TORONTO – The Ontario Government has introduced legislation that will provide municipal governments with the right to approve new landfill projects.
When the legislative process is complete, impacted communities will have a final say on whether a proposed project can move forward. The legislation provides that municipalities within 3.5 km of a proposed landfill site – whether a host municipality, or a neighbouring municipality – will have the right to approve or reject these projects.
The Demand the Right Coalition of Ontario Municipalities has championed the need for municipalities to have approval rights over landfill projects beginning with the government of Kathleen Wynne in 2017. Since that time, the coalition has grown to over 148 municipalities across Ontario including both urban and rural communities.
Two Private Member’s Bills were introduced by Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman, and in the provincial election in 2018 when then-candidate Doug Ford made an election promise to provide municipalities with landfill approval rights.
“The 148 members of the Demand the Right Coalition wish to express their sincere appreciation to Premier Ford for keeping his election promise and Environment Minister Yurek for his work to develop and introduce this legislation,” said Mayor Ted Comiskey, chair of the province-wide group, and mayor of Ingersoll.
“The Coalition members are especially appreciative for the efforts of Ernie Hardeman who first championed local approval, and then continued to pursue the issue as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Oxford.”
The legislation proposes amendments to Ontario’s Environment Assessment legislation. Once passed, the legislation will affect any new landfill project that has not already received the approval of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP).
“We fought hard to have adjacent municipalities included in the approval process,” said Comiskey.
“This is very important, as the new landfill proposals can have just as much or more impact on an adjacent community as the host community.”
Comiskey said, “All the members of our coalition are anxious to see the legislative process completed as soon as possible. Once set into law, private waste management companies will finally have to respect the wishes of local communities.”
“This does not mean the end of new landfills in Ontario,” Comiskey said. “The legislation creates an even playing field for municipalities and the waste management companies that may want to develop a landfill in or near that community’s jurisdiction.”