Preparing applications for contaminated sites legal documents

A person may want, or be required to obtain a Certificate of Compliance, an Approval in Principle, a Determination of Contaminated Site, or a Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreement under the Environmental Management Act (EMA). The ministry issues:

  • Certificates of Compliance to confirm that a site has been remediated in accordance with the requirements in Section 53 (3) of EMA
  • Approvals in Principle to approve a site remediation plan under Section 53 (1.1) of EMA
  • Determinations of Contaminated Site to indicate whether a site is a contaminated site in accordance with Section 44 of EMA.  This provision can be used to request a determination that a site is not a contaminated site (a negative determination)
  • Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreements which are an agreement between the owner of a soil source site, the owner or operator of a site receiving soils, and the Director of Waste Management (director), authorizing, under Section 55 of EMA, the relocation of soils from a contaminated site to a suitable deposit site

Applications for Certificates of Compliance, Approvals in Principle and Determinations of Contaminated Sites could either go through an Approved Professional review or be assessed directly by the ministry. Under Protocol 6: Applications with Approved Professional Recommendations and Preapprovals (PDF), applications for Certificates of Compliance and Approvals in Principle for non-high risk sites are to be accompanied by a recommendation from an Approved Professional unless determined otherwise by the director. Approved Professionals also review and make recommendations to the director for both high-risk and non-high risk sites for applications for Determination of Contaminated Site. Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreements do not require an Approved Professional’s recommendation.

This guide provides instructions for both qualified professionals and Approved Professionals when preparing and submitting applications for these legal documents to the ministry.

Submission requirements

Applications for Certificates of Compliance, Approvals in Principle, Determinations of Contaminated Site and Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreements should include the following electronic documents:

In addition, the applicants should also submit the following if affected parcels are included in the application:  

  • If the affected parcel has been remediated:
    • a written statement by an Approved Professional that implemented measures will prevent recontamination or additional contamination of the affected parcel from the source parcel
    • written commitments from the current owner or operator of the source and affected parcels that these measures will be operated and maintained according to the requirements in a Certificate of Compliance or Approval in Principle
  • If the owner of the affected parcel applies for a legal document and is claiming to not be responsible for contamination on their property, additional information should be submitted (see also Preapprovals):
    • proof that the affected parcel fully meets requirements listed in the legal document
    • evidence (including field measurements, records and statements) confirming that the affected parcel owner is not responsible for contamination migrating from a source parcel
    • evidence that contaminant concentrations have been fully investigated and are stable or decreasing on the affected parcel

In addition, applications with the recommendation of an Approved Professional should include:

  • draft Determination of Contaminated Site, Approval in Principle or Certificate of Compliance, along with appropriate cover letter completed in MS Word
  • the type of arm’s length review required for the application as per Section 7.3 of the Summary of Site Condition
  • if applicable, copies of a performance assessment report or addendum report
  • if applicable, a summary of deviations from the Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals (CSAP) Society Approved Professional Practice Guidelines
  • Refer to: Approved Professional drafts and cover letters

In addition to the above submission expectations, applications for Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreements should include the following:

  • a filled and signed Contaminated Soil Relocation Agreement Application Form
  • a detailed risk assessment report including any identified risk controls or an assessment under Protocol 13: Screening Level Risk Assessment (PDF, 847KB), if risk-based standards will be used for the receiving site
  • a performance verification plan, contingent on the use and type of risk controls at the receiving site (see the Performance Verification webpage)
  • if the soil is to be relocated for treatment at a receiving site, a report detailing the time duration that contaminated soil will remain on the receiving site, as well as any recommended monitoring, record keeping and reporting necessary to demonstrate contaminant containment and treatment performance


Incomplete applications

If a submission has been made by an ineligible applicant or is incomplete, incorrect or improperly prepared, the ministry will send it back for correction or will reject it depending on the severity of the issue. General reasons for the rejection of applications for Certificates of Compliance, Approvals in Principle, Determinations of Contaminated Site and Soil Relocation Agreements are provided in Procedure 10: Requirements for Service Application Resubmissions, Withdrawals and Amendments (PDF)

If the ministry rejects an application accompanied by the recommendation of an Approved Professional, the applicant and the professional organization of the Approved Professional will be notified, as per Sections 15 (7), 43 (4), 47 (1.5), and 49 (8) of the CSR.