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Class Environmental Assessment

For Remedial Flood and Erosion Control projects

The Need for Flood and Erosion Control

Under natural conditions, all lands along watercourses and shorelines are subject to periodic flooding. Bank/bluff instability and erosion (collectively referred to as "erosion" problems) along watercourses and shorelines also occur due to natural causes. Land use practices have tended to aggravate flood and erosion problems. These practices include deforestation, agricultural land clearing, urbanization, and the filling and draining of wetlands.

Flooding and bank instability/erosion can result in the following critical problems:

  • Risk to human life;
  • Property damage; and,
  • Damage or disruption of various corridors including roads, highways, bridges, pipelines, storm and sanitary sewers, telephone and hydro lines, etc.

The potential risk to public safety associated with flood and bank instability/erosion is a fundamental concern of Conservation Authorities (CAs). CAs also recognize that flooding and erosion can cause further problems such as:

  • Sedimentation of watercourses and coastal wetland areas;
  • Degradation of aquatic habitats, such as fish spawning grounds;
  • Loss of fertile soil, and the destruction of terrestrial vegetation and associated habitat resources;
  • Loss of natural shoreline protective features such as beaches, berms and dunes;
  • Imbalances in natural processes which provide aquatic and terrestrial habitat;
  • Personal hardship and severe social disruption; and,
  • Loss of cultural features such as bridges, mills, and houses.

To prevent and control flooding and erosion CA carry out remedial projects such as preventing the entry of floodwater to a specific site and stabilizing channel slopes.

Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects

The Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects (Class EA) establishes a planning and approval process for a variety of remedial flood and erosion control projects that may be carried out by CAs. The most current Class EA was approved on June 10, 2013. This Class EA amended the 2002 Class EA document that was approved through a provincial Order in Council (O.C. 1381/2002), which updated a Class EA process approved in 1993.

The Class EA sets out procedures and environmental planning principles for CAs to follow to plan, design, evaluate, implement and monitor a remedial flood and erosion control project so that environmental effects are considered as required under the Environmental Assessment Act. This Class EA allows CAs to undertake these projects without applying for formal approval under the Environmental Assessment Act, on the condition that the planning and design process outlined in the Class EA is followed and that all other necessary federal and provincial approvals are obtained.

Five Year Review Report

As part of monitoring and reporting conditions for approval of the Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects, Conservation Ontario must submit a Five Year Review Report to monitor the effectiveness of the Class EA process and to ensure the Class EA remains current and relevant. The Five Year Review Reports are prepared in a format which are similar to and combines with the Annual Effectiveness Monitoring Report in every fifth year. The next Five Year Review Report (2017-2021) is due to the Province by the end of January 2022.

The Five Year Review Report (2012-2016) included several proposed amendments to the 2002 Class EA (Amended June 2013). The majority of the proposed amendments focused on bringing the Class EA into compliance with MOECC’s “Code of Practice: Preparing, Reviewing and Using Class Environmental Assessments in Ontario” (January 2014) and “Guide: Consideration of Climate Change in Environmental Assessment in Ontario” (August 2016, draft). Other revisions included editorial changes such as updating federal and provincial agency names, formatting changes (e.g., margins, font size, spacing, bullets) to improve consistency and clarity throughout the document, updating figure names, and only italicizing a glossary term’s first appearance instead of throughout the document. The proposed amendments were submitted on January 31, 2017 to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for review.

Annual Effectiveness Monitoring Report

The Annual Effectiveness Monitoring Report for the Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects (Class EA) fulfills Conservation Ontario’s requirement to monitor the effectiveness of the Class EA process to ensure it provides for sound environmental planning and remains current and relevant. The Annual Report addresses projects initiated, planned, and/or implemented during that year.

2013 Amended Class EA Approval Document

In July 2013 the Minister of the Environment approved amendments to Conservation Ontario's (Class EA) that were proposed as part of its five year review process to ensure that the Class EA remains current and relevant. The amendments were all minor in nature and do not present any changes to the Class EA process. The updated Class EA approval document can be downloaded here.