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Conservation Authorities Act

This is a web page, on the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) website, about the Conservation Authorities Act in Ontario, and associated regulations, and some ABCA documents about the Act and its implementation in our watershed area.

Conservation Authorities Act – Ontario Legislation

For a link to the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act) on the Province of Ontario’s website click here:

Conservation Authorities Act – Regulations

In October, 2021, the Province of Ontario released Phase 1 regulations designed to implement amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act).
The regulations will now give conservation authorities until January 1, 2024, to complete the transition to a new budgetary framework with their municipalities. These extended timelines will provide sufficient time for conservation authorities to prepare a transition plan, finalize an inventory of programs and services, and enter into Memorandums of Understanding and/or Agreements with their participating municipalities. 

The following three new regulations have been made under the Conservation Authorities Act:

Ontario Regulation 686/21: Mandatory Programs and Services: 

This regulation prescribes the mandatory programs and services conservation authorities would be required to provide, including core watershed-based resource management strategies. 

Phase 2 Regulations and Minister's Fee Policy

The Phase 2 Regulations and the Minister’s fee policy, as listed below, were finalized under the Conservation Authorities Act in April 2022:

1. Ontario Regulation 402/22: Budget and Apportionment. This regulation details the Conservation Authority (CA) budget process and municipal apportionment methods and requirements and includes revocation of the current regulations that govern levies.

2. Ontario Regulation 401/22: Determination of Amounts Under Subsection 27.2 (2) of the Act. This regulation details the methods available to Conservation Authorities to determine amounts owed by their specified municipalities for Conservation Authority programs and services provided in respect of the Clean Water Act, 2006 and Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008.

3. Minister’s Fee Classes Policy. This policy is a published list of the classes of programs and services for which a Conservation Authority may charge a fee.

4. Ontario Regulation 400/22: Information Requirements. This regulation increases transparency of Conservation Authority operations by requiring the public posting of prescribed information on a Governance section of a Conservation Authority's website.

5. Ontario Regulation 399/22: Amendment to the Minister’s Transition Plans and Agreements for Programs and Services Under Section 21.1.2 of the Act (Ontario Regulation 687/21). This regulation increases transparency regarding the use of user fees for category 3 programs and services (those that a Conservation Authority determines are advisable to provide in its jurisdiction), where a cost apportioning agreement is in place.

Requirements to increase transparency of Conservation Authority operations and those related to fees that Conservation Authorities may charge will be in place by January 1, 2023, while those related to budget and municipal levy apportionment processes will be in place by July 1, 2023, to align timing with Conservation Authority 2024 budgets.

These regulations and policy are part of the transition process of Conservation Authorities to the new funding framework and three categories of programs and services that were established by recent amendments to the Act and first phase of regulations, by January 1, 2024.

Here are some relevant links on the Province of Ontario's eLaws website:

Ontario Regulation 687/21: Transition Plans and Agreements for Programs and Services Under Section 21.1.2 of the Act: 

This regulation requires each authority to have a ‘transition plan’ that would outline the steps to be taken to develop an inventory of programs and services and to enter into agreements with participating municipalities to fund non-mandatory programs and services through a municipal levy, among other things. It also establishes the transition period to enter into those agreements. 

Ontario Regulation 688/21: Rules of Conduct in Conservation Areas: 

This regulation consolidates the current individual conservation authority ‘Conservation Area’ regulations made under Section 29 of the Conservation Authorities Act into one Minister’s regulation that regulates the public use of authority owned land. 

The Province of Ontario is currently developing the Consultation Guide for Phase 2 regulations: municipal levy and Conservation Authority budget processes regulation; municipal levy regulation for specified municipalities under the Ontario Clean Water Act, 2006 and Lake Simcoe Protection Act; and classes of programs for which Conservation Authorities can charge fees. Once posted, there will be a period of time to submit comments to the Province of Ontario on the proposed Phase 2 regulations. 

Conservation Authorities Act Amendments – Transition Plan – Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA)

For a copy of the approved Transition Plan please download the following PDF file:

  • Transition Plan (1 MB – Large – PDF file) – Approved by ABCA Board of Directors on November 18, 2021
Transition Plan Timeline

For the approved timeline for the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Transition plan please download the following PDF file:

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Inventory of Programs and Services

Ontario Regulation 687/21: Transition Plans and Agreements for Programs and Services Under Section 21.1.2 of the Act requires each conservation authority to complete an inventory of programs and services. This document lists all the programs and services the authority is providing as of February 28, 2022, and intends to provide after February 28, 2022.

The current inventory has been developed with financial information from past years’ actuals, current budget and five-year financial forecast. This document provides very brief descriptions. 

Download the PDF file now:

Please refer to the 2022 ABCA Annual Report at for more information on the work of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. 

O. Reg. 686/21: Mandatory Programs and Services Regulation requires Conservation Authority activities be positioned into three categories: 

Category 1 defines the following mandatory programs and services.

Category 2 activities are at the request of, or on behalf of, a municipality through a Memorandum of Understanding or other agreement.

Category 3 activities are outside the Category 1 mandatory programs and services that the Conservation Authority decides are required to conserve the watershed.

Inquiries about the inventory may be directed to General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Horner. 

Documents are available in alternate formats upon request.