Environmental Assessments

The Ontario government has committed to undertaking an Environmental Assessment (EA) for site servicing upgrades and design/development of the public realm.

Illustration of magnifying glass with lake

Key objectives include:

  • Consider potential environmental, cultural, and socio-economic impacts of the project during the design phase and develop measures to mitigate or avoid these impacts.
  • Identify positive impacts and benefits of the project.
What is an environmental assessment?

EAs are the framework that government uses to collect, consolidate and consider information about projects to ensure that impacts are identified and addressed, and the most appropriate concept(s) are selected, before the project commences. EAs help us see the relationship between a project and its environment in a holistic and informed manner. Environment is broadly defined to include the natural (air, land, water, plant and animal life), socio-economic, cultural and built environments. The EA process also requires consultation with the public, Indigenous communities, and government agencies.

Class EAs are approved, streamlined approaches that may be used to meet EA obligations that apply to common classes or groups of activities.

To learn more about the EA process, visit the ontario.ca website.

How does an Environmental Assessment apply to this project?

The Public Work Class EA focuses on realty and infrastructure projects and describes a variety of projects in each of three groups or categories (A, B, and C).  

Streamlined procedures for these categories of projects vary from requiring no assessment or documentation for Category A projects (exempt), to rigorous evaluation of environmental effects and a detailed Environmental Study Reports (ESR) for Category C projects. Public consultation is an essential element when planning Category B and C projects.  

For the Ontario Place redevelopment, we have determined that:

  • Redevelopment activities, including site preparations, will be considered under the Category C process. This process includes a review and evaluation of design concepts for the site (known as alternatives in the legislation) and mandatory public engagement at key milestones.  The final outcome of this process is the selection of a preferred design, supported by an ESR that captures, in full transparency, documentation of the evaluation process, engagement and consultation activities, how concepts were considered, and mitigation and monitoring measures. The ESR and summary of consultations will be posted on this project website for public review once available. IO has retained CH2M Hill Canada Inc. (Jacobs) to undertake this work. Follow the Updates page for opportunities to get involved and learn more about the Category C process for the Ontario Place redevelopment project. 
  • Site Servicing activities that are needed at Ontario Place are consistent with the Category B process.  A screening-style assessment with targeted consultations is used to assess Category B projects.  
  • Maintenance and repair activities are consistent with the Category A process. These activities are exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act and do not require further assessment under the Public Work Class EA process.
Current status of the Environmental Assessment

Site Servicing activities to upgrade the existing infrastructure, such as stormwater management, water, electrical and gas services, at Ontario Place are consistent with the Category B process.  The Category B EA for site servicing was completed in July 2022. The Consultation and Documentation Report summarizes the project and the EA process. This report is available as a reference document in the Document Library. 

Redevelopment activities, including site preparations, will be considered under the Category C process. The Category C Class EA for the redevelopment was launched on March 16, 2022, and is in progress. Download a copy of the Notice of Commencement (PDF) and learn more about how you can get involved.

The first virtual public consultation event took place in April 2022 to seek input, ideas, and feedback related to the public realm at Ontario Place. A Virtual Public Engagement Room (VPER) was also launched to introduce the Class EA process, share key information and gather feedback about current site conditions, opportunities, and constraints. It also provided an opportunity to gather more public feedback on the future public spaces and parkland (public realm) at Ontario Place. Although the comment period is now closed, the VPER and its content can be viewed here.

As part of the Ontario Place redevelopment and EA process, we are hosting a second virtual public engagement event on Thursday, October 27, 2022, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. At this event, we will gather public feedback on the proposed public realm design concepts in small breakout groups. The event will be hosted on Zoom, and you can register for the event here. On October 25, 2022, a VPER will also launch to share information on the public realm design concepts and evaluation criteria and gather feedback until November 18, 2022. The VPER can be viewed here.