413 highway ontario

Ontario's controversial new highway could face long delays

Highway 413, the proposed 400-series highway set to connect the regions of York, Peel, and Halton, has repeatedly faced backlash concerning its potential environmental impact, farmland and biodiversity loss, cost, and impact on Indigenous land. 

The proposed 52-kilometre highway would extend from Highway 400 in the east to Highway 401/407 ETR in the west. The project also includes a 4-kilometre extension to Highway 410 and a 3-kilometre extension to Highway 427, for a grand total of 59 kilometres. 

The Government of Canada recently warned the provincial government that it will stall the construction of Highway 413 if Ontario does not consult further with First Nations. 

The highway is currently undergoing analysis under an environmental impact assessment by both the Ministry Transportation of Ontario, the provincial government, and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. 

The proposed highway hasn't progressed much since 2021, and Ontario has spent much of this year preparing a preliminary report that the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will eventually use to determine if a federal impact assessment is necessary. 

Consultations with Indigenous groups is one of the top factors the federal agency has to consider. 

In documents obtained by The Narwhal, at least two First Nations, namely the Mississaugas of the Credit and Six Nations of the Grand River, have expressed disappointment with the proposed highway and the depth of the consultations so far. Indigenous Knowledge must also be incorporated into the highway plans. 

The proposed highway has the potential to impact Indigenous physical and cultural heritage, including ceremonial sites, burial sites and cultural landscape. 

In a June 2021 meeting, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation told the Impact Assessment Agency that the consultations "felt more like information sharing than a two way dialogue."

The lack of consultations thus far can very well lead to the federal intervention, that would result in lengthy delays for the proposed highway. In order to move forward, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada is urging the province to address the concerns of the affected Indigenous communities.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert 

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