A quick overview of November 1, 2017 changes to the Contaminated Sites Regulation


Developers will be pleased to learn that there is some relief in the upcoming changes to the Contaminated Sites Regulation.  Here is a high level summary of what is changing (and what is not).

New Categories of Land Uses

Residential land use will now be split into two categories:  High Density and Low Density.

High density includes multi-unit buildings over three stories.  Based on the theory that there is less human contact with soil in high density development, the standards of acceptable levels of contaminants will generally be higher than the current residential standards.  There will, however, be prohibitions on uses such as vegetable gardens.

Low Density Residential standards will be substantially the same as the current Residential standards.

An altogether new category known as “Wildlands Land Use” including “Natural Wildlands Land Use” and  “Reverted Wildlands Land Use will be introduced, which will be helpful in rural areas.

Parkade Vapour Standards

Generally, standards of acceptable levels of contamination will be raised, again providing welcome relief for developers.  The definition of Parkade is what one would expect, but specifically excludes single family garages.

Changes to other standards

With over 800 regulated contaminants, many standards will be raised and many lowered to reflect contemporary science.

Effective Date November 1, 2017

Applications to the Ministry of Environment made before November 1 will be considered under the current standards, while those made after will have the new standards applied.

Protocol 18 – Multi-use Sites

The draft version of this protocol recognizes that there may be multiple land uses on a site. The proposed changes provide more flexibility to an owner as to how to remediate a site, choosing, for example, to remediate the entire site to the most stringent standard applicable, or to different standards according to use.  These changes – and others – are still open for comment.

What has Not Changed

The list of significant aspects of the regulation and legislation which have not change include:

  • Remediation orders
  • Certificate of compliance
  • Site profiles
  • Cost recovery actions