I’d like to start by announcing a consultation on drainage red tape – something that has been an irritant for many of you.
As most experienced rural municipal representatives in the room will know, you don’t have to be on the job long before something involving the Drainage Act crosses your desk.
The purpose of our proposed amendments is to try to reduce regulatory burden and to streamline approvals under the Act while still maintaining our provinces high environmental standards.
We know that good drainage is essential to agricultural productivity.
And while it may not be a particularly glamorous subject,
Drainage truly is the workhorse of the agriculture sector.
It improves crop productivity and reduces nutrient loss and soil erosion while helping with flood control.
For those important reasons, it’s a key foundation for our agriculture sector.
And, of course, it is of significant interest for municipalities.
Drainage works are vital rural infrastructure.
And they are integral parts of our broader water management system that sustains rural communities and ecosystems.
Our proposed amendments to the Drainage Act are now posted on the province’s Environmental Registry.
There, you’ll find proposals that reduce the approval process from 9 months to as little as 4 months.
As well, our proposed changes will look to save rural communities an estimated 10 per cent savings a year for minor improvement project costs.
I strongly encourage you to share your input during this consultation period and submit your feedback on them.
We’ll use the input we receive to make sure our amendments to the Act do what they need to do to help reduce costs and paperwork for you as well as for rural and agricultural landowners and drainage contractors.
These objectives are in line with our government’s red tape reduction work.
Cutting red tape lowers business costs and it improves business competitiveness.
And when we streamline processes and remove barriers, we’re helping to ensure Ontario is open for business.