Proposed Changes to the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change ("the Ministry") has implemented an Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) that requires people to register certain activities with the Ministry rather than require them to obtain an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA). The EASR is a public, online system where people engaging in selected activities are required to register the activity and meet operating requirements set out in regulation.

­As part of the Ministry’s ongoing work to implement a risk-based environmental approvals program, additional activities and sectors are being evaluated for their potential inclusion in the EASR. This work involves comprehensive technical analysis and two periods of public consultation to ensure registry activities are developed in a transparent and science-based manner and that the resulting registry rules are protective of the environment.

The Ministry is seeking input on a technical discussion paper as a first step in considering the inclusion of select plant and production processes with air and noise emissions in the EASR. The proposal would require persons engaging in eligible activities that meet specified environmental requirements to register their activities in the EASR rather than apply for a traditional ECA under section 9 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). The key elements of this proposal include:

  • ­A list of sectors, defined by NAICS codes, that have been considered high risk and/or complex and would not be eligible for EASR registration. Sectors and activities which are not specifically excluded from the proposed EASR will be required to register once the mandatory pre-registration assessments have been completed.
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  • The requirement that, prior to registration and prior to making any process or facility modifications, assessments of any air, noise or odour emissions be prepared, reviewed, and confirmed by a licenced engineer following ministry guidance and meeting required environmental guidelines and standards.

  • Additional requirements including: operation and maintenance, complaints recording and reporting, record keeping and updating requirements.

  • Exclusions from section 9 of the EPA for certain activities and specific facilities including: primary and secondary schools as well as standard systems and equipment, such as dust collection systems, heating and ventilation systems that are typically found in multi-tenant residential, retail or commercial facilities.

  • The development of new technical guidance to ensure that Ministry expectations are clear and are adhered to (e.g. Odour Policy Framework).

  • The development of a risk-based compliance and audit process utilizing existing tools to promote, assess, enforce and manage compliance-related matters.

  • Increased public transparency through the requirement that information from the technical assessments (e.g. Emission Summary Table) be made available online.

  • ­Implementation of the new EASR regulation will help the ministry improve service standards for the environmental approvals process and give certainty for businesses as they plan for investments to upgrade their facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the cap and trade program.

In brief, the attached technical discussion paper:

  • ­ summarizes the rationale for moving specific plant and production processes from the ECA process under the EPA to the self-registration process on the EASR;

  • ­ outlines the eligibility and operating requirements associated with EASR registration; and

  • ­ proposes exclusions for certain activities/equipment from section 9 of the Environmental Protection Act.