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.