CN's Milton Logistics Hub Project


Facts you should know

CN Logistic Hub Proposed Project

CN describes the Milton Logistics Hub as a project occupying 400 acres (160 ha) of land. CN owns the approximately 1200 acres of land (485 ha) around its existing mainline rail in Milton.

The project includes new mainline rail to double track the existing line and adding over 20 km of new rail yard track. The project includes truck cargo loading and unloading and involve up to 1600 truck trips per day.

What we know

Halton Region, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville (Halton Municipalities) recognize that the movement of goods throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area is vital to the economy; however, the proposed Milton logistics Hub has potential to impact a number of key matters of Provincial and municipal interest.

Areas of interest include public safety, traffic congestion, number and type of jobs, impacts on surrounding land uses, environmental impacts and overall management of growth in the Region.

Municipal Planning Status

CN owns over 485 ha of land beside its rail lines at the Project site in Milton. Lands west of the rail lines are designated for future employment.

These lands are subject to:

  • Regional servicing impacts.
  • Regional phasing that schedules new development to begin between 2021 and 2031.

Regional Natural Heritage System designations also impact these lands.

Regional servicing is not presently available to the site. The extension of servicing is not scheduled until some time after 2021 in accordance with Sustainable Halton Water and Wastewater Master Plans.

The proposed CN Logistics Hub Is not consistent with the current land use planning framework of the Region or Town.

To meet Provincial Growth Plan requirements, the region through Sustainable Halton, planned minimum employment densities at 30.5 jobs per hectare. Based on CN numbers, 100 jobs per 160 ha, the proposed employment density for this facility at full operation is below .6 jobs per hectare.

Where are we now?

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Municipal Involvement

The Halton Municipalities are jointly responding to Provincial and Federal levels of government that CN and the proposed project be subject to a full regulatory approval process.

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Where are we now?

The Federal Government has jurisdiction over the regulation of railways. Both the Canada Transportation Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Identify requirements and possible approvals to construct a new railway line or railway lines.

CN submitted a Project Description Summary (PDF file) and a Project Description Report to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEA Agency). On April 8th, the CEA Agency started a 45-day screening process to determine if the proposed CN Logistics Hub has the potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects and therefore requires environmental assessment.

On April 17, 2015, the Halton Municipalities submitted a joint response to the CEA Agency to urge the agency to require an Environmental Assessment of this project.

The joint response also highlighted that:

  • CN has improperly narrowed the scope of relevant environmental effects.
  • CN has failed to identify all possible federal approvals.
  • CN has failed to demonstrate how this project is exempt from CTA and railway line approval.

On Monday, April 27, 2015, the Halton Municipalities jointly submitted a second response to the CEAA detailing the need for a full Environmental Assessment. This response identified numerous impacts on several additional federal interests including:

  • railway safety for new rail crossings
  • railway noise
  • emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases
  • transportation and rail line storage of dangerous goods
  • destruction of habitat and lost habitat for threatened bird species

CEA Agency has reviewed the feedback it received through the public consultation period. Notice of CEAA's decision on whether an Environmental Assessment Is required has been posted on its website (external link).

CEAA

  • On May 22, 2015 the CEAA issued its notice of decision requiring the proposed CN Logistics Hub to undertake a federal environmental assessment (external link) process under the Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
  • The Environmental Assessment has now begun and as part of this process the CEAA released draft Environmental Assessment guidelines (external PDF) to allow members of the public to provide comments (external link) related to the potential environmental impacts of the project. Comments were accepted until June 21, 2015.
  • On July 20, 2015 the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued the final Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (external link) to the proponent on July 20, 2015 for the preparation of an environmental impact statement.
  • On July 20, 2015 the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Leona Aqlukkaq ordered a panel review of this project which must be established by December 17, 2015.
  • On August 7, 2015, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced that funding is available through its Participant Funding Program to assist eligible individuals and groups to participate in the Environmental Assessment of the CN project. To apply for funding, call CEAA at 1-866-582-1884 or visit the CEAA website. Applications received by September 8, 2015 will be considered.
  • January 7, 2016 - On December 8, 2015, CN filed its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (external link) with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The Agency will now conduct a review to determine whether the content of the EIS allows the Review Panel (once it is appointed), to begin its technical review of the project.

  • June 8, 2016 - The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Canadian Transportation Agency has invited the public to comment on the draft Agreement (external link) to establish a Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub (external) project. Once final, the Agreement will establish the mandate and authority of the review panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for the conduct of the review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Canada Transportation Act. Members of the public and interested stakeholders are invited to submit written comments on the draft Agreement (external link) by July 11, 2016. A resource document (external link) to assist individuals in submitting comments on the draft Agreement has been prepared by CEAA.

    Written comments can be submitted to CEAA as follows:
    Joseph Ronzio, Panel Manager
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
    160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
    CEAA.LogisticsHub-PoleLogistique.ACEE@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

  • July 11, 2016 letter (PDF file) by Gowling WLG, on behalf of Halton Municipalities’ and their comments on the Draft Agreement To Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA”) was sent to The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

CTA

On May 13, 2015 the Canadian Transportation Agency ordered CN to obtain federal approval under the Canadian Transportation Act to construct railway lines as part of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub.

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Next Steps

Regional staff will continue to work with staff at the City of Burlington, and the Towns of Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville to ensure  the Regulatory approval necessary to address areas of interest are considered to be extent possible that all potential impacts are identified and considered as the proposal for the Logistics Hub moves forward.

Regional staff will report back to Council as this matter progresses and seek direction as required.

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Latest Information

  • July 11, 2016- A letter (PDF file) by Gowling WLG, on behalf of Halton Municipalities’ and their comments on the Draft Agreement To Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA”) was sent to The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
  • June 8, 2016 - The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Canadian Transportation Agency has invited the public to comment on the draft Agreement (external link) to establish a Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub (external) project. Once final, the Agreement will establish the mandate and authority of the review panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for the conduct of the review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Canada Transportation Act. Members of the public and interested stakeholders are invited to submit written comments on the draft Agreement (external link) by July 11, 2016. A resource document (external link) to assist individuals in submitting comments on the draft Agreement has been prepared by CEAA.
  • March 16, 2016 - The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has provided information requirements to Canadian National Railway Company (CN) with respect to additional information required in the CN Environmental Impact Statement for the Milton Logistics Hub Project in order to fulfill the requirements of the CEAA guidelines. The document can be found here (external PDF).
    For more information on the environmental assessment visit the Agency’s website (registry reference number 80100 (external link)).
  • January 7, 2016 - On December 8, 2015, CN filed its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (external link) with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. The Agency will now conduct a review to determine whether the content of the EIS allows the Review Panel (once it is appointed), to begin its technical review of the project.
Section Contents

Important Links

Halton Municipalities' Involvement

  1. March 10, 2015 letter (PDF file) from Halton Region and Town of Milton to advise CN that the Town and Region consider the project to be subject to many Ontario and municipal laws, including the land use controls of the Ontario Planning Act.
  2. April 17, 2015 letter (PDF file) by Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP (Gowlings) on behalf of all Halton Municipalities to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) expressing concern with gaps In the CN project description summary and report on the federal approvals required by CN, the failure to demonstrate exemption from the Canadian Transportation Agency rail line approval process, and the related failure to Identify all environmental effects on matters of federal concern.
  3. April 20, 2015 Interim Control By-law (PDF file) passed by Town of Milton to regulate employment planning across the southern part the Town set out in a Schedule that includes the CN lands, but excludes "railway and related transportation works proposed by CN that are addressed and approved by federal law and regulation.
  4. April 27, 2015 letter (PDF file) by Gowlings on behalf of the Halton Municipalities to the CEAA identifying the range of proposed CN physical activities, the required federal approvals, the environmental effects on matters of federal concern, and further questions on the basis for the CN claim to exemption from the CTA rail line approval process.
  5. On Thursday June 4, 2015, Halton Region, the City of Burlington and the Towns of Milton, Oakville and Halton Hills jointly submitted a third response (PDF file) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). This response identified that Halton Region and the Town of Milton are each a “jurisdiction” under section 18 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 meaning that both the Town and the Region must be consulted with as part of the environmental assessment for the CN project.
  6. On June 17, CN sent a letter (PDF file) to the CEAA that rejects the proposition that there is any duty to consult the Region and the Town as part of the environmental approvals process. On June 30, 2015 a response to CN’s views in their June 17, 2015 letter was forwarded to the CEAA on behalf of the Halton Municipalities.
  7. On June 19, 2015 the Halton Municipalities submitted comments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on the draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines.
  8. On June 19, 2015 the Halton Municipalities sent a letter to the Minister of the Environment requesting the need for a panel review of the CN Logistics Hub project by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
  9. On July 3, 2015, the Halton Municipalities sent a further letter (PDF file) to the Minister of the Environment reiterating the need for a joint three-member panel to review the CN proposal under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and recommending that the composition of the panel include an expert in Ontario urban planning, an expert in railway safety and an expert in biophysical effects.
  10. July 11, 2016 letter (PDF file) by Gowling WLG, on behalf of Halton Municipalities’ and their comments on the Draft Agreement To Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA”) was sent to The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

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Key Dates

  • January 2015 - CN shared their intent with Regional Council to go forward and build the proposed Milton Logistics Hub.
  • March 17, 2015 - CN made their formal announcement of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub and submitted a Project Description (PDF file) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
  • April 8, 2015 - The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency started a 45-day screening process to determine if the proposed project has the potential to cause significant environmental effects
  • April 20, 2015 - Town of Milton passes Interim Control By-law to allow for employment planning study.
  • April 27, 2015 - The CEAA 45 day public consultation period closed
  • May 13, 2015 - The Canadian Transportation Agency ordered CN to obtain federal approval under the Canadian Transportation Act to construct railway lines as part of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub.
  • May 22, 2015 - The CEAA issued its notice of decision requiring the proposed CN Logistics Hub to undertake a federal environmental assessment process under the Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
  • June 21, 2015 - Last day for members of the public to provide comments (external link) to the CEAA on the draft Environmental Assessment guidelines (PDF file) related to the potential environmental impacts of the project.
  • July 20, 2015 - The Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Leona Aqlukkaq ordered a panel review of this project.
  • December 8, 2015 - Environmental Impact Statement (external link) submitted by CN to CEAA.
  • December 17, 2015 - The review panel must be established by this date.
  • June 8, 2016 - The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Canadian Transportation Agency has invited the public to comment on the draft Agreement (external link) to establish a Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub (external link) project. A resource document (external link) to assist individuals in submitting comments on the draft Agreement has been prepared by CEAA.
  • July 11, 2016 - Deadline for members of the public and interested stakeholders to submit written comments on the draft Agreement (external link) to establish a Review Panel for the proposed project.
  • July 11, 2016 - A letter (PDF file) by Gowling WLG, on behalf of Halton Municipalities’ and their comments on the Draft Agreement To Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA”) was sent to The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

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Halton Region Documents

Halton Region

Town of Milton Documents

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