On June 24, 2008, the Ontario government filed O. Reg. 231/08 (Transit Projects and Greater Toronto Transportation Authority Undertakings) under the Environmental Assessment Act. This regulation exempts designated classes of public transit projects – including certain dedicated bus lanes, certain rail lines and subways, and ancillary facilities associated with such projects – from the requirements to conduct an individual or a class environmental assessment if such projects comply with the regulation’s new, streamlined “transit project assessment process.” Under the regulation, this process must be completed within six months of being initiated by the project proponent. However, the six-month period may be extended if issues or concerns arise relating to (i) a matter of provincial importance regarding the natural environment or cultural heritage, or (ii) a constitutionally protected aboriginal or treaty right. During the 30-day comment period, anyone can apply to the Environment Minister for a review of the project. If the Minister believes the project may have a negative impact on a matter of provincial importance or on aboriginal or treaty rights, the minister may require further study.

For further information, please see www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/news/2008/062501mb.php.