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Table of Contents

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller  
Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, provides a keynote concluding address.  

Over 260 people came together from across the province to discuss the management of large-scale fill in Ontario at a symposium in Port Perry on January 25, 2013.

Every year, millions of cubic metres of fill is transported to rural sites in Ontario. In the coming years, there is anticipated growth in demand for fill placement sites, given a large number of industrial, commercial, and residential construction projects in the GTA, as well as large infrastructure projects such as facilities for the Pan Am Games and new transportation routes such as the Highway 407 extension.

The symposium provided an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to discuss the following:

  • The status of large fill issues and implications to communities
  • Current perspectives from government, agencies, community, industry, science
  • Best Management Practices currently being applied, through specific case studies of large fill operations
  • Known gaps in oversight of activities
  • Next steps forward in enhancing management of large-scale fill activities.



Best Practices   Legislative and Policy Considerations   Gaps in the Regulations
Gaps in the Monitoring   Problems at the Receiving Site   Problems at the Source Site


For videos and presentations from the symposium and speaker bios, please click on the names below.



Rob Messervey, CAO, Kawartha Conservation

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As the symposium moderator and co-host, Rob welcomes all of the participants in this video.


Since mid 2009, Rob has been the CAO of Kawartha Conservation, which is located in Lindsay. He is responsible, under Board direction, for developing and delivering resource management programs across the Kawartha Lakes region.

Rob started his career with the Otonabee and Central Lake Ontario conservation authorities, and then served as General Manager of the Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority in Trenton for 6 years.

Rob also worked for over 20 years with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as District Manager in the Aylmer, Midhurst, and Aurora District field offices, and as Manager of Water Resources and Director of the Ministry’s Lands and Waters program, with oversight for water, Great Lakes management, conservation authorities, crown lands, aggregate and petroleum resources, and renewable energy.

Rob has an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario.

Mayor Chuck Mercier, Township of Scugog

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Mayor Mercier, co-host of the symposium, provides welcoming remarks in this video.


Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Chuck now lives in the Hamlet of Prince Albert in Scugog Township with his wife Paula and their four children Mike, Sara, Jesse, and Mack.

Chuck is a graduate of Loyalist College, the Ontario Police College accreditation, and executive development at the Canadian Police College, along with the Rotman School of Management. In the 1990’s, he instructed Major Case Management at the Canadian Police College and was awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation from the RCMP for his work. This work was recognized by Justice Campbell during the Bernardo Inquiry and Chuck became part of the Inquiry Recommendation Implementation Team for the Province of Ontario.

Chuck has lectured across Canada as well as in the United States, Australia, and Brazil on Project Management and on building Effective Organizations.

Chuck retired from the Durham Regional Police as the Deputy Chief of Police in 2009. He is a member of the Order of Merit and was the 2008 Chair of the Ontario Special Olympic Spring Games. He is a member of the First Nations Literacy Project where literacy and cultural harmonization are promoted within the Durham District School Board.

Chuck was elected Mayor of the Township of Scugog in October 2010, and, that year, was appointed to the rank of Honourable Colonel of the Ontario Regiment.



Bev Hendry, CAO, Township of Scugog

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Presentation Abstract: "A Tale of 2 airports" -- Addressing the challenges faced in the Lakeridge and Greenbank airport Projects

In and around 2009 and 2010, Scugog and surrounding municipalities noticed an increase in the number of fill applications. Previously Permit applications were generally small in scope i.e. a farmer taking in fill to level off a field. The newer applications were for thousands of truckloads from development sites in the GTA and surrounding area.

Bev discusses Scugog's Site Alteration By-Law history involving the lessons learned and challenges of two airport projects. She summarizes the ongoing challenges and makes suggestions for moving forward.


Bev joined the Township in November 2005 and, in her capacity as CAO, has enjoyed community building and been a key driver of a waterfront revitalization project in Port Perry which has included securing over $10.5M in Building Canada funding.

Prior to her time in Scugog, she was the Regional Director-Central Region for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and had over 19 years of progressive management and municipal experience at the provincial level. During her tenure as Regional Director, Bev was responsible for helping over 70 municipalities understand provincial government policy and priorities in addition to assisting them develop action plans and best management practices for the effective delivery of services.

Bev’s leadership style is approachable, collaborative, and resourceful, and she has a strong team orientation. This is complemented by strengths in fiscal oversight and service delivery, as well as thorough an understanding of how to balance development and environmental issues. Ms Hendry is currently the First Vice President of the Ontario Municipal Administrators Association. Bev is a University of Guelph alumnus where she received a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master’s of Science in Management and Economics.

Dolly Goyette, Director, Ministry of the Environment, Central Region

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Presentation Abstract: Update on the Proposed Best Management Practices for Soil Management in Ontario

Large amounts of soil are being moved to support significant economic activities and developments throughout Ontario. The Ministry of the Environment encourages the reuse of excess soil as fill to avoid unnecessary disposal in landfill, as long as the soil is managed in an environmentally responsible manner. To help facilitate the beneficial reuse of excess soil, the ministry has developed a draft “Best Management Practices for Soil Management in Ontario.” Dolly Goyette, Director of Central Region, provides an overview and background of the best management practices to discuss its development. The presentation also discusses what the next steps are in the process of formalizing the document for application in Ontario.


Dolly Goyette is a Professional Engineer having graduated from the University of Toronto in 1987 with a Master’s of Applied Science. She has worked in the Ministry of the Environment for over 25 years. She began her career as an engineer developing industrial effluent regulations, known as the MISA regulations. As a Senior Policy Analyst, she assisted with the Environmental Bill of Rights from drafting to implementation. As the Assistant Director in the Waste Management Policy Branch, she worked on a number of policies relating to nutrient management and waste diversion. She was the Guelph District Manager responsible for a team of Environmental Officers for four years. During this time, she worked on a number of large scale clean-ups of contaminated sites. Dolly has worked in the Drive Clean Office in a number of positions, including the Director responsible for overseeing the province’s vehicle emissions testing program.

Her current position is the Director of Central Region within Operations Division. The region has four district offices (Barrie, Halton-Peel, Toronto and York-Durham), a technical support section and a program services unit. The region delivers ministry programs to over six million people.

Chris Darling, Director, Development Review and Regulations, CLOCA

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Presentation Abstract: CA Planning and Regulatory Oversight

Conservation Authorities (CAs) have a broad mandate as watershed managers. This presentation focuses on CA involvement in regulating large fill sites. An overview of CA mandate and scope of jurisdiction, particularly as it relates to administration of regulations, is provided. This also includes a summary of work completed by CAs to coordinate and establish Best Management Practices for the review of proposed large fill sites and on-going monitoring and enforcement. Conclusions include comments on regulation gaps and potential enhancement/solutions.


Chris Darling is a Registered Professional Planner with over 20 years of land use planning experience. He is the Director of Development Review and Regulations with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) where, in this capacity, he led the development of CLOCA’s large fill policy which has been in effect since 2010. Chris joined CLOCA following positions as a Principal Planner with the Region of Durham and the Director of Development Services for the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, Ward 38, City of Toronto

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Presentation Abstract: The City of Toronto protocol for testing soil at the source of fill that will be leaving the GTA

Glenn discusses the massive amounts of fill being generated in the City of Toronto and some of the made-in-Toronto solutions that will address some, but not all, of the issues associated with dumping large amounts of fill. Projects highlighted include the Humber River Islands (that can accept 800,000 cubic metres of fill), Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant and parkland project, and the Leslie Street Spit project, as well as the Brock Road North re-naturalization project.

Glenn urges members of the Symposium to create a set of recommendations, standards, approved fill-sites and courses of action that all 15 conservation authorities can adopt, in an attempt to address some of the problems being experienced today. Glenn suggests that, for some massive projects, municipalities and conservation authorities can control the entire life cycle of the projects, from excavation to deposition and the creation of new nature sanctuaries.

Glenn – along with Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Josh Matlow, and Mike Layton – is willing to take symposium recommendations to the City of Toronto in an effort to create a GTA wide set of mandatory Large-Scale Fill policies.


Glenn was elected to Toronto Council in 2003 and is well known as being a strong voice for local citizens. Glenn is also known as a friend of the environment and has spent decades advocating for many important environmental issues. During his years of citizen action, Glenn was called everything from an “ecological Robin Hood” to a “truly tireless” environmental crusader.

Shortly after finishing his MA at the University of Toronto, Glenn became, at age 25, one of the leaders of the fight to preserve Scarborough’s magnificent Rouge Valley. Glenn hand-drew the boundaries of the proposed national-provincial park and has spent over 25 years pursing this dream. During his many years of environmental advocacy, Glenn helped mobilize thousands of citizens in defence of the 160 kilometre-long Oak Ridges Moraine. The result of the groundswell of public support was the passing of the Oak Ridges Moraine Act and the creation of a 1,000 acre park in Richmond Hill.

Since first being elected in 2003, some of Glenn’s environmental initiatives include:

  • Calling for the establishment, and strengthening, of the Greenbelt Act
  • Creating the world’s first mandatory bird friendly development guidelines
  • Supporting a “community right to know” by-law that requires companies to publish lists of hazardous materials they use on their properties
  • Stopping the construction of a new incinerator at the Highland Creek treatment plant
  • Transferring 1,000 acres of city owned land at the old Brock Road landfill site to the
  • Toronto and Region Conservation Authority that will eventually create one of the largest ecological parks in southern Ontario.


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Carmela Marshall, Lakeridge Citizens For Clean Water

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Presentation Abstract: Large Fill community concerns, issues and solutions

Excess soil comes from construction excavations and the rehabilitation of brownfields. Hundreds of trucks a day are looking for a place to dump excess soil from new subdivisions and condo towers and from old gas stations and abandoned lead smelters. Municipalities rely on their fill by-laws to regulate the dumping of clean fill and the Ministry of the Environment of Ontario (MOE) uses their regulations to protect the environment from polluted soil. However, few municipalities acknowledge the existence of commercial fill operations or the possibility of contaminated soil. The MOE monitors and regulates fill only when it is alerted that there may be an environmental threat. This leaves the local citizens to raise the alarm and press for monitoring and regulation if they perceive a threat to the environment and their quality of life. The Lakeridge Citizens for Clean Water (LCCW) have done that with some success in Scugog, and other citizens in Clarington, Whitby, Pickering, New Tecumseh, and elsewhere are speaking up. They educate themselves, each other, and the media, and demand action from their politicians and civil servants.

These citizens are concerned about the threat of contamination of their drinking water wells and are disturbed by the noise, dust, and traffic hazards of the multitude of trucks. They are perturbed by the ineffectiveness of municipalities to monitor if clean fill is indeed clean and exasperated when the regulators back off if the site is designated as an aerodrome under federal regulation. Within easy driving distance of Toronto, there are dozens of registered aerodromes with grass-strips as well as dozens of exhausted gravel pits, both of which seem to be attractive to fill operations.

LCCW feels that all levels of government need to act: for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to guide municipalities to draft effective fill by-laws with provisions for monitoring the quality of the soil being dumped; for large-scale commercial fill operations to be subject to a similar scrutiny as for any major project; for MOE to take a proactive role in monitoring soil dumping; for the Brownfields regulations to ensure the removed soil is disposed of properly; for the greenbelt legislation to treat large-scale fill operations as any other environmental threat; for Transport Canada to acknowledge the provinces’ responsibility in regulating environmental quality at aerodromes; and, for citizens to question the authorities when they see soil dumping.


Carmela is speaking as one of the founding members of the Lakeridge Citizens for Clean Water (LCCW). LCCW formed in the autumn of 2010 over concerns of a large-scale fill operation on Lakeridge Road. Through door knocking, presentations to local councils, and a public meeting here in this building, it brought the issue of soil dumping to local attention. Since then, Carmela and LCCW have taken part in a legal challenge and an Environmental Review Tribunal, given 26 deputations to councils in the GTA and beyond, met with MPPs, and worked with other citizens’ groups for better regulation of soil dumping throughout Ontario.

LCCW has 100 members and has earned a place on the Mayor’s New Year’s honour roll. Carmela is an outdoor educator with a degree in microbiology and an engineering level training course in Contaminated Soil and Groundwater Chemistry, Assessment and Remediation.

Josh Garfinkel, Senior Campaigner, Earthroots

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Presentation Abstract: The ORM and Fill – Issues and progress towards solutions

This presentation illustrates how the environmental organizations Earthroots and STORM Coalition got involved in the commercial fill issue in Ontario. After a brief “Moraine 101,” there is an emphasis on concerns about the sand and gravel pits on the Oak Ridges Moraine becoming sites for fill of unknown quality.

The focus of the presentation shifts to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and the importance of this land use plan, emphasizing some of the problems with the lack of sufficient monitoring and regulation with respect to commercial fill, and how this critical, emerging issue of commercial fill seems to have fallen through the legislative cracks.

The presentation highlights how Earthroots and STORM have brought together different citizens groups who have legitimate questions about fill sites in their communities, and conveys the importance of the “Moraine Can’t Wait” campaign, and how this collaborative campaign effectively instigated dialogue between rural and urban councillors.


Josh Garfinkel has been working for Earthroots for over seven years. After graduating from Trent with a joint major in Indigenous Studies and Cultural Studies, Josh moved back to Toronto, and took a job as a door to door canvasser for Earthroots. His passion for the issues, and his interest in the environmental non-profit world, led him to get a job as a campaigner for Earthroots in 2006.

His work over the past seven years has entailed being part of coalitions that lobbied for a new Provincial Parks Act and Endangered Species Act, co-authoring various reports pertaining to groundwater use on the Oak Ridges Moraine and surrounding Greenbelt, and hosting workshops for people afflicted by environmental issues in various parts of the Moraine.

Since Earthroots is a small organization, his roles cover a wide range of activities, including meeting with MPP`s and municipal representatives, speaking with media, writing grants, and hosting rallies and workshops.

Steve Holysh, Senior Hydrogeologist, ORM Groundwater Management Program

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Presentation Abstract: Measuring and mitigating cumulative impacts from large fill operations

In the removal and/or deposition of soils from different sites, it is often the water that travels across or through the disturbed sites that is fingered as the medium that warrants considerable attention when it comes to assessing impact. Certainly, in cases where fill of a different composition and character is transported to a new site, the potential arises for changes to be reflected in the groundwater and surface water. Changes can be related to water quality, recharge characteristics, or to changes in the local groundwater flow system.

To assist with placing sites into a hydrogeological setting, the Oak Ridges Moraine Groundwater program has been in place since 2001 with a long term vision of assisting partner agencies with data management, geological characterization, and groundwater flow system understanding. The insights gained through the program can be drawn upon when site specific issues, such as large-scale fill transfers, arise.


Steve graduated with an M.Sc. degree in hydrogeology from the University of Alberta. Upon graduation, consulting was the way to go and Steve spent 5 years with Gartner Lee Ltd. in their Markham Ontario Office before moving to the Regional Municipality of Halton, just west of Toronto. At the Region, Steve developed an Aquifer Management Plan, a comprehensive plan to understand and manage the groundwater resource across Halton.

In 2001, Steve moved to the Conservation Authorities Moraine Coalition consisting of 9 conservation authorities with jurisdiction on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In this position, he is primarily focused on the York Peel Durham Toronto groundwater program, aimed at understanding and managing the groundwater resource across the Oak Ridges Moraine area.

Steve served on the Technical Experts Committee for the Province’s source water protection initiative and also served as a Council of Canadian Academies panel member and helped write the 2009 report for the Federal Government “The Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Canada.” Steve is also a past-president of the Canadian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists.




Patrick Dovigi, President and CEO, Green For Life

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Presentation Abstract: Soil remediation in large fill projects

Green For Life (GFL) is responsible for completing 3 of the largest excavation and remediation projects in Ontario which include the rehabilitation of the Morningside landfill for the University of Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission Ashbridges Bay street car garage as well as the ongoing work at the athlete’s village for the Pan-Am games at the Don Lands. In addition GFL has performed in excess of 100 million dollars of excavations for condominium sites for developers in the Greater Toronto area. Patrick provides his views on the practice and economics of good soil management in southern Ontario from an industry perspective.


Founder, President, and CEO, Patrick Dovigi is no stranger to success. Patrick worked for Lower East Capital Partners where he financed environmental services companies from the age of 22. Four years later, at the age of 26, he formed GFL Environmental Corporation. Patrick sat on the board of directors for NGTV, a music and celebrity channel started by KISS’s lead singer Gene Simmons, and of course, he was a professional hockey player for the NHL Edmonton Oilers.

Patrick’s goal is to create one of the largest and best run environmental services companies in Canada. He is dedicated to the growth of GFL, and expanding the service areas for liquid and solid waste as well as soil remediation. Currently GFL operates in 5 different provinces and employs over 1500 people. Patrick has been featured in Toronto Life magazine, and recently won the ICCO (Italian Chamber of Commerce) award for Environmental Leadership.

Moreen Miller, CEO, Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association

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Presentation Abstract: Managing Excess Soils; Ontario’s Path Forward

Many parts of Ontario that are continuing to grow and create new communities have struggled with the management of excess soil as infrastructure development creates excess materials as part of the regular construction process. The aggregate industry is often involved in both parts of this process; providing the natural resources to build houses, schools, roads, and hospitals, but also are often asked to accept excess soil materials, created by this infrastructure development, in pits and quarries. While the aggregate industry is interested in partnering with municipalities and the province to find sustainable solutions to excess soils movement and storage, there any many challenges associated with the current management structure at both the provincial and municipal level. Opportunities and challenges are outlined in this presentation.


The Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA) is the industry association representing over 250 sand, gravel and crushed stone producers and suppliers in Ontario, Canada. OSSGA works in partnership with government and the public to promote a safe and sustainable aggregate industry. Prior to joining the OSSGA, Moreen was Vice President, Land (worldwide), for Lafarge, the world’s largest construction materials producer. Moreen worked internationally with legislation, rehabilitation initiatives, community affairs, and sustainable development through the 75 countries in which Lafarge operates.

Moreen is a geologist and a licenced landscape architect, and has over 25 years of experience in the rehabilitation and restoration of industrial landscapes. She is also a Commissioner on the Niagara Escarpment Commission, appointed in 2003

Doug LeBlanc, President, DLS Group

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Presentation Abstract: State of the art in soil and groundwater monitoring, sampling, reporting

Douglas LeBlanc speaks on the Greenbank fill project, what has been learned from the project, and how this information can be of use in future fill projects in other Municipalities. Mr. LeBlanc also discusses the issues created through inconsistent soil sampling practices and the draft Ministry document “Soil Management - A Guide for Best Management Practices.”


The DLS Group was founded by Doug in 1996 after he completed a successful 22-year career in the Canadian military. His primary responsibilities with the Canadian Forces were in the area of environmental contamination and cleanup. Over the course of his career, he trained in both Canada and the United States, and became one of the best known practitioners of environmental cleanups in the North American military establishment. Throughout his military career, and now with his own private firm, Doug has been an innovator, developing highly effective equipment and protocols that continue to set the benchmark in the remediation industry. He has completed over 6,500 environmental projects in his career.




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Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

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Presentation Abstract: After hearing from all of the speakers, what do we all have to do moving forward?

The management of soil material that is excavated and moved to other locations is a complex issue that has environmental, planning, and social implications for our communities. It is a long standing issue that is growing, driven by the redevelopment and infrastructure improvements underway in our urban areas, especially in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Jurisdictions of governments or agencies can be unclear, overlapping or absent all at once. Solutions may be available but they are not neat and they are not without cost. This talk attempts to summarize the situation and identify where policy initiatives at the provincial, municipal and agency level might improve the situation.


Gord Miller was first sworn in as the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario on January 31, 2000 to oversee the continued implementation of the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). He has now been re-appointed for his third term.

As an independent officer appointed by the Legislative Assembly, Commissioner Miller oversees 13 ministries and monitors and reports annually on:

  • Government compliance with the provisions of the EBR
  • Government progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Activities in Ontario to reduce the use or make more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels.

Prior to his appointment as Environmental Commissioner on January 31, 2000, Gord Miller worked as a scientist in pollution abatement and in environmental education and training. As Environmental Commissioner, he has released twelve annual reports, seven special reports, four Greenhouse Gas Progress Reports, and four Energy Conservation Progress Reports to the Ontario Legislature.





The symposium is presented by:
Township of Scugog   KRCA logo low res