By Karen Wolfe

I attended an on-line webinar recently hosted by the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) because I was interested in the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ (MECP) proposal to exempt harmful activities from current licensing requirements.

On behalf of PAR, I was able to get an Environmental Compliance Approval revoked that was approved for the aerodrome proponents because the oversight for waste transfer site applications existed. If this new proposal goes through, that public process will no longer exist. Here is my explanation of what is being proposed by the provincial government. 

Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP)  is proposing to exempt certain waste management systems that involve asbestos waste, biomedical waste, hazardous waste, liquid industrial waste and treated waste from existing licensing requirements. It would also exempt certain storm water management activities, water-taking for construction sites, dewatering activities, and foundation drains.

If implemented, this means:

·         there would no longer be an upfront review by Ministry staff to assess the potential environmental impacts of specified operations;

·         public participation and appeal rights under the Environmental Bill of Rights would no longer apply;

·         proposed activities, such as transporting and dumping hazardous waste and other waste products, would no longer be subject to either government or public scrutiny prior to commencing operations in Ontario.

Let me repeat that…the proposed activities would no longer be subject to either government or public scrutiny before commencing operations in Ontario. Instead the Ministry is proposing to have the specified activities self-registered under the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR).

According to a spokesperson at CELA, the movement toward self regulation (also known as Permit by Rule) in these areas is “ill conceived and dangerous”.

The government has said offering a “Permit by Rule” process instead of requiring an Environmental Compliance Approval (C of A) for these activities will address home building construction delays. However, they failed to explain how the approval processes are delaying this kind of construction. Nonetheless, if it passes, it will be done at the expense of ensuring environmental protection. 

CELA is asking everyone concerned with this new proposal to send an email to their MPP ( and MECP ( detailing your objection to this ill conceived and dangerous proposal for the self regulation of waste management systems–a process that will leave the environment and our health vulnerable to the poor compliance records of companies and individuals involved in the transportation of hazardous waste. 

I am publishing this in the hope that you will go to the Environmental Registry of Ontario website ( and submit a comment opposing the exemption proposal prior to the October 30, 2023 deadline for comments. Once you are on the ERO site use the search function for each of the following changes being proposed–019-6951, 019-6853, 019-6963 and 109-6928. You do not need to register to comment. 

If you would like further information please give me a call (705) 437-1216 or contact CELA at (416) 960-2284 or