Amendments to contaminated sites regulations in British Columbia will result in more clarity and improved compliance verification and enforcement, and will allow resources to be more focused on high-risk sites.

The Order in Council (OIC 368) for the Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) amendment was approved by Cabinet on June 24, 2020.  Bill 17, The Environmental Management Amendment Act, received Royal Assent in May 2019. The legislative amendments are expected to help streamline the site identification process by making it more predictable and easier to understand.

This OIC is for the Stage 13 amendments to the CSR, which are required to bring Bill 17 into force. The CSR amendments are expected to accomplish the following: strengthen the site identification process and ensure that sites are investigated and remediated promptly after closure and prior to redevelopment; minimize administrative processes; improve overall clarity; and, ensure equal application of regulatory requirements across the province.

There will be no ability to opt-out and there will be an automatic requirement to investigate a commercial or industrial site if a person is seeking redevelopment or wanting to shut down operations. Administrative Guidance 6 release options will still be available, although there will be a few changes involving high-risk sites and multi-phase development projects.

The amendments address issues raised during the initial consultation with industry, other ministries, local governments and Indigenous nations across the province. The ministry has a comprehensive implementation plan to help local governments, Indigenous Nations and others respond to the changes, including updated webpage information, revised policy documents and training opportunities.

Changes to site identification come into effect on February 1, 2021.

For further information, click here.

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