Things to consider: Engaging the public in proposed fill operations can help build positive relationships between the community and receiving site owners/operators and can improve the municipality’s understanding of its residents’ needs. The MOECC guidelines - Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices (BMP) encourages consultation through public communication activities that may be done in conjunction with other consultation required for municipal zoning or permitting. It is specifically recommended municipalities involve First Nations and Métis that may be impacted or interested (see MOECC BMP below).

Impacted community partners may be determined based on archeological and/or cultural heritage analysis; if for example, a project will affect a site of cultural significance to an Indigenous community, they should be substantively engaged (see Cultural Heritage).
From the MOECC guidelines - Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices (BMP): “Public consultation by the owners/operators of potential Receiving Sites is highly recommended and may be undertaken in conjunction with other public communication activities, such as those required for the purpose of zoning or permitting through municipal by-laws. If undertaken in conjunction with other communication activities, the event should be advertised to include information-sharing specific to the soil management activities. Early in the process, proactive engagement with First Nations and Métis is recommended for those community partners that may be impacted or interested in the proposed activity.1
The BMP further states that: “prior to establishing a proposed Receiving Site, the owners/operators of the proposed Receiving Site should:
  • undertake pre-consultation with local municipalities, any applicable Conservation Authorities and any local First Nations and Métis communities;
  • undertake public consultation to ensure local community and land owners are aware of the proposal and have an opportunity to comment; and
  • • ensure the comments received are taken into consideration and are used to inform the final design and operation of the Receiving Site.”2


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


Things to consider: Municipal by-laws tend only to require public consultation or public meetings for large site alterations or commercial fill operations; however, as noted above, the MOECC BMP highly recommends engaging the community for any receiving site. Example by-law language requiring consultation for a large site alteration is provided here; however, municipalities could adapt this language to apply in broader permitting instances:

“The following requirements shall be in addition to all other requirements and conditions described in this by-law.
  1. An application for Large Scale Site Alterations greater than 1000 cubic meters shall not be considered for approval until Council has considered the application at a public meeting at which the applicant or any interested members of the public will have fair opportunity to make representation. Notice of the public meeting is to be provided to property owners and agencies in a similar manner as a Zoning By-law amendment proposal under the Planning Act and as approved and specified by Council.
  2. The owner or applicant shall give notice to the public that he or she is applying for a Large Scale Site Alteration Permit. Notice under this section shall be at such time or times and by such means as the CBO & Council considers appropriate, including at least one of the following means:
    • i. News release
      ii.Notice through local, regional or provincial news media, such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines,
      iii.Door to door flyers,
      iv. Signs,
      v. Mailings to members of the public,
      vi. Mailings to adjacent property owners,
      vii. Actual notice to community leaders and political representatives,
      viii. Actual notice to community organizations, including environmental organizations and/or any other means of notice that would facilitate more informed public participation in decision making on the proposal.
  3. Notice, as described above, shall include the following:
    • ix. A brief description of the site alteration activities, x. A statement when and where members of the public can review written information about the proposed site alteration application,
      xi. An invitation to member of the public to submit written comments on the proposed site plan application, and
      xii. An invitation to member of the public to attend a public meeting.
    (d) The owner shall submit a report to the CBO for Council consideration with the results of the consultation and setting out any changes they made in response to public concern”3.