Environmental Activity and Sector Registry: What It Is, and What It Does
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment works hard to protect the natural environment. It regulates businesses and operations that, while necessary, can impact the environment in negative ways. The MOE has extensive application and approval processes to ensure that businesses maintain the most environmentally safe practices possible.
Six years ago, the MOE began implementing a public, online process developed by the Environmental Protection Act, called the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry. The EASR can make these processes faster and simpler for certain qualifying businesses and/or individuals, depending on things such as pollution control methods, good management practices, and design requirements. For these businesses or equipment pieces, this easy online process replaces the lengthy applications and numerous forms required to obtain the Environmental Compliance Approvals or Renewable Energy Approvals necessary to create, expand, or continue operations that may impact the natural environment. The EASR is, simply put, a public site on which people and businesses participating in, or operating, certain functions can register activities or machinery requiring regulation by the MOE according to the EPA.
The EASR was designed to target small, ground-mount solar systems. Some of the criteria for equipment and/or activities involved in operating these solar systems include, but are not limited to:
- No less than 15 unobstructed meters from the system to the borders of the property on which the system operates.
- The unit must be no larger than a 500-kW capacity system.
- The system must be located on property or land with related, specific uses. Residential locations do not meet the EASR criteria for small ground-mount solar systems.
There are, of course, other activities and/or machines that could be eligible for EASR. These activities and equipment include:
- Gas-powered, comfort heating systems
- Standby power units
- Booths that handle automotive refinishing tasks, such as spray-painting booths
Any business or machine which operates in such a way that it releases, or has the potential to release, toxins or impurities into the air, or alters the way or rate in which the impurities are released, also meets the criteria for the EASR, and must always remain updated via your online account. All exceptions to this regulation can be found online in the guidelines.
The MOE works continually to improve and increase the efficiency of the processes required to run and operate businesses and equipment that impacts the natural environment. It’s in the process of incorporating a new program in the EASR that will include more sectors and activities. The MOE hopes to encourage more use and development of clean, small power sources, and subsequently remove unnecessary and harmful environmental effects imposed by current issues. Therefore, it hopes to include certain renewable energy missions to the EASR-qualified list soon.
To register for the EASR, access the Service Ontario’s One-Source for Business Portal. There, you can find the steps necessary to apply, as well as links to the lists of qualification guidelines. In the appendix, you will find sample templates and forms to help you get started.