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What's new this time around?

The Ministry of Environment has recalculated their environmental standards for soil, groundwater, vapour, and sediment based on new scientific information. The new standards are:

  • More rigorous for certain substances including several metals, while they are less rigorous for others including hydrocarbons and dry cleaning solvents.
  • New substances have also been added which were previously not regulated.
When do the new standards come into effect? 

The standards are effective November 1, 2017. Until that time, the current process remains in effect, and delineation must be completed to the current standards. The new standards can be used now under risk assessment.

What are the potential economic impacts of these changes?

The variety of impacts include:
  • Some sites that have been previously investigated and defined as not contaminated or “clean” may be classified as contaminated on November 1, 2017, or vice versa.
  • You need to consider the new standards when evaluating acquisitions in advance of the November 1, 2017.
  • It is recommended that current assets be reviewed to determine if there are economic benefits to securing a legal instrument (i.e. Certificate of Compliance, Approval in Principal, or Determination) before or after the deadline. 
  • Considerations for new substances added should be made when evaluating new and old sites.
  • With the new standards, the remediation requirements for existing and future development projects may significantly be reduced if underground parkades are proposed.
What does this mean for existing Certificate of Compliance/Determination?

Existing Certificates of Compliances and Determination will be considered retroactive and valid. The new standards should not have an impact on their validity. However, new standards should be consulted if amendments are being considered for an existing Certificate of Compliance.

What to expect on sites:

Who can I ask for help?

Hemmera employees have been actively involved in the Ministry of Environments public consultation on the new standards. We can quickly evaluate your site data and let you know what the most cost effective, timely, and appropriate course of action is for your existing holding, development project or acquisition.

If you have any questions, please contact Jason Wilkins, Business Leader at, or Chuck Jochems, Practice Leader for Site Investigations and Remediation at