A decision was made to proceed with the proposal as described, subject to changes made below as a result of public consultation, and additional changes made by the ministry. The proposal was implemented by Public Lands Act Ontario Regulation 161/17 (Occupation of Public Lands under Section 21.1. of the Act) and an amendment to Ontario Regulation 239/13 (Activities on Public Land and Shore Lands – Work Permits and Exemptions) by Ontario Regulation160/17, which were filed by the Registrar of Regulations on June 1, 2017 and published on eLaws the next day.
Ice fishing huts and hunting stands have been included in Ontario Regulation O.Reg.161/17, in recognition that these structures were allowed historically as a free use of public lands on a policy basis, without need for an individual PLA occupancy instrument (e.g. land use permit, lease, licence of occupation). Forest operations gates were proposed, but are not included in the final regulation and will continue to be authorized by the ministry under Public Lands Act. Some additional criteria were added to the regulation, as well as clarification on regulated structures. For example, a dock occupying public lands includes any associated shade structures affixed to the dock such as a gazebo or pergola.
Ontario Regulation O.Reg.161/17 has come into effect, allowing a person to occupy public lands with the following classes of buildings, structures or things without an individual occupancy instrument but subject to conditions specified in the regulation:
1. Recreational camping units (21 days)
2. Forest operations camping
3. Commercial bait harvest camping
4. Fur trapline structures including cabins, tents and camping units
5. Recreational trail shelters
6. Single-storey boathouses
7. Ice fishing huts
8. Hunting stands
9. Waterfront structures: boat lifts, boat ramps, marine railways and docks including any affixed shade structures such as gazebos, canopies and pergolas
10. Swim rafts
11. Break walls and related backfill
13. Bridges, culverts and causeways
14. Heat loops and water intake pipes
15. Ramps and jumps for water sport slalom courses
16. Recreational boat caches which includes canoes, kayaks and motor boats
17. Boat mooring blocks
For a full list of conditions associated with these occupations of public lands, please see Public Lands Act Ontario Regulation O.Reg.161/17 (Occupation of Public Lands under Section 21.1 of the Act) at https://www.ontario.ca/laws.
In addition, new requirements for Public Lands Act work permits https://www.ontario.ca/laws came into effect:
• work permits are required to construct or place a structure or combination of structures that physically touch more than 15 square metres of shore lands. As such, floating and cantilever docks, boathouses with cribs less than 15 square meters and swim rafts do not require work permits.
• property owners separated from a water body only by an unopened riparian road allowance or strip of public lands that is not more than 30 metres in width qualify for work permit exemptions, such as restoring or replacing an existing erosion control structure without a work permit, as long as the rules in the regulation are followed.
As a consequence of the regulatory changes, the ministry has rescinded the former PLA Free Use Policy (PL 3.03.01) and also made administrative amendments to the following PLA policies to align with the new regulatory framework:
• PL 3.03.04 Work Permits – Section 14 Public Lands Act
• PL 3.03.06 Trapline Buildings – Occupational Authority
• PL 3.03.08 Bait Harvesting – Occupational Authority