Ontario Trucking Association

Ontario Trucking Association

June 07, 2006 11:21 ET

Ontario Trucking Association Welcomes Changes To EA Process

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 7, 2006) -

Environment Minister Wants Major Infrastructure Projects to Proceed More Quickly

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is applauding the announcement, made yesterday by provincial Environment Minister Laurel Broten, that she intends to change the environmental assessment (EA) process to "enable major infrastructure projects that are well planned environmentally to proceed more quickly," as opposed to what it has become - a mechanism to block important projects.

For the past couple of years, OTA has repeatedly stated that one of the major obstacles impeding much-needed highway and border infrastructure investment is the EA process. According to OTA President David Bradley: "Increasingly over the past couple of decades, the EA process seemed to be less and less about protecting the environment and more and more about protecting property values or other self-interests. We applaud the Minister of the Environment for having the courage to try and restore some balance. Without a change to the process one wonders if we would ever see another major highway or border infrastructure project built in this province.

"Look at the time it is taking to complete the EA process on solving Windsor's transborder traffic woes, or the years of delays in building Highway 407 and the Red Hill Creek Expressway. Can we hope to see construction of the Mid-Peninsula Corridor in our lifetimes? I'd hate to think what we would do if we were ever in a real crisis and had to have infrastructure built immediately," said Bradley, adding he hopes the federal government will also change its EA process.

"It is imperative that the environment be protected and respected, but the EA process should not be held ransom by 'Not in My Backyard' interests," Bradley said.

According to Minister Broten, her proposals (the details of which have yet to be released) will focus on three sectors: energy, waste and transit/transportation, and "will mean a faster yes or no for applicants while completely protecting the environment." The government's proposed changes include: clear, consistent standards and principles so that EAs are complete and correct; improved education and outreach to eliminate confusion and false starts; removing duplicative planning work and guidance; improved government approvals timelines; consolidation of the consultation process; etc.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Trucking Association
    Ingrid Phaneuf
    (416) 249-7401 ext. 245