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Past Drainage Courses

Past Drainage Courses

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2018 – Guidance for Environmental Permissions


Projects under the Drainage Act are almost always complex. The engineer needs to ensure that the project complies with the Drainage Act, which can be tough. Combine that point with the fact that a community of property owners who rarely share the same vision for the project pays for the drain, and it’s obvious that the project becomes even more complex. Add in other factors such as procurement policies, roads and utilities, appeal bodies, municipal politics and grant policies under the Agricultural Drainage Infrastructure Program and it is easy to see how drainage projects can be downright difficult!

But that’s not all. The engineer also has to ensure that projects comply with various environmental statutes and regulations. There are a variety of laws that could possibly apply to projects under the Drainage Act, but the three most common are the Fisheries Act (including the Species at Risk Act), the Conservation Authorities Act and the Endangered Species Act.  Each have different requirements and are managed in different ways. The purpose of the “Guidance to Environmental Permissions” course is to educate participants on the legislation and to provide guidance on achieving compliance in a practical and effective manner.


  • Welcome and Introduction, Sid Vander Veen, Drainage Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • The Federal Fisheries Act and Species at Risk Act, Rick Kiriluk, Fisheries Biologist, Fisheries & Oceans Canada – Fisheries Protection Program
    • Overview of how to ensure compliance with federal legislation, Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act when contemplating works under the Drainage Act.
  • Municipal Drainage Reports and the Conservation Authorities Act –  Davin Heinbuck – Water Resources Coordinator, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
    • The session will provide a brief background of Conservation Authorities with a focus on their role in Municipal Drainage through the Conservation Authorities Act. The review process will be stepped through for both S. 4 (D.A.) Petition Drains and S. 78 (D.A.) Drainage Improvements, with a focus on clear and concise communication.
  • The Endangered Species Act (ESA), Devin Soeting, R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited
    • This session will provide an overview of the Endangered Species Act and how the Act applies to drainage projects, with a focus on project planning and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry engagement.
  • The Royal Oak Municipal Drain – Obtaining a Fisheries Act Authorization, Greg Nancekivell, Dietrich Engineering Ltd. and Christopher Biberhofer, Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

    • Together, the Engineer and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will present their perspectives in complying with the Fisheries Act for the construction of the Royal Oak Municipal Drain. From the Request for Review, to preparing an Offsetting Plan, to obtaining a Letter of Credit, and finally being granted Fisheries Act Authorization; this joint session will discuss the applicant’s and the reviewer’s respective duties and obligations along every step of the way towards achieving compliance with the Fisheries Act.
  • Allen-Young Municipal Drain (AYMD), Jeff Dickson, R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited
    • A representative from DFO and from Conservation Ontario, an individual familiar with the Endangered Species Act as well as the drainage practitioner will present their perspectives in complying with legislative requirements and the procurement of various authorizations/permits for the AYMD. Included will be information regarding: the scope of the AYMD project; an affected natural watercourse and a wetland; brook trout and other habitat; various species at risk; the DFO “Request for Review”; obtaining a DFO Letter of Advice; obtaining a MNRF Letter of Advice; and obtaining a permit from MVCA. During this joint session, the practitioner will present information regarding the AYMD in the form of a brief Case Study and the other participants will speak to the applicable legislative requirements and the resulting authorizations/permits.

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2017 – The Drainage Act and the Role of the Engineer

Drainage Engineers Training Sessions – Training Session 1

INTRODUCTION – Sid Vander Veen, P.Eng., Drainage Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs

  • Drainage Act overview with emphasis on the responsibility of the engineer for Reports under Sec. 4, 78, 76, 84, 65 & 40
  • Scope and application of the Drainage Act

ENGINEER’S ROLE UNDER THE DRAINAGE ACT – Sid Vander Veen, P.Eng., Drainage Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs

  • Section 11 – independence of engineer
  • Section 8(1) – appointment of engineer
  • Section 8(2) – naming of engineer who will have charge of project
  • “Quasi-judicial role of the engineer” – Referee decisions

PROJECT SCOPING MEETINGS – Sid Vander Veen, P.Eng., Drainage Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs

  • When are meetings needed?
  • Establish stakeholders to invite – drainage superintendent, C.A. representatives, key land owners, road superintendent, utilities representatives
  • Details to be reviewed


  • Defining area requiring drainage
  • Counting signatures – sufficiency of petition
  • Examples
  • Review of key Referee decisions regarding this subject

SECTION 78 WORK – John Kuntze, P.Eng., K.Smart Associates Limited

  • Define work within and outside the scope of Section 78
  • Petition vs. request and other differences

PRELIMINARY OFFICE WORK – Michael Gerrits, P.Eng., R. Dobbin Engineering Inc.

  • Information sources – old plans & reports, maps, photos, aerials
  • Establishing the watershed: soil types, slope, land use, land practice; environmental concerns, public utilities, private utilities (e.g. tile drainage, wells, waterlines)

ON-SITE MEETING – Tony Peralta, P.Eng., N.J. Peralta Engineering Ltd.

  • Determining area requiring drainage
  • Format, general problem definition, suggested solutions
  • Owner interviews & property grant eligibility

PRELIMINARY REPORTS – Gerard Rood, P.Eng., Rood Engineering Inc.

  • Purpose of the preliminary report
  • Preliminary report content
  • Engineer’s role at meeting to consider the preliminary report

FIELD WORK – Mark Hernandez, P.Eng., Dillon Consulting Limited

  • Survey, bench marks, staking, high water marks, soils investigations, existing channel features, crossings, private/public utilities

CONTENT OF REPORTS – Jeff Dickson, P.Eng., R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited

  • Content required by Drainage Act
  • Content required by others (e.g. Tribunal, A.D.I.P., Referee)
  • Report format – components
  • Engineer’s role at the meeting to consider final report

 SUFFICIENT OUTLET – Jeff Dickson, P.Eng., R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited

  • Section 15 of Drainage Act
  • Definition
  • The engineer’s duties
  • When is modelling required
  • What to watch out for
  • Past Referee decisions

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2016 – The Other Reports Under the Drainage Act

Through the provisions of the Drainage Act, drainage practitioners are instructed to prepare drainage reports to create new petition drains (under Section 4) or improve existing municipal drains (under Section 78).  However, practitioners can also prepare other reports to address various drainage matters, through the Act.

At the end of the course, attendees will have a diverse and working knowledge of the “Other” drainage reports that can be prepared through the benefits of the Drainage Act.

This workshop is directed to employees of engineering firms. If space is available, registration will open to the general audience.

Reports Under Drainage Act Sections 77(2) and 62(2) Sid Vander Veen, Drainage Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Engineers may be required to prepare reports under Section 77(2) and Section 62(2) of the Drainage Act. These are seldom used sections that usually have even experienced drainage engineers thumbing through their copy of the Drainage Act. Find out situations where these sections are used and the responsibilities of the drainage engineer.

Section 40 Engineer’s finding, drainage works not required, etc. Mark Hernandez, P.Eng., Dillon Consulting Limited

Section 40 of the Act is not often required but is a useful tool for the engineer when the requested work is found to be not required, impractical or cannot be constructed under the Act.

Section 65 of the Drainage Act – Changes in Assessment –  Gerard Rood, P.Eng., President, Rood Engineering Inc.

When lands are subdivided or severed into smaller pieces, or change their drainage outlet or quantity of flow, their assessments need to be updated to reflect the changes in size, runoff or watershed use. Updated assessment values need to be provided for each new or changed parcel. After being instructed by the Clerk, the engineer prepares a drainage report with the required information for future sharing of maintenance costs and submits it to the Clerk for distribution to the affected landowners.

Varying Original Assessments for Maintenance – Section 76 Antonio (Tony) B. Peralta, P.Eng., President & Drainage Practitioner, N. J. Peralta Engineering Ltd.

When a drainage system has endured changes or circumstances have arisen that causes the current governing maintenance schedule to be out-of-date, a Municipality may appoint an Engineer to prepare a report to vary the assessments of the governing municipal drain by-law.  The varying of the current governing Schedule of Assessment is created in order to properly distribute the costs of maintenance to all affected landowners.  The new Maintenance Schedules of Assessment is intended to provide the basis for levying any future maintenance costs for a drainage system.

Section 84 – the Drainage Act, RSO 1990, c D.17 Jeff Dickson, R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited

The proper procedure to be complied with in regards to the abandonment of all or part of a drainage works including when an engineer’s report is required, procedures on report, abandonment by Council and disbursement of remaining funds.

Mutual Agreements Michael Gerrits, P. Eng., R. Dobbin Engineering Inc.

Mutual Agreement Drains evolved from Ditches and Watercourses Act which was passed in 1847. Prior to Mutual Agreements Drains, land owners requiring drainage could enter an agreement with their neighbors and obtain a sufficient outlet. Mutual Agreement Drains are an effective means to provide land owners with a sufficient outlet for their water when all parties can agree on the drain alignment, construction, financing and maintenance procedures. Although it is recommended, Mutual Agreement Drains do not require an engineer.

Preparing and Presentation of Tribunal Reports John Kuntze P.Eng., K. Smart Associates Limited

Review the process for the Engineer when a Report has been appealed to the Drainage Tribunal. The session will provide guidelines and comments on preparing for and presenting at a Tribunal Hearing. Process for the Engineer when a Report has been appealed to the Drainage Tribunal. Comments on preparing for a Tribunal Hearing and presenting at a Tribunal Hearing.

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2015 – New Tools for the Drainage Engineer’s Toolbox

Fish and Fish Habitat Enhancements in Drains
Tom Hoggarth and Richard Kavanagh, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

There are 128 fish species known to live in agricultural drains in Ontario. This presentation will provide background in the basic biology of fish as well as introduce fish habitat restoration techniques that meet the needs of drainage engineers as well as the needs of the fish.

Protection of Life, Prevention of Damages & Conservation of Ecosystems
Davin Heinbuck, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

The session will provide a brief background of Conservation Authorities with a focus on their role in Municipal Drainage. A suite of environmentally friendly drain maintenance and construction tools will be explored, with specifics on how each tool provides not only an environmental benefit, but also provides a benefit to the integrity and management of the drain.

Included in the session will be a case study example of how tools can be used and combined to the benefit of both the drain and the environment.

Innovation in Wetland & Riparian Buffer Restoration through the Drainage Act in Southern Ontario
Dave Richards, Partnership Specialist, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

The goal of this project is to restore green infrastructure (wetlands, grassed waterways and riparian buffers) along municipal drains, under the Drainage Act, without negatively impacting the adjacent agricultural practices. Green infrastructure provides water storage, recharge and discharge functions as well as valuable habitat to numerous wildlife species. The benefits associated with restoring water storage, recharge and discharge functions in the wetland and buffer will enhance agricultural operations in the local communities. Water quality benefits should also be realized from the wetland water filtering functions. In several action plans for Lake Erie and Lake St Clair, there is a strong focus on using green infrastructure along waterways to help reduce phosphorus levels.

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Drainage Engineers Course

The Land Drainage Committee of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers has developed a Drainage Engineers Course which focuses on the responsibilities assigned to the engineer under the Drainage Act.  The course does not review design aspects of drainage systems.


This course is directed to employees of engineering firms involved in preparing reports under the Drainage Act.

Course Description

Session 1- The Drainage Act and the Role of the Engineer


  • The engineer’s role under the Drainage Act
  • Project scoping meetings
  • Legal aspect of petitions and the area requiring drainage
  • Section 78 work
  • Preliminary office work
  • On-site meetings
  • Preliminary reports
  • Field work
  • Content of reports
  • Sufficient outlet

Session 2 – Assessments, Allowances and Design


  • Assessments
  • Allowances
  • Design considerations

Session 3 – Acts, Assessments and Cost Benefits


  • Summary of legislation that must be considered in reports under the Drainage Act
  • Environmental appraisals
  • Benefit cost statements
  • Section 40 reports
  • Severance and land use change reports (S.65)
  • New assessment schedule reports (S.76)

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