OFA expressed concern to the Ontario Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy regarding Bill 69, Reducing Inefficiencies Act (Infrastructure Statute Law Amendments), 2023 which would provide authority to waive or alter the 30-day waiting period for Class Environmental Assessment Projects.
OFA is opposed to proposed amendments that would provide the ability to eliminate, waive or alter the 30-day waiting period following the comment period of a Class Environmental Assessment. Allowing a proponent to proceed as soon as a comment period closes amounts to an insult to the public who work within the system to provide comments regarding a project.
It is often through public consultation that proponents are made aware of negative unintended consequences of their projects. The 30-day waiting period provides time for the proponent to further investigate and mitigate concerns and unintended consequences that they may have overlooked.
Public participation is a critical component of environmental decision-making. The system must allow for meaningful participation to empower all those involved. The ability to eliminate this 30-day waiting period effectively negates any public participation in this process.
Previous related OFA submissions:
March 24, 2023 – OFA submission to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) regarding proposed Waiving or altering the 30-day Waiting Period for Class-Environmental Assessment Projects (RR 23-MECP004 and ERO 019-6516)