Environmental Due Diligence Services
For Canadian property owners, environmental due diligence is governed at a federal and provincial level. Some of the federal acts which determine environmental compliance include:
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA)
- Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA)
- Species at Risk Act (SARA)
- Fisheries Act
- Hazardous Products Act
- Pest Control Products Act
Each province also employs specific environmental acts. In Ontario, these include:
- Environmental Protection Act (EPA)
- Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA)
- Environmental Assessment Act (EAA)
There are many other acts as well which are more specific to certain industries (forestry, fisheries, etc.). In addition, numerous regulations give direction in how to operate within each act.
Due diligence is a broad idea that relates to an accepted standard of care. For environmental site owners, this involves adhering to a number of regulations and ensuring that reasonable steps are taken to prevent any environmental issues on the property.
The foundation of environmental due diligence in Ontario centres on two requirements:
- Contamination must not leave your property and enter a neighboring property.
- Contamination must not enter the groundwater.
Environmental Due Diligence essentials for protecting yourself against liability.
For the first requirement, Ontario Regulation 153/04 (O. Reg. 153) gives clear guidance for ensuring that no impacts move beyond the borders of your site. This begins with a Phase I ESA which reviews the historical activities at your site and areas of potential environmental concern(APEC). Then, a Phase II ESA is conducted to quantify any impacts. A Record of Site condition can be issued for the property when it meets certain criteria.
The second requirement is also linked to O. Reg. 153/04. If your site has impacts that have the potential to migrate through groundwater, a clean-up may be necessary for the site, bringing it into compliance with the allowable limits in O. Reg. 153/04. This remediation may also involve a risk assessment if the O. Reg. 153 standards are not achievable for your site.
When activities that pose environmental risk are carried out at a site, the property owner must also ensure that an environmental management strategy is in place and must monitor that it is followed. This strategy should be developed in collaboration with an environmental consultant who can advise on relevant acts and regulations and check that the approaches in the environmental management plan are appropriate to the activities.
AEL environment is able to provide assistance in understanding what due diligence looks like for your property. Having a regulatory expert on your side, walking you through the regulations, is a valuable resource and can help you to prevent unnecessary liability.