Municipal Class Environmental Assessment
Glossary of Terms

Definitions and explanations of the following are provided herein only within the context of their meaning in this Class EA.

Alternative Solutions
Alternative Design
Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA)
Communal Facilities
EA Act
Environmental Study Report (ESR)
Exempt Activity
Existing Municipal Well Site
Existing Sewage or Water System
Existing Rated Capacity
Existing Rated Yield
Existing Road
Federal Authority
Grade Separation
High Occupancy Vehicle
Individual Environmental Assessment
Intermittent Water Courses
Linear Paved Facilities
Localized Operational Improvement
Master Plan
Minimum Municipal Standard - Culvert
Minimum Municipal Standard - Road Surface
Minister / Ministry
Municipal Transit
Net Environmental Effects
New Sewage Or Water System
New Road
Part II Order (formerly called "Bump-up")
Planning Act
Provincial Highway
Published Notice
Responsible Authority (RA)
Review Agencies
Road Allowance
Road Capacity
Road Widening
Same Purpose, Use, Capacity and Location
Same Purpose, Use and Location (Transit Projects)
Secondary Plan
Sewage (Wastewater)
Sewage Collection System
Stormwater Management
Stormwater Management Plan
The Act
Undertaking (also see "Proponent")
Utility Corridor
Watercourse Crossing
Water Distribution System

Note: Definitions for "Municipal Transit" and key transit terms are provided in Sections D.1.2 and D.1.3 respectively.

Definitions of natural and cultural heritage features should be obtained from Municipal Official Plans, Conservation Authority, Provincial Policy Statements, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS: Means feasible alternative ways of solving an identified problem (deficiency) or addressing an opportunity, from which a preferred solution is selected." Note: alternative solutions include the "Do Nothing" alternative.
ALTERNATIVE DESIGN: Means alternative ways of designing or carrying out the preferred solution.
BRIDGE: Means a structure that provides a roadway or walkway for the passage of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists across an obstruction, gap or facility and that is greater than 3 m in span." (CSA-S6-00)
CEAA: Means the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
CLASS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (CLASS EA): Means a planning process, approved under the EA Act for a class or group of undertakings." Projects included in the Class EA may be implemented without further approval under the EA Act provided the approved Class EA planning process is followed.
COMMUNAL SEWAGE SYSTEM: Means facilities requiring approval under Section 53 of the Ontario Water Resources Act. Shared facilities for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage using subsurface effluent disposal. They are physically separate from and not connected to full municipal services. They are generally small to moderate size and are often constructed by a private developer for residential purposes (including seasonal) but may also be for institutional, commercial or industrial uses.

(Applies to Road Project Schedules - see Appendix 1)

Means the most up-to-date estimate prepared by the proponent of the cost of a project, and which has been accepted by the proponent as the basis on which the project is to proceed. The estimate shall not include costs for:

(i) acquisition of land

(ii) feasibility studies and engineering design for the project

(iii) operation of the project.

The estimate shall include the capital costs of all components of a project required to solve the problem. If separate components of a project are independent of each other (i.e. are solving separate problems) but are being constructed together as a single project for purposes of cost effectiveness or efficiency (e.g. a defective watermain replaced while a road is being reconstructed), then the costs shall be considered to be separate.

CULVERT: Means a structure that forms an opening through soil." (CSA-S6-00)
EA ACT: Means the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.
ENVIRONMENT: "Environment", as defined in the EA Act, means:

a) air, land or water,
b) plant and animal life, including human life
c) the social, economic and cultural conditions that influence the life of humans, or a community,
d) any building, structure, machine or other device or thing made by humans,
e) any solid, liquid, gas, odour, heat, sound, vibration or radiation resulting directly or indirectly from human activities, or
f) any part or combination of the foregoing and the interrelationships between any two or more of them,"
in or of Ontario.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY REPORT (ESR): Means the documentation for a specific project planned in accordance with the procedures for Schedule C projects, setting out the planning and decision making process, including consultation practices, which has been followed to arrive at the preferred solution. The ESR also sets out the mitigating measures proposed to avoid or minimize environmental impacts.
EXEMPT ACTIVITY: Means an activity which is exempt from the requirements of the Class EA and for which no further approvals are required under the EA Act, for example, works carried out under The Drainage Act; not to be confused with Schedule "A" activities which are "pre-approved" but not exempt.
EXISTING MUNICIPAL WELL SITE: Means the site of an existing operating municipal well, or a site for which a municipal well has received all necessary approvals including the Certificate of Approval under the Ontario Water Resources Act. "Site" refers to the ground surface on which the well is located, not the aquifer, and may be either municipally owned, or land owned by others over which the municipality has an easement. If there is doubt as to whether a proposed well falls within or outside an existing well site, advice should be sought from the MOE District Office.
EXISTING RATED CAPACITY: Means the flow or volume capacity of the overall sewage or water system, as stated on the Certificate of Approval issued under the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and/or the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). In cases where this is not specified on the Certificate of Approval, the existing rated capacity is as indicated in the plans and specifications that were submitted to obtain the above mentioned certificates. Where none of the above exists, then it is the current existing capacity as established by documented records.
EXISTING RATED YIELD: Means the flow or volume yield of the water supply from a municipal well site, as indicated on the OWRA Certificate of Approval or as indicated in the plans and specifications submitted to obtain the Certificate of Approval or, where no technical documentation exists, is the current existing yield as established by documented pumping records.
EXISTING ROAD: Means a road" being used to carry vehicular traffic for at least three seasons of the year.
EXISTING SEWAGE OR WATER SYSTEM: Means an existing sewage or water facility, or a series of such facilities making up a system, which is in existence and has received all necessary approvals including a Certificate of Approval under the OWRA and/or EPA and includes those systems established prior to enactment of OWRA or EPA.

(Applies to Water and Wastewater Projects)

Means activities undertaken in an existing sewage, stormwater management or water system, which do not meet the definition of "Operation" and which will physically enlarge that system or which will expand the hydraulic or treatment capacity of that system.
FEDERAL AUTHORITY: Means a federal Minister of the Crown; an agency or other body of the federal government ultimately accountable to Parliament through a federal Minister of the Crown; any federal department or departmental considerations set out in Schedule I or II to the Financial Administration Act; and any other body prescribed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act"s regulations.
GRADE SEPARATION: Means a crossing of a railway and a road at different levels or a crossing of two roads at different levels without interconnecting ramps.
HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV): Means a bus or motor vehicle containing the specified minimum number of persons prescribed by local by-laws.
INDIVIDUAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: Means an environmental assessment requiring the submission of a document for approval by the Minister, pursuant to subsections" 6(1) and 6(2) of the EA Act and which is neither exempt from the EA Act nor covered by a Class EA approval.
INTERCHANGE: Means a crossing of two roadways at different levels with connecting ramps for traffic turning between the intersecting roadways.
INTERMITTENT WATER COURSE: Means a watercourse which has no measurable flow at some times of the year.
LINEAR PAVED FACILITIES: Means facilities which utilize a linear paved surface including road lanes, or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.
LOCALIZED OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENT: Refers to structural changes to an existing roadway at specific locations, and may include turning lanes at an intersection, storage lanes, U-turn lanes, bus bays, median changes, changing the curb radii, etc.
MASTER PLAN: Means a long range plan which integrates infrastructure requirements for existing and future land use with environmental assessment principles." At a minimum, a Master Plan addresses Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class EA process.
MINIMUM MUNICIPAL STANDARD - CULVERT: Means the minimum culvert size which the municipality requires for new installations across the municipality"s roads.
MINIMUM MUNICIPAL STANDARD - ROAD SURFACE: Means the municipality"s lowest standard travelled width (where one exists) for the road being considered. In the absence of a Municipal Standard, the Geometric Design Standards for Ontario Highways may be adopted.
MINISTER/MINISTRY: Means the Minister/Ministry of the Environment" of Ontario.
NET ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS: Means the" impacts, both positive and negative, of an alternative, which remain after mitigation measures have been applied.
NEW SEWAGE OR WATER SYSTEM: Means a new sewage or water facility, or series of facilities, having no physical connection with an existing sewage or water facility through property or process link.
NEW ROAD: Means the construction of an improved surface for vehicular traffic on a new right-of-way where the right-of-way is entirely separate from any previous right-of-way.  Also refers to construction of a road on a road allowance where no road surface previously existed.
OPERATION: Means use, maintenance, repair and management of a municipal facility where the purpose, use, capacity and location remain the same.

Same purpose, use, capacity and location refers to the replacement or upgrading of a structure or facility or its performance, where the objective and application remain unchanged, and the volume, size and capability do not exceed the minimum municipal standard (defined above), or the existing rated capacity (defined above), and there is no substantial change in location.

Example a) a change from rural to urban cross section for a roadway is considered to be for the "same purpose, use and capacity" if the reconstructed cross section has the same number of lanes and is essentially in the same location. Works carried out within an existing road allowance such that no land acquisition is required are considered to be in the same location.

Example b) a treatment plant system which was approved under the Ontario Water Resources Act to operate at 3 MGD, but which was only constructed to operate at 2 MGD, can be expanded by up to 1 MGD, at its existing site, and that expansion would qualify as an Operations activity.

The use of this definition when determining the appropriate Schedule (see Appendix 1) will require sound professional judgement through the scoping of issues and potential impacts." In cases where a project may have a greater environmental impact than indicated by the Schedule, the proponent may, at its discretion, elevate the project to a higher Schedule.
PART II ORDER: Means an order to comply with Part II of the EA Act. This is an appeal provision whereby a person or party with outstanding concerns may request the Minister to make an order requiring a proponent to comply with Part II of the EA Act before proceeding with a proposed undertaking to which the Class EA would otherwise apply.
PLANNING ACT: Means the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13 as amended by the Land Use Planning and Protection Act, 1996.
PROJECT: Means a specific activity planned and implemented in accordance with the Class EA (may also be referred to as the undertaking). The project consists of all those activities necessary to solve a specific problem (deficiency) or address an opportunity.

If the components are interdependent, then they shall be dealt with as a single project. For example, if the problem is to provide additional servicing for future development, then the project must be defined as constituting all those components required to provide servicing to the area. This may include establishing a new roadway, acquisition of land, construction of a bridge, a new water crossing, new water intakes, sewage outfalls etc.

Proposed works are separate projects if:
  • they are initiated to solve distinctly different sets of problems
  • the resulting works are stand alone facilities without the requirement of further works to completely solve the problem.

Where a project consists of components having differing status under the Class EA if carried out separately, the entire project shall take on the status of the component requiring the most vigorous treatment. Example a), in the case of a project involving the reconstruction of a roadway on a new alignment, costing more than $1.5 million, on lands acquired as a condition of site plan approval, the project would be planned under Schedule C." Example b), in the case of a sewage project consisting of the establishment of new sewage lagoon cells and an extension of the existing collection system, the project would be planned under Schedule"C.


It is inappropriate for proponents to reduce their responsibility under the EA Act by breaking up or piecemealing a larger project into smaller component parts, with each part addressed separately. Piecemealing is not in compliance with the EA Act.

PROPONENT: From Section 1 (1) of the EA Act:

Means a person who,

(a) carries out or proposes to carry out an undertaking, or
(b) is the owner or person having charge, management or control of an undertaking

From Section 1 (1) of the Act, "undertaking" means,

(a) an enterprise or activity or a proposal, plan or program in respect of an enterprise or activity by or on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Ontario, by a public body or public bodies or by a municipality or municipalities, or
(b) a major commercial or business enterprise or activity or a proposal, plan or program in respect of a major commercial or business enterprise or activity of a person or persons other than a person or persons referred to in clause (1) that is designated by the regulations.

In June 1993 private sector developers were made subject to the Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) process by designation subject to the Environmental Assessment Act. The details of this are contained in Ontario Regulation 345/93.  A phase-in period of one year was provided, until June 30, 1994. As of that date private sector developers proposing projects listed in Schedule C of the Class Environmental Assessment for Municipal Road Projects, or Municipal Water and Wastewater Projects, that are servicing residential developments, must complete the Schedule C Class EA process.


For the "Parent" Class EA, the proponent means the group of municipalities who submitted the environmental assessment for the establishment of the Class EA for approval under the EA Act.

For a project planned in accordance with the Municipal Class EA," the proponent means 1) the municipality or Public Utilities Commission or Ontario Clean Water Agency or private sector" developer / landowner which is carrying out the project, or which is ultimately responsible for the works constructed by the private sector; or 2) whoever else is approved to use this Class EA." The proponent is responsible for project compliance with the Municipal Class EA.

Where a number of municipalities and/or private sector developer(s) jointly undertake a project for their mutual benefits, as co-proponents, all terms and conditions of this Class EA shall apply equally to each co-proponent.

Where a number of municipalities or a municipality and private sector developer(s) undertake a project for their mutual benefits but select one of the parties to be the lead proponent to carry out the project planning and implementation, only the lead proponent shall be subject to the terms and conditions of this Class EA.

Municipal and private sector proponents are urged to determine early in the process who will be the proponent when carrying out an undertaking subject to this Class EA.
PROVINCIAL HIGHWAY: Roadways under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation including King"s highways, secondary highways and tertiary roads, including all components within the associated right-of-way.
PUBLIC: Means the general public, individual members of the public who may be affected by or have an interest in a project and special interest groups.
PUBLISHED NOTICE: Means a notice published in a local newspaper having general circulation in the area of the project.
RETIREMENT: Means the taking out of operation, abandonment, removal, demolition or disposal of a road, sewage, stormwater management or water facility for which approval under the EA Act would have been necessary for its establishment and includes sale, lease, or other transfer of the facility for purposes of taking out of operation, abandonment," removal, demolition or disposal.
RESPONSIBLE AUTHORITY (RA) Means a federal authority that is required pursuant to sub-section 11 (1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to ensure that an environmental assessment of a project is conducted.
REVIEW AGENCIES: Means government agencies, ministries or public authorities or bodies whose mandates require them to have jurisdiction over matters affected or potentially affected by projects planned under this Class EA." This includes municipalities other than the proponent.
ROAD ALLOWANCE: Means a surveyed allowance of land for roadway purposes. A road allowance can be either "opened" with an existing road surface or "unopened" in which case no travelled surface is provided.

In this document, "existing road allowance" means an existing opened road allowance with an existing road surface, or road right-of-way." It does not include an unopened or shore road allowance.

ROAD CAPACITY: Means capacity defined in terms of travelled lanes and does not differentiate between various lane widths to accommodate differing volumes of traffic.
ROAD WIDENING: Means increasing the number of lanes of an existing road and may include the widening of the right-of-way but does not include localized operational improvements.
ROADS:" Arterial Roads:

Means roads which move moderate to high traffic volumes over moderate distances within a municipality between principal areas of traffic generation and which gather traffic from collector roads and local roads and move it to the Provincial highway system; arterial roads are generally designed for medium speed, have capacity for 2 - 6 lanes, may be divided, with limited or controlled direct access from adjacent developments and with on-street parking discouraged.

Collector Roads:

Means roads which move low to moderate traffic volumes within specific areas of a municipality and collect local traffic for distribution to the arterial or Provincial highway system; collector roads are generally designed for medium speed, have capacity for 2 - 4 lanes, are usually undivided, with direct access from adjacent development permitted but usually controlled, and with controlled on-street parking usually permitted.

Local Roads:

Means roads which provide for low volumes of traffic and access to private properties; local roads are designed for low speeds, have capacity for 2 undivided lanes of traffic; through traffic is discouraged and parking is usually permitted though often controlled.

SCREENING: Means the assessment of potential environmental effects and impacts and associated mitigation based on the review of the environment and input from the public and review agencies affected by or potentially affected by a proposed project. Contact with the public and review agencies involves the formal act of notification and requesting comments and input.
SECONDARY PLAN: Means a development or other plan for a specific area within a municipality adopted and municipality-approved or which came into effect under the Planning Act as an Amendment to the Official Plan.
SEWAGE (WASTEWATER): See Wastewater.
SEWAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM: Means service branches, trunk and local sewers, pumping stations, and appurtenances which include catch basins, inlet control devices, leads, manholes and outfalls, all for purposes of conveying sewage, but does not include sewage treatment facilities, sewage retention/ detention tanks/ponds or their respective outfalls. For further description of sanitary sewage projects, see Section C.2.2; for further description of storm sewage and stormwater management projects, see Section C.2.3.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT: Means the management of stormwater run-off and may include:

- the collection and transport of stormwater run-off, e.g. storm sewers; facilities which attenuate the hydrograph and detain stormwater run-off, e.g.      detention/retention, infiltration "facilities and means to treat and address the quality of stormwater run-off
 - water management facilities which minimize impacts of wave action, flooding, erosion and bank and valley wall instabilities
  • - facilities which affect fisheries, such as fish ladders, wetlands operation and maintenance of the above.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PLAN: Establishes the selection of Best Management Practices, the specifics for design of control facilities and the details of protection measures and/or enhancement of rehabilitation programs to meet the objectives set by the Watershed and Subwatershed Plans.
THE ACT: Means the Environmental Assessment Act or the EA Act for the Province of Ontario.

(also see "Proponent")

In the "Parent" Class EA document, this means the planning process described in the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.

Undertaking can also refer to a single project or group of projects carried out in accordance with the requirements of the EA Act.

(Water and Wastewater Projects)

Means additions to or replacement of existing equipment or facilities or changes in management practices, which are intended to achieve a higher level or improved quality of system performance, or are intended to bring equipment or facilities up to current standards, while not increasing system capacity.
UTILITY CORRIDOR: Means land or rights to land utilized for locating utilities, including sewage, stormwater management and/or water services and/or appurtenances thereto, railways, street-cars, light rapid rail systems and transit ways.

In this document, "existing utility corridor" means a developed utility corridor.

WASTEWATER Means liquid waste which may be sanitary waste, combined sewer flows, drainage, storm water, commercial wastes, or industrial waste.
WATERCOURSE: Means flowing water, though not necessarily continuous, within a defined channel and with a bed and banks which usually discharges itself into some other watercourse or body of water.

Note:" For all water crossings, proponents shall contact the local MNR Office and the Conservation Authority as a minimum.

Municipal Roads:

Means a culvert, bridge, tunnel causeway, ferry or other facility or structure carrying a roadway or linear paved facility which crosses a naturally occurring water body or surface drainage feature such as a lake, swamp, marsh, bay, river, creek, stream or man-made drainage facility such as a ditch, canal or municipal drain. As numerous variations in design are possible, the following distinguishing features will be used to differentiate between culverts, bridges and causeways

  1. Culverts are usually covered by fill material.
  2. Bridges consist of a deck supported by abutments and possibly piers.
  3. Causeways are embankments of fill material constructed across bodies of water or wetlands and may include culverts and/or bridges.

Municipal Water and Wastewater:

Means a sewage, stormwater management or water facility or a component thereof, which crosses over, under or through a naturally occurring water body or surface drainage feature such as a lake, swamp, marsh, bay, river, creek, stream or man-made drainage facility such as a ditch, canal or municipal drain.

WATER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM: Means service connections, trunk and local distribution mains, trunk supply mains connecting source to treatment facilities, pressure reduction stations, pumping stations, and appurtenances which include hydrants, valves and chambers, but does not include any water treatment or storage facilities, ground water wells or surface water intakes." For further description of water projects, see Section C.2.1.