Bill 132 & the Aggregate Resources Act

We begin with information contained within the Notice of Proposed amendments to the Aggregate Resources Act.

Proposal summary

Changes are proposed to the Aggregate Resources Act to reduce burdens for business while maintaining strong protection for the environment and managing impacts to communities.

Proposal details

Aggregate Resources Act

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is responsible for managing Ontario’s aggregate resources, regulated under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA). Aggregate resources are non-renewable resources like sand, gravel and rock that are needed for infrastructure that supports the quality of life that Ontarians enjoy today. They are used to construct the buildings we live and work in, the roads, the airports and subways we use to get from place to place, and for many other necessary services like sewers and power generating stations. Most of the aggregate produced in Ontario comes from private land in the southern region of the province where most Ontarians live.

Ontario requires a continued supply of aggregate resources. Approximately 160 million tonnes of aggregate are needed in Ontario each year. Yet, it is equally important to manage and minimize the impact extraction operations may have on the environment and on the communities that surround them. These operations are located across our diverse province, and the regulatory framework that manages them must be fair and predictable and flexible enough to be effective.

In March of 2019, the Ministry hosted an Aggregates Summit. The Summit was an opportunity for industry, municipal and Indigenous leaders to share their ideas for cutting red tape, creating jobs and promoting environmental stewardship and economic growth within the aggregate industry. We also gathered further input through an online survey, ending May 31.

Key themes heard:

  • reducing duplication, inefficiency, and inconsistency in application and approval processes
  • improving access to aggregate resources
  • protecting agricultural lands and water resources
  • enhancing rehabilitation
  • continue public engagement and outreach on any proposed changes to the ARA framework.

As a result of this input, the Ministry is proposing changes to the aggregate resources framework to reduce burdens for business while also ensuring the environment is protected and Ontarians continue to have an opportunity to participate in processes that may impact them.

Summary of proposed changes

We are proposing to make amendments to the Aggregate Resources Act, while continuing to ensure operators are meeting high standards for aggregate extraction, that would:

  • strengthen protection of water resources by creating a more robust application process for existing operators that want to expand to extract aggregate within the water table, allowing for increased public engagement on applications that may impact water resources. This would allow municipalities and others to officially object to an application and provide the opportunity to have their concerns heard by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
  • clarify that depth of extraction of pits and quarries is managed under the Aggregate Resources Act and that duplicative municipal zoning by-laws relating to the depth of aggregate extraction would not apply
  • clarify the application of municipal zoning on Crown land does not apply to aggregate extraction
  • clarify how haul routes are considered under the Aggregate Resources Act so that the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the Minister, when making a decision about issuing or refusing a licence, cannot impose conditions requiring agreements between municipalities and aggregate producers regarding aggregate haulage. This change is proposed to apply to all applications in progress where a decision by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or the Minister has not yet been made. Municipalities and aggregate producers may continue to enter into agreements on a voluntary basis.
  • improve access to aggregates in adjacent municipal road allowances through a simpler application process (i.e. amendment vs a new application) for an existing license holder, if supported by the municipality
  • provide more flexibility for regulations to permit self-filing of routine site plan amendments, as long as regulatory conditions are met.

We are also considering some regulatory changes, including:

  • enhanced reporting on rehabilitation by requiring more context and detail on where, when and how rehabilitation is or has been undertaken.
  • allowing operators to self-file changes to existing site plans for some routine activities, subject to conditions set out in regulation. For example, re-location of some structures or fencing, as long as setbacks are respected
  • allowing some low-risk activities to occur without a licence if conditions specified in regulation are followed. For example, extraction of small amounts of aggregate if material is for personal use and does not leave the property
  • clarifying requirements for site plan amendment applications
  • streamlining compliance reporting requirements, while maintaining the annual requirement
  • reviewing application requirements for new sites, including notification and consultation requirements

While no changes to aggregates fees are being proposed at this time, the Ministry is also interested in hearing your feedback on this matter.

We are committed to consult further on more specific details related to the regulatory proposals, including any proposed changes to aggregate fees at a later date.

Public consultation opportunities

Ontario Government’s Summit on Aggregate Reform (March 2019):

  • provided an opportunity for industry, municipal and Indigenous leaders to share their ideas for cutting red tape, creating jobs and promoting economic growth within the aggregate industry
  • input was also received via email and through an online survey, which closed May 31, 2019. A total of 378 aggregate reform comments were received from the following groups:
    • Members of the public
    • Industry, industry associations, consultants
    • Municipalities, municipal associations
    • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
    • Academia, and
    • Indigenous communities

For ease of reference, we have extracted those sections of Bill 132 that pertain to the Aggregate Resources Act:

SCHEDULE 16
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Aggregate Resources Act

Various amendments are made to the Aggregate Resources Act, including the following:

   1.  In considering whether a licence for a pit or quarry under the Act should be issued or refused, the Minister or Local Planning Appeal Tribunal cannot have regard to ongoing maintenance and repairs to address road degradation that may result from proposed truck traffic to and from the site.

   2.  New provisions provide for the following specified provisions in zoning by-laws to be inoperative:

           i.  restrictions on the depth of extraction in specified circumstances, and

          ii.  prohibitions against a site being used for the making, establishment or operation of pits and quarries where the surface rights are the property of the Crown.

   3.  Several amendments relating to licences and permits are made.  Some of these amendments were enacted as part of Schedule 1 to the Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act, 2017 but not proclaimed into force; these are reproduced in the Schedule in order to allow for them to come into force on the day the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 receives Royal Assent.

   4.  New provisions are included to address the process for dealing with the following circumstances in which changes to a licence or permit are desired:

           i.  where a licensee wishes to lower the depth of extraction from above the water table to below the water table, and

          ii.  where a licensee or permittee wishes to expand the boundaries of the area subject to a licence or permit into an adjacent road allowance.

SCHEDULE 16
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Aggregate Resources Act

1 Subsection 6.1 (9) of the Aggregate Resources Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Posting report

(9)  After submitting the report to the Minister, the Trust shall post the report on a publicly accessible website.

2 Section 12 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Exception

(1.1)  Despite clause (1) (h), the Minister or the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal shall not have regard toroad degradationongoing maintenance and repairs to address road degradation that may result from proposed truck traffic to and from the site.

Same

(1.2)  Subsection (1.1) applies to an application in respect of which no decision has been made by the Minister or the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, as the case may be, on or before the day section 2 of Schedule 16 to the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 comes into force.

3 Section 12.1 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Exception

(1.1)  If a zoning by-law prohibits a site in a part of Ontario designated under subsection 5 (2) from being used for the making, establishment or operation of pits and quarries, any restriction contained in the zoning by-law with respect to the depth of extraction at the site is inoperative.

4 Section 12.2 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Conditions of licence

12.2  Upon issuing a licence, the Minister may attach such conditions to the licence as he or she considers necessary.

5 (1)  Subsections 13 (1) to (3) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Amendment to licence

Amendment by Minister

(1)  The Minister may at any time add a condition to a licence, rescind or vary a condition of a licence or amend a licence in any other way.

Application by licensee

(2)  A licensee may apply to the Minister at any time to have a condition added to the licence, to have a condition of the licence rescinded or varied or to have the licence amended in any other way.

Notice of amendment by Minister

(3)  If the Minister proposes to amend a licence under subsection (1), he or she shall forthwith serve notice of the proposal, including reasons,

  (a)  on the licensee; and

  (b)  if, in the opinion of the Minister, the matter is of importance and it is appropriate to do so, on the clerk of each municipality in which the site is located.

(2)  Subsections 13 (1) to (3) of the Act, as re-enacted by subsection (1), are repealed and the following substituted:

Amendment to licence and site plans

Amendment by Minister

(1)  The Minister may at any time,

  (a)  add a condition to a licence, rescind or vary a condition of a licence or amend a licence in any other way; or

  (b)  require a licensee to amend the site plan or to submit a new site plan.

Application by licensee

(2)  A licensee may apply to the Minister at any time,

  (a)  to have a condition added to the licence, to have a condition of the licence rescinded or varied or to have the licence amended in any other way; or

  (b)  to request the Minister’s written approval of an amendment to the site plan or of a new site plan.

Same

(3)  A licensee shall prepare and submit an application under subsection (2) in accordance with the regulations and shall pay any prescribed application fee.

No amendments to site plans without approval

(3.1)  A licensee shall not amend a site plan or prepare a new site plan without first obtaining the Minister’s written approval.

Amendments

(3.2)  Despite subsection (3.1), a licensee may make such amendments to the site plan as may be prescribed without the approval of the Minister if the amendments are prepared and submitted to the Minister in accordance with the regulations, along with any prescribed fee.

Preparation of site plan amendments

(3.3)  An amendment to a site plan or a new site plan that is required by the Minister under clause (1) (b) or is approved by the Minister at the licensee’s request under clause (2) (b) shall be prepared by the licensee in accordance with the regulations.

Notice of change

(3.4)  If the Minister proposes to amend a licence under clause (1) (a) or require anything under clause (1) (b), he or she shall forthwith serve notice of the proposal, including reasons,

  (a)  on the licensee; and

  (b)  if, in the opinion of the Minister, the matter is of importance and it is appropriate to do so, on the clerk of each municipality in which the site is located.

(3)  Subsection 13 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “subsection (3)” and substituting “subsection (3.4)”.

(4)  Subsection 13 (6) of the Act is amended by striking out “subsection (3)” and substituting “subsection (3.4)”.

(5)  Section 13 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Exception, no hearing required

(12)  Despite subsection (6), a licensee is not entitled to a hearing under this section if the Minister adds a condition to the licence or varies a condition of the licence for the purpose of implementing a source protection plan under the Clean Water Act, 2006.

6 (1)  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Amendment re depth of extraction

Procedure, application for amendment

13.1  (1)  This section applies if a licence or site plan does not allow extraction below the water table in an area and the licensee wishes to amend the licence or the site plan to lower the depth of extraction from above the water table to below the water table in that area.

Application

(2)  The licensee may apply at any time to the Minister for an amendment to the licence or site plan and the following rules apply:

   1.  If there are no prescribed requirements and procedures in respect of the amendment, the licensee shall comply with the requirements and procedures that would apply under the regulations if the application were being made for a new licence.

   2.  If there are prescribed requirements and procedures in respect of the amendment, the licensee shall comply with the prescribed requirements and procedures.

   3.  If the application is in respect of an amendment to a site plan, subsections 16 (2), (3) and (4) apply.

Public record

(3)  The name and address of any individual who participates in any prescribed notification and consultation procedures in respect of the application form part of a public record and may be made available to the public unless the individual requests that his or her name and address remain confidential.

Referral to Local Planning Appeal Tribunal

(4)  The Minister may refer the application and any objections arising out of the notification and consultation procedures in respect of the amendment to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal for a hearing, and may direct that the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal shall determine only the issues specified in the referral.

Same

(5)  Subsections 11 (6) to (15) and section 12 apply, with necessary modifications, in respect of an application under this section and any reference to the issuing or refusal of a licence shall be read as a reference to the amending or refusal to amend a licence or a site plan, as the case may be.

(2)  Subsection 13.1 (2) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), is repealed and the following substituted:

Same

(2)  Subsections 13 (3), (3.1) and (3.3) apply in respect of the application.

7 (1)  The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Expansion of boundaries

13.2  (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the boundaries of the area subject to a licence, as specified in a site plan for the licence, may not be expanded unless an application for a new licence is made under section 7 to operate the pit or quarry in the proposed expansion area.

Amendment

(2)  A licensee may apply to the Minister for an amendment of the licence and an amendment to the site plan to expand the boundaries of the area subject to the licence if,

  (a)  the proposed expansion area is wholly within a portion of a road allowance directly adjacent to the boundaries of the area subject to the licence; and

  (b)  the prescribed conditions, if any, are satisfied.

Same

(3)  Sections 13 and 16 apply in respect of an application under subsection (2).

Meaning of road allowance

(4)  For greater certainty, a road allowance under subsection (2) includes a road allowance that has been closed.

(2)  Subsection 13.2 (3) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), is amended by striking out “Sections 13 and 16 apply” at the beginning and substituting “Section 13 applies”.

8 (1)  Subsection 14 (5) of the Act is amended by adding “by order” after “waive”.

(2)  Section 14 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Same

(6)  If a waiver has been ordered under subsection (5), the Minister may, by order, vary the percentage of the total of annual licence fees to be disbursed.

Conflict

(7)  In the case of a conflict between a provision of this section or the regulations and an order of the Minister under subsection (5) or (6), the Minister’s order prevails.

9 Subsection 30.1 (5) of the Act is amended by striking out “minor”.

10 (1)  Subsection 31.1 (5) of the Act is amended by adding “by order” after “waive”.

(2)  Section 31.1 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Same

(6)  If a waiver has been ordered under subsection (5), the Minister may, by order, vary the percentage of the total of permit fees to be disbursed.

Conflict

(7)  In the case of a conflict between a provision of this section or the regulations and an order of the Minister under subsection (5) or (6), the Minister’s order prevails.

11 Section 34 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Inoperative by-law

(9)  If a zoning by-law includes a prohibition against a site being used for the making, establishment or operation of pits and quarries, the prohibition is inoperative where the surface rights are the property of the Crown.

12 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Expansion of boundaries

36.2  The boundaries of the area subject to a permit as specified in the site plan for the permit may not be expanded unless an application for a new permit is made under section 34 to operate the pit or quarry in the proposed expansion area.

13 Section 37 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Conditions on permit

37 Upon issuing an aggregate permit, the Minister may attach such conditions to the permit as he or she considers necessary.

14 Section 37.1 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Annual aggregate permit fee

37.1  (1)  Every holder of an aggregate permit shall pay any prescribed annual permit fee within the time period that is determined in accordance with the regulations.

Payment of fee

(2)  All permit fees payable under this section shall be paid to the Trust or to such entity or person as may be prescribed.

Disbursement of fees

(3)  The Trust or other prescribed entity or person to whom the fees are paid under subsection (2) shall disburse all or part of the annual permit fees it receives under subsection (2) to such persons or entities as may be prescribed in accordance with the regulations.

Same

(4)  The amount of a disbursement made under subsection (3) shall be determined in accordance with the regulations.

Waiver of fee

(5)  The Minister may, by order, waive the requirement to pay all or part of an annual permit fee under this section.

Same

(6)  If a waiver has been ordered under subsection (5), the Minister may, by order, vary the percentage of the total of annual permit fees to be disbursed.

Conflict

(7)  In the case of a conflict between a provision of this section or the regulations and an order of the Minister under subsection (5) or (6), the Minister’s order prevails.

15 The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Amendments to permits and site plans

Amendments by Minister

37.2  (1)  Subject to sections 43 and 44, the Minister may at any time,

  (a)  add a condition to an aggregate permit, rescind or vary a condition of an aggregate permit or amend an aggregate permit in any other way; or

  (b)  require a permittee to amend the site plan or to submit a new site plan.

Application by permittee

(2)  The holder of an aggregate permit may apply to the Minister at any time,

  (a)  to have a condition added to the permit, to have a condition of the permit rescinded or varied or to have the permit amended in any other way; or

  (b)  to request the Minister’s written approval of an amendment to the site plan or of a new site plan.

Same

(3)  The holder of an aggregate permit shall prepare and submit an application under subsection (2) in accordance with the regulations and shall pay any prescribed application fee.

No amendments to site plans without approval

(4)  The holder of an aggregate permit shall not amend a site plan or prepare a new site plan without first obtaining the Minister’s written approval.

Amendments

(5)  Despite subsection (4), the holder of an aggregate permit may make such amendments to the site plan as may be prescribed without the approval of the Minister if the amendments are prepared and submitted to the Minister in accordance with the regulations, along with any prescribed fee.

Preparation of site plan amendments

(6)  An amendment to a site plan or a new site plan that is required by the Minister under clause (1) (b) or is approved by the Minister at the permittee’s request under clause (2) (b) shall be prepared by the permittee in accordance with the regulations.

16 Clause 44 (1.1) (a) of the Act is amended by striking out “37.2” and substituting “37.1”.

17 Subsection 66 (1) of the Act is amended by,

  (a)  striking out “provisions of licences and site plans” and substituting “provisions of licenses and permits and site plans”; and

  (b)  striking out “provisions of a licence or site plan” and substituting “provisions of a licence or permit or a site plan”

18 (1)  Subsection 67 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(b.3) defining “below the water table” for the purposes of this Act;

(2)  Subclause 67 (1) (e) (iii) of the Act is amended by striking out “minor”.

(3)  Clause 67 (1) (f.1) of the Act is amended by adding “amendment” after “issuance”.

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