New law to modernize environmental assessment process

queens park
DXR, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government has introduced the Reducing Inefficiencies Act (Infrastructure Statute Law Amendments) to improve management of real estate make changes to the environmental assessment process.

“The changes introduced today, if passed, would help our government cut red tape, save taxpayers money, and streamline processes so we can continue to practice good governance on behalf of the people of Ontario,” said Kinga Surma, minister of infrastructure.

As part of the proposed legislation, a framework would be established to modify the real estate authority of 14 entities which are under the oversight of eight ministries and provide the Minister of Infrastructure with the ability to oversee and manage this real estate. This will be done through amendments to the Ministry of Infrastructure Act, 2011 and complementary amendments to nine other Acts.

The minister of the environment would have the ability, on a project-specific basis, to alter or waive the 30-day waiting period for Class Environmental Assessments projects. The government is modernizing its almost 50-year-old environmental assessment process that is too slow, too costly, and too burdensome. The proposed changes will help projects get built faster, without compromising environmental standards and protections.

A 2017 auditor general’s report and other third-party reports that have identified opportunities for the province to deliver the real estate portfolio more efficiently through initiatives that centralize authority and decision-making.

Class environmental assessments set requirements for consultation, impact assessment and mitigation for projects with routine and predictable effects (e.g., municipal roads).


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