In addition to feedback received on the proposed Excess Soil Management Policy Framework through the Environmental Bill of Rights policy proposal notice, input was gathered through various workshops, meetings and teleconferences with interested stakeholders and First Nations and Métis communities and organizations. Included among these outreach efforts, the ministry held a workshop with stakeholders on the proposed framework on March 2, 2016.
Previous input provided to the ministry from listening sessions and engagement on the EBR review of excess soil management policy needs which commenced in January 2014, was also taken into consideration.
Of the 100 comments received by the ministry, comments were received from municipalities and municipal organizations, industry organizations, professional bodies, agricultural organizations, crown agencies, environmental groups, conservation authorities, First Nations communities, the general public and other interest groups.
Overall, there was general support for the proposed Excess Soil Management Policy Framework, including development of a source site regulation, management of interim sites and new standards for excess soil. The province is also providing support to municipalities through the development of a site alteration by-law language tool, all of which are key actions in the final framework moving forward.
A number of comments were provided pertaining to the need to more adequately link climate change to this framework. Accordingly, one of the overarching goals of this framework has been revised to include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions associated with the movement of excess soil.
Some comments were received suggesting the need to be clear about responsibility and liability. Although some of these suggestions were beyond the scope of the final framework document, these comments are being taken into consideration as policies are developed with the intention to ensure responsibilities are clarified. A new principle has also been added to the framework to recognize the need for clear roles and responsibilities.
Several comments supported the concept of a market-based approach to delivery, including tracking and registration of soil movement and establishment of reuse strategies. The proposed framework has been revised to strengthen reference and commitments to move forward with market-based approaches to delivery. This includes market mechanisms to improve consistency of work by qualified persons, which was raised as a concern.
Significant support and interest was provided regarding the establishment of an Excess Soil Engagement Group and sub working groups to support key topic areas. The Excess Soil Engagement Group was launched on June 22, 2016 and will meet regularly to guide framework delivery.
Compliance and enforcement needs and related resources were a common theme in the comments provided. These comments will be taken into consideration as the ministry moves forward on related policies and programs under this framework.
Input was received regarding the need to ensure consideration of culturally significant areas in this framework. The final framework now reflects the importance of considering significant cultural heritage landscapes and areas of archeological significance.
Several comments recognized the need for alignment with existing frameworks e.g., brownfields, land-use planning and waste regulatory regimes, source protection, etc. The framework has been revised to provide clarity to reflect the need for this alignment.
Several revisions were made to the framework text to address input received on the need to clarify various actions. Many comments also provided specific suggestions on how to approach particular actions or policies. These comments will be further considered through development of these policies, supporting programs and guidance.