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Southwestern Landfill Environmental Assessment

EA Process FAQ

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What is the Environmental Assessment Act?

The purpose of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) is to protect, conserve and wisely manage Ontario's environment.. It sets out a planning and decision-making process so that potential environmental effects of a project are considered before projects are allowed to begin. Environmental Assessments are required for large infrastructure projects in the mining, electricity, transportation, waste management, infrastructure, and forestry sectors, among others.

The EAA promotes responsible environmental decision-making and ensures that interested persons have an opportunity to comment on projects that may affect them. In the EAA, the environment is broadly defined and includes the natural, health, social, cultural and economic environment.

What is the Environmental Assessment process?

Under the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Assessment (EA) process promotes good environmental planning by determining and managing the potential effects of a project prior to a project being developed.

The EA process ensures that interested members of the public, First Nations and local government agencies are consulted and concerns are considered. The EA balances economic, social, cultural, and natural environmental needs for the benefit of the Province of Ontario.

Visit the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's website to learn more about the Environmental Assessment process.

What does the Environmental Assessment Act apply to?
The Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) applies to most public sector projects unless exempt.
The EAA does not apply to private sector companies unless designated by regulation or the company voluntarily agrees to comply with the EAA.

Public sector proponents include:

  • Provincial ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Realty Corporation
  • Municipalities such as towns, cities and counties
  • Public bodies such as conservation authorities and Metrolinx

Examples of public sector projects include: public roads and highways, transit projects, waste management projects, water and wastewater works, resource management and flood protection works.

The Southwestern Landfill Proposal is an example of a private sector project that must adhere to the Environmental Assessment process because it is regulated by the EAA. Other examples include large infrastructure projects in the mining, electricity, transportation, waste management, infrastructure, and forestry sectors, among others.

I've heard about changes to the Federal Environmental Assessment Process, how will this affect the Southwestern Landfill Proposal?

The Southwestern Landfill Proposal is regulated at the provincial level, not federal. Therefore, the Southwestern Landfill Proposal must follow the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, not the Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

Recent changes to the CEAA are not applicable to the Southwestern Landfill Proposal.