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Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Studies


Municipalities in Ontario follow the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (October 2000, amended 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2023) process under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act to complete a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for most transportation, water and wastewater projects. The Municipal Class EA is a phased planning approach that includes 5 main study phases and public consultation. The complexity and extent of the environmental impact of a specific project determines the number of phases to be completed to comply with the Class EA process.

The 5 phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1 - Problem or Opportunity:  The completion of this phase requires the proponent to document the factors that lead to the conclusion that an improvement or change is warranted.
  • Phase 2 - Alternative Solutions:  In this phase, alternative solutions to the problem or opportunity are identified and evaluated, taking into account the existing environment. A recommended preferred solution can be developed with input from the public and review agencies. The nature of the solution will determine if the proponent is required to complete additional phases of the Municipal Class EA process.
  • Phase 3 - Alternative Design Concepts for Preferred Solution:  If required, this phase will examine alternative methods of implementing the preferred solution, again considering environmental impacts and public and review agency input.
  • Phase 4 - Environmental Study Report:  This phase includes the preparation of an Environmental Study Report that documents the rationale and planning and consultative process undertaken for the project and the publication of the report for public review.
  • Phase 5 - Implementation:  This is the implementation phase of the Municipal Class EA process. This phase allows for design and construction of the items as planned in earlier phases, and monitoring for compliance with those planning principles.

Municipal Class EA projects fall into 1 of the 3 following Schedules depending on the potential environmental impact of the project:

  • Schedule A projects generally include normal or emergency operational and maintenance activities. Since the environmental effects of these activities are usually minimal, the projects are pre-approved and can proceed immediately to implementation.
  • Schedule B projects generally include improvements and minor expansions to existing facilities. Since there is potential for some adverse environmental impacts, the proponent must proceed through a screening process including consultation with those who may be affected.
  • Schedule C projects generally include the construction of new facilities and major expansions to existing facilities. These projects proceed through the complete environmental assessment planning process outlined in the Municipal Class EA before proceeding with construction.

Public Information Centres

Public consultation takes place through Public Information Centres where comments and concerns are identified and discussed. These meetings are advertised in local newspapers and online at

Notice of Study Completion

30-day public and agency review is advertised in local newspapers and online at as part of the Notice of Study Completion. All outstanding comments or concerns may be provided directly to the proponent in writing. 

In addition, a request may be made to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for an order requiring a higher level of study or further studies (referred to as a Section 16 Order). Requests may be considered based on potential adverse impacts of a project on existing aboriginal and treaty rights. Other requests will not be considered.

Please include the following information:

  • the requester contact information and full name;
  • what kind of order is being requested;
  • how an order may prevent, mitigate or remedy those potential adverse impacts; and
  • any information in support of the statements in the request.

The request should be sent in writing or by email to:

Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks
777 Bay Street, 5th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2J3


Director, Environmental Assessment Branch
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks
135 St. Clair Ave. W, 1st Floor
Toronto ON, M4V 1P5

Requests should also be sent to the proponent by mail or by e-mail.