Who to Call About Nutrient Management

The information contained in this document is derived from the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 and O. Reg 267/03 as amended. Every effort has been made to make it as accurate as possible, but is not authoritative. Please refer to the e-Laws website or the official volumes printed by Publications Ontario for the authoritative text of the act.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Responsibilities for Responding to Calls
  3. Examples of How Calls are Directed
  4. Frivolous and Vexatious Complaints
  5. Who to Call About Nutrient Management


Both the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) receive a large number of calls every year on a wide range of agricultural topics, including requests for general information, referral from other agencies, complaints regarding farm operations, potential environmental concerns, and reports of farm-related spills.

To be able to respond effectively to these calls, they are classified into one of three categories for the most appropriate and effective response to the caller's request.

Responsibilities for Responding to Calls

Category 1: OMAFRA Nutrient Management Toll-Free Information Line

OMAFRA handles general inquiries about nutrient management such as requests for information on the NMA, regulations and protocols, the submission and approval of nutrient management plans and strategies, Best Management Practices (BMP), and questions on nutrient management courses, training and certification. OMAFRA is also responsible for responding to nuisance complaints resulting from normal farm practices, such as odour, noise, light, smoke, dust, flies and vibrations.

Category 2: MOE District/Area Offices

MOE has 22 District and Area offices across the province responsible for responding to environmental incidents, complaints and spills, including those that are agriculturally related. Staff in District and Area offices respond to calls that are reporting a potential violation of the NMA, the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), the Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) and/or the Pesticides Act (PA), as well as more general reports of environmental incidents or concerns.

Category 3: MOE Spills Action Centre (SAC)

The SAC, staffed on a 24-hour basis, receives and records province-wide reports of spills and coordinates responses. Spills are defined as releases of pollutants into the natural environment originating from a structure, vehicle, or other container, and that are abnormal in light of all circumstances. Spills must be reported immediately to the SAC and to the municipality by the owner of the material and the person who had control of a material at the time it was spilled when they cause or are likely to cause an adverse effect. If a third party is reporting the spill and knows who is responsible for the spill, the third party must contact the person who had control of the spilled material and the owner of the material so they can carry out their responsibility to clean up the spill. It is the responsibility of the SAC to receive the call and coordinate a response through the local District or Area office.

Examples of How Calls are Directed

  1. A person calls a District Office of the MOE to ask about where they would be able to find a local consultant to assist them in preparing their nutrient management strategy and plan. As this call is for general information regarding the preparation of nutrient management strategies and plans, the call is referred to OMAFRA's Nutrient Management Toll-Free Information Line, who will respond to the inquiry with the needed information.
  2. A person calls a District Office of the MOE complaining about manure smells coming from a local operation. Through answers to a series of questions, it is determined that the operation is operating within normal farm practices. The call is referred to OMAFRA for an appropriate response as a nuisance complaint. OMAFRA may involve the Local Advisory Committee or commodity group representation as appropriate.
  3. A person calls a District Office of the MOE to complain about a farm operation spreading manure on a snow covered field. As spreading manure on snow covered ground may be a potential violation of O. Reg. 267/03 under the NMA, the District Office will respond to the complaint, as appropriate.
  4. A person calls OMAFRA to report they have seen liquid manure flowing into a nearby creek. It is determined through the answers to a series of questions that there is likely a spill in progress and the call is transferred to the SAC.

Frivolous and Vexatious Complaints

From time to time, the ministry may receive complaints which are determined to be frivolous or vexatious in nature. Under most circumstances these types of complaints are documented and filed, and no further action or response undertaken. In extreme cases, where false or misleading information has been submitted regarding the nature or details of the incident by the complainant, the matter may be referred to the Investigations and Enforcement Branch of the MOE.

For general inquires or nuisance complaints, call the OMAFRA Nutrient Management Toll-Free Information Line at 1-866-242-4460.

To report a violation or pollution in your area, call your Local District/Area Office of the MOE.

Spills and emergencies must be reported to the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.

Who to Call About Nutrient Management

Responsibilities for Responding to Calls.

Figure 1. Responsibilities for Responding to Calls.

Text Equivalent

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: nman.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 13 December 2004
Last Reviewed: 13 March 2014