Procedures for the Use of Risk Assessment under Part XV.1 of the Environmental Protection Act

Draft v2.12 Publication Release Date: July 2020

Property owners who wish to convert brownfield properties (e.g. industrial or commercial properties) to more sensitive uses such as community centres, schools, or housing, must first have a record of site condition (RSC) filed on the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (the Ministry) Environmental Site Registry to ensure that the property meets certain requirements. An RSC documents the environmental state of the property, provides the owner with certain limited liability protections, and must be prepared in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Regulation 153/04. In cases where there is no change in property use, or the change in property use is not to a more sensitive use, note that the property owner still has the option of submitting an RSC for filing, even though this may not be required under the Environmental Protection Act.

To support brownfield redevelopment, the Ministry has developed generic site condition standards for soil, groundwater, and sediment for use under Ontario Regulation 153/04. These generic site condition standards provide protection against the potential for adverse effects to human health, ecological health, and the natural environment at typical brownfield sites and are provided in a series of Tables included in the Ministry document entitled “Soil, Ground Water and Sediment Standards for Use under Part XV.1 of the Environmental Protection Act”, dated April 15, 2011. They provide applicable site condition standards for a given property based on a series of factors, including the intended property use, soil texture, groundwater use (potable or non-potable), and several other soil and/or property characteristics. In general, these standards are developed using a risk-based approach, but background soil concentrations and analytical detection limits were also considered in developing these generic site condition standards. Details on how these standards were developed, including a more detailed description of environmental fate and transport modelling, human and ecological receptors, and specific exposure scenarios, are documented in the Ministry’s “Rationale for the Development of Soil and Ground Water Standards for Use at Contaminated Sites in Ontario”, dated April 15, 2011.

When submitting an RSC for filing, the proponent must show that their site will be able to meet the applicable generic site condition standards, or propose property-specific standards developed through a risk assessment. The risk assessment must be accepted by the Ministry before these property specific standards can be used to support submission of an RSC for filing. In some cases, the proponent may choose to remediate the site to meet either the generic site condition standards or the property specific standards (developed as part of a risk assessment) and/or employ risk management measures to manage unacceptable risks.

This document, the Procedures for the Use of Risk Assessment under Part XV.1 of the Environmental Protection Act (Procedures document) describes the legislative and regulatory requirements for conducting and submitting risk assessment reports under the Environmental Protection Act and Ontario Regulation 153/04. This Procedures document also contains plain language guidance for risk assessment practitioners (e.g. consultants, qualified persons) on how to conduct risk assessment work and prepare risk assessment reports.

It should be noted that the description of the legislative and regulatory requirements given in this Procedures document is for convenience only. A copy of the relevant legislation and regulations should be obtained and reviewed to determine the exact requirements, refer to Ontario’s e-Laws website (URL:
This Procedures document may be updated from time to time.

Published by QPCO Administrator

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