Managing Ontario’s Aggregate
Melancthon Mega Quarry
Proposed by The
Today’s aggregate resource management
policies evolved from the following legislation:
1971 - Pits and Quarries Control Act
1982 - Aggregate Resources Planning
1986 - Mineral Aggregate Resources
1990 - Aggregate Resources Act
policy in Ontario has evolved over time
from a system in which municipalities had a substantial amount of control over
the siting and regulation of aggregate extraction, to
a primarily province-led system.
Ontario’s aggregate industry
first came under significant regulation during the 1950s. Growth in economic
activity and the resulting demand for aggregates, combined with the movement of
populations into the urban fringe, led to increased impacts on local
communities. By the late 1960s, there was increasing conflict between the
aggregate industry and municipalities and substantial levels of aggregate
production taking place.
the 1970s, the Planning Act enabled municipalities to establish by-laws to
prevent the opening of new pits and quarries. This changed in 1971 with the
introduction of the Pits and Quarries
Control Act, which came about in response to a request by the aggregate
industry that Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) review aggregates issues in
Pits and Quarries Control Act established a licensing system for aggregate
extraction operations, to be administered by MNR, which applied to important
production areas in Southern
Sault St. Marie and Sudbury. However, this Act was viewed as insufficient
to address the problems associated with the aggregates industry, and concerns
were raised about the lack of strong regulations or site plan requirements, and
planning for aggregates became increasingly formal in the early 1980s with the
cabinet approval of the Aggregate
Resources Planning Policy in 1982.
1986 the provincial government introduced the Mineral Aggregate Resources Policy Statement (MARPS). This policy statement
was made under Ontario’s Planning Act, and was
a precursor to the Provincial Policy Statement. The MARPS was a key development in
the movement towards an explicit close-to-market management strategy for
aggregate resources in the province.
MARPS declared aggregate
resources to be a matter of provincial interest and included the provision to
preserve as much of the aggregate resource occurring in the municipality as is
realistically possible. The Commission on Planning Development and Reform,
established in the early 1990s, recommended in its final report, New Planning
for Ontario, that this provision of
the MARPS be maintained in future
incarnations of provincial planning policy.
recommendations of the Commission on Planning Development and Reform were
implemented as the Comprehensive Set of Policy Statements, which formed the
basis of the current Provincial
Policy Statement. The general planning principles for aggregates first
established in MARPS have continued through to the most
recent edition of Ontario’s Provincial Policy
Aggregate Resources Act
Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) replaced the Pits and
Quarries Control Act in 1990 and added more stringent requirements for aggregate
licences including more detailed requirements for site planning, as well as
broader geographic coverage that was not previously a
part of the Pits and Quarries Control Act.
ARA governs the management
of the aggregate resources of Ontario. The Act controls and
regulates aggregate operations located on Crown and private lands through a
system of licences and permits. Pits and quarries located on private lands are
regulated through the issuance of licences. Pits and quarries located on crown
lands are regulated through the issuance of permits. Temporary “wayside” permits may also be
issued to provide aggregates for specific development projects. The ARA also includes
requirements for the rehabilitation of land from which aggregate has been excavated.
One of the purposes of the ARA is to minimize adverse
impact of aggregate operations on the environment.
1997, standard criteria were introduced for licence,
aggregate permit and wayside permit applications. The Aggregate Resources of Ontario Provincial Standards (AROPS)
establish the specific conditions and operational standards that an aggregate
extraction operation must follow. However, the standards have been criticized
for not establishing tests that producers must meet prior to the approval of a
new operation or the expansion of an existing operation.
addition to the provincial standards, MNR has developed the Aggregate Resources Program Policies and
Internal Procedures Manual to guide implementation of the ARA. The manual predates the
Provincial Standards but was updated in 2006 to reflect the AROPS, provide
additional details on how to interpret the standards in practice and reflect
MNR experience with the standards since 1997.
purposes of the Aggregate Resources Act are to provide guidelines for the
management of aggregate resources in Ontario, to regulate aggregate
operations on Crown and private lands, to require rehabilitation of land from
which aggregate has been excavated and to minimize the adverse environmental
impact of aggregate operations.
Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for the administration of this Act
and in doing so, the Minister may initiate studies and
research related to the aggregate industry including environmental and social
an overview of the application process click here.
person may apply to the Minister for a licence to remove aggregate from privately
owned land that is zoned to allow for aggregate extraction.
‘A’ licence allows for removal of more than 20,000 tonnes of aggregate annually
from a pit or quarry
‘B’ licence allows for the removal of 20,000 tonnes or less
licence applicant may be required to furnish additional information in such
form and manner as is considered necessary by the Minister,
and until the information is furnished, further consideration of the
application may be refused.
application for a licence shall include a site plan and reports in accordance
with the Regulations. These may include
reports on planning and land use considerations, quality and quantity of
aggregate on site, haulage routes and truck traffic. An applicant must also furnish information
satisfactory to the Minister describing the zoning by-laws applicable to the
site and adjacent lands.
the application is submitted, the applicant must abide by the prescribed
notification and consultation process which, amongst other things, requires
that they hold an information session for the public, provide written notice of
the application to adjacent landowners, advertise the application in the local
newspaper and post a sign on the property indicating that a licence application
has been submitted for the site.
this 45 day notification period, any member of the public may object or comment
on the application, and if they file a written objection with the applicant and
the Ministry of Natural Resources within this time, the applicant must attempt
to resolve the objections.
the Environmental Bill of Rights, the MNR is required to publish new licence
applications on the environmental registry for a minimum of 30 days which
provides an alternate forum for public or municipal comment or objection.
the completion of the notification and consultation period, the applicant is
required to submit
to the Ministry a summary of all of the objections, how the applicant attempted
to resolve the objections, and whether there are any objections that they were
not able to resolve.
there are unresolved objections, the Minister may refer the application to the
Ontario Municipal Board for a hearing.
Objectors have an opportunity to attend the hearing and raise their
concerns before the Board.
OMB may then direct the Minister to issue or refuse the licence. If no hearing is required, the Minister will
determine whether or not to issue or refuse the licence.
both cases, consideration for issuance or refusal shall have regard to:
the effect of the operation of the pit or quarry on
the effect of the operation of the pit or quarry on
any comments provided by a municipality in which the
site is located
the suitability of the progressive rehabilitation and
final rehabilitation plans for the site
any possible effects on ground and surface water
any possible effects of the operation of the pit or
quarry on agricultural resources
any planning and land use considerations
the main haulage routes and proposed truck traffic to
and from the site
quality and quantity of the aggregate on the site
the applicant’s history of compliance with the Act and
the regulations, if a licence or permit has previously been issued to the
such other matters as are considered appropriate
the Minister refuses to issue the licence, the applicants may appeal to the
the ARA, the owner of a Class
‘A’ licence is required to pay an annual fee of 11.5 cents per tonne of
extracted aggregate. (According to In
the Hills Magazine the UK charges $3.22 per
In the case of the proposed Mega
Quarry, the fee breakdown would be as follows:
12/23 goes to Melancthon
3/23 goes to Dufferin County
1/23 goes to the Aggregate Resources
Trust (this money is used to rehabilitate abandoned quarries and is also used
7/23 goes to the Crown
Other Provincial & Federal
Legislation Affecting Aggregate Extraction
when all requirements are met under the Aggregate Resources Act, the licence
applicant may still be required to obtain approvals under other legislation,
both Provincial and Federal. This holds
true throughout the application process as well as throughout the duration of
the quarry or pit operation.
legislation includes Conservation Authorities Act, Endangered Species Act,
Environmental Assessment Act, Environmental Bill of Rights, Environmental
Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act, Occupational Health & Safety
Act, Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act and the Planning
legislation includes the Fisheries Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act and
Species at Risk Act.
March 22, 2012 the provincial government
announced that it would be undertaking a review of the ARA in accord with their
election promise. Michael Gravelle (Minister of Natural Resources) announced that
“the Standing Committee on General Government review the Aggregate Resources
Act and report to the House its observations and recommendations with respect
to strengthening the Act. In developing such recommendations, the Committee's
focus shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas: The Act's
consultation process; How siting,
operations, and rehabilitation are addressed in the Act; Best practices and new
developments in the industry; Fees / Royalties; and, Aggregate resource
development and protection, including conservation / recycling.”
presentation to Committee (Orangeville 27-Jun-2012)
NDACT/Cosack presentation to Committee (Orangeville 27-Jun-2012)
Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) presentation to Committee (Toronto 9-May-2012?)
Cement Association of Canada presentation (Toronto 9-May-2012?)
Escarpment Commission letter (17-Jul-2012)
Committee on General Government Link – watch this site for the upcoming
agenda and referrals for the ARA
1. Toronto (7-May-2012) - first hearing with
presentations from Gordon Miller, ECO and MNR. Link: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/committee-proceedings/committee_transcripts_details.do;jsessionid=c72d607830d6f56a4d537bb746398f239c67ed035e06.e3eQbNaNa3eRe38Tbx8MaN8Pe6fznA5Pp7ftolbGmkTy?locale=en&Date=2012-05-07&ParlCommID=8958&BillID=&Business=Aggregate+Resources+Act+review&DocumentID=26292
2. Toronto (9-May-2012) - second hearing with
presentations from aggregate industry representatives including OSSGA, St.
Mary's and Holcim.
3. Toronto (14-May-2012) - third hearing with
presentations from various groups including Gravel Watch, C Wigle,
Townships, etc. for a total of 16 presentations over 4 hours. Link:
4. Toronto (16-May-2012) - fourth hearing with
8 presentations including Lafarge, SERA, OFA, and ending with
Carl Cosack of NDACT. Link:
5. Orangeville (27-Jun-2012) – 18 presentations with one
6. Kitchener-Waterloo (9-Jul-2012) – 18 mixed presentations:
7. Ottawa (16-Jul-2012) - 5 presentations with all
aggregate representatives and the local Federation of Agriculture:
8. Sudbury (18-Jul-2012) – 6 presentations with all
Status/Participate in the Committee Link
has come to stop developing aggregate resources at the expense of all else.
Ontario's Aggregate Resources
Act (ARA) is based on 40-year old
values. The ARA allows pits/quarries to
be dug anywhere including environmentally protected land; it bypasses the
environmental assessment process; it does not require that proof of need of the
aggregate be established; it requires that pits/quarries be dug "close to
market" which undermines recycling efforts; it does not take farmland,
source water or people's health protection into account. The ARA and its underlying
policies must be updated. What worked in
the 1970s does not necessarily work today.
We need to be diligent and make sure that the ARA review takes today’s
values and environmental standards into account. We need to recycle and preserve this
finite product. We need to protect our
prime farmland, food security, water resources and at-risk species. We may have to pay more money for aggregate
but we will have to pay either way. The
decisions we make today will have a tremendous impact on the lifestyles of
future generations. Stay in touch with
your MPP. Keep sending those cards and
letters to the provincial Minister
of Natural Resources and the Minister
of the Environment as well as the Premier.
Stay informed. Don’t let others
make these very crucial decisions for your children.
for Changes to ARA as compiled by D. Baylis
your local Ministers
Overview - proposed mega-quarry
Return to www.facebook.com/friends.of.ndact
and Water First back from the brink
working to change aggregate act
Editorial: Take action to protect farmland
Green Party of Ontario
Letter: Time to complete review
of Aggregate Resources Act
Mike Schreiner, Leader
and water last?
review was effectively cancelled once government was prorogued. Now that Kathleen Wynne has been named
Premier, cabinet has been shuffled and it is business as usual at Queen’s
Park, it is time to demand that the ARA Review be finished.
public aspects of the ARA Review hearing are
complete. Now we wait for the Standing
Committee on General Government’s report.
It doesn’t hurt however to continue to send your comments to your MPP
and the Premier and let them know how fresh food and clean water must be
prioritized ahead of aggregate. We
need aggregate, but we need food and water first.
a Voice! Don’t let anyone else make
decisions for You and Your Kids.