IWA Publishing

Examining the emerging environmental protection policy convergence in the Ontario municipal drinking water, wastewater and stormwater sectors

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study examines the governance approaches applying to Ontario's municipal water management activities and observes an environmental policy convergence occurring in two different dimensions: across the drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater aspects of municipal water activities with respect to governance approaches, and federal, provincial, and municipal governments in terms of drawing on private management system standards to supplement conventional regulatory requirements. This study supports the proposition that municipal water governance approaches are developed within a context that includes both state-based requirements and non-state market-oriented standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, and this context facilitates convergence and calibration between and among state-based and private governance at the public policy level adopted by municipalities. In addition to increasing use of private environmental management systems (EMSs) by Ontario municipalities as methods of addressing operational challenges they face, Canadian courts are also referencing EMS in their decisions. This article suggests that EMS standards such as ISO 14001 can be useful supplements to state regulations, and this supplementing would not be characterized as supplanting or substituting conventional state-based regulation, but rather as a form of practical and conceptual ‘bridge’ between public and private forms of regulation.

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