The Ministry is proposing to transition the pesticides licensing program from a paper-based process to a digital system. Licences would be applied for online, and issued online, if the prescribed requirements are met. Certain information about the licence holders would be available to the public.
Online Service Delivery
Amendments are being proposed to the Pesticides Act to enable online application and issuance of pesticide licences. Prescribed requirements would still need to be met.
Currently, the ministry processes over 5,200 paper-based applications each year for new or renewed pesticide licences. Licensing requirements ensure pesticides are applied in a manner that protects human health and the environment. The proposed amendments to the Pesticides Act also include amendments to remove obsolete provisions and update regulatory drafting language.
Information Available to the Public
Amendments are also being proposed to the Environmental Protection Act to allow the ministry to make information about pesticide licences and other ministry instruments publicly available.
Once enacted, these legislative changes will allow regulations to be made to increase transparency and allow information about pesticide licences and other ministry instruments to be publicly available (e.g. making certain information about pesticide licences available for public viewing on Access Environment).
The amendments proposed to the Pesticides Act to enable online application and issuance of licences and to the Environmental Protection Act to make information available to the public are set out in Schedule 5 of the Bill to Cut Unnecessary Red Tape, 2017, introduced September 14, 2017. Below is a summary of the proposed amendments.
Proposed Changes to the Environmental Protection Act
Amendments to the Act would update the definitions of “Minister” and “Ministry” to reflect the name change to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
The Act would be amended to allow the Minister to publish prescribed information about instruments created under any act administered by the Minister for the purpose of making the information available to the public. Subsection 19 (12) is currently limited to information about instruments created under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act. The Ministry anticipates making information about pesticides licences available to the public.
Proposed Changes to the Pesticides Act
Amendments to the Act would update the definitions of “Minister” and “Ministry” and add a definition of “public servant” which is used in amendments to update the drafting language, appointing Directors and provincial officers for the purposes of the Act. In addition, two obsolete provisions, subsection 5 (3) and (4), would be repealed.
The Act would be amended to clarify that extermination licences are issued to individuals while permits may be issued to individuals, corporations, municipalities, or other types of “persons”.
The amendments would allow automatic online issuance and renewal of pesticide licences if prescribed requirements are met and the prescribed fees are paid, unless a pesticide licence previously issued to the applicant has been suspended or revoked within the preceding 5 years or a notice of a proposal to suspend or revoke the licence has been recently issued. Issuing pesticide licences is administrative in nature and in the absence of compliance issues does not require screening or review. If the Director has suspended or revoked a prior licence, or has recently proposed to do so, the Director would have discretion to refuse to issue a new licence or renew an existing licence. The deemed continuation of a licence pending renewal provision of the Act would be amended to clarify that a licence is deemed to continue from the date of the application until the licence is renewed.
The Director’s discretion to refuse to issue a permit would be retained and the grounds for cancelling or refusing a permit would be clarified to align with the grounds for suspending or revoking a licence. In addition, the Act would be amended to clarify the permit appeal process.
Three provisions in the Act would be amended to reflect the earlier repeal of the administrative penalty provisions under s. 10.1 of the Legislation Act, 2006.
The regulation-making authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council would be amended to update drafting language, to add an authority to make regulations governing the issue of licences and permits, and for the renewal of licences, and to make regulations to provide for transitional matters in relation to online applications for licences. This would provide authority to deal with transition matters that might arise when the ministry transitions from a paper process to an online process.
The authority to incorporate documents into a regulation by reference would be amended. Originally, the documents that could be referenced were “any code, formula, standard, protocol or procedure”. This would be broadened with this amendment to include “any document”.
The ministry’s authority to establish fees would be updated to align with more recent ministry fees provisions in order for the fees to be established by a more transparent Minister’s regulation rather than a Minister’s requirement.