Richmond Landfill - Upholding Ontario's Environmental Assessment Process

A long standing legal battle to ensure proper environmental assessment (EA) processes at one of Ontario’s oldest and largest landfills.

Landfill Expansion EA Terms of Reference:Ontario Divisional and Appeal Courts, 2012-2015

In a landmark Divisional Court Decision in 2003 regarding the proposed expansion of the Richmond Landfill, the Court held that Ontario’s Environment Minister had no jurisdiction under the Environmental Assessment Act to approve an EA process that excludes key EA planning issues, such as “need” and “alternatives.” However, on appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the Divisional Court decision. Leave to the Supreme Court of Canada was refused.

Following this litigation, the proponent completed and submitted its "scoped" EA for the proposed landfill expansion. However, in November 2006, Ontario's Minister of the Environment refused to approve the proposed expansion under the EA Act due to outstanding environmental concerns raised by agency and public commenters, including CELA’s client (a local residents’ group).

Residents’ Appeal of Site Licence Conditions: Environmental Review Tribunal, 2012

In 2011, the Richmond Landfill was finally closed. In 2012, on behalf of its client, CELA applied to the Environmental Review Tribunal for leave to appeal various conditions imposed in relation to environmental monitoring, contingency plans, and reporting. CELA’s client argued that these conditions were inadequate, and the Tribunal granted leave to appeal on March 30, 2012.

After the appeal was filed, the parties reached a settlement agreement on odour monitoring, public notification and annual reporting, which was accepted by the Tribunal in 2013. The landfill proponent then conducted further groundwater investigations and fieldwork, and the Tribunal held public hearings in May and June 2015. In December 2015, the Tribunal released a lengthy decision which: (i) allowed the appeal filed by CELA’s client; (ii) found that landfill leachate had moved off-site and contaminated nearby private wells; and (iii) ordered various improvements regarding environmental monitoring and contingency measures. It is anticipated that these further steps will be implemented in 2016.

In the meantime, the proponent has proposed to build a new landfill beside the closed Richmond Landfill, and the EA process for the new proposal is now underway.

Related articles and media releases, can be viewed below.

Title:Environmental Review Tribunal Dec 24, 2015 Decision (A371203)

Regarding: Terms and conditions imposed under section 20.3 of the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19, as amended, for an Amended Environmental Compliance Approval of the use, operation, and closure of the Richmond Landfill Site.

Resource Type:Legal Decision
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:159
Date authored:December 24, 2015
Author/s:Environmental Review Tribunal

Jun 16 2015

Public Hearing on Leaking Landfill to Conclude with Parties’ Final Argument

Jul 11 2013

No Means No! Residents, Mohawks and Environmentalists Apply for Changes in Ontario’s Landfill Law
Title:Request for Review of Section 27 of the Environmental Protection Act

Filed persuant to Section 61 of the Environmental Bill of Rights

Resource Type:Legal Submissions
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:31
Date authored:July 8, 2013
Publication number:920
Author/s:Michael Bossio, Richard Lindgren, R. Donald Maracle
Author Organization:Concerned Citizenss Committee/Tyendinaga and Environs, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

Apr 15 2013

Residents, Mohawks and Municipality Demand Withdrawal of Landfill Proposal near Napanee
Title:Reply of the Applicant - ERT

CCCTE v. Director, Ministry of the Environment (Case no. 12-003)

Resource Type:Legal Submissions
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:15
Date authored:February 27, 2012
Publication number:946
Author/s:Rick Lindgren
Author Organization:CELA
Title:Application for Leave to Appeal - ERT

CCCTE v. Director, Ministry of the Environment (Case no. 12-003)

Resource Type:Legal Submissions
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:37
Date authored:January 30, 2012
Publication number:948
Author/s:Rick Lindgren
Author Organization:CELA

Apr 16 2012

Residents File Legal Appeal Against Richmond Landfill Licence
Title:Notice of Appeal - ERT

CCCTE v. Director, Ministry of the Environment (Case no. 12-003)

Resource Type:Legal Submissions
Content:Download PDF file
# of Pages:8
Date authored:April 13, 2012
Publication number:944
Author/s:Rick Lindgren
Author Organization:Canadian Environmental Law Association

Apr 02 2012

Environmental Review Tribunal Gives Green Light to Residents' Appeal Against Amended Approval for Richmond Landfill Site
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