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Transfer Stations

A transfer station is a facility used to temporarily store solid waste before it is transported to a treatment, recycling, recovery or disposal facility. Transfer stations may store and burn clean, non-painted and non-treated wood.


The Transfer Station Chapter has been finalized and came into effect on March 17, 2023. This update will reduce the time municipalities spend on permitting and reporting and is intended to provide flexibility to achieve environmental compliance while maintaining stable costs to communities.

  • Current transfer station owners have until September 17, 2023, to provide notification of their transfer station operations by submitting existing documents (Operations Plan and Emergency Response Plan) through the online business portal.
  • New or expanding facilities must comply with the updated Chapter requirements immediately.

If you have more questions or would like more information, you can download the Transfer Station Code Chapter Guidance Document.


1. Establishing a Transfer Station

Transfer stations that follow the acceptable solution in the Transfer Station Chapter are required to:

Determine where the transfer station will be located:

  • Transfer stations are often located at closed landfills because they already have the fencing and other infrastructure needed.
  • New transfer stations need to follow the setbacks as set out in section 8 of the Municipal Refuse Management Regulations.

Complete site suitability report:

  • This ensures the operations of the site are compatible with the environment around the site.
  • A site suitability report is not required for an existing transfer station or establishing a transfer station at a closed landfill. 
  • A site suitability report is required for a new transfer station at a new location or expanding an existing facility for construction of a transfer station. 

Complete a design plan including:

  • Identify the location and the surrounding land use.
  • A site plan showing:
    • legal site boundary;
    • location of site access, roads, earth works, buildings, buffer zones and infrastructure;
    • hydrologic information, land use and other environmental information; and
    • areas designated for different waste types.
  • Details regarding waste types and quantities for temporary storage at the transfer station.
  • Control systems for environmental protection.
  • A design plan is not required for an existing transfer station or establishing a transfer station at a closed landfill.
  • A design plan is required for a new transfer station at a new location or expanding an existing facility for construction of a transfer station.

Develop an operations plan and an emergency response plan:

For more information about registering for and using the portal, visit Environmental Business Services.

Alternative Solution:

An alternative solution applies when proposing a different approach for siting and/or construction of a transfer station or when the conditions of an acceptable solution cannot be met. These applications require preparation of an environmental protection plan (EPP).

Transfer stations following the alternative solution require approval from the Ministry of Environment prior to construction. More information can be found in the Transfer Station Code Chapter Guidance Document.

For more information, download the Transfer Station Design Plan fact sheet.

Submit the design plan through the Environment Business Services online portal.

Submit the design plan

For more information about registering for and using the portal, visit Environment Business Services.


2. Operating a Transfer Station

Transfer station operators are required to have an Operations Plan and an Emergency Response Plan in place.

Other requirements include:

  • Reporting fires and spills immediately to the spill line at 1-800-667-7525.
  • Informing the ministry prior to sale or closure of the site (typically 60 days prior).
  • Communicating with the ministry (including permit renewals) through the ministry’s online portal.

3. Closing a Transfer Station

Transfer stations should close if the owner no longer intends to accept waste or waste has not been accepted for 12 consecutive months. A closure report must be submitted after closure that indicates the steps that were taken to close the site and if any corrective measures were required to remediate the site.

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