The Regional Municipality Of York

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Continued provincial delay approving environmental assessment holds up key infrastructure project

Report highlights significant impacts to Region’s ability to fulfill mandate set out in growth plan

Newmarket – A significant infrastructure project set to support wastewater servicing to residents and businesses in the Towns of Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury faces rippling effects as York Region continues to await provincial approval of the Upper York Sewage Solutions Individual Environmental Assessment project.

In a report to Council, York Region staff summarized the status of the Upper York Sewage Solutions project including detailed design process, property acquisition process and the Region’s continued efforts to advance the project and mitigate risks due to extraordinary provincial delay as the Region waits for approval of the Individual Environmental Assessment.

“Continued delay in implementing this key infrastructure is creating far-reaching financial impacts to the Region and our communities,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “This project is needed to provide required wastewater services now and through to 2031 while contributing significant environmental benefits.”

Initiated in 2009, the Upper York Sewage Solutions project followed the planning process established under the Environmental Assessment Act, which includes a Terms of Reference, a roadmap of the proposed environmental assessment content, and the Environmental Assessment itself. After more than five years of extensive scientific study and consultation with Indigenous peoples and stakeholders, the final Individual Environmental Assessment report was formally submitted to the Minister for approval on July 25, 2014.

Over three years have passed since York Region submitted the final Environmental Assessment Report to the Minister. The Minister’s decision was initially anticipated in February 2015 according to legislated timelines set out in regulations to the Environmental Assessment Act. Outstanding issues with the Province satisfying their provincial duty to consult obligations with Indigenous peoples, has further delayed approval of the Individual Environmental Assessment. The Region is concerned with the potential for further delay.

One particular risk that the Region is facing with further delay in approval of the Upper York Sewage Solutions Individual Environmental Assessment is connected to the proposed modifications to the existing York Durham Sewage System located in the Town of Newmarket.

“York Region continues to actively follow up with the Ministry by sharing information on various stages of this review process,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Chair of Environmental Services. “Continuous delay in approving the Upper York Sewage Solutions Individual Environmental Assessment is not only jeopardizing the Region’s ability to service future growth but is also impacting the Region’s ability to alleviate inherent sewage system risks to our collection system servicing residents in the Town of Newmarket.”

For more information about the Upper York Sewage Solutions Project, please visit

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns, and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 51,000 businesses with 600,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at

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Media Contact:
Masrine Guthrie-Peart, Corporate Communications, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675  ext. 77272 or Cell: 905-251-6416

York Region; environmental assessment The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release