Ontario Water News

September 2018: Stay Informed – Recent Development in Policy, Regulations, 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

Cap and Trade and Carbon Pricing: In early July, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), repealed the cap and trade program regulation (O.Reg. 114/16) and prohibited trading of allowances and credits under O.Reg. 386/18. For more details, see the EBR posting here.

In late July, the Minister of MECP, Rod Phillips, announced details of a proposed Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018, that, if passed, will repeal the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, formally ending the cap-and-trade program. The proposed act includes details on compensation of eligible program participants and lays out requirements for the government to establish emissions reduction targets and prepare a climate change action plan. See the EBR posting here – comments are due on October 11.

In early August, Ontario filed a reference with the Court of Appeal to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The reference will be heard from April 15 to 18, 2019 in Toronto.

Emissions Reporting: The MECP has made changes to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting framework to clarify reporting requirements that have changed as a function of the repeal of the cap and trade program regulation. The ministry filed a regulation (O. Reg. 389/18) that repeals the Quantification, Reporting, and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions regulation (O. Reg. 143/16) under the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, and came into force on August 1, 2018. An updated version, the Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Quantification, Reporting, and Verification regulation (O. Reg. 390/18), was filed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1990, and also came into force at the beginning of August. For the new Guideline for Quantification, Reporting, and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, see here, and for the full EBR posting detailing the regulatory changes, see here.

Open for Business: The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced that the government will start hosting a series of red tape reduction roundtables with businesses across Ontario this month. The roundtables will be led by Michael Parsa, Parliamentary Assistant – Small Business. The first roundtable was held in York Region on September 12.

Trade: Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Jim Wilson, travelled to Washington, D.C. in July to advocate for Canadian jobs that depend on trade between the United States and Canada. He was accompanied by Dean French, Chief of Staff to Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Minister Wilson acted as the government’s representative at the U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing on the section 232 national security investigation of imports of automobiles and automotive parts.

In July, Premier Ford spoke with Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, to discuss the importance of continued and strengthened trade. They agreed to work closely together to ensure that Ontario and Michigan continue to deliver strong economic output and drive job creation throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region. Most recently, Minister Wilson updated the public on Ontario’s progress on the trade front with this statement.

Economic Consultation: In late August, Premier Doug Ford consulted with key economic experts to discuss the province’s economy and how the government can create jobs, facilitate economic investment, and support business growth. Participants included Chief Economists of RBC, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank, the Deputy Chief Economist of TD, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and the Minister of Infrastructure.

Québec: Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier Philippe Couillard released a statement while attending the summer meeting of the Council of the Federation. They have agreed to work together to identify opportunities to strengthen both economies and advance economic interests between the two provinces with the United States. Both Premiers emphasized the importance of supply management to the Canadian economy.

Green Bonds: The City of Toronto has issued its first ever green debenture (bond) offering of $300 million to finance capital investments in sustainable development across the city. The current bond offering will focus exclusively on TTC transit projects, but future offerings will support a broad range of climate change and mitigation projects with water and wastewater management as one area of focus. See here for more information.

Federal

Cabinet shuffle: The federal government added new ministers to the cabinet in July and changed duties of some existing ministers. New ministers with posts applicable to the water sector include: Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion; Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Shuffled ministers with posts applicable to the water sector include: Dominic LeBlanc (previously Minister of Fisheries and Oceans), Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Northern Affairs and Internal Trade; Amarjeet Sohi (previously Minister of Infrastructure and Communities), Minister of Natural Resources; Jim Carr (previously Minister of Natural Resources), International Trade Diversification; and François-Philippe Champagne (previously Minister of International Trade), Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

NAFTA: In late August, Washington announced a proposed North American free-trade deal with Mexico. Since then, Canada and the United States have been engaged in another round of NAFTA talks and continue to negotiate the preservation of Chapter 19, a key dispute-resolution chapter. Other negotiating points include Canada’s dairy industry and foreign ownership restriction on Canadian media companies.

Act Reform: The Government of Canada is proposing to implement many of the recommended reforms to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, that were released last year by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. For details on planned reforms, see the follow-up report submitted by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister of Health here.

Soil and Groundwater Guidelines: The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has posted document for public review and comment. Draft Canadian Soil and Groundwater Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Environmental and Human Health – Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). See here for relevant documents.

Great Lakes

Water Stewardship: WWF released Water Stewardship Revisited, a report calling for and guiding enhanced action from small- and medium-sized businesses to move beyond internal action on water stewardship to improve collective stewardship and influence better governance of water basins.

Federal Funding: The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced an $8.95-million investment over four years for 36 projects aimed at improving the health of the Great Lakes. For a list of funded projects, see here.