Things to consider: Before excess soil is transported to a receiving site, it is a best practice to confirm that there is a fill management plan for the receiving site. The MOECC document Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices (BMP) recommends that a fill management plan be completed by a qualified person once a site assessment has demonstrated the receiving site is suitable for excess soil placement.

Fill management plans, or at least a number of fill management plan components, can be incorporated as part of the requirement for a site alteration permit.

A complete fill management plan, in accordance with the MOECC BMP, addresses a broad range of issues, including:
  • Invasive species;
  • Soil quality;
  • Dust and noise;
  • Site security;
  • Traffic and transportation;
  • Record keeping; and
  • Water quality protection.1
For the detailed list of components, see the MOECC BMP below.
As written in the MOECC BMP, a Fill Management Plan: “…outlines the overall condition and operation of the Receiving Site and should include the following:
  • procedures to prevent the introduction of invasive plant or animal species;
  • copies of any documentation regarding municipal or Conservation Authority licences/permits, provisions of provincial plans which apply to the site, and any requirements of provincial ministries;
  • identification of appropriate soil quality and soil types for excess soil to be received at the site as determined by the QP based on site location/sensitivity, anticipated land use, ground water use/sensitivity, pre-existing site conditions or other factors as to ensure that there is no likelihood of adverse effect;
  • dust and noise control measures;
  • site security measures;
  • Traffic and Transportation Management Plan;
  • protocol for incoming excess soil specifying:
    • that each incoming load have documentation signed by the Source Site QP that includes appropriate and representative soil analyses confirming the soil quality is acceptable for the Receiving Site;
    • that visual and olfactory inspections will be conducted of all incoming loads to screen for odour, visible staining or debris; and
    • contingency measures for load rejections.
  • a record keeping system to create and store written documentation to track each incoming load of excess soil including records of:
    • date and time of arrival of the load to the Receiving Site
    • name and location of the Source Site;
    • volume of excess soil received;
    • documentation from the Source Site signed by a QP, including soil analytical results;
    • confirmation by the Receiving Site QP acknowledging that the incoming excess soil is acceptable for receipt at the site;
    • rejections of any loads of soil due to visual inspection or review of analytical results; and
    • documentation to the Source Site owner/operator and QP, once excess soil is received, confirming the soil was received and the type, quality and quantity was appropriate.
  • clear signage at the site, which identifies a contact name, hours of operation (with reference to local by-laws where appropriate), and daily and after-hours contact telephone numbers;
  • stormwater management plan, which includes provisions to prevent ponding and flooding;
  • erosion control and run-off controls sufficient to prevent impacts to drainage and sediment discharge to nearby watercourses or stormwater systems, and to ensure materials remain where placed;
  • audit sampling protocols consisting of:
    • sampling protocols (designed by a QP) sufficient to produce results that would be representative of the volume of excess soil that is being received from each Source Site; and a
    • contingency plan to identify actions that are to be taken in the event that audit sampling or other information identifies concerns with soil quality from a Source Site.
  • soil placement/segregation protocol sufficient to identify where excess soil from each Source Site has been placed, such that it can be assessed if required.”2


Things to consider: Most current Ontario by-laws do not require fill management plans, and those that do, typically do not reference or match the MOECC BMP meaning. Because of the lack of consistency in fill management plan requirements, it is a best practice to define the plan as it is used within the respective by-law.

“‘Fill Management Plan’ means a plan referenced in this by-law;”3


“Fill Management Plan’ means a fill management plan required as a condition of a permit pursuant to Section 4.07 of this By-law, in accordance with the Guidelines, and approved by the Director,”4

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


Things to consider: It is a best practice to include the requirement for a receiving site fill management plan in by-law permit requirements.

Due to the extensive requirements of a fill management plan, municipalities may leave it to the discretion of the Director to determine if a receiving site owner must provide a fill management plan, with the exception of large scale operations that should generally be required to have an approved fill management plan. Alternatively, municipalities could choose to identify fill management plan components that are applicable to larger sites but not smaller ones.

By-laws can incorporate fill management plans into site alteration permits through one of the following:
    Option 1: Requiring permit applicants to provide a fill management plan that follows the MOECC BMP; Option 2: The Director determines required fill management plan components on a case by case basis; Option 3: Specifying required fill management plan components in the by-law.
If applicants are not required to specifically follow the MOECC BMP, best management practices should be considered when chosen components are developed.

Sample by-law language is provided below for each option.

Option 1
Referring to the MOECC BMP can be a way to generate consistency between municipal by-laws. The BMP can be incorporated as follows:

“A person applying for a Site Alteration Permit shall submit the following, if required by the Director:
    4.06.05 detailed plans including but not limited to a Soil Management Plan, Fill Management Plan, Traffic and Transportation Management Plan and an environmental soil testing plan, all prepared and certified by a Qualified Person, in accordance with the ‘Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices’;”5

Option 2
If a municipality agrees that fill management plan requirements can vary by case with comparable effectiveness, they may choose to include a permit requirement as follows:

“Where a permit has been issued under this By-law, no person shall place or dump fill, remove any topsoil or fill, alter the grade of land, or perform or permit any site alteration except in accordance with this By-law, the terms and conditions of the permit and any agreement entered into with the Corporation pursuant to Section 7 of this By-law, which conditions may include, but are not limited to:
    ii. require the provision of a Fill Management Plan, in accordance with the Guidelines, which describes the operational protocols for the site that can be monitored by staff of the Corporation to confirm compliance with conditions;”6

Option 3
By writing detailed fill management plan requirements in a by-law, permit application and evaluation processes will likely be simplified by eliminating the requirement to reference a secondary document. However, best management practices should be considered when these requirements are developed to promote consistency between by-laws. An example permit requirement is as follows:

“An application for a site alteration permit is not considered to be complete until all of the following are submitted to the satisfaction of the Chief Building Official;
    c) a fill management plan, the requirements of which are set out in Section 19 of this by-law;”7

Large Scale Operations
Municipalities should consider how fill management plan requirements may vary for large scale operations, for example, the MOECC BMP indicates that a qualified person should always be required to complete the fill management plan. This by-law example requires large scale site owners to:

“5.01.01 retain a Qualified Person to prepare a Work Plan that includes the recommendations of the Ministry of the Environment in the document titled “Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices”. Such Work Plan shall be to the satisfaction of the Director and shall include, but is not limited to including the following:
    ii. Fill Management Plan; [...]
5.01.02 retain a Qualified Person to ensure that the site alteration operations are proceeding in accordance with engineering and environmental best practices and the established Work Plan;

5.01.02 retain a Qualified Person to report in writing on a regular basis or as determined by the Director that the site alteration is in accordance with Subsection 5.01.01 of this By-law;”8

If a municipality decides fill management plan component requirements will not vary, the following additional requirement for large scale operations may be included:

“Every fill management plan accompanying an application for a permit under this by-law must be stamped by a qualified person approved by the Chief Building Official.”9


Things to consider: Requiring a fill management plan and clearly defining what the plan should include, (i.e. outlining by-law specific components or referencing those outlined in the MOECC BMP), makes best practices become defensible. Enforcement can be further enabled by including a penalty, like below, that an owner can ensue if a fill management plan is not completed:

“Any person, including a corporation, who contravenes any provision of this by-law, the terms or conditions of a Permit, an Agreement, a Fill Management Plan or an Order under section 444 or section 445 of the Municipal Act, 2001, or an order issued under this by-law, is guilty of an offence:

Every person who is guilty of an offence under this by-law shall be subject to the following penalties:
  1. upon a first conviction, to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $50,000;
  2. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for the same offence, to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $100,000
  3. Upon conviction for a continuing offence, to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $10,000 for each day or part of a day that the offence continues. The total of the daily fines may exceed $100,000;
  4. Upon conviction of a multiple offence, for each offence included in the multiple offence, to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $10,000. The total of all fines for each included offence is not limited to $100,000.”10