OMWA IMPORTANT BULLETIN re: Changes to Ontario’s Permit-by-Rule Framework









Dear Valued OMWA Member,

The following is an important message from our colleagues at CELA re: the recent notices on the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO.)

The government of Ontario has recently posted four notices on the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO), which propose to:

  • expand and change the permit-by-rule framework (to enable more proponents to self-register, rather than seeking an environmental authorization, before commencing certain activities)
  • expand and bring more activities (such as construction site dewatering activities, residential foundation drains, stormwater management works, and waste management) into the existing permit-by-rule framework.

The deadline for all of these proposals is October 30, 2023.

We encourage you to attend the webinars being presented by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). It is important that the province knows people are paying attention and are concerned about the proposed changes.

All of the ERO notice links, as well as links to the various webinar registration pages, are below.


ERO Notices


Webinars hosted by MECP:

Call for submissions

The Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) is looking for articles for our next installment of (Water)3, coming this spring.

The topic is Water 101: What Every Municipal Politician Should Know.

Whether they are an incumbent member of municipal council running again, or a candidate seeking election for the first time, we want to be the source for education about municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems that politicians can easily access and refer to. We want to help politicians to be fully and accurately informed about municipal water issues even before they file their papers. And not just about drinking water systems: we want to know how you teach them about your wastewater and stormwater facilities and management, too.
Continue reading “Call for submissions”

OMWA launches revamped website

The Ontario Municipal Water Association (OMWA) is pleased to announce a new look and new functionality for its website. It incorporates both the previous website’s content and the new (Water)3 posts in a WordPress standard platform.

We hope that this new look makes it easier for visitors to find the information and data you need. If you encounter problems or have questions about access, please contact us.


President’s message for Pipeline, Spring 2018 issue

This year will Ontario will have two important elections: a provincial election in June, and a municipal election in October. We have the opportunity to bring our issues, our concerns and our comments to candidates ahead of these elections, to make sure the importance of water is recognized in their campaigns.

We must be prepared for change: expect new faces will appear in the legislature; possibly we’ll see new ministers, new aides, new deputies, and even perhaps a new government in power. Water agencies and associations will once again need to quickly establish relations with Queen’s Park, make or renew contacts, put ourselves in the forefront as advocates to be engaged when the next government comes to legislation and policy-making.

We face the possibility similar upheavals in the municipal sector: new councillors, new mayors, new directions. Both lower-tier and regional governments will be affected. And even when incumbents are returned, we should expect changes in position, in responsibilities and committee appointments.

Continue reading “President’s message for Pipeline, Spring 2018 issue”

Retirement of Nick Benkovich from the OMWA board

OMWA president announces retirement of Nick Benkovich, long-time member, from the OMWA board

Long-serving board member, Nick Benkovich, Director of Water & Wastewater Services for the City of Greater Sudbury, retired from his job at the end of December, 2017. He is also leaving the Ontario Municipal Water Association board of directors after more than a decade of service to the greater water community in this province.

OMWA president, Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan, commented on his leaving:

“It is with bittersweet emotion and homage that I write this message. Bittersweet because it has been such a privilege to work with Nick, and he will be missed immensely, but pleased that he is opening a new chapter in his life and we wish him many new amazing adventures.
“In 2004 Nick Benkovich joined the OMWA Board and became a true champion and voice for our northern water connection. From our first board meeting it was quite apparent that Nick had a deep passion for the north and our water.
“Nick has represented the OMWA in the highest of standards throughout his 13 years on the board and we have all benefitted from his integrity, his principles and his devotion.
“On behalf of the board, it has been a true honour to have had your leadership at the table, you have left your thumbprint on us and the north. We wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life, and hopefully our paths with cross again in the near future.
“With heartfelt sincerity,
Rosemary Kelleher-MacLennan, President OMWA”


Sudbury-born Nick Benkovich holds an Honors Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo (BES) as well as a Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from Laurentian University. He has been employed in the water /wastewater sector for more than 35 years. He wrote that he, “…volunteered for OMWA because I wanted to contribute to the water sector in Ontario beyond my home organization. I hope to see OMWA continue to grow toward fulfilling its “One Water” mandate as defined in the current strategic plan for the organization.”

Nick consider himself “an outdoors person” and enjoys a wide variety of activities such as running, hiking, kayaking, fishing, & hunting.

Nick was instrumental in the development of Sudbury’s Backflow Prevention By-Law, Preventative Plumbing Subsidy Program, Quality Management System, to name only a few. Nick played a key role in implementing the changes required by the Source Water Protection Act, after the Walkerton tragedy and has provided Standard of Care Training to Sudbury city staff.

He has been involved with broader change initiatives, including working with the MOECC in the development of the System-Wide ECA program and involving the City of Greater Sudbury with the NWWBI initiative.

Nick is currently a member of the Local Source Water Protection Committee and is the City’s Risk Management Official, as required by the Source Water Protection Act.

Nick’s innovative vision allowed him to make changes across the city’s water / wastewater division with a mission to improve process, people, technology and data. These efforts included mobilizing field crews with tablets and mobile GIS, implementing Cityworks asset management and leading edge SCADA infrastructure.

Nick was also involved with the following committees:

  • RPWCO (Regional Public Work Commissioners of Ontario) – subcommittee
  • ODWAC (Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council) – member
  • NEOWWC (Northeastern Ontario Water Works Conference) – served as president for multiple terms
  • Water / Wastewater Operator Certification Working Group
  • Helping to develop ORO / OIC Guidelines


OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention

Ontario Municipal Water Association President’s Message: “OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention”

“Delivering water 24 hours a day, seven days a week without interruption is a basic necessity for public health.”  

Quoted by Water Director, Paula Keyhoe of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, featured in an article by WaterTAP, and a recent Speaker at World Water Tech North America 2017.

As an elected official dealing with municipal water systems, and their oversight responsibility, these words resonate intensely. We value and rely on the security and benefits of our public water systems for our constituents and the health of our communities, throughout our province.

While hosting the Premiere Ontario Municipal Water Symposium in partnership with Water Tap, Ontario Water Innovation Week, and World Water Tech North America this past October 30-Nov. 3, I contemplated York Region’s “ONE WATER ACTION PLAN 2017” and this particularly statement,

“The full value of “One Water” can be unlocked “only” through partnerships”.

Partnerships that are forged by mutual “interest, goals and respect.”

Continue reading “OMWA Premiere Water Symposium Attracts International Attention”