Proposed New Environmental Protection Act Exemption for School Ventilation Systems

December 2016 | Bryan J. Buttigieg

On November 22, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) placed a regulatory proposal on the Environmental Registry (EBR) to make amendments to O. Reg 524/98 (Exemptions from compliance approvals related to point source air emissions) related to, amongst other things, Air Ventilation Systems in Public and Private Schools (primary and secondary). Under present legislation, any system that is a potential emitter of air contaminants and noise requires a Compliance Approval from the MOECC unless it meets a specific exemption. School Air Ventilation systems are caught by this requirement. Because these systems are considered low risk, however, the new system will allow for an exemption from the current  approval and registration requirements.

In order to be eligible for the proposed exemption each facility/activity must meet specific eligibility and operational criteria. If the facility/activity does not meet the criteria, it will be required to register on the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) or obtain an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) from the ministry. Eligible activities must still comply with the Ministry’s air quality regulatory requirements (O.Reg 419/05) but the requirement for an ECA or EASR registration will be removed.

Each school property will need to be evaluated to see if it qualifies for the exemption. Further information will be provided once the regulation is in force.

This proposal has been posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting November 22, 2016. If wish to submit any questions or comments, you must do so by January 06, 2017. You can do so on-line or directly to the contact person listed on the notice.

A link to the EBR notice, which includes contact information, as well as links to the draft regulatory amendments can be found here.

Even if you have no comments, you should be aware of the proposed changes in order to ensure you comply with the exemption requirements once they become law. The alternatives: full registration under the Environmental Protection Act with an Environmental Compliance Approval; EASR registration; or lack of compliance with any system, would be much more costly and time consuming.

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