Ontario announced on May 9 the passing of Bill 39, the Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act, which will make changes to both the Aggregate Resources Act and the Mining Act. According to the government, the changes are expected to modernize the province’s resource extraction rules by increasing environmental protections, improving competitiveness, and creating jobs and economic growth in the aggregates and mining sectors.

To access a full copy of the changes coming into effect, see here.  

Some of the major amendments include the following:

Enhancing environmental protections

• Prohibiting a hearing for an aggregate permittee if the Minister adds or varies a condition of the permit for the purpose of implementing a source protection plan under the Clean Water Act, 2006;

• Additional reporting requirements for both aggregate licensees and permittees on the progressive rehabilitation and final rehabilitation of the site;

• Enhanced powers for the Minister to require surveys, tests, studies, reports, etc. in a licence or permit application related to the environmental impact of the pit or quarry;

• Revised regulations that will be clearer and provide better oversight for aggregate companies

Expansion of public participation in the extraction application process

• New section that requires the Minister to consider whether adequate consultation with Aboriginal communities has been carried out prior to exercising certain powers relating to aggregate licences or permits;

• Implementation and creation of a new electronic mining lands administration system in Ontario, which will include an online registration system for mining claims, the creation and recording of mining claim records, abstracts and maps, and producing reports, documents and other information.

Other changes

• New exemptions allowing a person to operate a pit or quarry without an aggregate licence or permit, in specified circumstances;

• Removal of specific requirements relating to applications for licences and permits, and the addition of regulation-making powers respecting the preparation of applications and the documentation to be included;

• Enhanced powers for the Minister to amend licences and permits, and rights for licensees or permittees to apply for an amendment to a licence or permit, and to make minor amendments to site plans without Ministerial approval;

• Establishment of a new offence in respect of false or misleading information provided under the Aggregate Resources Act;

• New maximum fine of $1,00,000.00 and new maximum daily fine of $100,00.00 for offences under the Aggregate Resources Act.