Frequently Asked Questions

  • The proposed Project is currently in the later stages of a federal environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
  • Following the independent review panel process, which included multiple opportunities for public input, and public hearings in June 2019, the Review Panel has prepared a report and provided its recommendations to the federal government.
  • The Review Panel’s full report and executive summary, as well as more information regarding the environmental assessment process, are available at iaac-aeic.gc.ca, Reference Number: 80100.
  • The federal government is now reviewing the Review Panel’s recommendations and will continue to consult the public and Aboriginal groups; the federal government is expected to make a decision about the Project by fall 2020.
  • The Review Panel report includes the many factors reviewed as part of the environmental assessment for the project, as well as recommended measures to help mitigate potential impacts from terminal construction and operation.
  • For most of the factors reviewed, the review panel concluded that the Project would not have significant adverse environmental effects.
  • In fact, the Review Panel emphasized that, in each case, direct Project effects are relatively small.
  • For three categories – agricultural land use, wildlife habitat, and effects related to air quality – the Panel determined that significant adverse environmental effects are likely to occur with or without the project, due to urbanization.
  • The Panel concluded that the main environmental benefits of the Project relate to the modal shift of long-haul transportation of intermodal goods from road to railway, with the potential to reduce greenhouse gases and other air pollutants at a regional or greater level.

Like everywhere else in the GTHA, the local environment for air quality, wildlife habitat, and land available for agricultural use has been affected by past and current urbanization. These urbanization effects are expected regardless of whether or not the Project proceeds. CN has proposed a number of ways to mitigate potential effects of the Project, including in these three categories, and the Review Panel has provided a number of other recommendations which the federal government will consider when drafting conditions of approval (if the project is allowed to proceed).

Agricultural land use:

  • The Review Panel concluded that the small amount of CN-owned land that it is planning to use for the terminal has been officially designated by the municipality and the province for employment use, and would as a consequence inevitably be removed from farmland use in the future, whether or not CN builds the proposed terminal.
  • We will continue to engage with the community, local government and stakeholders regarding proposed mitigation measures.

Wildlife habitat:

  • CN has proposed a number of measures to mitigate potential effects to wildlife and species at risk, including but not limited to:
    • Retaining natural vegetation around the boundaries of the Project, where possible.
    • Shielding outdoor lights to minimize light spillage beyond the required areas.
    • Creating, securing, and managing off-site grassland habitat to support species such as Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.
    • Implementing turtle habitat enhancements in Indian Creek and on-site ponds.
    • Providing employees with sensitivity education for on-site wildlife encounters.
  • CN will continue to engage with the community, local government and stakeholders regarding proposed mitigation measures.

Air quality:

  • The Panel concluded that a regional approach to airshed management in the Halton Region is critical, and that by shifting transportation of goods from road to rail, the Project can help to reduce GHG and other air emissions at a regional or greater level.
  • The Panel has found that the Project would be a very small contributor to regional air emissions, and CN is prepared to participate in a regional approach to airshed management.
  • By removing long-haul trucks from regional highways in favour of moving goods by train, the proposed Project can help drive a modal shift to cleaner forms of transportation.
  • In addition, CN has purchased eight electric trucks to pilot in Canada, including the GTHA, to examine the potential to shift to more electric trucks in the future.
  • The Panel indicated that CN is well placed to exert a positive influence over those industries that would utilize the Project (Report, page 54) and that excellence and innovation in mitigation could serve as a helpful example to other industry and land developers in the area (page 294).
  • The Review Panel concluded that CN’s selection of the south Milton location was supported by reasonable criteria, and that CN had properly considered potential alternative locations in the GTHA in accordance with the applicable federal guidance. (Report, p. 31-32)
  • After a thorough analysis of alternatives, we found that the property in south Milton best met the project’s main requirements. The proposed location is:
    • Of sufficient size, grade and configuration to efficiently accommodate container trains moving into and out of the facility
    • In close proximity to designated truck routes
    • In a region with growing demand for goods, and near existing transportation and logistics infrastructure
    • Located in an area with minimal intrusions on environmental features, such as woodlands and watercourses
    • Located in a provincially designated significant employment zone, on lands planned and designated for employment use
  • The Panel concluded that the proposed Project would only represent a small percentage of the vehicles on the road in Milton, and that the regional arterial road network in Milton has sufficient capacity, including at peak traffic hours, to accommodate terminal-generated truck traffic (page 228-229).
  • Proposed measures to manage potential effects on traffic include:
    • Notifying the public, working with municipalities, and coordinating with local authorities regarding the location and scheduling of construction activities, including temporary lane closures or detours.
    • Working with the Town of Milton to build an underpass at Lower Base Line, to maintain traffic flow and facilitate an east-west passage for emergency vehicles.
    • Working with the Halton Region to install a signalized intersection on Britannia Road with separate eastbound right-turn and westbound left-turn lanes.
    • Building a 1.7-kilometre two-lane private roadway south from the proposed truck entrance on Britannia Road, with sufficient queuing capacity on CN property to keep waiting trucks off local roads.
    • Working with Halton Region to create an employee entrance off Tremaine Road, including a southbound left-turn lane and the appropriate signage.
  • Our goal is that future road users (motor vehicle operators, cyclists and pedestrians) continue to move efficiently and safely near the facility.
  • We will work with local municipalities so that the design and function of facility entrances on Britannia and Tremaine Roads are safe for all users including cyclists and pedestrians.
  • CN will continue to engage with members of the community, local and regional governments, cycling organizations, and others as appropriate on issues pertaining to cycling and active transportation.
  • Throughout Project planning, we have included measures to mitigate the potential effects of the Project on the environment and surrounding communities.
  • Mitigation measures to reduce the effects of noise and light include:
    • Constructing raised earthen berms or barriers, planted with native Ontario vegetation and trees to blend into the natural environment and reduce effects of noise and light
    • Scheduling of construction during daytime hours when feasible
    • Notifying nearby residents regarding significant activities during construction
    • Use of construction and terminal equipment fitted with muffler systems for their internal combustion exhausts
    • Using downward directed lighting in active work areas
    • Using only enough lights for safety and security where specifically required during operation
  • We will continue to engage with and provide information to the community, local government and stakeholders in advance of and throughout construction of the project.
  • Should the project be approved, we will be establishing a community group in advance of construction, to share information and consider feedback from the community.
  • More information about the community group, including membership and participation, will be available if the project is approved.
  • We are committed to keeping the local community informed of construction timing and activities. We will continue to provide information on the Project website as well as by email, mail, newspaper ads, phone, and in-person at our community office in Milton.