February 2, 2023 - Industry News

Regulatory Corner - February

Canada – Offsetting Policy for Biodiversity

On December 16, 2022, Environment and Climate Change Canada released a draft policy for stakeholder, pubic and Indigenous consultation. The policy would apply to federal regulatory approvals under various legislation listed in the draft policy.  It is unclear whether the policy would apply to federal Fisheries Act approvals. While dam approvals are not mentioned in the draft policy, dam owners will be aware that certain types and locations of dams in Canada may require federal regulatory approval, in addition to standard provincial and territorial approvals. Consultation on the draft policy concludes February 17, 2023.

Information about the policy engagement is available at this link.

Ontario – Modernized Tenure for Hydroelectric Facilities on Provincial Crown Land

On December 2, 2022, the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) and Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Graydon Smith held an event to announce that the OWA and the Province had successfully concluded negotiations on the development of an updated waterpower lease template for hydroelectric facilities located on provincially owned lands.

The previous waterpower lease template dated to 2001 and required updating to reflect modern business needs and the evolving regulatory framework for dams and water management in Ontario.

A copy of the news release is available at this link.

Ontario – Conservation Authorities Act

As part of the Ontario government’s Bill 23 (Schedule 2) measures to implement its 2022/2023 Ontario Housing Supply Action Plan, the government proposed various legislative and regulatory amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act (CAA).  Dam owners in Ontario will know that CAA regulatory approvals are often required for various dam and water management related works.

On November 28, 2022, the proposed CAA amendments contained in Bill 23 received Royal Assent. While a decision notice on these CAA legislative amendments has not yet been posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario by the Province, a summary of the CAA amendments are available at the below web link. While it is not apparent that the amendments will directly affect dam approvals, dam owners are encouraged to work with their local conservation authorities to ensure a mutual understanding of the updated CAA regulatory provisions.

More information is available at this link.