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Recent legislative and regulatory changes in Ontario

July 5, 2021  By Ground Water Canada

Toronto – The Ontario government announced the following legislative and regulatory changes, which come into effect in early July.

Following are highlights that may be of interest to the groundwater industry as well as a link to the full list of changes.

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks


The Ontario government has finalized regulations to transition all waste diversion programs to the producer responsibility model. The province created a new regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act that makes producers responsible for safely collecting and managing hazardous and special products like paints, solvents, pesticides, antifreeze, oil containers and pressurized containers to help increase waste diversion rates and reduce what goes to the landfills. (For context, see the podcast, “The Footprint: A discussion on the awareness of the footprint left during drilling for domestic water wells or dewatering wells.”)

The Ontario government is implementing a regulation under the Environmental Protection Act meant to strengthen vehicle emissions requirements for the biggest polluters on our roads, including a mandatory computerized on-board diagnostic inspection test for some heavy diesel commercial vehicles.

The province is moving low-risk, short-term water taking activities, such as pumping tests, construction site dewatering and highway and transit projects to a more flexible approval process by amending regulations made under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act.

Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

The Ontario government is amending regulations under the Ontario Immigration Act, 2015, by removing a restriction for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Entrepreneur Stream to permanently allowing virtual interviews and reduce reporting requirements to a twice-a-year schedule while maintaining program integrity.

A new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) consolidates written reporting requirements for workplace fatalities, critical injuries, occupational illnesses and other prescribed incidents in one place without impacting worker safety. The employer’s obligation to provide these reports under OHSA remains unchanged.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Amendments to the Drainage Act come into effect streamlining the process for low-risk minor improvements under Ontario’s Drainage Act. The move is meant to simplify the process for minor drainage improvement projects under Ontario’s Drainage Act to save time and reduce administrative burdens on farmers, rural property owners and municipalities. According to the ministry, this in turn should encourage the development of green infrastructure projects that can improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Amendments to the Agricultural Tile Drainage Installation Act will remove licensing and administrative fees $50 or less. While the fee is being eliminated, businesses will still need to be licensed and can be inspected to maintain the rules that protect Ontarians and the environment.

See a full list of changes under various ministries announced on June 30.

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