TRCA Calls for the Immediate Removal of Schedule 6 from Bill 229

December 4, 2020, Toronto, ON – Despite unified warnings from municipalities, AMO, Big City Mayors, Conservation Ontario, conservation authorities, environmental not-for-profit organizations and tens of thousands of concerned residents to remove Schedule 6 from Bill 229 due to the substantial risks introduced through the proposed legislation, the Province is now proceeding to make Schedule 6 even worse through the creation of a new process to bypass conservation authorities’ science-based decision making and force us to issue permits where Minister’s Zoning Orders have been issued by the Province in support of development.

Conservation authorities use science to fulfill our mandate of protecting our communities and conserving natural resources. “Proposing legislation that intentionally increases risk to Ontario residents, properties and public infrastructure by forcing conservation authorities to issue permits where a Minister’s Zoning Order in support of development has been issued by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, goes against the Premier’s own Special Flood Advisor recommendations regarding our role in land use planning and is a shockingly disturbing and an unprecedented move,” said Jennifer Innis, Chair of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).

This legislation, if passed, will create a two-tier system which will allow an applicant to by-pass our well-established watershed policies and science-based regulations that serve to guide decision-making to protect our communities and the natural environment.

Government motions introduced today, if approved, could result in a situation where TRCA’s Board of Directors would be forced to issue a permit in contravention to our mandate of protecting public health safety and conserving natural resources where a Minister’s Zoning Order under the Planning Act has been issued. Also, any conditions to mitigate risk imposed by TRCA could be appealed by the landowner to the Minister directly, or to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, a body with no experience rendering decisions related to conservation authority permits.

“TRCA can not support a new system of approvals that will put at risk the safety of Ontario residents, their property and public infrastructure,” said Jennifer Innis, Chair of TRCA.

As a technical advisor to the Province, TRCA staff worked diligently for the past four weeks to articulate our substantial concerns about the impacts that proposed amendments in Schedule 6 will have regarding conservation authorities’ roles in permitting, planning and enforcement.

These new amendments introduced by the government on permitting would essentially prevent our organization from fulfilling our core mandate of watershed protection through the sound management of natural hazards and natural resources. We drafted pragmatic amendments and presented these at Standing Committee and held additional meetings with the Province to discuss potential solutions to address these areas of concern. While TRCA appreciated some of the changes made on governance and enforcement matters, ultimately, the Province has disregarded substantive requests related to planning and permitting and come back with something worse in these areas.

TRCA is imploring the Province to remove Schedule 6 from the omnibus budget bill, before it is too late.

Media Contact:
Michael Tolensky
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
416-706-9093 |