Those involved in managing excess soils should be aware that the new fees are not an April Fool’s Day folly. Ontario’s Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) recently released the 2024 excess soil registry fees, which will come into effect on April 1, 2024.

Registry fees are paid by users to cover RPRA’s costs for building, maintaining, and operating the Excess Soil Registry and for providing support to registry users.

The On-Site and Excess Soil Management Regulation requires notices to be filed on the registry for the following activities:

  • Movement of Excess Soil (Project Area Notice)
  • Operation of a Soil Reuse Site (Reuse Site Notice)
  • Operation of a Residential Development Soil Depot (RDSD)

Fees are assigned to each activity type and are tied to soil volume. Fees can be either flat or variable. Variable fee rates increase from a de minimis up to a ceiling. Registrants will pay a fee for each initial notice filed. The 2024 fee rates are subject to HST. Invoices will identify HST and other relevant details.

Proponents of projects that generate excess soil that needs to be moved off-site are required to register their project, report on the quantity and quality of soil generated and moved, and pay a fee.

Owners of soil reuse sites (sites approved to accept certain quantities of Excess Soil, which will be beneficially reused) are required to register, report on the quantity of soil they anticipate accepting, and pay a fee.

Owners of residential development soil depot (RDSD) sites (temporary stockpiles of excess soil up to 10,000 m3), are required to register and pay a fee. Soil Volume (m3) Fee (flat) Up to 10,000 $1,050.

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Consultation process

From November 10, 2023, to January 10, 2024, RPRA consulted on proposed fees for the  Excess Soil Registry.

Throughout the consultation period, RPRA hosted a webinar to walk through the original proposal, answer questions and gain feedback from registrants and other interested stakeholders. A recording of the webinar and the presentation slides are linked here.

The consultation report summarizes what was heard and the corresponding feedback.

As a result of feedback received during the consultation period — including that the fee increase year-over-year was too high and that 2024 project budgets were already approved — RPRA has expanded the recovery of the Excess Soil Registry deficit over five years instead of the three years initially proposed.

Industry reaction

This all means that starting April 1, fees for the largest of generators of excess soils (Project Areas) are going up by 400%, jumping from $30,000 to $150,000. Large receivers of excess soils (Reuse Sites) are going up 350%, from $12,000 to $42,000.

In addition, new projects are involved in the updated registry catchment. Last year, those that generated less than 2,000 mof excess soil did not have to pay registry fees. However, in 2024, those same projects will face a flat fee of $90. 

Industry stakeholders have communicated criticism about the new registry fees. While there was a warning about increases during the consultative process, the amount of the increases was unexpected.

“All of this goes against the mandate that was presented at the 2023 Excess Soils Symposium, when then Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks David Piccini announced plans to reduce the cost of excess soil management with the help of new amendments,” says Grant Walsom, a Senior Technical Advisor with XCG, a division of Trace Associates Inc.

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“This may have adverse consequences such as driving more illegal soil movements underground, not promote filing on the Registry, as desired,” adds Walsom, who is a Qualified Person (QP) and the Founder/Chair of the Qualified Persons Community of Ontario (QPCO).

Click here for the complete Excess Soil Registry Fee Schedule.

According to RPRA, these fees will be reviewed again for 2025 to ensure they reflect the information available at that time.

Excess soils and related issues are the focus of the annual Excess Soils Symposium. For further information:

What’s new with Excess Soils? Join the conversation.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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