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e-3766 (Environment)

E-petition
Initiated by Margaret Prophet from Midhurst, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

Whereas:
  • The Bradford Bypass is a 16.2 km, 4 lane highway proposed to connect the 400 and the 404 through the Holland Marsh - Lake Simcoe’s headwaters and a provincially significant wetland in the Greenbelt;
  • The highway will remove significant ecosystems including 9.5 hectares of wetland, 39 hectares of wildlife habitat and 22.1 hectares of high quality woodlands;
  • There are 11 species at risk along the route and recent Ontario regulations weaken the protections for some species along the route (O. Reg. 830/21);
  • Ontario Regulation 697/21 exempts this project from the Environmental Assessment Act and therefore no further study will be done on the impacts to and mediation measures for species at risk, Lake Simcoe, climate and public health;
  • The highway’s EA is from 1997 and predates key provincial acts like Lake Simcoe Protection Act, Greenbelt Act, Clean Water Act and doesn’t consider climate change;
  • The highway will destroy one of Canada's most significant historical sites, the Lower Landing;
  • The highway's EA studies demonstrated elevated levels of benzene and groundwater contamination which impacts drinking water;
  • The highway’s estimated GHG emissions are 84 million kilograms of carbon per year;
  • 7 municipalities and 18,000 people have asked for impact assessments for this highway; and
  • The Government of Canada recently passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act and made global commitments to reduce GHG emissions.
We, the undersigned, residents of the Province of Ontario, call upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to designate the Bradford Bypass project for a full federal impact assessment through the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable STEVEN GUILBEAULT

The Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and its regulations establish the legal framework for federal impact assessments. Under subsection 9(1) of the IAA, the Minister has the authority to designate a project that is not listed in the Physical Activities Regulations if, in his opinion, either the carrying out of the project may cause adverse effects within federal jurisdiction or adverse direct or incidental effects, or public concerns related to those effects warrant the designation.

In May 2021, the former Minister of Environment and Climate Change responded, with reasons, to a request to designate the Bradford Bypass Project (the Project), proposed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (the Proponent), and determined that designation was unwarranted. His response was based on information provided by the province and Indigenous groups; the scientific advice provided by federal expert departments; and the federal, provincial, and municipal regulatory mechanisms in place to manage potential adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction as defined in the IAA.

The Minister’s authority to designate a project is typically exercised under exceptional circumstances where the project has the potential to cause adverse effects in areas of federal jurisdiction and where there are no other regulatory oversight mechanisms to address these effects.

Since November 2021, the Minister and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada received multiple correspondence, including this petition, asking the Minister to reconsider whether the Project warrants designation under the IAA.

Since there has been no material changes to the Project, there is no basis to revisit the former Minister’s determination. 

Open for signature
January 7, 2022, at 9:17 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 6, 2022, at 9:17 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Leah Taylor Roy (Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill)
February 8, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00149)
Government response tabled
March 24, 2022
Photo - Leah Taylor Roy
Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill
Liberal Caucus
Ontario
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