August 2018
Backgrounders
Protecting Ontario’s natural resources and biodiversity helps to preserve the economic development, recreation and wellness opportunities provided by the natural environment.

Municipal governments protect the natural environment in a number of ways, including land use planning, water management, and conservation initiatives. In this context, there are a number of ongoing matters related to the natural environment that affect municipalities.

Conservation Authorities Service Delivery
  • AMO will continue to press for a better funding model that reflects that Conservation Authorities’ work largely supports provincial interests.
  • AMO recommends a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between municipal governments and each Conservation Authority to clarify roles and responsibilities, identify mandated functions, and align efforts where a municipality has more than one Conservation Authority.
Aggregate Resources
  • The effects of aggregate operations on water resources, including drinking water sources, are well-known, and must be better monitored.
  • Fees are collected from licensed aggregate operators. Fee levels and distribution formulas should be reconsidered to ensure fees are divided fairly between municipalities. Sharing with non-producing municipalities along haul routes needs to be examined.
  • AMO continues to advocate for a final formula that covers the real costs of hauling aggregate.
Interim Fee Schedule
Image of interim fee schedule chart

Excess Soil Management
  • Soil that has been excavated and cannot or will not be reused onsite and must be moved offsite is called excess soil.
  • Municipal governments support policies that protect human health and the environment from illegal dumping or disposal in landfills of these soils. We support enhancing opportunities for the beneficial reuse of excess soil and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with its movement.
  • AMO is encouraged by revisions to the Excess Soil Management Regulatory Proposal that improve the process, requirements, and administration, however there is ongoing concern regarding monitoring and compliance.
  • The framework also includes an unfunded role for municipalities in hiring Qualified Persons, adding human resources and financial issues for municipal governments.
  • AMO recommends further revisions to allow for a more protective audit process during the initial years of implementation, with a voluntary approach implemented only after the new regime has been running well. To cover the costs of additional municipal responsibilities, it is recommended that an appropriate municipal fee is charged to source site owners.
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Wetlands Policies
  • Municipal governments share the concern about the loss of wetlands, which play a critical role in local ecosystems and protecting lives and property from flooding.
  • AMO has asked for further details on the concept of “no net loss” which proposes that for each acre of wetland developed, an acre of artificial wetland is created. Some municipalities are interested in this approach and some conservation authorities have the resources to implement such an approach. Conversely, in areas where wetlands comprise a significant portion of the land base, achieving no net loss may not be realistic.
Environment Fast Facts