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Regulatory Updates for Environmental Approvals in Ontario

January 25, 2017

Tags

Air Emissions, Air Quality, EASR, emissions, Environmental Activity and Sector Registry, environmental approvals, Environmental Protection Act, LEP, Licensed Engineering Practitioner, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Noise, Noise Emissions, regulatory updates

Posted By

Scott Penton

P.Eng

Scott is an expert in the fields of noise and vibration and is a respected specialist providing expert testimony.

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The Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) has revised the environmental approvals process in Ontario for air and noise emissions as of January, 2017. The new EASR regulation made under EPA is: O. Reg. 1/17: Registrations Under Part II.2 of the Act –Activities Requiring Assessment of Air Emissions, provides for a more streamlined approval process for upwards of 90% of the industrial facilities operating in the Province.

The objective is to allow for the Province to focus on the higher-risk facilities, such as chemical and cement manufacturing, mining, land disposal of waste, and metal related industries. The remaining industry types are now eligible for registration under the EASR instead of being required to apply for a full Environmental Compliance Approval.

Is the process any easier? Not exactly. All facilities must meet the relevant legislation and regulations that have been set by the Ministry and, therefore, similar studies are required. The advantage is in the process of receiving approval. The higher risk facilities will still need to acquire a full ECA while the remainder of the facilities will be able to complete an online registration and not have to wait for the review and approval process to come into compliance. This is a positive step, bringing more clarity for the screening and assessment of noise, the requirements of the evaluation of odour for some industry types and certainty for companies in continuing to operate their businesses.

Key Takeaways Related to these Changes Include:

  • Only a Licensed Engineering Practitioner (LEP) will be able to prepare ESDM’s and AAR’s.  This differs from the current system in that anyone can prepare the reports and the professional engineers at the MOECP review them to ensure they meet the standards of professional engineering.  Ostensibly, the MOECP is shifting the responsibility to follow professional standards to the practitioner, allowing them to forego a full technical review.
  • Environmental Approvals will be granted upon submission.  No more multi-year waits for approval. No more information requests.  Provided a LEP shows that the activities meet regulated standards, approval is automatically granted upon submission of the required documents.
  • Approvals information will be updated every ten years. Anyone who has experience with an ECA with Limited Operational Flexibility is familiar with this concept.  As a result, the Ministry is proposing to extend the requirement to update to all industries which, while a burden to industry, will improve Ontario’s air quality by forcing industries to comply with the most up-to-date standards on an ongoing basis.

Will there be some hic-ups? I am sure but this is a great step towards dealing with the resource issues related to the ever continuing backlog of reviews that the MOECP must deal with each year.

Novus can assist with helping your facility deal with these issues with qualified engineers on staff, ready to assist. For more information regarding this initiative, please refer to EBR Registry Number: 012-8646 or the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks website.

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