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Photo by Linda HeronPhoto Credit

ERO-019-7561 & ERO-019-7562 – Proposal to Return Lands to the Greenbelt

In response to the proposal to return lands to the Greenbelt, the ORA offers our strong support for all lands that were removed from the Greenbelt on 14 December 2022 being immediately returned to the Greenbelt, as per the proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan and the Greenbelt Area Boundary Regulation O.Reg 59/05.

ORA also recommends that all lands this government added to the Greenbelt land to compensate for the December 2022 removal of Greenbelt lands remain within the Greenbelt under the protection of the Greenbelt Act, 2005, and Greenbelt Plan.

Once the land is returned to the Greenbelt, it must remain designated as Greenbelt with all the relevant land use restrictions, and any future removal must be made extremely onerous through protective amendments to the appropriate legislation.

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Mill Creek Weir Removal Project

Credit Valley Conservation Aquatic Restoration Team is pleased to announce that the construction phase for Mill Creek Weir Removal project is complete.

The in-stream concrete weir was creating a barrier for fish passage, placing a sensitive population of Brook Trout in Orangeville at risk. Matrix Solutions Inc. created a design to remove the concrete weir and improve the stream’s natural geomorphology by adding a riffle. Through this process, we discovered that private utilities (water & hydro) ran underneath the creek about 5-7m upstream of the weir. They included these utilities into the design as they were only 0.8m below the creek bed and at risk for exposure during erosion processes. We made the decision to lower the utilities below the scour limit (2.5m) in order to protect them after the weir was removed. We hired Cambridge Landscaping and Construction Ltd to complete the construction. Construction was completed within 2 weeks and resulted in: 25m of stream restored, 60 shrubs planted, 1 barrier removed, and reconnected 5km of upstream habitat for brook trout and other fish species.

ORA is pleased to report that we were a funding partner in this Project!


ERO-019-7598 – Proposed Regulatory Amendments to the Build More Mines Act, 2023

“Open-pit Cppper Mine – Mission Complex” by docentjoyce is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Actually, this government does not deserve the trust of its constituents because it has eroded all of our environmental protections and public engagement and consultation in related policy and legislation over the last 5 years. Therefore, when it claims that “the intention is not to fundamentally change the underlying rules but rather to clarify their source and application”, it is unbelievable – no longer credible – trust has been lost.  Especially since this proposal and the entire Build More Mines Act, 2023 was a total gutting of the Mining Act.

While streamlining mining legislation and policies can bring about certain benefits such as increased efficiency and reduced bureaucracy if done correctly; excessive streamlining without adequate safeguards can impact the environment, communities and even the long-term sustainability of the mining industry.  It will also lead to environmental degradation, community displacement and conflicts, social and economic imbalances, and undermine public trust with the lack of transparency and accountability.

To avoid these negative consequences, it is essential to strike a balance between streamlining mining regulations for efficiency and ensuring that there are robust environmental, social and legal safeguards in place. Proper consultation with local communities, adherence to international best practices and strict enforcement of responsible mining standards are crucial for achieving sustainable and responsible mining practices. This is not the case with any of these amendments.

Consequently, ORA rejects this proposal to streamline the Regulation.

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ERO-019-7356 – Development of a Project Evaluation Policy under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act

This government has been systematically removing public consultation opportunities for projects and issues of strong public interest, which goes against the spirit and intent of section 35 of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR).

Provincial parks and conservation areas must not be exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act as there will be no legal requirement to consider:

  1. Potential environmental effects;
  2. Mitigation measures;
  3. Alternative ways of carrying out the undertaking, and
  4. Alternatives to the undertaking.

There is also no decision-making mechanism which considers the environmental advantages/disadvantages of the undertaking.

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Draft State of Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) and Risk Management Scope for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances by ECCC and HC – Supporting

The State of the PFAS report and the Risk Management Scope document were released for public comments during a time when Bill S-5 (Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act) received Royal Assent on June 13, 2023. The updated CEPA includes substantial changes to the listing of toxic substances under Schedule 1 of CEPA. The findings of the State of PFAS concluding PFAS as a class meet more than one criterion under section 64 are expected to be relevant due to the changes in CEPA. A listing of PFAS as a class under CEPA should be made in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of CEPA. Based on the body of evidence collected in the State of the PFAS report demonstrating the ecological toxicity and associated impacts of PFAS as a class to health, it is critical that PFAS as a class be given the full scope of regulatory measures, particularly with a focus on prohibition, that is permitted under CEPA.

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Learn about the extraordinary American Eel!

It’s a lizard, It’s a snake, It’s one of the most unique fishes in the world: the American Eel!

Known for their elongated bodies and short fins, these fish which were once very common in North American waterbodies, are now endangered. This is largely due to the presence of hydroelectric dams, which block their natural migration routes, making them unable to reach their breeding grounds in the ocean.

Learn more about their impressive migrations, extraordinary life cycle, and current conservation efforts through this short video.


Marmora Pumped Storage – Clean Energy Hub Project

This closed-loop pumped storage Project does not seem likely to result in any serious negative impacts to other freshwater bodies, nor methylmercury contamination of fish tissue or greenhouse gas emissions, and it will provide clean backup power during the low-flow periods when small run-of-river hydroelectric facilities are shutting down because of reduced stream flow. Comparing the power output of this peak demand storage Project, and its minimal environmental impacts to the number of rivers it would have taken to generate 400 to 500 MW of power from dozens of small hydropower projects, makes it ORA’s preferred choice over conventional hydroelectric facilities.

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