Note: Of the 19 electronic submissions, 8 were either blank or duplicates of other submissions (therefore 93 submissions were received in total).
Consultation on the first phase of regulations began with a 30-day posting on the Environmental Registry of a Discussion Paper on Source Protection Committees on January 2, 2007. The comment period closed February 1, 2007, and 91 submissions were received. These submissions were considered during the development of the draft Source Protection Committees regulation.
The first phase of draft regulations was posted on the Environmental Registry on April 12th for a 30-day comment period which closed on May 12th, 2007. Comments were received from a range of sectors, including the public. Over that period, the Ministry of the Environment held five regional consultation sessions in Sudbury (April 18), Toronto (April 24), London (April 26), Ottawa (April 30), and Orillia (May 9) to consult on the draft regulations. Representatives from conservation authorities, municipalities, agriculture, health, industry, and non-governmental organizations were invited to attend the roundtable sessions. Representatives from a number of provincial ministries (e.g. OMAFRA, MNR, MOH) also attended these sessions. The ministry also held three separate information sessions for First Nations located in source protection areas and regions on the draft regulations. These three sessions were facilitated by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (May 29), the Six Nations of the Grand River (May 31) and Whitefish Lake (June 5) First Nations.
The draft regulations were revised based on feedback received through EBR submissions, regional sessions and consultations with other provincial ministries. Key concerns raised consistently across stakeholder groups focused on the need for the following:
- greater transparency in the appointment process for source protection committees;
- larger source protection committee sizes, and more flexible operation;
- greater First Nations representation on the source protection committee;
- streamlining the selection process for municipal representatives for the source protection committee; and
- more time to establish committees and for committees to complete the terms of reference for approval by the Minister.
The regulations have been revised to address these concerns as follows:
Transparency in Source Protection Committees Appointment Process: Additional requirements have been incorporated into the Source Protection Committees (SPC) regulation to ensure greater transparency in the appointment and notification processes. Source protection authorities (SPA) are now required to ensure that notification related to the appointment process is available in public locations such as a conservation authority office and not just via the internet or newspapers. The SPA must also post the proposed make-up for the SPC and consider public comment before posting the final make-up (and the reasons for the decision on this make-up), and making final membership selections.
Larger SPC Sizes and More Flexible Operation: Three key changes were made to allow for greater opportunity for participation and flexibility in the local planning process. The SPC regulation has been amended to allow for a greater range in committee sizes. Committees have been placed into one of three tiers (10, 16, 22) based on watershed characteristics such as geographic size or number of member municipalities, and upon the comments received through the EBR process from conservation authorities within the area or region. These comments included requests by the conservation authorities for changes to the committee sizes in order to best meet local circumstances, and the final regulation has tried to meet these requests where appropriate. The regulation was also amended to allow for the inclusion of three non-voting committee liaisons, including representatives from the Crown, source protection authority, and Medical Officers of Health, and to permit the use of a proxy to act as an alternate for a member when they are unable to attend a source protection committee meeting.
Number of First Nation Members: The Ministry held regional information sessions, focusing on these draft regulations, for First Nations located in source protection areas. Attendees shared their views with respect to allowing only one First Nations’ representative on larger source protection committees where there are multiple First Nations in the source protection area or region. The SPC regulation has been amended to allow for greater First Nations representation on larger source protection committees that have multiple First Nations in the source protection area. The draft regulation proposed one reserved seat for First Nations in some source protection areas or source protection regions. Based on First Nations’ feedback, the regulation has been revised as follows: In areas or regions containing First Nations reserves, there will be one reserved seat for 10-member SPCs; two reserved seats for 16-member SPCs; and three reserved seats for 22 member SPCs (should they wish to participate by passing a band council resolution).
Streamlining the Municipal Selection Process: Conservation authorities, Conservation Ontario and several municipalities raised concerns about the feasibility of all municipalities in a source protection region or area jointly selecting representatives (i.e. all municipalities must jointly pass a resolution recommending the same members) for appointment to the source protection committee by the SPA. The SPC regulation has been amended to allow the SPA to divide the municipalities that are located in the source protection area or region into groups. SPAs will work with municipalities to determine appropriate groupings. The SPA would then tell each group how many of the municipal representatives their particular group is to select. Each group of municipalities would then work together to provide a list of names to the source protection authority and the SPA would appoint those people as the municipal representatives on the committee. If a group’s list contained more names than they were told to provide, the authority would pick from the list of names provided. If a group does not give a list of names or gives a list with fewer names than the number the group was told to provide, the source protection authority will select the additional persons to be appointed as representatives of that group.
Timelines: Stakeholders generally agree that source protection plans should be in place by 2012 but have raised concerns about the time required to put in place source protection committees and to prepare the terms of reference for the Minister’s approval. The timelines have been extended so that source protection authorities now have until late fall to establish source protection committees (i.e. the draft regulation proposed 80 days for formation of the SPCs, the final regulation proposes to allow 135 days). The Association of Municipalities of Ontario and other municipalities have indicated that municipal councils often don’t sit in the summer and need at least two meetings to nominate and select municipal membership on the SPC. More time up front will also allow chairs to be in place before committees are appointed. Source protection committees now have an additional three months to complete the terms of reference. The terms of reference is now due 14 months from the time the Minister appoints the chair (i.e. the draft regulation proposed 11 months).