Process and Timeline

Regulatory Context

The GTA West project is following Ontario’s process for an Individual Environmental Assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act, which is carried out for large-scale, complex undertakings with the potential for significant environmental effects and major public interest.

On May 3, 2021, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change designated the GTA West Study under the Federal Impact Assessment Act. Please refer to the issued order and response and read the letter from Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada on the matter.

Ontario has started to develop materials required for the planning phase of the Federal Impact Assessment process, including the preparation of an Initial Project Description (IPD). Once submitted, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) will consult with the public, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders and will prepare a Summary of Issues that were raised. Ontario will then prepare a Detailed Project Description (DPD), which demonstrates how the issues have been, or will be addressed. After the DPD is submitted, the Agency must provide a decision regarding whether a Federal Impact Assessment is required

Learn more about the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada process.

The schedule for the GTA West Study is being updated to reflect the current Provincial and Federal processes.

This page will be updated once information is available.

Specialist Fieldwork

Some fieldwork is being planned for fall 2021 to help us understand existing conditions and develop a preliminary design, including:

  • inspections and surveys along the Preferred Route in public spaces and on properties for which Permission-To-Enter has been granted.
  • borehole investigations to understand soil conditions along provincial and municipal right-of-ways.

Engineering Investigations

  • Highway and transitway:
    • Develop 3D model to confirm:
      • Roadway alignments and cross-sections
      • Grading and property requirements
      • Utility impacts
      • Integration with regional and local roads, transit services, and active transportation plans
      • Constructability and construction staging requirements
  • Advanced traffic management systems (ATMS):
    • Investigate and design feasible ATMS options (e.g. closed-circuit TV cameras, variable message signs, traffic data collection, etc.).
  • Traffic:
    • Modelling to understand traffic queues and delays
    • Prepare preliminary traffic management plan
  • Bridges:
    • Evaluate alternatives and develop designs considering aesthetics, navigational requirements, elimination/mitigation of in-water work, construction staging and sequencing, utility relocation, etc.
  • Drainage and hydrology:
    • Analysis and design to:
      • Ensure adequate drainage of the corridor
      • Ensure appropriate sizing of watercourse bridges/culverts
      • Confirm the type of erosion protection and stormwater management required
  • Electrical:
    • Evaluate illumination warrants
    • Perform lighting calculations
    • Evaluate lighting alternatives
    • Prepare layouts for electrical equipment (lighting and traffic signals)
  • Foundations:
    • Drill boreholes to collect information about strength and other physical properties of underlying soils and rocks
  • Pavement:
    • Drill boreholes and pavement cores to collect information about subsurface conditions
  • Value engineering study:
    • Arrange for an independent review of the Preferred Plan
  • Risk assessment study:
    • Analyze project risks throughout the life cycle of the project

The highway and transit corridor right-of-way is preliminary (alignment to be confirmed).

Environmental Studies

We are currently completing studies to establish baseline conditions, complete impact assessments and develop measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate potential effects in the following areas:

  • Fish and fish habitat:
    • Conduct aquatic habitat surveys
    • Conduct species at risk screening
    • Consider measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate potential effects
  • Terrestrial ecosystems:
    • Assess wildlife habitat, wetlands and designated areas
    • Complete plant inventories and conduct species at risk screening
    • Inventory Greenbelt designated lands
  • Groundwater:
    • Characterize hydrogeological conditions
    • Identify potential groundwater impacts and mitigation
  • Noise:
    • Identify noise sensitive areas
    • Conduct noise modelling analysis to determine impacts
    • Determine need and type of noise mitigation
  • Land use factors including agriculture:
    • Update land use information using field reviews, aerial photography, mapping and municipal information
    • Undertake Agricultural Impact Assessment, or equivalent study
    • Provide recommendations that minimize impact on agriculture and existing/proposed land uses
  • Contaminated property and waste management:
    • Identify, investigate and assess any properties/sites with high potential for potential environmental concern
  • Built heritage and cultural heritage landscapes:
    • Map resources to identify areas and individual sites of particular significance and sensitivity
  • Archaeology:
    • Identify archaeological resources through background review and field studies
  • Landscape composition:
    • Examine existing landscape conditions
    • Identify mitigation and enhancement treatments for significant vegetation, viewsheds, topography and landform
  • Air quality:
    • Follow MTO’s Environmental Guide for Assessing and Mitigating the Air Quality Impacts and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Provincial Transportation Projects, as it relates to assessing and mitigating impacts to air quality
  • Surface water and fluvial geomorphological:
    • Review existing conditions
    • Identify measures to mitigate future erosion risk
    • Identify stormwater management and watercourse impacts and mitigation
  • Snow drift:
    • Calculate the amount of snow available to drift towards the highway using numerical modelling tools
    • Identify potentially problematic areas for snow drifting onto the infrastructure
    • Recommend mitigation for each potentially problematic area

The highway and transit corridor right-of-way is preliminary (alignment to be confirmed).

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