On October 31, 2011, certain amendments to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 (SDWA) are expected to come into force in order to establish a new system of environmental compliance approvals in Ontario. These amendments were passed in 2010 as part of the Open for Business Act, 2010 (OBA), and were originally scheduled to come into force on September 19, 2011. These are the most significant amendments:
- The coming into force of Part II.1 of the EPA (Environmental Compliance Approvals) (along with corresponding provisions in the OWRA), which will prescribe the process for applying for an environmental compliance approval. This approval will now be required under the EPA and the OWRA, instead of a Certificate of Approval, before applicants can engage in otherwise prohibited activities. As was reported in our November 2010 EH&S Bulletin, the EPA and the OWRA have been amended so that the process for applying for environmental compliance approvals will be consolidated into one process under the EPA.
- The addition of Part II.2 of the EPA (titled “Registrations”) (along with corresponding provision in the OWRA), which provides for the establishment, maintenance and operation of the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). The EASR is an online registry for certain activities that the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) identifies as low-risk and that will no longer require an environmental compliance approval, provided that the activities meet specific requirements and are registered on the EASR. As was reported in our May/June 2011 EH&S Bulletin, on June 14, 2011, the MOE prescribed automotive refinishing (including autobody shop spray booths), heating systems and standby power systems as activities that are eligible to be registered on the EASR.