MPP Dunlop Introduces Bill to End Unnecessary Regulation in the Waterpower Sector

FOR RELEASE                                                                                                                        June 13th, 2019

SIMCOE NORTH- Last week, Simcoe North’s MPP Jill Dunlop tabled her Private Member’s Bill to cut unnecessary and duplicative red tape in the waterpower sector. For decades, hydropower in Ontario has been governed by two separate pieces of legislation, placing redundant burdens on producers. The Ontario Water Resources Amendment Act, presented by MPP Dunlop on June 5th, aligns these two regulations so that our hydropower partners don’t have to wade through endless red tape to reach the same high safety and environmental standards.

There are over two-hundred hydropower facilities in Ontario that, in total, produce a quarter of our province’s electricity supply. These facilities bring in $130 million annually to our province in the form of resource royalties and over $300 million is invested by producers in just maintenance updates. As a renewable source of energy, waterpower represents the backbone of Ontario’s sustainable electricity system.

“For too long, our dam operators and waterpower produces have been strained by redundant regulations that have choked innovation and growth” said MPP Dunlop. “It is time that we eliminate the barriers to their growth and drain the regulatory waste.”

Under the current system, the maintenance, production, and construction of hydropower facilities in Ontario are regulated by both the Ontario Water Resources Amendment Act and the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act. MPP Dunlop’s Bill adds an exception for the taking of water under the Water Resources Act for constructing, altering, improving or repairing a dam if the dam produces electricity and the activity is done in accordance with a Minister’s order under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act.

“This Bill does not end the regulation of waterpower in Ontario,” said MPP Dunlop on June 5th, “but rather ensures that it is regulated once”.

“I want to thank MPP Dunlop for her leadership on this important red tape reduction initiative” said Paul Norris, President of the Ontario Waterpower Association.  “The targeted elimination of unnecessary regulatory overlap and duplication will reduce costs for both industry and government.” Paul’s organization has led the province on this issue for many years and has been integral to this important legislative change.

 “By eliminating onerous barriers to growth and innovation, this Bill allows waterpower operators to lead Ontario to a cleaner, more affordable and more sustainable energy future” MPP Dunlop stated to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. If we are going to lead the country towards a more sustainable tomorrow, we need to support and empower our waterpower partners. The Ontario Water Resources Amendment Act is an important step towards this goal.