Ontario Taking Action to Reuse Soil and Hold Polluters Accountable

Published on May 03, 2019

Proposed Changes Clarify Rules and Remove Barriers for Redevelopment

NIAGARA—Ontario's government is protecting what matters most by safeguarding ground and surface water and preserving human health through proper management of excess soil and strengthened enforcement against environmental violations, including illegal soil dumping. The province's proposed changes will reduce the risk of soil being mismanaged and put vacant lands back to use.

“We are proposing to introduce changes that will make it safer and easier for more excess soil to be reused locally and properly by clarifying rules for managing and transporting excess soil and ensuring healthy soil is not sent to landfills, while penalizing those who dump soil illegally,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “We are also strengthening our enforcement tools by enabling penalties that will effectively remove the economic benefits of breaking environmental laws, such as illegal dumping and modernizing the process to seize vehicle plates to hold polluters accountable.”

“Excess soil is a growing concern for communities, developers and our environment," said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “When improperly managed, excess soil can negatively affect ground water quality, farmland and other sensitive areas. Lack of clarity around the rules has also resulted in sending healthy soil to landfills. Our proposed changes will help ensure better environmental protection and ensure those who don't follow the rules are held responsible."

The proposed changes posted on the Environmental Registry include:

  • Clarifying rules associated with the reuse and management of excess soil to help ensure environmental protection and limit the amount of soil being sent to landfills. This would also reduce soil management costs for industry.
  • Removing unnecessary barriers to redevelop and revitalize vacant lands and put them back to good use, while maintaining human health and environmental protection.
  • Strengthening compliance and enforcement measures against polluters by imposing administrative penalties and modernizing the process to seize vehicle plates for environmental infractions.

Our commitment to managing excess soil is part of the government's Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to protect our air, land and water, prevent and reduce litter and waste, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families increase their resilience to climate change.

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Media Contact:  Crystal Mason   crystal.mason@pc.ola.org