What are Ontario’s biggest obstacles to job creation? According to employers contacting the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, the Ministry of the Environment is usually on their top 5 list. And approvals problems (including delay) are high among them. Approvals reform is just starting to help, though only for routine, low risk activities.
Deputy Minister of the Environment Gail Beggs told the Ontario Environmental Industry Association yesterday that nearly 700 registrations have already been received in Phase I of the new Registry system in the four approved sectors:
- heating systems
- stand-by power
- automotive refinishing.
The system is drawing in many properties that never held an approval for these activities before. Posting for proposed activities has closed and comments are being reviewed for:
- ready-mix concrete manufacturing
- concrete product manufacturing
- lithographic, screen and digital printing
Proposed new activities are posted for comment until May 17: ground-mounted solar panels (10kW to 500 kW), on-farm anaerobic digestion and landfill gas electricity generation. Other sectors likely to follow include pesticide operators, laboratory fume hoods, small generators, cooling towers, remote site services, municipal recycling facilities, and temporary collection of household hazardous waste. Funding for the approvals reform process has been promised for three more years.