Conservation authorities are governed by the Conservation Authorities Act which is administered by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is responsible for conservation authorities’ activities related to natural hazard management.
The Conservation Authorities Act was originally enacted in 1946, as conservation authorities began to be established, and has undergone amendments since this time.
The CAA stipulates three categories for conservation authority programs and services:
Category 1: Mandatory programs and services (defined in regulation;where municipal levy could be used without any agreement)
Category 2: Municipal programs and services provided at the request of a municipality (with municipal funding through an MOU/agreement)
Category 3: Other programs and services an authority determines are advisable (use of municipal levy requires an MOU/agreement with participating municipalities)
Conservation Ontario is supporting conservation authorities in their work to implement changes to the CAA.
2021 - 2022 Regulatory Proposals Consultation
The Province conducted a two-phase consultation process on the proposed regulations to support the Conservation Authorities Act. The final Phase 1 regulations were released in October 2021. All conservation authorities submitted their Transition Plans to MECP and participating municipalities by December 31, 2021.
The final Phase 2 regulations were released April 22, 2022, including four regulations:
- Budget and Apportionment
- Determing Amounts Owed by Specified Municipalities
- Information Requirements
- Amending Regulation for the Transition Plans regulation re: fees in cost apportioning agreements (Category 3)
A Minister’s List of Classes of Programs and Services for which a CA may charge a fee was also included.
The “Phase 2” proposals are required to implement the legislative changes previously made to the CA Act, including those changes made through Bill 229 Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2021. The Phase 2 proposals are focused on regulatory and policy changes intended to provide direction to CAs as they transition to the new budget framework by January 1, 2024.
Multiple webinars and discussion sessions were hosted by Conservation Ontario (CO) and the MECP to provide an overview of the CA Act Phase 2 proposals and opportunities for discussion.
The Phase 2 regulations focus on ongoing consultation with municipalities on the inventory of programs and services prepared by CAs; negotiations with municipalities regarding municipal and other programs (Category 2 and 3); and, regular reporting to MECP via quarterly progress reports and a final report.
Conservation Ontario’s Submission
- CO ERO Response Letter June 22 – Phase 1 Regulatory Proposals under the Conservation Authorities Act
- Specific Comments on Mandatory Programs and Services Delivered by Conservation Authorities (June 22, 2021 Letter)
- Specific Comments on Community Advisory Boards (June 22, 2021 Letter)
- Specific Comments on Section 29 Minister’s Regulation (June 22, 2021)
- Letter to MECP Minister (June 22, 2021)
- Media Release - Conservation Ontario Suggests Solutions to Important Concerns Around Proposed Changes (June 23, 2021)
- Media Release - Phase 1 Regulations for the Conservation Authorities Act Are Finalized by the Province (October 8, 2021)
- Overview of Conservation Authorities Act Phase 1 Regulations