The Ministry of the Environment is seeking public comment on a proposal to make technical rules under section 107 of the Clean Water Act, 2006 to establish requirements relating to the preparation of an assessment report.
The purpose of the Clean Water Act, 2006 is to protect existing and future sources of drinking water, as part of an overall commitment to human health and the environment. The Act requires the preparation of assessment reports that assess the vulnerability of drinking water sources and threats to those sources, as well as the preparation of source protection plans that set out protection policies. Assessment reports and source protection plans will be prepared by the source protection committees.
The supporting regulations and technical rules for the Clean Water Act, 2006 are being developed in phases. The first phase of regulations, that came into effect in June 2007, addressed matters related to source protection areas and regions, source protection committees, preparation of the terms of reference and source protection planning time limits [EBR Registry Number 010-0122]. A second phase of regulations was initiated in 2008. Proposals for a regulation related to property entry and the establishment of the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program were posted for public comment on April 16, 2008. This comment period has now closed.
The Ministry has now prepared the final component of the second phase through this posting and two (2) associated postings for proposed regulations related to the development of an assessment report [EBR Registry Number 010-3873]and the definition of words and expressions used in the Act [EBR Registry Number 010-3893].
The proposed technical rules establish the approach to be used to develop the contents required to be included in an assessment report by section 15 of the Act and the proposed Assessment Reports regulation.
A more detailed summary of the components of the proposed technical rules, drinking water threats list, mapping symbology for the products of the assessment report and proposed regulations are listed below:
- Clean Water Act, 2006 Technical Rules: Assessment Report
- Summary of Clean Water Act, 2006 Technical Rules: Assessment Report
- Tables of Drinking Water Threats
- Mapping Symbology for the Clean Water Act, Version 3.0
- Draft Assessment Reports Regulation
- Draft Definitions of Words and Expressions Used in the Act Regulation
This proposal was posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting June 20, 2008. Comments were to be received by August 04, 2008.
All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.
The development of the Clean Water Act, 2006 was based on four (4) years of extensive stakeholder consultations with over three hundred (300) associations and individuals and close to six hundred (600) written submissions:
- Government established the Implementation Committee (IC) and Technical Experts Committee (TEC) – December 2003;
- Ministry developed a White Paper on Watershed-based Source Protection Planning and held eight (8) regional consultations – February to March 2004;
- Ministry developed draft legislation for source protection planning and posted on the EBR for public comment – June 2004;
- IC and TEC delivered their reports to the Minister and the ministry held seven (7) sectoral roundtables on the reports – November 2004 to February 2005;
- Ministry held consultations on the proposed source water protection framework with key stakeholders – September to November 2005;
- Ministry introduced Bill 43, the proposed Clean Water Act – December 2005;
- Ministry held eight (8) sectoral roundtables with respect to Bill 43 – February to March 2006;
- Bill 43 passed the Second Reading – May 2006;
- Ministry continued to meet with stakeholders to identify potential concerns with Bill 43 in anticipation of the Standing Committee – May to August 2006;
- Bill 43 proceeded to the Standing Committee on Social Policy public hearings – August 2006; and
- An advisory panel was established to advise on developing a program that best supports water protection in rural Ontario, reporting in September 2006.
On December 22, 2006 a Proposal Notice was posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment discussing the implementation of the following regulations under the proposed Clean Water Act: 1) the establishment of Source Protection Areas/Regions and lead Source Protection Authorities, 2) Source Protection Committees (SPCs) and 3) terms of reference [EBR Registry Number RA05E0022]. As a result of this Proposal Notice, the Ministry received thirty-seven (37) comments.
The first phase of draft regulations was posted on the Environmental Registry on April 12, 2007 for a thirty(30)-day comment period, which ended on May 12, 2007. The Ministry received ninety-three (93) submissions from municipalities, agriculture, industry, conservation authorities, environmental groups, associations and the public.
Additional feedback was obtained through a series of regional multi-sectoral consultations on the draft regulations in Orillia, Sudbury, Toronto, Ottawa and London held in April and early May. These sessions were attended by over two hundred (200) representatives from a broad range of sectors and included representatives from a number of provincial ministries. The ministry also held three (3) separate information sessions with First Nations located in the proposed source protection areas to discuss the draft regulations. These sessions were facilitated by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, the Six Nations of the Grand River and Whitefish Lake First Nation.
As noted above, on April 17, 2008 a Notice discussing training for persons entering property (section 88) and the Drinking Water Stewardship Program was posted on the Environmental Registry for public comment [EBR Registry Number 010-3297].
Key stakeholder groups that were consulted throughout this comprehensive process included: the municipal and agricultural sectors, small and large businesses/ industries, non-governmental organizations, the development sector, northern stakeholders, academics, legal experts and Conservation Authorities. There were also high-level discussions with First Nations and the Federal government during this process.
Additional Notices with respect to the source protection plan are expected to follow and will be posted as they are developed and where required by the Environmental Bill of Rights. The feedback gained from these postings will assist in the development of the regulatory framework implementing the legislation.