NPCA white logo in blue background surrounded by blush green trees
NPCA white logo in blue background surrounded by blush green trees

11.10.2020

NPCA’S PRELIMINARY RESPONSE TO PROPOSED CHANGES TO CONSERVATION AUTHORITY ACT

On Thursday, Nov. 5, the Province of Ontario released Bill 229, an omnibus bill of the provincial budget which included updates to the Conservation Authority Act (CA Act). The CA Act has been under review by the Province since April 2019.

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) through Conservation Ontario (CO), the association that represents all 36 conservation authorities, has been working diligently with the Province since the beginning of the review process. One of the goals throughout the CA Act review was to maintain the conservation authorities’ watershed-based approach to protecting people from natural hazards and ensuring the conservation of Ontario’s natural resources.

Over the past two years, NPCA has also invested significant time and resources to successfully deliver on the Auditor General of Ontario’s Special Audit, specifically related to strengthening NPCA’s Planning and Enforcement functions as well as Governance related matters.

The proposed amendments in Bill 229 impact areas of governance, mandate, and permitting/enforcement responsibilities under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act. Consequential amendments to the Planning Act impact conservation authorities’ role in land use planning.

The NPCA is working closely with Conservation Ontario, the Province of Ontario, municipal partners, and other conservation authorities, to determine what these changes will mean for conservation authorities in general and specifically for the Niagara Peninsula watersheds. The NPCA is also closely reviewing how these changes may impact our ability to deliver on the Auditor General recommendations. The NPCA is hopeful that through a collaborative approach, we will be able to work with the Ministry to address our concerns regarding any potential limitations in our ability to protect, restore, and enhance our watersheds. We need to be able to deliver on our hazard management role, not only to protect the health and safety of communities, but to provide much needed greenspace to our residents. 

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Conservation Ontario, and members from all 36 conservation authorities met virtually on Nov. 9 to discuss the proposed changes and next steps in the process. While there were informative discussions, there remains a need for more collaboration on the proposed changes.

For more information on the changes to the CA Act, click HERE. Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover can be found at https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/contents.html.

Within this budget, the Province of Ontario has recommended amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act under Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020. https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-229