Ontario Water News

November 2017: Stay Informed – Recent Developments in Policy, Regulation, and Programs

At WaterTAP, we’re closely watching policy, regulatory, and program developments related to Ontario’s water sector. Here are some recent updates that may be relevant to your organization.

Provincial

Fall Economic Statement: The Province has released the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. The 2017 Review outlines new measures to grow the economy and help people thrive in an uncertain global environment. It features a full section on small businesses, announcing over $500 million in new initiatives that will lower costs and support the growth of small businesses.

Support for Export: Ontario has launched a new tool for businesses, the Magnet Export Business Portal. The portal helps businesses quickly find export-related programs and services for which they are eligible. This is one element of Ontario’s Global Trade Strategy, designed to help Ontario business owners benefit from the global economy. The strategy focuses on four key priorities: Leveraging Ontario’s international trade and investment assets; leading through coordinating, convening, and connecting; driving better intelligence for stronger trade outcomes; and building stronger networks and infrastructure.

Support for Small Business: The Ontario government recently announced that it will designate 33 percent of its procurement spending to small- and medium-sized businesses by 2020. Read WaterTAP’s post on other recent initiatives to support small business and provide incentives for public entities to adopt innovative solutions.

Drinking Water Guides: Ontario recently posted updated drinking water system guides that pertain to owners and operators of designated facilities (e.g., child care centres, hospitals) and non-municipal year-round residential drinking water systems (e.g., trailer park system servicing six or more sites). The guides better support compliance, use clearer language, and have been updated for content, design, and accessibility.

Carbon MarketsOntario signed an agreement, linking the carbon markets of Quebec, Ontario, and California through the Western Climate Initiative. The agreement, effective January 1, 2018, allows all three governments to hold joint auctions of greenhouse gas emission allowances and to harmonize regulations and reporting.

Landfill Gas: The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is seeking input on a proposed Ontario Offset Credits regulation and incorporated protocol for landfill gas. Capped facilities may use offset credits to meet up to eight percent of their compliance obligations. Comments can be submitted until November 18.

Jobs: Ontario recently launched the Discover Ability Network, an online job-matching platform that links employers to job-seekers with disabilities.

Cooperation on AI: The Governments of Ontario and Québec have announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will lead to cooperation in the development of artificial intelligence. The agreements will expand opportunities for collaboration in research, talent attraction, skills development, and business growth in the AI sector.

Federal

Drinking Water Data: Statistics Canada has released the results of its Survey of Drinking Water Plants, 2015. The survey is conducted every two years and reports on volume consumed, capital expenditures, maintenance costs, and other useful information. A summary report and full data tables can be found here.

New Chief Science Advisor: Canada has named its new Chief Science Advisor, Mona Nemer. Dr. Nemer was Professor and Vice-President, Research, at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory. She will advise the federal government on science-related policy.

Fall Reports: The Office of the Auditor General of Canada tabled the 2017 Fall Reports from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The first report analyses the government’s progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while the second report assesses the government’s current capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The third report focuses on the effectiveness of government funding for clean energy technologies and the fourth report tracks departmental progress in implementing sustainable development strategies. The set of reports also include the Environmental Petitions Annual Report and Retrospective.

CETA: The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect on September 21. CETA is a free trade agreement that covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-European Union (EU) trade in order to eliminate and reduce barriers. For example, prior to CETA, only 25% of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods were duty-free and now tariffs are removed on 98% of its tariff lines. The Government of Canada recently launched the Canada Tariff Finder, an online tool that can help you find the Harmonized System code for products and the corresponding EU preferential Tariff rate that applies.

Tax System: The Department of Finance Canada released a paper detailing the tax planning strategies involving the use of private corporations and sets out proposed policy responses with the aim of closing loopholes and bringing greater fairness to the tax system. Proposed measured affect the following practices often implemented by businesses: income sprinkling, holding passive investments inside a private corporation, and converting income into capital gains. Public comments closed on October 2.

Climate Change: The Government of Canada has established the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results. The committee will develop metrics for determining Canada’s climate change readiness based on science, infrastructure, human health, vulnerable populations, and accuracy of flood plain maps. The panel will support and complement ongoing work related to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Cleantech Economic Strategy Chair: Audrey Mascarenhas, CEO of Questor Technology Inc., has been selected to Chair the Government of Canada’s Clean Technology Economic Strategy Table. The Strategy Tables will set ambitious growth targets, identify sector-specific challenges and bottlenecks, and lay out an actionable roadmap to achieve these goals.

Recent Reports