Bill 212 received first reading on October 27, 2009. The stated purpose of the Bill is to promote good government. With respect to environmental matters the Bill deals with, among other issues, the rights of appeal to Provincial Cabinet.

Bill 21 proposes to amend the Consolidated Hearings Act by removing the right to make an application to Provincial Cabinet to review a decision of a Joint Board. Similarly, the Environmental Protection Act is to be amended by removing the right to appeal to Provincial Cabinet to review a decision of the Environmental Review Tribunal. Similar amendments are proposed to the Ontario Water Resources Act.

Appeals to Provincial Cabinet have in the past been the subject of controversy. For example, in the case of a proposed landfill at Site 41 located in the Township of Tiny, the approval by Provincial Cabinet of the appeal by the County of Simcoe following a lengthy Joint Board hearing led to a second lengthy hearing before the Joint Board and the subsequent approval of the landfill. The controversy surrounding Site 41 ended only with the decision of Simcoe County Council in 2009 to no longer proceed with Site 41. At the same time, the ability to appeal to Provincial Cabinet was often viewed as beneficial where a party was dissatisfied with the decision of the Joint Board or Tribunal.

Bill 212 proposes certain consequential amendments are made to the Clean Water Act, 2006 and the Nutrient Management Act, 2002.

Section 36 of the Clean Water Act is to be re-enacted to provide that when the Minister approves a source protection plan the Minister shall specify the requirements related to the review of the plan. Section 36 will set out requirements relating to the preparation of terms of reference for a review by a Source Protection Committee, the review of assessment report by the Source Protection Committee and the terms of reference for the review by a Source Protection Committee of all other aspects of a source protection plan.

In the case of the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 the definition "a nutrient" is to be amended to include material that can be applied to land for the purpose of improving the growing of agricultural crops or for the purpose of a prescribed use.

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