Ontario Improving Outdated Environmental Assessment Process
Government Continues to Deliver on Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan
April 26, 2019
Ontario's government is protecting what matters most by modernizing its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment process to better serve Ontarians now and into the future by focusing on projects that pose actual, real risks to our environment and communities, streamlining approval timelines and eliminating duplication.
The government has released a discussion paper that outlines a more modern environmental assessment process, including immediate, short-term fixes to reduce burden and serve the interest of Ontario families and communities. Our proposed modernized plan will ensure strong environmental protections, enable electronic submissions, help address duplication, streamline processes, improve service standards to reduce delays and better recognize other planning processes that have evolved over the past four decades.
"We are proposing sensible, pragmatic solutions to modernize Ontario's environmental assessment process," said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "Low-risk projects that have positive impacts in our communities shouldn't be held up by lengthy approvals. This review will ensure that the public's voice is heard, and the proper environmental protections are in place, particularly that climate change and increasing extreme weather is considered in project planning."
The province is proposing to exempt low-risk projects from having to undergo an environmental assessment, like all other provinces have done to focus on projects of higher risk. Low-risk activities include, snow plowing and de-icing operations, constructing roadside parks and adding bike lanes. This will help reduce burden, save money and time and ensure Ontario families and communities benefit from these projects without delay. At the same time, it will free up ministry resources to focus on higher risk activities.
Modernizing environmental assessments is one of the many recent actions the province is taking to deliver on it's Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan including:
"Our plan serves as proof that you can both oppose a carbon tax and continue to do more to fight climate change - you don't have to choose," said Minister Phillips, "Ontario deserves both a healthy environment and a healthy economy and we will continue to deliver on our plan a make this a reality for Ontario business and families."