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CN Milton Logistics Hub Project

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Resident and community concerns on CN’s proposed truck-rail hub in the Town of Milton must be heard. Learn more about the project, the concerns and how to get involved.

The Proposed CN Truck-Rail Hub in Milton

Project Overview

CN rail is proposing to build a new truck-rail (“Logistics”) hub in the Town of Milton.

  • CN owns over 1,200 acres at the proposed site, and is proposing to develop 400 acres.
  • CN has not disclosed its plans for the remaining 800 acres.
  • The proposed project includes new mainline rail, which will double the existing track line and add over 20 kilometres of new rail yard track.
  • CN plans to operate the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The hub would result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the facility each day.
  • The site is located within 1 kilometer of 34,000 current and future residents, 12 schools, 2 long-term care homes, and 1 hospital.
  • Lands west of the rail lines are designated for future employment.
  • These lands are subject to:
    • Regional servicing impacts; and
    • Regional phasing that schedules new development to begin between 2021 and 2031.
  • Regional Natural Heritage System designations 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.

Current Project Status

  • The project is currently being assessed by a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel Process.
  • To read submissions from the Halton Municipalities, please visit the Review Panel webpage (external link).
  • The Halton Municipalities have identified significant non-rail aspects of the project that raise concerns for residents and the community.
  • The Regional Chair will submit a questionnaire to Federal election candidates in September about important community topics. It will ask where the candidates stand on CN’s proposal and what they will do if elected in October. Their responses will be posted on halton.ca.

Project Concerns

There are impacts to all Halton Municipalities (City of Burlington, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Milton, and Town of Oakville). Since the project was proposed in 2015, we have been working together to ensure community interests and the planned visions for the community are heard. Our concerns are summarized below:

  • Traffic congestion:  The hub will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the site each day. These truck routes will lead to more traffic on our roads and traffic will continue to increase as the site’s capacity grows. This congestion poses a risk to the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and families in the area.
  • Health and safety:  The proposed site is immediately adjacent to existing and planned residential areas. Approximately 34,000 current and future residents, twelve schools, two long-term care homes and one hospital are located within one kilometer of the site. The site will generate increased levels of noise, air pollution and lighting, and significantly impact the community’s health and safety.
  • Environment:  Our community effort to protect the environment will be impacted by the effect of emissions, storm water discharge, water takings and watercourse alterations.
  • Employment:  The project will result in less serviceable employment lands and fewer jobs for the Halton community. The site and the surrounding area is currently planned for 1,500 jobs and this project will only result in 130 jobs.

Additionally, CN has only revealed its plans for 400 acres on the site; they have not disclosed its plans for the remaining 800 acres. We have determined that the operations at this site can be significantly expanded which will further increase the impacts on residents and the community.

CN Intermodal site footprint

Click to enlarge map.

Potential truck hauling routes

Click to enlarge map.

Stay Informed

If you wish to be kept informed of the Halton Municipalities’ involvement on this issue, please complete the following form to receive electronic updates:

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You can get involved

  • Ask the Federal candidates their position on this project and what they will do if they are elected in October.
  • Contact your MP (external link) or MPP (external link) and let them know your concerns.

The Issue for the Halton Municipalities

The Halton Municipalities recognize that the rail aspects of the truck-rail hub are matters of federal jurisdiction. Yet, this project is about more than rail lines – it includes significant non-rail aspects, and the potential effects of these on multiple areas of provincial and municipal government jurisdiction.  Most of these areas of provincial and municipal government interest are not covered in any way by federal government oversight.

  • If CN’s position were accepted, it would lead to a regulatory gap. The consequence of this gap is that CN, a for-profit company, would be self-regulating in areas that should be regulated by the Province and the Municipalities.  

CN rail’s position:

The truck-rail hub is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction, and neither the Province nor the Halton Municipalities have any regulatory role with respect to the project, whatsoever.

Halton Municipalities believe:

The significant non-rail aspects of this project are of provincial and municipal government interest. We reject CN’s view that Halton Municipalities have no regulatory role with respect to this project.

Legal Action

On February 21, 2018, the Halton Municipalities (and Conservation Halton) commenced a joint Court application to confirm their jurisdiction to review the impacts of the proposed CN truck-rail project in the Town of Milton.  The application seeks a declaration confirming the legitimate role and jurisdiction of the Province and the Halton Municipalities with respect to CN’s proposed project. This action has been taken to ensure that resident interests are protected and the vision for our community is represented.

Timeline

2019

  • June 19, 2019

    Public Hearing ended.

  • June 19, 2019

    Public Hearing began.

  • June 13, 2019

    The updated schedule of presentations for the Public Hearing for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project (the Project) is now available. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, in Milton, Ontario.

    The schedule is posted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry (external link).

    The hearing will take place over a one-month period with all sessions taking place at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 2750 High Point Drive in Milton. If during the hearing there are changes made to the schedule, participants will be notified of the updated schedule.

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project will be present at each of the hearing sessions to listen to presentations and to ask questions. The public hearing is designed to gather additional information on all topics related to the proposed construction and operation of a logistics hub, designed to transfer containers between trucks and railcars. The proposed project would be located in Milton, Ontario on 400-acres of land owned by Canadian National Railway, and would include a railway yard with more than 20 km of track.

    The public hearing is open to anyone wishing to observe in person or via live Webcast (external link). Media are also invited to observe and do not need to register in advance.

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100. Questions about the public hearing or the joint process for the Project can be directed to the Milton Logistics Hub Secretariat. To receive project updates and be added to the email distribution list (or removed), please contact the Secretariat at 613-699-6778 or at MiltonHubPanel@ceaa.gc.ca.

  • May 29, 2019

    The Halton Municipalities’ submission for the Public Hearing for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project is now available on the Canada Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) website.

    Please see the following link to view the submission (external link)

  • May 24, 2019

    The schedule of presentations (pdf file) for the Public Hearing for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project (the Project) is now available.

    The public hearing will take place over approximately a one-month period, and will begin on June 19, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 2750 High Point Drive in Milton. Please see the following link for the full notice of the hearing (external link).

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

  • April 16, 2019

    The Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project has announced that the public hearing will begin with a general session in Milton, Ontario on June 19, 2019. Members of the public, Indigenous groups, governments, and other organisations are invited to participate in this next stage of the joint process for the review of the project.

    The public hearing will take place over approximately a one-month period, and will begin on June 19, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 2750 High Point Drive in Milton.

    The Panel will conduct the hearing in accordance with its Public Hearing Procedures (external link). For all hearing sessions, the Panel requires persons who wish to make a presentation or ask questions at the hearing to register by May 10, 2019 using the registration form (external link). Pre-registration is necessary so that the Panel can plan the hearing effectively.

    Please see the following link for the full notice and information on how to register for the hearing (external link).

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

  • April 15, 2019

    As required in its Terms of Reference (CEAR #391 (external PDF)), the Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project (the Review Panel), having read and considered the information on its record, has concluded that the environmental impact statement (EIS) and additional supplemental information provided by the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) contain sufficient information to proceed to the public hearing stage of its review. The Review Panel encourages all interested parties to participate in the public hearing.

    Please see the following link for the full notice (external link).

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

  • March 25, 2019

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to the final portion of its Information Request package 8 (Group 4). Responses to all information requests for the second round have now been provided.

    The Review Panel announced (external link) today that the comments on the responses prepared by the proponent to information request packages 6 to 8 are due on April 9, 2019.

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

  • March 4, 2019

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to information request package 8 (group 3). The additional information can be accessed on the public registry at document #722 (PDF file).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

  • February 19, 2019

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to package 6 and a portion of its information request package 8 (group 2). The additional information can be accessed on the public registry at document #714 (PDF file).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

    For more information on the joint process for the review of the project, visit the public registry, reference number 80100 (external link).

2018

  • December 20, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to a portion of its information request package 8. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry at document #705 (external link).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

  • September 26, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has requested additional information from CN. Package 8 requests referenced documents and information on air quality, human health, truck traffic, light, noise and vibration, socio-economic matters and wildlife. It can be accessed on the public registry, document #685 (external link).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information. Participants are encouraged to review additional information as it becomes available and provide their comments to the Review Panel as soon as possible. Upon receipt of CN's final response to the second round of information requests, the Review Panel will provide at least 14 days' notice for participants to submit any final comments.

  • June 14, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to the final portion of its Information Request package 4.1 (Group 3). Responses to all information requests for the first round have now been provided.

    The Review Panel announced (external link) today that the comments on the responses prepared by the proponent to Information Request packages 1 to 5 are due on July 16, 2018.

    The Review Panel has also issued a process update (external link) to describe the current status and next steps in the joint process for the review of the Project.

  • June 5, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to a portion of its information request package 4.2. CN provided responses to information requests on noise and vibration. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry, document #652 (PDF file). Responses to the remaining information requests will be submitted at a later date. 

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

  • May 23, 2018

    On May 23, 2018 an update was provided to Regional Council indicating that CN has filed a preliminary motion to dismiss or stay the Ontario court application by the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton (`Halton`) on the basis that it is premature unless and until there is a federal decision on CN`s proposed intermodal development. The CN preliminary motion must be heard before the Halton application can move forward. The CN motion is scheduled for September 12, 2018. The Provincial Government, through the Ministry of the Attorney General’s office, is intervening in support of the Halton application.

  • March 26, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from CN rail in response to a portion of its information request package 4.1. CN provided responses to information requests related to general information, human health, physical and cultural heritage, indigenous matters, fish and fish habitat and wildlife including migratory birds. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry, document #632 (PDF file). Responses to the remaining information requests will be submitted at a later date.

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

  • February 21, 2018

    The Halton Municipalities initiated a joint Court application to confirm their jurisdiction to review the impacts of the proposed CN Truck-Rail Hub in Milton.

  • January 26, 2018

    The Review Panel established for the joint process for the review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project has received additional information from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in response to its information request package 3. The additional information can be accessed on the public registry, document #613 (PDF file).

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on CN’s responses to the Review Panel's information requests. The public, Indigenous groups, governments and other participants are invited to submit comments in writing on whether the information submitted by the proponent is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing, or whether the proponent should provide additional information.

    The Review Panel continues to seek comments on the draft Public Hearing Procedures (PDF file).

  • January 17, 2018

    The Review Panel conducting the joint process to review the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project has issued a public notice (external link) seeking comments on the draft Public Hearing Procedures (PDF file).

2017

2016

  • December 20, 2016 

    The Review Panel for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project sought public comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and additional information prepared by the Canadian National Railway Company. The Review Panel indicated it would consider all submissions received in making its determination on whether further information is required from the proponent. Written comments were to be sent by March 6, 2017 to: 

    Joseph Ronzio, Panel Manager, Milton Logistics Hub Project
    c/o Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
    160 Elgin Street, 22nd Floor, Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
    miltonhubpanel.polemiltoncommission@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

    A resource document (external link) to assist participants in the preparation of submissions regarding the sufficiency review, the Environmental Impact Statement and additional information, were made available on the public registry at ceaa.gc.ca (external link), reference number 80100 (external link) .

  • December 8, 2016

    The Halton Municipalities issued a Brief providing information on existing land use standards that are relevant to the CN Project and its environmental effects.  The Brief includes a description of the Halton and Ontario land use planning regimes, and explains their relationship to the CEAA framework.  It also describes municipal land use standards that are relevant to assessing “significant adverse environmental effects” (SAEEs) under the CEAA.
    The Halton Municipalities Brief consists of four documents:

    Brief: Municipal land use standards relevant to assessing the Project for SAEEs; (PDF file)

    Appendix A: Visuals (describing the Project and zones of various possible effects); (PDF file)

    Appendix B: Legal and technical support for all standards identified in the Brief; (PDF file) and

    Appendix C: Glossary of technical terms and definitions used in the Brief. (PDF file)

  • December 6, 2016

    Halton Municipalities wrote to the CEA Agency and the Canadian Transportation Agency to confirm the process established for the joint review process with respect to Municipal input

  • December 6, 2016

    The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Dr. Scott Streiner, Chair of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) announced the establishment of a three-member panel to review the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project in Milton. The Agreement to Establish a Joint Process for the Review of the Milton Logistics Hub Project, signed by the Minister and the Chair of the CTA, established the mandate and authority of this panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for the conduct of the review. Under the Agreement, the panel is to conduct an assessment of the environmental effects of the project; consider Aboriginal traditional knowledge, comments received from the public and mitigation measures and conclude whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse effects; and identify any follow-up programs required. Information will be gathered to assist the CTA in its assessment of the reasonableness of the location of the new railway lines, including with respect to the requirements for the railway operations and the interests of the localities that could be affected by the lines.

  • December 1, 2016 

    Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency responded to CN (external link) on Conformity Review of Environmental Impact Statement and additional information.

  • November 24, 2016

    The Canadian Transportation Agency responded to Halton Municipalities’ November 14 letter.

  • November 14, 2016

    Halton Municipalities wrote to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the Chair of the Canadian Transportation agency to express concerns with joint process being established by the Draft Review Panel Agreement.

  • October 14, 2016

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Canadian Transportation Agency invited the public to attend information sessions on the joint process being established for the proposed Milton Logistics Hub Project (external link). The information sessions gave members of the public and Indigenous groups an opportunity to learn about the review panel process and the upcoming public participation opportunities, as well as to ask questions of federal representatives. 

  • August 31, 2016

    Federal Minister of the Environment responds to Halton Municipalities’ July 11 letter.

  • 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

    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 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. Once final, the Agreement would 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 were invited to submit written comments on the draft Agreement (external link)  by July 11, 2016.

  • March 16, 2016

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) 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 link) (external PDF).  For more information on the environmental assessment, visit the Agency’s website (registry reference number 80100 (external link) ).

  • January 4, 2016

    Federal Minister of the Environment responded to the Halton Municipalities’ November 4 letter.

2015

  • December 8, 2015

    An Environmental Impact Statement (external link) was submitted by CN to CEAA.

  • November 4, 2015

    Halton Region contacted the newly-appointed Federal Minister of the Environment regarding the composition of Review Panel.

  • August 7, 2015

    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced that funding was available through its Participant Funding Program to assist eligible individuals and groups to participate in the Environmental Assessment of the CN project. Applications for this funding were to be received by September 8, 2015.

  • 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.

  • 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 .

  • July 3, 2015

    Halton Municipalities sent a 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. It recommended that the composition of the panel include an expert in Ontario urban planning, an expert in railway safety and an expert in biophysical effects.

  • June 30, 2015

    Halton Municipalities responded to CN’s letter.

  • June 21, 2015

    Last day for receipt of comments, by the CEAA, on the draft Environmental Assessment guidelines (external link)  related to the potential environmental impacts of the project. On close of the comments period, the CEAA triggered the Environmental Assessment.

  • June 20, 2015

    Federal Minister of Environment responds to the Halton Municipalities’ June 19 letter.

  • June 19, 2015

    Halton Municipalities submitted comments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on the draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines.

  • June 19, 2015

    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.

  • June 17, 2015

    CN sent a letter (PDF file) to the CEAA rejecting the proposition that there is any duty to consult the Region and the Town as part of the environmental approvals process.

  • June 16, 2015

    Halton Region contacted the Federal Minister of the Environment to request a panel review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

  • June 5, 2015

    CEAA responded to Halton Municipalities’ section 18 jurisdiction letter.

  • 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.

  • May 27, 2015

    CN made a presentation to Halton Regional Council.

  • May 22, 2015

    CEAA released Draft Guidelines for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement. It set a deadline of June 21, 2015 for receipt of public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines through an online news release (external link) .  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.

  • 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.

  • April 27, 2015

    The CEAA 45 day public consultation period closed.  Halton Municipalities request that the CEA Agency consider all matters within federal jurisdiction.

  • April 27, 2015

    A letter (PDF file) was sent 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.

  • April 20, 2015

    Interim Control By-law (PDF file) was passed by Town of Milton to regulate employment planning across the southern part the Town. It 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”.

  • April 17, 2015

    A letter  was sent 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.

  • 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 7, 2015

    CEA Agency invited public comments for Milton Logistics Hub Project summary project description through an online news release (external link) .

  • March 17, 2015 

    CN made a formal announcement of the proposed Milton Logistics Hub and submitted a Project Description (external link)  to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

  • March 10, 2015

    A letter from Halton Region and Town of Milton advised 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.

  • January 2015

    CN shared their intent with Halton Regional Council to build the proposed Milton Logistics Hub.

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