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With gradual reopening of economy, provinces begin to reinstate suspended environmental requirements

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 6/26/2020 1:07:00 PM

Alberta and Ontario have both begun to reinstate environmental protection measures that were suspended in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The temporary reporting relief provided through Environment and Parks allowed industry time to ensure the health and safety of staff and the communities in which they work. Now that the public health emergency is no longer in effect and Alberta is reopening as part of our phase two relaunch, industry can resume business while keeping communities and employees safe,” said Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon in a statement.

Alberta’s state of public health emergency formally came to an end on June 15, 2020.

Alberta has issued Ministerial Order 32/2020 rescinding the suspension of a range of environmental reporting requirements, effective July 15, 2020. All documentation related to Water Act approvals and licences, reports for public land rentals, and reports related to Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act authorizations that were collected after the suspension must be submitted.

A separate Ministerial Order 328/2020, effective July 15, 2020, reinstates reporting under the Coal Conservation Act, the Oil and Gas Conservation Act and the Oil Sands Conservation Act.

The Alberta Energy Regulator has followed suit, reinstating reporting in the energy industry as well as specific monitoring and reporting requirements under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Water Act, and Public Lands Act.

In Ontario, government ministries are once more required to post proposals for Acts, regulations, policies and instruments on the Environmental Registry of Ontario and to consider the ministry’s Statements of Environmental Values when making decisions that affect the environment. Those requirements had been suspended by O. Reg. 115/20 since April 1, 2020. O. Reg. 115/20 has been revoked, effective June 15, 2020.

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