Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (OEAA):
An Environmental Assessment, or EA,
is a decision-making process used to promote good environmental
planning by assessing the potential effects of certain activities
on the environment. In Ontario, this process is defined and
finds its authority in the Ontario Environmental Assessment
Act (OEAA), RSO 1990. The purpose of the OEAA is to provide
- conservation; and
- wise management of Ontario's environment.
To achieve this, the OEAA ensures that
environmental problems or opportunities are considered and
their effects are planned for, before development or building
To view the Ontario Environmental Assessment
Class Environmental Assessment for
Provincial Transportation Facilities:
The Class Environmental Assessment under
Ontario's Environmental Assessment Act is a streamlined process
for infrastructure projects and other undertakings such as
municipals roads and sewers with predictable environmental
The Class Environmental Assessment (EA)
process is a planning process, approved under the Environmental
Assessment Act (EA Act), for a class or group of undertakings.
Projects included in the Class Environmental Assessment (EA)
may be implemented without further approval under the EA Act
provided the approved Class EA planning process is followed.
The process provides a decision making framework allowing
the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA)
to be met in an effective manner.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation
developed the 'Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial
Transportation Facilities', which was approved by Order in
Council 1653/99 on October 6, 1999, as amended on July 14,
2000. It provides, in part, the following:
- classification of projects and activities;
- study stages and phases;
- transportation engineering and environmental
- consultation principles and processes;
- documentation and "bump-up"
principles and processes; and
- environmental clearance process.
This Highway 7 & 8 Transportation Corridor
Planning and Class EA Study will comply with the Class EA
process for 'Group A' projects (as defined under the Class
Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities)
for MTO undertakings in which highway widening, a major realignment
and bypass of sections of existing highway, a new provincial
highway (provided it is not a new 400-series highway), a new
provincial transitway, or combinations of the above are possible
The Class EA process can be conducted in
such a way as to ensure that compliance with other environmental
legislation may be achieved. The Class EA does not replace
or exempt the formal processes of other applicable federal,
provincial and municipal legislation and by-laws.
To view the 'Class Environmental Assessment
for Provincial Transportation Facilities' document, click
MTO Environmental Requirements for
Transportation Planning and Design, Construction, Operation
To clarify its environmental requirements,
the Ministry reviewed and synthesized over 60 applicable statutes
and the supporting regulations and formal policies regulating
the environmental assessment process. Through interpretation
of how each is applied to the transportation planning and
highway design, construction, operation and maintenance activities,
the MTO developed a Draft Environmental Protection Requirement
The Environmental Protection Requirements
have been developed with participation of Environmental Regulatory
Agencies. The Ministry has consulted with the many agencies
which mandate the statutes to ensure a common interpretation.
The MTO also solicited public input through the Ontario Environmental
Bill of Rights Registry.
Further information on the Ministry's Environmental
Protection Requirements can be found by visiting: www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/engineering/envirostandards/
MTO Environmental Reference for Highway
The Environmental Reference for Highway
Design (ERD) addresses the environmental assessment issues
relating to preliminary and detail design transportation projects.
This document has been developed in co-operation with the
various Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Regional Environmental
Offices and Environmental Regulatory Agencies.
The ERD outlines staff qualifications and
the scope of work, as well as details regarding timing and
documentation requirements for factor-specific environmental
areas of expertise. They include aquatic ecosystems, terrestrial
ecosystems, land use, noise, etc.
Further information on the Ministry's Environmental
Reference for Highway Design can be found by visiting: www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/engineering/envirostandards/
MTO Statement of Environmental Values:
Under the Environmental Bill of Rights
(EBR), each designated ministry has been required to prepare
a Statement of Environmental Values (SEV). The SEV includes
- how the ministry will apply the purposes
of the EBR to any decision that might significantly affect
- how the purposes of the EBR should be
integrated with other considerations within the ministry,
including social, economic and scientific considerations.
The SEV has two principal functions.
First, it is designed to guide ministry staff when making
decisions that may have an effect on the natural environment.
This will ensure that the objectives of the EBR are carried
out. Second, the SEV serves as a benchmark against which the
public and the Environmental Commissioner may evaluate ministry
The SEV is not meant to guarantee that the purposes of the
EBR are embodied in every government decision. Rather, the
goal is to ensure that the environment is given due consideration
along with economic, social and scientific concerns when decisions
are made. The SEV serves as the embodiment a ministry's environmental
commitment and its guiding principles in that regard.
Further information on the Ministry's Statement of Environmental
Values can be found by visiting: www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/ebr/english/SEVs/mot.htm
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA):
In addition to the Ontario Environmental
Assessment Act (OEAA), the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Act (CEAA) subjects some projects to a federal EA process.
The federal process is conducted either as a Screening or
a Comprehensive Study.
A Screening under the CEAA must include:
- description of the project;
- description of the existing environment;
- the environmental effects of the project
including cumulative effects, and the effects of possible
accidents or malfunctions;
- the significance of environmental effects;
- technically and economically feasible
measures that would reduce or eliminate any significant
adverse environmental effects of the project;
- comments from the public that are received
in accordance with the Act and the regulations; and,
- any other matters relevant to the screening
that the responsible authority may require to be considered.
The majority of federal projects are
assessed through a screening; however, some projects require
a comprehensive study. These projects are described in the
Comprehensive Study List Regulations.
Early on in the comprehensive study,
the Minister of the Environment has to decide whether the
project should continue to be assessed as a comprehensive
study, or whether it should be referred to a mediator or review
panel. If the Minister decides the project should continue
as a comprehensive study, the project can no longer be referred
to a mediator or review panel.
For more information, please go to
the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Web site at www.ceaa.gc.ca.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment
Agency has the responsibility for administering the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act and;
- promotes environmental assessments as
a planning tool to protect and sustain a healthy environment;
- promotes co-ordination among federal
agencies and with provincial agencies;
- through workshops and training programs,
creates an awareness of the Canadian Environmental Assessment
Act and how it applies; and,
- acts as a resource to federal authorities
with responsibilities under CEAA, to proponents and to the
public in interpreting CEAA.
Environmental Assessment Act
of Federal Environmental Assessment and Screening Process