Things to consider: While aggregate sites can be suitable for large scale fill operations, most municipal Site Alteration and Fill by-laws contain exemptions for sites licenced or permitted under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) and, therefore, these sites are regulated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).

Changes are being considered to the Aggregate Resources Act to ensure that all sites that are authorized to import fill for rehabilitation are maintaining minimum records. See the MOECC Excess Soil Management Policy Framework for more information.

The Information of Inert Fill for the Purpose of Rehabilitation document provides more information on the MNRF policy on importing fill for aggregate operations, including required compliance with other regulations.
Once the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) licence or permit conditions are met for a pit/quarry, the site can be treated as a receiving site where by-laws would apply. For these types of aggregate sites, the MOECC document Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices (BMP) specifically recommends that large scale fill operations provide and implement a fill management plan.
See MOECC BMP and Fill Management Plan for additional information.
From the MOECC document Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices (BMP): […]
“This document does not apply to aggregate resources that are extracted from pits and quarries. Where it has been determined that a pit or quarry is a suitable location for the large-scale deposit of fill, owners are encouraged to design and implement a Fill Management Plan […] to facilitate the transition from pit/quarry operation through to rehabilitation to a future land use. Where appropriate, elements of the Fill Management Plan may be incorporated into the appropriate regulatory tool, such as an aggregate licence/permit until rehabilitation and surrender are complete, or by municipal or conservation authority permits after rehabilitation”1.

United Soils Management (USM): Whitchurch-Stouffville Site Alteration Permit
USM is restoring the Whitchurch-Stouffville Lee Sand & Gravel Pit to farmland through a large scale fill operation and has so far received public and government support. USM has been following Whitchurch Stouffville’s recently updated Fill By-law and, in some cases, has gone above the requirements. A thorough fill management plan was designed and implemented in accordance with the by-law, and has since incorporated an amendment for hydro-excavation. See the complete USM Fill Management Plan for more information.


Things to consider: The Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) is currently being reviewed and amended. Municipalities should stay updated on the changes and define the ARA in any by-laws where it is referenced.
"Aggregate Resources Act' means the Aggregate Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A.8, as amended”

See the Definitions Page for additional terms relevant to any site alteration or fill by-law.


Things to consider: Municipal site alteration or fill by-laws typically include exemptions for:
a) Sites which are licenced or permitted under the Aggregate Resources Act. The following example refers to ARA licences (as is applied in most of southern Ontario), and wayside permits, however aggregate sites can also be approved through aggregate permits, which municipalities may choose to reference in by-law provisions.

“This by-law does not apply: […]
To site alteration requirements undertaken on lands as described in a licence for a pit or quarry or [a permit for an aggregate site or] a permit for a wayside pit or wayside quarry issued under the Aggregate Resources Act;” 2

b) Site alteration required to lawfully establish, operate or enlarge a pit or quarry, for example:

“The provisions of this By-law do not apply to: […]
the placing or dumping of Fill, removal of Topsoil or alteration of the Grade of land undertaken on land in order to lawfully establish and operate or enlarge any pit or quarry on land,
(i) that has not been designated under the Aggregate Resources Act or a predecessor of that Act, and
(ii) on which a pit or quarry is a permitted land use under a by-law passed under section 34 of the Planning Act3

c) Site alteration for rehabilitation or filling activities in a pit or quarry licenced under the Act, for example:

“This By-law is not applicable to the following: […] Any rehabilitation or filling activity in a pit or quarry licensed under the Aggregate Resources Act, and specifically addressed on the approved site plan”4