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Finalized Excess Soils-Related Regulatory Amendments: Extending Grandfathering and Providing Additional Flexibility for Excess Soil Reuse

December 23, 2020

Ontario has finalized amendments to the On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation (O. Reg. 406/19), the Record of Site Condition Regulation (O. Reg. 153/04), and the General Waste Management Regulation (Reg. 347), all under the Environmental Protection Act.   

As committed to in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, we are making it safer and easier for industry to reuse more excess soil locally. O. Reg. 406/19 was made in December 2019 and implementation will begin on January 1, 2021. 

In response to delays to infrastructure and development projects as the result of COVID-19, and to provide more flexibly while protecting human health and the environment, we have now finalized amendments to the Excess Soil Regulation and other regulations. 

Some of the finalized changes related to excess soil include: 

  • extending the date by which construction projects are exempt from soil planning reuse requirements by one year, from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022, to ensure projects close to commencing construction but delayed due to COVID-19 can proceed as quickly as possible;  
  • recognizing assessments and geotechnical studies completed for a project before January 1, 2022, as acceptable to inform those projects under O. Reg. 406/19; this ensures these studies do not have to be repeated; 
  • replacing waste-related Environmental Compliance Approvals with standard rules for low-risk activities, which applies to operations processing excess soil for resale as a garden product and operations managing clean soils for residential development projects;  
  • providing added flexibility to the Rules for Soil Management and Excess Soil Standards (Soil Management Rules), including rules for soil storage and reuse of soil impacted by salt; and 
  • confirming that the registry operated by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) will be used for filing notices under O. Reg. 406/19. 

Ontario has also finalized an amendment to O. Reg. 153/04 exempting temporary health and residential facilities from the need for a record of site condition (RSC) if it is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects.

The finalized changes will reduce construction costs associated with managing and transporting excess soil, limiting the amount of soil being sent to landfill and lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the sector, while continuing to ensure strong protection of human health and the environment. 

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) will continue to work collaboratively with stakeholders and Indigenous communities on implementation of these amendments and O. Reg. 406/19 in general, including to facilitate development of supportive programs together with industry and other partners.

For more information and to view finalized regulatory amendments and associated technical documents, please visit ERO (# 019-2462).  For additional information on the current regulations and associated materials, including educational materials to support regulatory implementation, please also see MECP’s Excess Soils and Brownfields web-pages. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the finalized amendments, please contact Laura Blease, Senior Policy Advisor, Environmental Policy Branch at