The Get It Done Act, 2024: Ontario’s legislature taking steps to expedite expansion of infrastructure and building homes

March 28, 2024 | Noah D. Gordon, Safa Warsi

The Government of Ontario recently proposed modifications to the Environmental Assessment Act[1] (the “EAA”) through Bill 162, Get It Done Act, 2024 aimed at making it faster and easier to build infrastructure in Ontario.

Proposed changes to the EAA

Schedule 1 of Bill 162 proposes to amend section 1 of the EAA by adding the following subsection:

(7) For greater certainty, under this Act, a reference to acquiring property or rights in property is a reference to acquiring the property or rights in property by purchase, lease, expropriation or otherwise. [Emphasis added]

The proposed amendment notably includes “expropriation” as a form of property acquisition under the EAA, signaling to expropriating authorities that they can acquire property for a project through expropriation prior to completing an environmental assessment.

i. Environmental Assessments (EAs)

  • EAs are governed by the EAA.
  • an EA is the provincial planning process for public infrastructure projects in Ontario.
  • the EA process ensures that governments and public bodies, including municipalities, provincial ministries and agencies, consider potential environmental impacts before an infrastructure project begins.
  • EAs require public consultation at multiple stages of the review process. Consultations are held with members of the public, various experts, stakeholders, and Indigenous communities.
  • the EA process can be lengthy and cause delays to the development and building process. According to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, it takes a minimum of 30 weeks to review and make a decision on an individual environmental assessment, with the review taking longer if changes need to be made.[2]

ii. Impact of proposed Bill 162 amendment

  • Acquiring property for a project is already permitted under the EAA before the EA process is completed, however, clarifying to expropriating authorities that expropriation may occur prior to completing the EA process would help accelerate the timeframe for infrastructure projects, like the building of highways or hydro transmission lines.
  • Reducing approval times helps get critical infrastructure built quickly and aids in addressing the pressing needs of the province.

Bill 162 is currently in the Second Reading stage, where it was referred to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Police on March 7, 2024. Miller Thomson will continue to monitor Bill 162 as it makes its way towards Royal Assent and provide key updates as they arise.

Should you have any questions or comments, Miller Thomson LLP’s Municipal, Planning & Land Development and Construction and Infrastructure Groups are happy to discuss these and other forthcoming legislative changes.

[1] Environmental Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.18

[2] See Ontario’s guide to “Preparing environmental assessments”


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