice including financial management, controllership, human resource management, legal counsel, communications, audit services, French language services and administrative services in support of all business areas.

The ministry implements the Environmental Bill of Rights and supports the Environmental Registry, which enables citizen participation in government decisions and provides information to the public on environmental initiatives. This also includes addressing requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The ministry will continue to closely monitor and report on continuing and emerging high-priority initiatives, consistent with a new approach to evidence-based decision making and refresh of key performance indicators.

Table 1: Ministry planned expenditures 2019-20

MECP Operating Expense$322, 850, 200
MECP Capital Expense$15,245,200
MECP Total$338,095,400
Ontario Clean Water Agency Operating$197,702,600
Special Purpose Account for Ontario Parks$92,083,000
Ontario Clean Water Agency Capital$332,980
Consolidated Total$631,210,800

Highlights of 2018-19 results

Ending the Cap and Trade Program

On October 31, 2018, the Legislature passed the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018 which, upon proclamation on November 14, 2018:

  • Repealed the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016.
  • Retired and cancelled cap and trade instruments (i.e. allowances and credits).
  • Provided a framework for compensating the regulated community.
  • Authorized the development of regulations to implement a compensation plan.
  • Required Ontario to develop a climate change plan and report back publicly on progress.
  • Required Ontario to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

As one of the final milestones, on March 25, 2019, we finalized the compensation for the eligible participants of the former cap and trade program. These actions are saving the average household $264 a year.

Winding Down the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account (GGRA)

With the wind down of the cap and trade program, ministries ended programs funded through cap and trade proceeds in a responsible and transparent way.

Amending the greenhouse gas reporting regulation

To avoid duplicate work, the ministry posted a proposal on the environmental and regulatory registries to update the greenhouse gas reporting regulation Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Quantification, Reporting and Verification regulation (O. Reg. 390/18) to remove reporting requirements for petroleum product suppliers and natural gas distributors and to streamline reporting requirements for other large emitters to reduce unnecessary costs and regulatory burden.

Challenging the federal government’s carbon tax

At the same time that Ontario committed to continuing leadership on fighting climate change, the province committed to using all available tools to challenge the federal government’s plan to impose a carbon tax on Ontario businesses, families and seniors.

Ontario is challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s imposition of the federal carbon tax on provinces that do not have a carbon pricing mechanism in place.

Implementing climate change action under the Environment Plan

Proposed Emissions Performance Standards:

Ontario posted an emissions performance standards regulatory proposal on the environmental and regulatory registries for comment. In addition, the ministry met extensively with industry stakeholders in sector-level and facility consultations beginning February 2019.

Renewable Content in Gasoline:

Ontario posted a proposal to increase the renewable content in gasoline to 15 per cent as early as 2025, encouraging the uptake of lower carbon fuels and helping to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. The proposal was available for public review and comment on the environmental and regulatory registries.

Protecting Ontario’s water

  • Ensuring sustainable water use and water security for future generations:
    • The ministry extended the moratorium on groundwater takings for bottled water until January 1, 2020 to complete the review of the province’s water taking policies, programs and science tools to ensure that vital water resources are adequately protected and sustainably used.

Drinking water

  • Municipalities conducted more than half a million drinking water tests on municipal residential drinking water systems and 99.8 per cent of these results met Ontario’s rigorous, health-based standards.
  • The ministry supports local communities and conservation authorities as they continue to update and implement source protection plans that are in place to ensure sources of drinking water remain sustainable into the future.
  • Put in place a regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 to require that, before water is provided to the public, source protection plans are amended to protect the sources of drinking water for new systems and any changes to the sources of drinking water for existing systems.
  • Continued to support the development of Canadian drinking water quality guidelines and Ontario drinking water quality standards through scientific and technical reviews and engagement of the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council.

First Nations drinking water

  • Worked with First Nations on drinking water operator training and certification, and provided guidance and advice related to source water protection planning, upon request. As of March 31, 2019, 64 water and wastewater assessments have been conducted.
  • As of March 31, 2019, 20 Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories (LTDWAs) have been resolved in 10 First Nation communities in Ontario, leaving 28 LTDWAs in 16 communities.

Great Lakes/inland lakes and waters

  • Continued to operate provincial-scale, long-term monitoring programs across the province to track the quality of inland lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater and the Great Lakes; data collected is used to inform science-based decision making for policy and program development.
  • Contributed to the assessment of a suite of indicators of ecosystem health for the binational State of the Great Lakes report.
  • Commenced negotiation of a new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes to replace the current Agreement that expires in December 2019. Ontario’s priorities will include a focus on newer issues of concern to Great Lakes such as plastic pollution and excess road salt.
  • Continued implementing Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes, the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan, and Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy to protect and restore watersheds, beaches, wetlands and coastal areas of the Great Lakes and the waterways that flow into them.
  • Commenced the review of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, as required by the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, starting development of a triennial Great Lakes progress report.
  • Called a Great Lakes Guardians’ Council meeting for April 23, 2019. The Great Lakes Guardians’ Council is a forum to improve collaboration and co-ordination among Ontario’s Great Lakes partners. The Council brings together Great Lakes leaders including First Nations, Métis, industry, development, tourism, environmental organizations, agriculture, conservation authorities and municipalities, as well as Ontario’s Great Lakes ministers.
  • Established the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group to collaborate with and support the ministry in the development and implementation of the Muskoka Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative, and reviewing prospective members for appointment to the advisory group.
  • Supported a host of innovative approaches to improve conditions in the Lake Simcoe watershed. The ministry encouraged efforts to modernize the way stormwater is managed by promoting low-impact development techniques; promoted best practices in winter salt use to reduce the impacts of chlorides on the lake and its tributaries; and promoted a greater awareness of the need to care for our shorelines and rivers.
  • Invested $1.5 million in over 60 community projects through the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund that will help protect and restore the Great Lakes – including the St. Lawrence and Ottawa River basins.
  • Supported innovative approaches to improve conditions in the Lake Simcoe watershed. The ministry continued to monitor and respond to ongoing and emerging threats to water quality like road salt, microplastics and other contaminants, and extreme weather events.
  • Continued to monitor parameters like phosphorus loading and dissolved oxygen to inform decisions on potential actions to improve the aquatic health of Lake Simcoe.

Improving air quality

  • Continued operating a network of 39 ambient air monitoring stations across the province to measure and track common air pollutants and provide the public with real-time air pollutant data.
  • Ended the Drive Clean program for passenger vehicles, saving Ontario drivers time and taxpayers up to $40 million dollars a year.
  • Continued delivering the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) program in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada and issue health-based air quality alerts to notify the public of instances of degrading air quality (i.e., smog advisories).
  • Continued to operate a road side air monitoring network in Toronto in partnership with the University of Toronto and Environment and Climate Change Canada to better understand traffic-related air pollution in highly urbanized environments.
  • Released other regulatory amendments to better address sulphur dioxide emissions.
  • The ministry is working collaboratively with industry and the Clean Air Sarnia and Area (CASA) advisory panel to enhance the Clean Air Sarnia and Area website that provides transparent and timely public access to government and industry air monitoring data.
  • Under the Sarnia Air Action Plan, specific actions were undertaken in 2018-19 to drive improvements in the Sarnia air quality, including strong enforcement, air monitoring, and reporting and communications; these actions will continue into 2019-20.

Effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement

  • Continued monitoring of Ontario’s environment to identify long-term trends in air, streams, rivers, inland lakes, Great Lakes, groundwater and contaminants in fish and vegetation; and of issues related to algal blooms, road salt, microplastics, base conditions in the Ring of Fire and recovery of legacy contaminated sites.
  • Updated the ministry’s multi-year compliance and enforcement plan to document risk and enhance mitigation strategies and allocation of resources to address risks to human health and the environment as well as non-compliance with the requirements for environmental approvals.
  • In 2018-19, the ministry’s front-line compliance staff conducted over 8,700 proactive and responsive inspections. Additionally, the ministry recorded over 19,000 incidents, including spills, pollution incident reports, adverse water quality reports (including lead exceedances) and municipal sewage bypass reports.

Provincial, national and international climate partnerships

  • In 2018-19, Ontario continued to share its knowledge and experience on climate change mitigation, adaptation and climate science with other ministries, jurisdictions and stakeholders including its work as a member of the Pan-Canadian Framework, and through the Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment. The ministry also participated as a delegate in the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Ontario, in collaboration with academia, has developed Ontario-specific local scale climate projections for the entire province and is making this information available to the public through the Ontario Climate Data Portal.

Reducing litter and waste in our communities

  • As of January 1, 2019, producers of tires subject to the Tires Regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA) are responsible for collecting and managing the tires they sell in Ontario, at end of life.
  • Work continued to wind up the existing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) program by June 30, 2020.
  • Directed that work start on the transition of the existing Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) programs to a producer responsibility framework.
  • Announced intention to create a day of action on litter in Ontario, coordinating with municipalities, schools, organizations and businesses who have been leading efforts to clean-up litter in Ontario.
  • Released the Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper and sought feedback on proposals to reduce plastic litter and waste in neighbourhoods and parks, divert and reduce food and organic waste from households and businesses, and increase opportunities for the people of Ontario to participate in waste reduction efforts.

Keeping Our land and soil clean

  • Worked with input from stakeholders to develop regulatory approaches to clarify rules related to the reuse of excess soil and clarify that properly reused excess soil is not waste.
  • Worked with input from stakeholders on approaches to revise the brownfields Record of Site Condition Regulation to remove barriers to the redevelopment of brownfield properties while ensuring protection of the environment.
  • Working with MMAH to review options to reduce land use compatibility issues that affect industrial operations.

Delivering and modernizing efficient and effective environmental approvals

  • Continued to meet the one-year service standard for higher-risk environmental compliance approval requests while improving internal processes.
  • Launched a new electronic service delivery for pesticides licences on September 4, 2018 that delivers same day licence approval for the majority of applications.
  • Updated Transfer of Review agreements for all participating municipalities which reduces approval timing for low-risk files.
  • Identified risk-based solutions to support the modernization of our permissions programs.

Refer to the Appendix for further details of the ministry’s achievements in fiscal year 2018-19.

Ministry organization chart

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change – April 23, 2019

The chart shows the following hierarchical structure with the top level assigned to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

  • Minister Environment and Climate Change - Honourable Rod Phillips
    • Group of 7 government entities
      • Ontario Clean Water Agency
      • Green Ontario Fund
      • Walkerton Clean Water Centre
      • Advisory Council on Drinking Water Quality & Testing Standards
      • Ontario Pesticides Advisory Committee
      • Lake Simcoe Coordinating Committee
      • Lake Simcoe Science Committee
    • Deputy Minister – S. Imbrogno
      • Communications Branch – C. Beckett (A)
      • Legal Services Branch – H. Perun
      • Land and Resources Cluster – C. Scarfo (A)
      • Audit Cluster – R. Masse
      • Environmental Policy Division – ADM – A. Pilla
        • Corporate Policy Branch- R. Kurtes (A)
        • Environmental Policy Branch - R. Kurtes
        • Environmental Intergovernmental And Indigenous Affairs Branch - M. Stickings
        • Program Management Branch – S. Carrasco
        • Resource Recovery Policy Branch - C. O Hara (A)
      • Climate Change and Resiliency Division – ADM – A. Wood
        • Climate Change Policy Branch – K. Moore (A)
        • Climate Change Programs and Partnerships Branch – T. North (A)
        • Adaptation & Resilience Branch - H. Pearson (A)
        • Financial Instruments Branch - J. Hurdman
        • Environmental Economics Branch – C. Golding (A)
      • Land and Water Division – ADM – B. Bateman (A)
        • Ontario Parks - J. Travers
        • Species at Risk Branch - M. Hennessy
        • Great Lakes & Inland Waters Branch - L. Mark
        • Source Protection Programs Branch - S. Ecclestone (A)
      • Environmental Sciences and Standards Division – ADM – O. Salamon
        • Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch – K. McKague
        • Laboratory Services Branch – J. Odumeru
        • Technical Assessment & Standards Development Branch – J. Schroeder (A)
        • Environmental Science & Research Branch - Vacant
      • Environmental Assessment and Permissions Division – ADM – S. Pau
        • Business Transformation Branch - I. Scovino (A)
        • Environmental Assessment & Permissions Branch - H. Malcolmson (A)
        • Client Services & Permissions Branch - E. Macchione (A)
      • Drinking Water & Environmental Compliance Division – ADM / Chief Drinking Water Inspector / Chief Compliance Officer – M. Thomson
        • Compliance, Planning & SAC - M. Dunn (A)
        • Southwest Region – L. Orphan
        • Compliance Promotion & Support BranchS - McCharles(A)
        • West Central Region – M. New
        • Northern Region – F. Miklas
        • Indigenous Drinking Water Projects Office – I. Prashad
        • Environmental Enforcement & Compliance Office - D. Earl (A)
        • Central Region – L. Trevisan
        • Eastern Region – R. Raeburn-Gibson
      • Corporate Management Division – ADM
        Chief Administrative Office – G. Wootton
        • Business and Fiscal Planning – L. Lau
        • Information Management and Access Branch – G. Gladdy
        • Strategic Human Resources Branch – J. LeGris
        • Transformation Office - B. Gildner (A)
        • French Language Services – L. Gagnon

Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCS)

Agencies, Boards and CommissionsDescriptionEstimates
2019-20
Interim Actuals
2018-19footnote 1
Actuals
2017-18footnote 1
Advisory Council on Drinking Water Quality and Testing StandardsProvide technical and scientific advice and recommendations related to standards for drinking-water quality testing.$32,100$48,989$103,586
Committee on the Status of Species at RiskAn independent committee of experts considers which plants and animals should be listed as at risk.$50,000$16,067$75,788
Lake Simcoe Science & Coordinating CommitteesCo-ordinate implementation of Lake Simcoe Protection Plan; indentify & resolves issues; adviser; Lake Simcoe watershed.$15,000$6,937$17,324
Ontario Parks Board of DirectorsProvides advice to the Minister about planning, managing and developing the provincial park and conservation reserves system.$2,5008251,939
Ontario Pesticides Advisory CommitteeAnnually review the Pesticides Act, recommend changes/amendments; review related publications and pest control products prior to use in Ontario.$123,400$121,422$99,876
Species at Risk Program Advisory CommitteeThe Committee makes recommendations to the Minister on matters that relate to the implementation of the province's species at risk program.$15,750$1,9799,859

Note: Detailed financial information for Ontario Clean Water Agency, Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation, and Walkerton Clean Water Centre is provided in their Business Plans.

Legislation administered by the ministry

  • Adams Mine Lake Act, 2004
  • Capital Investment Plan Act, 1993 (Part IV re: Ontario Clean Water Agency only)
  • Clean Water Act, 2006
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016
  • Consolidated Hearings Act
  • Environmental Assessment Act
  • Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993
  • Environmental Protection Act
  • Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015
  • Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008
  • Ministry of the Environment Act
  • Municipal Water and Sewage Transfer Act, 1997
  • Nutrient Management Act, 2002 (together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs)
  • Ontario Water Resources Act
  • Pesticides Act
  • Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016
  • Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002
  • Toxics Reduction Act, 2009
  • Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016
  • Water Opportunities Act, 2010 (except for Part II)

Detailed financial information

Table 2: Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Votes/ProgramsEstimates
2019-20
$
Change from Estimates
2018-19
$
%Estimates
2018-19
$
Interim Actuals
2018-19
$
Actuals
2017-18footnote 1
$
Operating Expense - Ministry Administration66,413,200(12,103,500)(15.4)78,516,70077,043,84279,627,131
Operating Expense - Environmental Policy28,742,300(63,194,100)(68.7)91,936,40081,915,40076,125,039
Operating Expense - Environmental Sciences and Standards40,798,700(11,397,900)(21.8)52,196,60048,103,71445,263,123
Operating Expense - Environmental Compliance and Operations108,085,700(14,311,000)(11.7)122,396,700110,782,009117,500,907
Operating Expense - Environmental Assessment and Permissions25,988,400(998,400)(3.7)26,986,80027,049,69126,529,806
Operating Expense - Climate Change and Resiliency18,885,10015,088,500397.43,796,6003,985,5005,244,607
Operating Expense - Land and Water33,868,500(3,780,300)(10.0)37,648,80034,457,50035,100,801
Total Operating Expense to be Voted322,781,900(90,696,700)(21.9)413,478,600383,337,656385,391,414
Operating Expense - Statutory Appropriations68,314(1,044,116,700)(100.0)1,044,185,014186,034430,046,828
Ministry Total Operating Expense322,850,214(1,134,813,400)(77.9)1,457,663,614383,523,690815,438,242
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - Ontario Clean Water Agency197,702,6006,144,6003.2191,558,000191,489,304182,753,871
Consolidation Adjustment - Special Purpose Account for Ontario Parks92,083,0006,200,0007.285,883,00090,641,00089,343,198
Consolidation Adjustment - GreenOnn/an/an/an/an/a(5,413,538)
Operating Expense Adjustment – Cap and Trade Wind Down Account Reclassificationn/a(720,769,600)(100.0)720,769,600295,174,869144,657,427
Operating Expense Designated Purpose Account Adjustment – Cap and Trade Wind Down Account Reclassificationn/a1,044,116,700(1,044,116,700)n/a(344,980,860)n/a
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments612,635,814(799,121,700)(56.6)1,411,757,514 960,828,863 881,798,340
Operating Assets - Ministry Administration Program1,000n/an/a1,0001,000n/a
Total Operating Assets to be Voted1,000n/an/a1,0001,000n/a
Operating Assets - Statutory Appropriationsn/a(1,000)(100.0)1,000n/an/a
Ministry Total Operating Assets1,000(1,000)(50.0)2,0001,000n/a
Capital Expense - Environmental Sciences and Standards1,371,000(10,547,000)(88.5)11,918,0002,514,9042,490,298
Capital Expense - Environmental Compliance and Operations3,000(175,000)(98.3)178,0002,000n/a
Capital Expense - Environmental Assessment and Permissions1,0001,000n/an/an/a
Capital Expense - Climate Change and Resiliencyn/a(1,000)(100.0)1,000n/an/a
Capital Expense - Land and Water2,467,700(3,500,000)(58.6)5,967,7005,967,80012,193,131
Total Capital Expense to be Voted3,842,700(14,222,000)(78.7)18,064,7008,484,70414,683,429
Capital Expense - Statutory Appropriations11,402,500(919,158,000)(98.8)930,560,50010,804,7881,141,913,840
Ministry Total Capital Expense15,245,200(933,380,000)(98.4)948,625,20019,289,4921,156,597,269
Consolidation & Other Adjustments - Ontario Clean Water Agency3,329,800102,5003.23,227,3002,622,0272,537,896
Capital Expense Adjustment - Cap and Trade Wind Down Account Reclassificationn/a(4,175,000)(100.0)4,175,000n/an/a
Capital Expense Designated Purpose Account - Cap and Trade Wind Down Account Reclassificationn/a919,753,300(919,753,300)n/a(1,132,233,571)n/a
Total Including Consolidation & Other Adjustments18,575,000(17,699,200)(48.8)36,274,20021,911,51926,901,594
Capital Assets - Environmental Sciences and Standards50,177,30024,223,30093.325,954,0001,304,9995,366,337
Capital Assets - Environmental Compliance and Operations5,167,1004,756,1001,157.2411,00010,000136,547
Capital Assets - Environmental Assessment and Permissions1,000n/an/a1,000n/an/a
Capital Assets - Land and Water14,793,400(116,300)(0.8)14,909,7004,946,00014,494,920
Total Capital Assets to be Voted70,138,80028,863,10069.941,275,7006,260,99919,997,804
Capital Assets - Statutory Appropriationsn/a(14,800,000)(100.0)14,800,000n/a4,440,331
Ministry Total Capital Assets70,138,800 14,063,100 25.156,075,7006,260,99924,438,135
Consolidation Adjustments - Ontario Clean Water Agencyn/an/an/an/a4,966,850n/a
Capital Asset Designated Purpose Account Adjustment - Cap and Trade Wind Down Account Reclassificationn/a14,800,000n/a(14,800,000)n/a(4,440,331)
Total Including Adjustments70,138,800 28,863,100 69.9 41,275,70011,227,849 19,997,804
Ministry Total Operating and Capital Including Consolidation and Other Adjustments (not including Assets)631,210,814(816,820,900)(56.4)1,448,031,714982,740,382908,699,934

Key performance indicators and achievements

Key Performance IndicatorsTarget2014-15
Status/
Achievement
2015-16
Status/
Achievement
2016-17
Status/
Achievement
2017-18
Status/
Achievement
2018-19
Status/
Achievement
Achievement of greenhouse gas emission targets as set in legislationfootnote 230% below 2005 baseline year - by 203018% below 2005 (based on 2014 data from 2019 NIR)19% below 2005 (based on 2015 data from 2019 NIR)21% below 2005 (based on 2016 data from 2019 NIR)22% below 2005 (based on 2017 data from 2019 NIR)Data not available at time of publication
Decrease amount of waste disposed per capitafootnote 3Decrease in amount of waste disposed per capita each year603 kg of waste per person in Ontario597 kg of waste per person in Ontario574 kg of waste per person in OntarioData not available at time of publicationData not available at time of publication
Improved Ambient Air Quality16.67% decrease in exceedance of Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone, fine particulate matter and SO2 relative to year 2007 by March 31, 202111.67%15.83%14.17%.13.33%Data not available at time of publication
Improved ecological health of the Great Lakes and Lake SimcoeMinimum 7 mg/L of dissolved oxygen in Lake Simcoe at end of summer in each year7 mg/L5 mg/L6 mg/L5.5 mg/L6.5 mg/L
Source to Tap provision of safe drinking water in all Ontario communities, including working with First Nations and the federal government to improve drinking water for Indigenous communitiesElimination of all 48 LTDWAs since November 2015 (as determined by the federal government) at DISC funded public drinking water systems in Ontario by March 31, 2021, through the implementation of a trilateral action plan that leverages Ontario’s significant drinking water experience and expertiseN/A43 LTDWAs at DISC funded public drinking water systems43 LTDWAs at DISC funded public drinking water systems29 LTDWAs at DISC funded public drinking water systems28 LTDWAs at DISC funded public drinking water systems

Appendix: annual report 2018-19

2018-19 results

Building more resilient communities to climate change impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

On November 29, 2018, Ontario released its proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan that will help protect our air, land and water, address litter and reduce waste, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families prepare for climate change.

The proposed environment plan was posted to the Environmental Registryfor public review and comment. Ontario’s proposed environment plan aims to build resilience to climate change and do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through affordable, effective, practical, cost-effective means.

Key climate change accomplishments for 2018-19 include:

Ending the cap and trade program

On October 31, 2018, the Legislature passed the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018 which, upon proclamation on November 14, 2018:

  • repealed the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016
  • retired and cancelled cap and trade instruments (i.e. allowances and credits)
  • provided a framework for compensating the regulated community
  • authorized the development of regulations to implement a compensation plan
  • required Ontario to develop a climate change plan and report publicly on progress
  • required Ontario to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets

On February 1, 2019, Ontario filed Ontario regulation 9/19, made under the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018: Compensation. The compensation regulation implements the compensation provisions in the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018, in particular it provides the:

  • process and timing for eligible participants to make requests for compensation
  • price at which each instrument would be compensated

On March 25, 2019, the government finalized the compensation for the eligible participants of the former program, consistent with the government's initial estimate of the final costs and commitment to wind down the program in a way that minimizes impacts to taxpayers. The elimination of cap and trade is saving households $264 a year.

Winding down the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account (GGRA)

Each ministry that was responsible for administering programs once funded by the proceeds of cap and trade, is responsible for winding down those programs. That process is ongoing.

With the wind down of the cap and trade program, ministries are ending programs funded through cap and trade proceeds, including:

  • winding down programs that had not yet been implemented and did not incur any costs in 2018-19 that were to be funded by cap and trade proceeds;
  • winding down programs that were implemented in 2017-18, including those delivered through transfer payment agreements and/or service agreements;
  • working with the Ontario Climate Change Solutions Deployment Corporation to develop and implement a dissolution plan.

Recipients of these programs were asked to submit proposals for reasonable costs to ensure an orderly wind down of their projects. The ministry reviewed these proposals using fair and consistent criteria to determine eligibility and is in the process of finalizing all wind down payments, if applicable.

Under the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018, the GGRA will continue as the Cap and Trade Wind Down Account. Funds in this account will be used to cover expected costs associated with the wind down of initiatives funded with cap and trade proceeds.

GHG reporting requirements

As part of the wind down of the cap and trade program, the government made changes to the greenhouse gas reporting regulation to provide businesses with certainty about their reporting requirements.

Members of the regulated cap and trade community were required to submit a mid-year report on their greenhouse gas emissions from January 1 – July 3, 2018 by October 1, 2018 and have it verified by an accredited third party by December 1, 2018. This information was used to help determine potential compensation for eligible participants.

The ministry posted a proposal on the environmental and regulatory registries to update the greenhouse gas reporting regulation Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Quantification, Reporting and Verification regulation (O. Reg. 390/18) to remove reporting requirements for petroleum product suppliers and natural gas distributors and to streamline reporting requirements for other large emitters to reduce unnecessary costs and regulatory burden.

Implementing Climate Change Action Under the Proposed Environment Plan Affirming our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

One of the key ways we are defining our vision for climate action in Ontario is by setting a greenhouse gas reduction target. This will help us focus our efforts and provide a benchmark for our province to assess its progress on the climate change mitigation components of the environment plan.

While the rest of Canada increases emissions, Ontario has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 45 megatonnes, or 22 per cent between 2005 and 2017. Ontario’s GHG emission reductions are 37 megatonnes higher than the next largest provincial GHG reduction in Canada. The environment plan commits to further reducing Ontario’s emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This target aligns Ontario with Canada’s 2030 target under the Paris Agreement.

Proposed Emissions Performance Standards

Ontario posted an emissions performance standards regulatory proposal on the environmental and regulatory registries.

The proposed emissions performance standards would help Ontario reduce emissions and meet its greenhouse gas reduction target while recognizing the unique circumstances of Ontario’s economy. The sector or facility-level emissions performance standards will encourage greenhouse gas reductions from large industrial facilities while maintaining competitiveness of Ontario businesses and minimizing carbon leakage – the risk of production leaving the province for other jurisdictions with less stringent climate policies.

In addition to the posting, the ministry met extensively with industry stakeholders in sector-level and facility consultations beginning February 2019.

Ontario committed to working with the federal government to accept our made-in-Ontario standards and not apply the federal system to Ontario industry, as occurred in Saskatchewan.

Renewable Content in Gasoline

Ontario posted a proposal to increase the renewable content in gasoline to 15 per cent as early as 2025, encouraging the uptake of lower carbon fuels and helping to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

Challenging the Federal Government’s Carbon Tax

Ontario is challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s imposition of the federal carbon tax on provinces that do not have a carbon pricing mechanism in place. The province has taken a number of actions to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government carbon pricing policy.

  • On July 23, 2018, Ontario filed notice to intervene in the Government of Saskatchewan's reference also challenging the federal carbon tax.
  • On August 2, 2018, the government announced its decision to commence a reference to the Ontario Court of Appeal to challenge the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
  • On September 14, 2018, the government announced that it filed a statement with the Court of Appeal summarizing the arguments it will make challenging the constitutionality of the federal government's Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
  • On October 4, 2018, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced Saskatchewan’s intention to intervene in Ontario’s recently launched reference challenge of the federal carbon tax.
  • On November 30, 2018, Ontario filed its factum with the Court of Appeal, setting out the arguments it is making to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government's Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the carbon tax).
    • Ontario is arguing that the provinces, not the federal government, have the primary responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and that the charges the act seeks to impose are in fact unconstitutional disguised taxation.
  • On February 13 and 14, 2019, Saskatchewan’s challenge of the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the carbon tax) was heard in Regina. Ontario's counsel made oral arguments in support of it and Saskatchewan's position that the federal law is unconstitutional.
  • Ontario’s case challenging the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax was heard by the Court of Appeal from April 15 to 18, 2019.

Greening Internal Operations

As part of the environment plan, Ontario committed to make climate change a cross-government priority and develop a governance framework to support integrating climate change considerations into all policy and operational decision making across government. This includes:

  • considering climate change when purchasing goods and services across government, where it is cost-effective;
  • establishing clear responsibilities and requirements for ministries to track and report on climate change measures;
  • continuing to execute a high-performance building automation strategy for government buildings;
  • ensuring investments in future renovations of government buildings maximize energy cost savings;
  • reviewing government office space, with an eye to optimizing the government’s physical and carbon footprint;
  • developing tools to help decision makers understand the climate impacts of government activities.

In January 2019, Ontario established the Climate Change Leadership Team (CCLT), a cross-government group established by Treasury Board Secretariat and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (co-chairs) with representation from Cabinet Office and the Ministries of Infrastructure (MOI), Finance (MOF), Government and Consumer Services (MGCS), Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), Energy, Northern Development and Mines (ENDM), and Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). The CCLT has a mandate to make recommendations for:

  • establishing a formal cross-government process for updating internal directives and guidance to reflect climate change objectives and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • preparing government assets and programs for climate change;
  • embedding climate change resilience and carbon intensity in government procurement processes.

Provincial, National and International Climate Partnerships

In 2018-19, Ontario continued to share its knowledge and experience on climate change mitigation, adaptation and climate science with other ministries, jurisdictions and stakeholders. For example:

  • Ontario continued as a member of the Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF) – a joint federal, provincial, territorial plan to set Canada’s path to achieve its international commitments on climate change.Ontario continues to participate in a number of related PCF multilateral working groups and initiatives.
  • In November 2018 the Adaptation Policy Committee (APC) formed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and identified three new project teams, in which Ontario participates with the federal government and other the provinces and territories, to assist jurisdictions in:
    • preparing risk assessments and identifying best practices, specifications, examples, and a list of approaches;
    • developing common definitions and infographic-type materials to clarify how various terms should be used related to natural infrastructure, green infrastructure, and protected areas;
    • developing a set of climate change adaptation indicators for PCF reporting, as well as identifying best practices in developing adaptation indicators.
  • In 2018, Ontario co-chaired the International Mitigation Project Team. The team, formed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, examined opportunities and risks of voluntary cooperation under all provisions of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and provided considerations to inform domestic policies and programs related to mitigation and carbon trading on the international level.
  • In 2018, Ontario was part of the Infrastructure Resilience Project Team and developed information and guidance, and shared best practices with respect to infrastructure for disaster mitigation and adaptation, including natural infrastructure.
  • In 2018, Ontario joined the Community of Practice on Government Leadership and created a compendium of best and promising practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience in government operations.
  • Ontario, in collaboration with several universities (e.g., York University, University of Toronto) has developed Ontario-specific local scale climate projections for the entire province and is making this information available to the public through the Ontario Climate Data Portal.

Protecting Ontario’s Water

Drinking Water

Ontario’s drinking water remains among the best protected in the world. From strict health-based drinking water standards to comprehensive legislation designed to protect water from source to tap, Ontario provides a regulatory Drinking Water Protection Framework that helps ensure the quality and safety of Ontarians’ drinking water. The eight components of the Framework provide a multi-barrier approach to drinking water protection include:

  • source-to-tap focus
  • strong laws and regulations
  • health-based standards for drinking water
  • regular and reliable testing
  • swift, strong action on adverse water quality incidents
  • mandatory licensing of municipal drinking water systems and laboratories, operator certification and training requirements
  • a multifaceted compliance improvement toolkit
  • partnership transparency and public engagement

The 2017-18 Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report was released in November 2018 and confirmed Ontario drinking water systems continue to provide high quality drinking water.

In 2017-18, more than half a million drinking water tests were conducted on municipal residential drinking water systems and 99.8 per cent of these results met Ontario’s rigorous, health-based standards.

In line with the government’s commitment to transparency and Open Government, new and historical drinking water data continue to be made available on Ontario’s Open Data Catalogue and is updated on a regular basis.

In 2018-19, Ontario continued to work with its partners on implementing source protection plans under the Clean Water Act, as well as taking provincial actions to ensure measures are in place to protect municipal drinking water sources. This included improving spill response programs, strengthening public awareness of source protection, prioritizing inspections in vulnerable areas, and ensuring new and previously issued provincial instruments adequately protect vulnerable drinking water sources.

Ontario continued to invest in building local capacity at the municipal and conservation authority level through funding, training, and guidance to support on-the-ground actions to protect water resources. Source protection plans continued to help municipalities ensure their sources of drinking water are resilient and local source protection plans have integrated solutions to adapt to climate change to ensure sources of drinking water are sustainable for future generations.

Ontario continued to support municipalities in meeting their obligations under the source protection plans by providing training to appointed Risk Management Officials and Inspectors, as well as providing funding to small, rural municipalities to help off-set costs as they prepared to implement source protection plans.

The ministry continued to update and improve the online Source Protection Information Atlas which provides the province-wide view of the more than 1,100 wellhead protection areas and intake protection zones within the source protection areas and enables the public to conduct customized searches, and supports the broader implementation of plans.

In 2018, source protection authorities provided annual progress reports for 33 of 38 source protection areas and, in all cases, considerable progress was made on addressing significant risks to local sources of drinking water. The ministry is continuing to work with local source protection authorities to ensure plan implementation and reporting on progress continues. As per the minister’s orders, source protection authorities have developed work plans outlining how they will review and update their local source protection plans to ensure the plans remain relevant. In 2018, 16 work plans were submitted to the ministry.

All municipal system owners are required to have a drinking water license that includes:

  • A drinking water works permit,
  • A permit to take water (if required),
  • A financial plan,
  • An operational plan that documents the quality management system for the operating authority, and
  • Mandatory accreditation of the operating authority through a third-party accrediting body.

On July 1, 2018, the ministry established a regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act to require that source protection plans under the Clean Water Act be amended to include new and changing drinking water systems before water is provided to the public. The ministry approved amendments to local plans for seven source protection areas in 2018-19.

On July 1, 2018, regulatory amendments came into effect under the Clean Water Act, 2006, to address risks from hydrocarbon pipelines across source protection areas, and a new regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, came into force to ensure source water protection for new and expanding municipal systems.

Great Lakes/Inland Lakes and Waters

The Great Lakes are a vital ecological, economic and recreational resource to the people of Ontario for our drinking water, quality of life and prosperity, but there is still more work to be done.

Actions in 2018-19 to protect and preserve Ontario’s Great Lakes include:

  • Continued provincial scale monitoring programs to track the quality of inland lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater while undertaking special studies to better understand emerging issues that can affect water quality.
  • Contributed to the assessment of a suite of indicators of ecosystem health for the binational State of the Great Lakes report.
  • Convening a Great Lakes Guardians’ Council meeting for April 23, 2019. The Great Lakes Guardians’ Council is a forum to improve collaboration and co-ordination among Ontario’s Great Lakes partners.
  • Continuing to implement Ontario’s Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes, the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan, and Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy.
  • Commencing the review and update of Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy including reporting on progress, as required by the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015 and the negotiation of a new Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes. This work included a focus on newer Great Lakes issues of concern such as plastic pollution and excess road salt.
  • Establishing the Muskoka Watershed Advisory Group to collaborate with and support the ministry in the development and implementation of the Muskoka Watershed Conservation and Management Initiative. Currently reviewing and assessing prospective members for appointment to the advisory group.
  • Published the 2017 Minister’s Annual Report on Lake Simcoe in February 2019. The report details how the province and public are taking action to protect and restore Lake Simcoe and ensure that it can continue to sustain one of Ontario’s fastest-growing regions. The province supported innovative approaches to improve conditions in the Lake Simcoe watershed. In 2018-19, the ministry:
  • Continued to monitor and respond to ongoing and emerging threats to water quality;
  • Worked with local stakeholders to implement programs to reduce the amount of road salt entering Lake Simcoe from melting ice and snow, and reduce erosion associated with construction and other activities; and
  • Supported efforts to limit the phosphorous in runoff coming from new housing developments.

This work will continue into 2019-20 and beyond.

  • Continued to participate in the work of the English and Wabigoon Rivers Remediation Panel to fund remediation activities from a trust that was established with $85 million under the English and Wabigoon Rivers Remediation Funding Act, 2017. The Remediation Panel directs how the funds from the Trust are distributed to fund remediation activities.
  • Announced funding of $250,000 to the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority to develop a detailed engineering plan to remediate three priority areas of historic contaminated sediment in the St. Clair River.

Ensure Sustainable Water Use and Water Security for Future Generations

Water resources in Ontario are facing many pressures. Population growth, rapid urban development, aging infrastructure and invasive species are threatening our waterways through pollution and loss of natural heritage. The changing climate is compounding these stresses with droughts, floods and extreme storms. Ontario is committed to conserve and manage our water resources.
Actions the ministry took in 2018-19 to protect groundwater resources include:

  • Extended the moratorium on new and expanded water takings by bottling companies until January 1, 2020.
  • Undertook scientific research to improve our understanding of water resources. Also reviewed rules governing water quantity management and groundwater use for water-bottling, in light of climate change and increasing population and demand for water.
  • Implemented regulatory charge of $500 per million litres of groundwater taken by water bottlers, to help recover the province’s costs of managing groundwater taken by water bottlers, including supporting scientific research, policies, outreach and compliance.
  • Continued work on determining the state of Ontario’s water resources and the best scientific practices in managing water resources.

Taking Action to Protect Species at Risk

Since July 2018, the Ontario government has taken significant steps to protect species and habitat across the province, including:

  • Finalizing species-specific recovery policies (government response statements) for 11 species at risk, science-based recovery strategies for nine species at risk, and reviews of progress towards protection and recovery for 17 species at risk under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Supporting more than 100 species at risk stewardship and research projects through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program.
  • Coordinating a government response to Canada for the second federal Progress Report on Steps Taken to Protect Critical Habitat for the Woodland Caribou, Boreal Population in Canada.
  • Working across jurisdictions (Federal/Provincial/Territorial) on Boreal Caribou conservation.
  • Initiating negotiations with Canada on a draft conservation agreement for Boreal Caribou under the federal Species at Risk Act.

On January 18, 2019, the Ontario government reaffirmed its commitment to protecting species at risk and their habitats by announcing the province was undertaking a review of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
To inform this review, the 10th Year Review of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act: Discussion Paperwas released on January 18, 2019 for public comment.

The ministry held 16 information and engagement sessions on the Discussion Paper throughout winter 2019 with stakeholders, Indigenous communities, organizations, and conservations groups.

Resource Recovery and Waste Diversion

Ontario generates nearly a tonne of waste per person each year and the overall diversion rate has stalled at 30 per cent over the past 15 years. This means that 70 per cent of waste materials continue to end up in landfills. The residential sector does a better job diverting waste, with about 50% diversion while the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector diverts 17%. Over 60% of Ontario’s food waste is being sent to landfill and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.

Ontario’s current waste diversion programs only account for about 15% of the waste stream. If no new landfills are established or expanded, there is approximately 10 to 20 years of landfill capacity left in Ontario.

Our Plan proposed a number of actions aimed at reducing litter and waste in our communities including:

  • Announcing the creation of a day of action on litter in Ontario.
  • Reducing and diverting food and organic waste from households and businesses.
  • Reducing plastic waste.
  • Reducing litter in our neighbourhoods and parks.
  • Increasing opportunities for the people of Ontario to participate in waste reduction efforts.
  • Making producers responsible for the waste generated from their products and packaging.
  • Outlining actions to explore how to recover the value of resources in waste.
  • Providing clear rules for compostable products and packaging.
  • Supporting competitive and sustainable end-markets for Ontario’s waste.

On March 6, 2019, the ministry released the Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper, which seeks feedback on proposals to reduce plastic litter and waste in neighbourhoods and parks, divert and reduce food and organic waste from households and businesses, and increase opportunities for the people of Ontario to participate in waste reduction efforts.

In addition, on December 31, 2018, the existing Used Tires Program ceased operation and is being wound up. As of January 1, 2019, producers of tires subject to the Tires Regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA) are responsible for collecting and managing the tires they sell in Ontario, at end of life.

Initiated the wind up of the existing Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) programs to a producer responsibility framework, with all programs to cease operation by December 31, 2020. On December 11, 2018, revised direction was provided for batteries (under MHSW) to cease operation by June 30, 2020. The ministry is in the process of developing regulations under the RRCEA to ensure wastes subject to the existing programs will continue to be collected and managed without interruption, and that new materials will be collected and managed appropriately.

Work continued to wind up the existing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) program. In January 2019, the ministry held a series of webinars and in-person consultations with a range of stakeholders (e.g. representatives of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and battery producers, municipalities, retailers, industry associations, environmental organizations, waste management service providers, the Authority and others) to seek stakeholder feedback and input on the initial policy consideration for the EEE and battery regulations.

Improving Air Quality

Overall, air quality in Ontario has improved significantly over the past 10 years due to substantial decrease in harmful pollutants such as fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

New and updated air standards for 69 contaminants have been introduced since 2005. And since 2015, the ministry has issued only one smog advisory.

Protecting and enhancing air quality requires co-operation and collaboration by many jurisdictions and organizations. Ontario continues to work on implementing a national Air Quality Management System as proposed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

In 2018-19, the province continued to operate a network of 39 ambient air monitoring stations across the province to measure and track common air pollutants and provide the public with real-time air pollutant data.

Continued to operate a road side air monitoring network in Toronto in partnership with the University of Toronto and Environment and Climate Change Canada to better understand traffic-related air pollution in highly urbanized environments.

Announced in September 2018 that the Drive Clean program for light duty passenger vehicles would end effective April 1, 2019.

The ministry continued to deliver the new Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) program in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada for air quality messaging. The AQHI is a health-based scale that assesses air pollution and cumulative health impacts. Real-time air quality measurements and air quality forecasts are provided in a way that is easy to understand.

The ministry is working collaboratively with industry and the Clean Air Sarnia and Area (CASA) advisory panel to enhance the Clean Air Sarnia and Area website that provides transparent and timely public access to government and industry air monitoring data.

Under the Sarnia Air Action Plan, specific actions were undertaken in 2018-19 to drive improvements in the Sarnia air quality, including strong enforcement, air monitoring, and reporting and communications; these actions will continue into 2019-20.

Inspections at industrial facilities are focused on emissions of primary contaminants of concern, including benzene and sulphur dioxide. With the introduction of new property line monitoring surrounding large emitters, the ministry ensured companies undertook immediate action at six locations where high pollutant concentrations were identified. The root cause was identified and addressed, and the concentrations later returned to normal.

On April 1, 2019, the ministry ended the Drive Clean program for light duty passenger vehicles. Drive Clean was effective at reducing vehicle pollution; however industry standards have significantly improved since the program was created in 1999. This has resulted in a steady decrease of passenger cars that fail the emissions test. This saves taxpayers up to $40 million a year.

A new, enhanced program will focus on heavy-duty diesel vehicles like commercial transport trucks and will ensure that Ontario continues to lead Canada in reducing harmful smog-causing pollutants and black carbon, a climate change agent. It will also bring tougher on-road inspections to ensure all vehicle owners are properly maintaining their vehicle emissions and not tampering with the vehicle emissions control systems.

Putting Environmental Penalties to Good Use

The Ontario Community Environment Fund uses monies collected from environmental penalties to fund projects that help improve the environment in the community affected by the violation.

In 2017, applications were invited for over $209,000 in funds, shared among 13 watersheds across the province where environmental penalties were collected in the Ontario Community Environment Fund. These included projects to restore shoreline areas, improve water quality and environmental restoration and habitats, and plant trees and complete environmental education, awareness and research.

In 2018, applications were invited for over $133,000, shared among nine watersheds where environmental penalties were collected in the Ontario Community Environment Fund. 14 eligible applications were received and are under ministry review.

Contaminated Sites

The ministry participates in a coordinated, government-wide approach to identify, manage and update liabilities pertaining to contaminated sites as required under Public Sector Accounting Board 3260 Standard.

The ministry identifies potential sites through the Properties of Environmental Concern program. The Deloro site cleanup project is protecting our lakes and rivers, by cleaning up contaminated waste from the abandoned mine and industrial site in eastern Ontario. As of 2018-19, the ministry has contained 80 per cent of all contaminated wastes and impacted soils and sediments within secured disposal areas at the site. Cleanup work is fully complete in the Tailings Area, as well as in the Industrial and Mine Area. A pilot project was completed in 2018-19 in the Young’s Creek area to help evaluate the cleanup plan for the final phase of work. The ministry remains committed to completing the final phase of the cleanup project and to the long-term operation of the site. The cleanup work to date has resulted in improved water quality and environmental conditions at the site and in the Moira River.

Modernizing Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Program

The ministry began implementing several process improvements to the Part II Order request review process for all Class Environmental Assessments, including:

  • Reducing the average time for Part II Order request decision timelines from 298 days in 2017 to 160 days.
  • Releasing a mandatory standardized form to submit a Part II Order request to ensure adequate information is available to the Minister when making decisions.

Delivering and Modernizing Efficient and Effective Environmental Approvals

The ministry continued to make progress to reduce regulatory barriers to make it easier for businesses to obtain environmental approvals, while maintaining high standards for environmental protection.
Actions supporting ongoing modernization included:

  • Continuing to meet the one-year service standard for higher-risk environmental compliance approval requests while improving internal processes.
  • Launching a new electronic service delivery for pesticides licences on September 4, 2018, that delivers same-day licence approval for the majority of applications.
  • Updating Transfer of Review agreements for all participating municipalities, which reduces approval timing for low-risk files.
  • Identifying risk-based solutions to support the modernization of our permissions programs.

Effective Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

The ministry conducts environmental monitoring across the province to provide sound scientific data to track the state of the environment for the purposes of policy development, program tracking and to support the ministry’s compliance, enforcement, and emergency response programs.

Province-wide environmental monitoring continued including air, streams, rivers, inland lakes, Great Lakes, groundwater and contaminants in fish and vegetation; and of issues related to algal blooms, road salt, microplastics, baseline conditions in the Ring of Fire and recovery of legacy contaminated sites. In addition, the ministry undertook a number of site-specific monitoring projects to assess known or suspected sources of pollution to the environment and inform decision making on local issues.

The ministry employs the tools and practices of a modern regulator to ensure compliance program delivery is designed to prevent and mitigate environmental concerns. This includes approaches to environmental problem solving and risk-based inspections and investigations that address high risks and repeat non-compliance.

In 2018-19, the ministry’s front-line compliance staff conducted over 8,700 proactive and responsive inspections. Additionally, the ministry recorded over 19,000 incidents, including spills, pollution incident reports, adverse water quality reports (including lead exceedances) and municipal sewage bypass reports.

Table 3: Ministry interim actual expenditures 2018-19

N/AMinistry Interim Actual
Expenditures 2018-19 footnote 4
Operating Expense$960, 828, 900
Capital Expense$21,911,500
Staff strengthfootnote 5 (as of March 31, 2019)N/A
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change1987.6
Ontario Clean Water Agency814.5