Environmental Assessment Symposium (Hybrid)

8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West

The Environmental Assessment (EA) Symposium is intended for transportation and environmental professionals who are interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of the EA process and want to understand the application of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA). This symposium covers all types of EA for provincial and municipal transportation project. The interrelationship between these EA, the criteria that trigger them and various aspects of each of these EAs is also included.

8 a.m. – Breakfast
8:50 a.m. – Opening remarks
9 a.m. – A Snapshot of 2023 Changes to the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Process – Loren Polonsky
9:45 a.m. – Stevenson Road EA – Evolving with Purpose; Balancing immediate needs, a complex past and an uncertain future within near-term planning objectives. – Michael Collins
10:30 a.m. – Networking break and refreshments
10:45 a.m. – Highway 413 Transportation Corridor: Environmental Assessment Innovations to Encourage Project Success – Catherine Gentile
11:30 a.m. – Montreal-Blair Transit Priority Corridor Planning and EA Study – Paul Croft
12:15 p.m. – Catered lunch
1:15 p.m. – New! EA projects open discussion – Come with questions, share your experiences and challenges – Moderated by Mehemed Delibasic and Loren Polonsky
2:15 p.m. – Beyond the Basics: The Future of Municipal Indigenous Engagement – Aniqa Shams and Stephanie Creighton
3 p.m. – Closing remarks
*Subject to schedule changes


Mehemed Delibasic, McIntosh Perry (Egis)

Mehemed is Chair of the OTC Transportation Planning Committee and a Professional Engineer (Ontario and Alberta) with over 25 years of comprehensive experience in the fields of transportation planning, transportation/traffic engineering, project and program management and business development in the public and private sectors.  Mehemed has significant and comprehensive experience working and managing many of the Municipal Class EA Studies, Multi-modal Transportation Master Plan Studies and Active Transportation Master Plan Studies.


Michael Collins, GHD

Michael is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario with over 16 years of transportation engineering experience, managing, and designing projects primarily for large municipalities, provincial transportation authorities, but also for Contractors and Private Land Owners. Michael’s experience includes a combination of municipal and transportation environmental assessments, preliminary design, detailed design, design-build and alternative delivery projects, as well as expert witness work for project estimating, highway geometry and highway safety.

Michael’s technical experience ranges across the transportation planning and design spectrum from minor road upgrades, roundabouts, and structure repurposing to transformation type initiatives including multi-modal complete street design, multi-lane arterial freeway expansions, and rapid transit corridors. Michael’s diverse range of experience of both small and large projects at various stages of project planning and execution, and his ‘hand-on’ style, allows him to identify potential constraints early in the planning process and collaborate with diverse teams and stakeholders to provide tailored solutions to help navigate unique issues with clients.

Presentation title: Stevenson Road EA – Evolving with Purpose; Balancing immediate needs, a complex past and an uncertain future within near term planning objectives.
Description: The Stevenson Road corridor in the Region of Durham, appears to serve a simple and uncomplicated set of transportation functions. A deeper look at the problems being encountered, understanding the corridor history and legacy initiatives, and peeking into the future reveals a very different reality. Geographically and historically, it’s the tale of two very different corridors with competing priorities and challenges. Modern transportation priorities and intensification pressures exaggerate this reality, complicating decision making.
This presentation will focus on the strategy of how the Region of Durham developed a framework to balance the current needs of the corridor, managing past decisions and community expectations, and keeping a lens beyond horizon to protect the needs of a dynamic future.

Paul Croft, Parsons

Paul has over 25 years of proven public and private sector experience in the fields of transit, transportation and land use planning. His focus is on transit and multi-modal transportation network planning, and the interaction between public transit, active transportation modes and land use to manage travel demand. He has extensive experience in the functional planning, design and operation of urban rail and bus projects (particularly LRT), integration of transit corridors and stations with adjacent communities and infrastructure, and built-in mitigation to address potential environmental impacts.

Paul is a passionate believer in the ability of transit to shape and improve cities, particularly through transit-oriented development. Over the course of his career, he has developed an understanding of the issues and challenges involved in planning for integrated transportation networks, the ability to effectively convey concepts and information to stakeholders, and the capability to manage multi-disciplinary project teams.

Presentation title: Montreal-Blair Transit Priority Corridor Planning and EA Study
Description: This presentation will provide an overview of a recent Planning and EA study for 7.5 km of transit priority corridor improvements on two suburban arterial roadways in the City of Ottawa. Key study elements include a best practices review of bus transit priority measures, ridership and bus route (service planning) assessments based on current and future travel patterns, development of a Recommended Plan (functional design) for interim and ultimate design concepts for complete street corridor modifications. Key challenges include limited right-of-way, traffic congestion at key intersections, and connectivity with future LRT stations.

Catherine Gentile, WSP

Catherine Gentile, MCIP, RPP is a Senior Environmental Planner and Team Lead with WSP Canada. Catherine has 15 years of experience in Environmental Planning, Environmental Impact Assessment, Specialist Coordination, Consultation and Indigenous Engagement, and Permits / Approvals. She has applied environmental planning policies to over 40 transportation and infrastructure projects. Catherine manages the WSP Transportation Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Team who specialize in Transportation EIAs for MTO and Municipalities, TPAP work for Metrolinx and TTC, Federal Impact Assessments, and Consultation and Engagement work. In addition to this, Catherine is a passionate advocate for women’s issues and works to facilitate opportunities for networking within the Environmental Planning field for women via Women of Environmental Planning+ events – a group she founded in 2020.

Presentation title: Highway 413 Transportation Corridor: Environmental Assessment Innovations to Encourage Project Success
Description: Highway 413 is a proposed 59 km highway and transit corridor running through York, Peel and Halton Regions in Ontario. Highway 413 is part of Ontario’s plan to expand highways and public transit across the Greater Golden Horseshoe to fight congestion, create jobs and prepare for the massive population growth expected in the next 30 years. The highway would have 11 interchanges at municipal roads and features such as electric charging stations, service centres, carpool lots and truck inspection stations will all be explored as part of the design. The transitway would be a separate corridor running alongside the highway dedicated exclusively for public transit, such as buses or light rail transit. WSP, as part of a consultant joint venture, has been involved in the Individual Environmental Assessment (IEA) for Highway 413 since the development of its Terms of Reference in 2007. As the project has transitioned into the Route Planning and Preliminary Design stages WSP has been at the forefront of implementing Federal and Provincial EA innovations to ensure the large-scale project best utilizes resources, engages Indigenous Communities, and complies with current environmental requirements.

Loren Polonsky, WSP

Loren is a Senior Environmental Planner with WSP comprising nearly 25 years of specialized expertise in Class EAs, Master Plans, and studies completed under the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP). He provides a lead role in road, transit, water, wastewater, and hydro assignments. Loren’s transportation portfolio includes a significant number of rail, LRT, BRT, road and highway feasibility and Class EA studies. Loren currently serves as a Peer Review Committee member for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund program and as a Planning Committee member for the Ontario Traffic Council (OTC). In March of 2022, Loren co-facilitated and presented to OTC’s Environmental Assessment Symposium and in 2021, he served a similar role for the “Virtual Public Engagement in a Pandemic” Workshop.

Presentation title: A Snapshot of 2023 Changes to the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Process
Description: This session will highlight the key changes approved to amend the Municipal Class EA process. Sit back and relax while Loren reviews changes to Class EA schedules, screenings, cost thresholds and other elements designed to modernize and improve the efficiencies of the planning process.

Aniqa Shams, WSP

Aniqa Shams has 6 years of experience in the mining, environmental and transportation planning field. At WSP, she works on various Environmental Assessments leading Indigenous consultation activities, such as creating contact lists and notices, coordinating and preparing support for meetings, preparing responses to Nation comments, coordinating fieldwork participation and tracking consultation activities.

Stephanie Creighton, WSP

Stephanie is a Senior Social Scientist at WSP in Ontario. She works alongside the Human Environment and Social Science and Engagement teams complementing their diverse skillsets with her background in anthropology and expertise in qualitive research and engagement. The combination of Stephanie’s academic background in anthropology and her work with Indigenous Nations and communities informs her approach to engagement and research which aims to refocus and decolonize the consultation process.

Presentation title: Beyond the Basics: The Future of Municipal Indigenous Engagement
Description: WSP has a long history of working for and with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada. We also have extensive experience working with municipalities across Ontario and helping to bridge the gap between Indigenous communities and organizations and municipalities.
This presentation will provide an overview of Indigenous engagement requirements under the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process. We will discuss best practices and trends in this space and what to expect in the coming years. We will provide recommendations for new directions to improve practices through a case study example.

Who Should Attend?
This symposium is intended for the following professionals who are either new to environmental assessment or are interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of the environmental assessment process:

  • Active Transportation Planners, Engineers, Technologists
  • MTO Staff
  • Transportation Planners
  • Traffic Engineers and Technologists
  • Highway / Roadway Designers
  • Other professionals who interact with EAs (Land use Planners, Environmental Planner, etc.)
  • Transportation Consultants involved in EAs
  • Other specialized experts (e.g. natural environment specialists, biologists, archeologists, built and cultural heritage specialists, and others) who get involved in EA studies to understand how their components fit in the overall EA realm

Professional Development Points
Did you know OTC symposiums, workshops, and conferences count towards professional development points for those professions requiring professional development?

As a not-for-profit association, proceeds from OTC events are re-invested into the association to help fund projects, communications, advocacy and member products and services. Your participation at OTC events goes a long way to helping make municipal multi-modal transportation in Ontario that much better.

Register online here

Registration fees (in-person or virtual attendance)
OTC member – $289 + HST
Non-member – $389 + HST
Students receive a 20 per cent discount on registration fees. Proof of enrollment at a College or University must be emailed to traffic@otc.org along with name and contact details for manual registration prior to the event.

Cancellation and refund policy
Should a registrant decide to cancel attendance at an in-person or virtual event, training or symposium based on health concerns, unexpected travel issue or emergency, OTC will provide a credit to the registrant.

Rescheduling to another event is permissible and the registrant will be charged an administrative fee of $75.00. If the request is made five days in advance, no cost will be applied.

If a registrant wants to cancel attendance at an event (in-person or virtual) and requests a refund, the registration fee less 50% will be refunded.

Please note that from time-to-time additional consideration may be given based upon circumstance and situational need. However, the above policy will be strictly enforced as the policy governing our events, trainings and symposia in all circumstances.