Minister Yurek Signals Sustained Red Tape Reduction Efforts
October 22, 2019 – Niagara on the Lake – The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) is extremely pleased with the provincial government’s continued focus on eliminating unnecessary regulatory burden and costs in the waterpower industry, as clearly articulated by the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in his opening keynote at this year’s Power of Water Canada Technical Conference. Minister Yurek highlighted the direct correlation between Red Tape Reduction and increasing Ontario’s energy and economic competitiveness.
“I strongly commend this government’s leadership in cutting through the complex web of regulatory overlap and duplication for our industry,” said Paul Norris, OWA President. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Ministry to improve investment opportunities while maintaining our commitment to environmental responsibility.”
In his remarks, Minister Yurek specifically recognized the longstanding issues and inefficiencies resulting from the unnecessary application of the Ontario Water Resources Act to waterpower facilities. The Minister also spoke about the Ministry’s efforts to continue to move forward on the implementation of overall improvements to the Environmental Assessment regime, including streamlining waterpower projects where infrastructure already exists.
“We are developing sensible, practical solutions to modernize Ontario’s environmental assessment processes to better serve the people of Ontario now and into the future,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “We are working with the Ontario Waterpower Association to reduce delays on projects that matter most to Ontario communities and businesses by ensuring that the Class environmental assessment process is as efficient as possible while ensuring strong environmental protections.”
“Our industry is expected to invest more than $1.2 Billion in existing Ontario waterpower assets over the next five (5) years,” added Norris. “These red tape reduction measures will both boost investor confidence and ensure that more investment is made in projects than in process.”
There are 224 waterpower facilities across the province responsible for one quarter of Ontario’s electricity supply – 35 of these facilities have been in production for over a century. Waterpower provides some of the lowest cost and most reliable electricity in the province. Ontario needs additional electricity capacity as early as 2022 to address the planned retirement of nuclear facilities.