Conservation Authorities Act
Conservation Authorities Act
Below is information about Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act), associated regulations, and some NVCA documents about the Act and its implementation in our watershed area.
Conservation Authorities Act – Regulations
In October, 2021, the Province of Ontario released Phase 1 regulations designed to implement amendments to the CA Act.
The regulations will now give conservation authorities until January 1, 2024, to complete the transition to a new budgetary framework with their municipalities. These extended timelines will provide sufficient time for conservation authorities to prepare a transition plan, finalize an inventory of programs and services, and enter into Memorandums of Understanding and/or Agreements with their participating municipalities.
The following three new regulations have been made under the CA Act:
Ontario Regulation 686/21: Mandatory Programs and Services:
Ontario Regulation 686/21 prescribes the mandatory programs and services conservation authorities would be required to provide, including core watershed-based resource management strategies.
This regulation requires conservation authority activities be positioned into three categories:
- Category 1: Mandatory programs and services (defined in regulation; where municipal levy could be used without any agreement)
- Category 2: Municipal programs and services provided at the request of a municipality (with municipal funding through an MOU/agreement)
- Category 3: Other programs and services an authority determines are advisable (use of municipal levy requires an MOU/agreement with participating municipalities)
Phase 2 Regulations and Minister's Fee Policy
The Phase 2 Regulations and the Minister’s fee policy, as listed below, were finalized under the CA Act in April 2022:
- Ontario Regulation 402/22: Budget and Apportionment. This regulation details the Conservation Authority (CA) budget process and municipal apportionment methods and requirements and includes revocation of the current regulations that govern levies.
- Ontario Regulation 401/22: Determination of Amounts Under Subsection 27.2 (2) of the Act. This regulation details the methods available to Conservation Authorities to determine amounts owed by their specified municipalities for Conservation Authority programs and services provided in respect of the Clean Water Act, 2006 and Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008.
Minister’s Fee Classes Policy. This policy is a published list of the classes of programs and services for which a Conservation Authority may charge a fee. Conservation authorities (CA) must develop a written fee policy and fee schedule for all chargeable programs and services. Download NVCA’s Fee Policy and Fee Schedules Here.
- Ontario Regulation 400/22: Information Requirements. This regulation increases transparency of Conservation Authority operations by requiring the public posting of prescribed information on a Governance section of a Conservation Authority’s website.
- Ontario Regulation 399/22: Amendment to the Minister’s Transition Plans and Agreements for Programs and Services Under Section 21.1.2 of the Act (Ontario Regulation 687/21). This regulation increases transparency regarding the use of user fees for category 3 programs and services (those that a Conservation Authority determines are advisable to provide in its jurisdiction), where a cost apportioning agreement is in place.
Requirements to increase transparency of conservation authority operations and those related to fees that conservation authorities may charge will be in place by January 1, 2023, while those related to budget and municipal levy apportionment processes will be in place by July 1, 2023, to align timing with conservation authority 2024 budgets.
These regulations and policy are part of the transition process of conservation authorities to the new funding framework and three categories of programs and services that were established by recent amendments to the Act and first phase of regulations, by January 1, 2024.
Conservation authorities must develop a written fee policy and fee schedule for all chargeable programs and services. The policy and fee must include principles and practices regarding fees charged under un-proclaimed provisions of Section 21.2 of the CA Act.
Ontario Regulation 687/21: Transition Plans and Agreements for Programs and Services Under Section 21.1.2 of the Act:
Ontario Regulation 687/21 requires each authority to have a ‘transition plan’ that would outline the steps to be taken to develop an inventory of programs and services and to enter into agreements with participating municipalities to fund non-mandatory programs and services through a municipal levy, among other things. It also establishes the transition period to enter into those agreements.
This document lists all the programs and services the authority is providing as of February 28, 2022, and intends to provide after February 28, 2022.
The current inventory has been developed with financial information from past years’ actuals, current budget and five-year financial forecast. This document provides very brief descriptions.
Download the NVCA’s approved Transition Plan (approved the NVCA’s Board of Directors on November 26, 2021
Ontario Regulation 688/21: Rules of Conduct in Conservation Areas
Ontario Regulation 688/21 consolidates the current individual conservation authority ‘Conservation Area’ regulations made under Section 29 of the CA Act into one Minister’s regulation that regulates the public use of authority owned land.
The Province of Ontario is currently developing the Consultation Guide for Phase 2 regulations: municipal levy and conservation authority budget processes regulation; municipal levy regulation for specified municipalities under the Ontario Clean Water Act, 2006 and Lake Simcoe Protection Act; and classes of programs for which conservation authorities can charge fees. Once posted, there will be a period of time to submit comments to the Province of Ontario on the proposed Phase 2 regulations.
Documents are available in alternate formats upon request.