Certificates of Approval in Ontario

Certificates of Approval (C of A) are not new; they actually date back to the 1970s and 1980s. But now C of A is in the lexicon of all environmental professionals in Ontario. Perhaps the turning point came in 1993 with the passage of the Environmental Bill of Rights when residents became more engaged in the environmental process.

Regardless of the history, the reality is that C of A are not the exception, they are the rule.  Essentially, if you discharge (or will discharge), emit, or dispose to the environment, you will likely need a permit or C of A to do so.  And because there is more general awareness and there is more participation by stakeholders in the process, there can be more delays and more chance for litigation.

To avoid putting you or your company in an unenviable position with the regulators and with the community, consider these points:

• If you are going to discharge, you will likely need a C of A
• If you alter your process or equipment, your C of A must reflect this
• Document compliance with the terms of the C of A
• If you take more than 50,000 litres/day of water, you may need a permit to take water (Water Taking & Transfer Regulation)
• A “comprehensive” C of A may be an appropriate choice, but you need to demonstrate ongoing compliance
• To minimize delays in obtaining a C of A, plan ahead and make sure your application is complete

Like almost all environmental issues, there are both technical and legal issues for businesses to consider. To this end, it is always a good idea to have capable technical and legal representation – they are distinct.

If you have any questions or require assistance with an environmental issue, please contact Clifford Lawton (clawton@dragun.com) or Christopher Paré, P.Geo. (cpare@dragun.com) at 519.979.7300

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