Air Permits and Registrations

Environmental (including human health) impacts for emissions of substances from man-made items or activities are governed by the Ontario Environmental Protection Act (EPA, or the Act) and therefore fall under provincial jurisdiction. The purpose of the Act is to provide for the protection and conservation of the natural environment by disallowing any person from discharging into the natural environment any contaminant, and no person responsible for a source of contaminant shall permit the discharge into the natural environment of any contaminant from the source of contaminant, in an amount, concentration or level in excess of that prescribed by the regulations.

In the Act, a contaminant is defined as any solid, liquid, gas, odour, heat, sound, vibration, radiation or combination of any of them resulting directly or indirectly from human activities that causes or may cause an adverse effect. An adverse effect is defined as one or more of:

  • impairment of the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it,
  • injury or damage to property or to plant or animal life,
  • harm or material discomfort to any person,
  • an adverse effect on the health of any person,
  • impairment of the safety of any person,
  • rendering any property or plant or animal life unfit for human use,
  • loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, and
  • interference with the normal conduct of business.

If a facility discharges or emits any contaminants to the environment, the facility is required, according to the Environmental Protection Act, to operate under either an Environmental Approval or Registration. We have helped clients obtain approvals for many years. Currently, ECAs, Environmental Compliance Approvals (previously Certificates of Approval or CofAs), are approvals that cover activities that affect air, waste and noise and are required for facilities with specific NAICS codes. ECAs can either be site-wide or have limited operational flexibility within a prescribed operational envelope. If a facility does not have a NAICS code that requires an ECA, a facility will have to register their air and noise emissions with an Air Emissions Environmental Activity and Sector Registry, or AE-EASR.

For certain activities, AE-EASRs and ECAs are not required and can be authorized with a regulated EASR. Refer to our EASR page for registration of printing facilities or auto paint booths. Note that generators, cooling towers and comfort heating systems may be exempt from any approval if they meet certain specifications.

Once we determine that a client needs an ECA or AE-EASR, we generally follow the steps listed below (click each step for more information):

Step 1.

We have an initial consultation with the client. At this time we set up a site visit to familiarize ourselves with processes and activities at the facility.

Step 2.

Gather chemical data from SDSs, info from equipment specifications, and quantities of product used.

Step 3.

Preform calculations to estimate emissions from info gathered during step 2.

Step 4.

Run a dispersion model using site specific data.

Step 5.

If the facility shows compliance, than an ESDM report will be prepared. If not, proceed to step 6.

Step 6.

Try either one of the following or a combination:
1. Obtain more accurate data, i.e., precise quantities used.
2. Stack testing.
3. Use a different model.
4. Look at implementing emission control equipment.

Step 7.

Put an application package together and submit to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) for the ECA stream. Assemble documents for registration on the MOECC website for the AE-EASR stream.