Cambium’s Move to Sophia Street

Our team has been growing year over year to meet the increasing demand for our services. What started in 2006 as a company of fewer than 10 professionals has grown to over 120 diverse experts at the end of 2020! It is no surprise that we have outgrown all our facilities in all our locations.

Over the past few months, we have been in the process of bringing our multiple Peterborough operations to our new location at 194 Sophia Street. We began by first moving our materials testing laboratory in 2020; not missing a beat in their service activities. We will be finalizing the relocation of our remaining operations to our newly renovated building in the coming months. This is an exciting revitalization of a location that carries the proud decades-long history of Fisher Gauge Limited.

This transition has been a long journey. We are excited to begin a new chapter for Cambium when all our Peterborough employees and operations are under one roof.

Keep an eye on our social media over the next few months to cheer us on with the renovations and our big move in Spring 2021!

Ontario’s Journey Towards a Circular Economy

Cambium’s Senior Operations Manager, Rob Arkell gave a informative presentation at the 2020 Ontario East Municipal Conference on the importance of municipalities in Ontario moving towards a #circulareconomy.

The presentation includes an overview of the Circular Economy, Ontario’s transition, and opportunities for rural municipalities

Know of any other companies following the circular economy approach? Let us know in the comments below!

My Cambium – An Inside Staff Perspective

An insider’s perspective on the unique culture, work and career opportunities with Cambium Inc., an employee-owned consulting & engineering company.

In light of Cambium’s recent Employer of the Year Award, we wanted to re-post the “My Cambium” video.  We have an amazing team  and we could not provide the quality and value of service that we do without them.

y Cambium - Staff Perspective

My Cambium, a staff perspective on the life and work at Cambium. This video is a heartfelt inside view from a staff perspective on the life, work and career opportunities with Cambium. Staff in the video have been with us since the start and others  joined the team over the last number of years. The common thread throughout the video is the shared pride each person has and the opportunities they experienced since joining Cambium. It exemplifies more than words the experience and unique Cambium culture.

Since 2006, Cambium evolved from a small company of 10 employees to one that now employs over 100 across offices in Peterborough, Barrie, Oshawa, and Kingston. We have quickly become an industry leader and one of the largest and fastest growing independent, employee-owned consulting firms in Ontario.Explore your career possibilities with us!

Harmonizing Cottage Redevelopment with the Natural Environment.

Do your cottage redevelopment plans for improvement align with current acts and regulations?

Your cottage is often seen as a place to unwind and centre yourself; a haven among the trees and cool waters that allows you to step back from the business of life and reconnect with nature. It’s where you laugh, play, and spend endless  hours of quality time with family and friends. The design of an environment can have a powerful effect on your life and as such cottage owners will attest to the continual desire for improvements at the cottage to further enhance their connection and experience with the outdoors.

Cottage improvements could involve anything from removing trees to improve the view to replacing the old, rickety dock with something better. On a larger scale, it may be installing a new septic system or expanding the cottage footprint to accommodate your growing family.

As our understanding of the natural environment grows and our approaches to protecting it change, so do the government policies that regulate development. Improvements or redevelopments to your cottage that were allowed 20 years ago may face a very different set of policies and regulations today. With their close connections to nature and water, there are a myriad of policies that may have implications to cottage redevelopment.

Every municipality has their own set of policies for protecting features of the natural environment. Water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands are also administered by local conservation authorities. The provincial and federal governments have established a number of acts to protect our natural biodiversity, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and the Fisheries Act. Likewise, provincial policies such as the Provincial Policy Statement and the new Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017) are also in place to guide development in cottage country.

A first step in  redevelopment is to check with your Municipal Development Department. 

With so many guidelines, policies and governing bodies, how can you be sure your cottage redevelopment plans won’t land you in hot water? Which improvements can you implement without the need of an approval or permit? How do you know where to turn if you have to deal with the municipality, Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)?

Cottagers can be left swimming in circles without knowing how to proceed. But don’t give up on your cottage dreams yet. Often the best place to look for answers is the development department of your local municipality. A competent development planner can help guide you through the various policy requirements for cottage improvements, as well as provide details on other regulatory agencies that need to be involved.

An Environmental impact Study is a tool that guides how redevelopment can fit with the natural environment.

Municipalities and Conservation Authorities often require you to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) or a Natural Heritage Evaluation (NHE) to provide details on any implications your development plans may have on the natural environment. An EIS or NHE is completed by an ecologist, often employed at a science and engineering company, and aims to provide plans and recommendations for how a proposed redevelopment can fit with the surrounding natural environment. It demonstrates to the regulatory authorities the way in which your proposed redevelopment will respond to the policies and regulations mentioned above and helps to streamline the approval and permitting process. It is important to choose an ecologist who will collaborate with you, providing advice and input into your redevelopment plans. They offer an objective assessment of potential impacts a development can have on the environment and will recommend ways to avoid or minimize potential adverse effects. Consulting ecologists are your advocates through the EIA/NHE process and strive to deliver mutually beneficial solutions that ensure your project meets the obligations of the related acts and policies.

With the right connection to people who can answer your questions and a consulting ecologist to provide solutions and alternatives, an EIA/NHE assessment is a key tool that will help make your redevelopments fit within the natural environment.

Give us a call and one of Cambium’s ecologist would be happy to provide further information and advice Environmental Impact Studies or Natural Heritage Evaluations.


Septic System Solutions for Challenging Cottage Properties

Interested in improving the water quality of your lake?  Qualified Wastewater Designers Offer Septic Solutions to Reduce Environmental Impact.

Article written by Cambium’s Project Coordinator, Stew Dolstra, B.Sc., Hon., Dipl., BCIN  Well Technician.

On-site wastewater treatment systems commonly referred to as septic systems can be found at just about every rural residence or cottage.  In most cases, a conventional on-site wastewater treatment system consists of a septic tank followed by a leaching bed, both sized and designed accordingly based on the type of building it services.

Many cottage or lakeshore properties in Ontario exhibit challenging conditions in which even the smallest conventional system footprint may not be suitable for a property.  This can be due to limited space available, shallow groundwater, poor soils, shallow bedrock or steep slopes. There may also be setbacks from supply wells, water bodies, property lines, and buildings.

More discrete blending into the existing grade, minimizes tree removal.

In these cases an advanced treatment unit is considered as an alternative to a conventional system.  Advanced treatment typically use some form of media such as plastic, foam, or peat to circulate or spread the wastewater over an area to allow filtration and aeration to provide additional treatment.  Due to the higher quality of sewage treatment provided by this type of unit, a smaller leaching bed is permitted for final treatment and dispersion of the wastewater.  This allows more flexibility to place the leaching bed in an area where a conventional system will not fit.  Typically, the smaller footprint also saves trees from removal, allows for a more discrete installation and saves invaluable space on the property.

Up to 50% less footprint than conventional systems

There are many different manufacturers of advanced treatment units, however in order to be used in Ontario all advanced treatment units must obtain the same certification.  Although held to the same standard, these units offer a wide variety of technology to achieve the required treatment for your property use.

It is important that you consult with a qualified designer prior to selecting an advance treatment unit to ensure the property specific challenges of your site are considered. The designer will take into consideration any challenges with respect to restricted burial depths, power requirements, winterization, variable flows, as well as purchase and installation cost, maintenance requirements, and lifespan to ensure the ideal advanced treatment unit is chosen for the site.

These challenging conditions are typical of cottage properties, making it more important than ever for a property owner to work with a qualified third party wastewater system designer.  Conventional wastewater systems typically cost less to install and require lower maintenance than a system that incorporates an advanced treatment unit.  As such, a qualified designer takes into consideration the site challenges, system requirements and cost, as well as the design specifications to meet the Ontario Building Code requirements. Property owners can be assured that the wastewater system design options presented meet their needs and are tailored specific to the site.

A wastewater treatment system is the responsibility of the property owner as are the costs associated with it.  It is up to you to make informed decisions when selecting both a qualified and experienced designer and installer for your system. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the wastewater treatment system functions properly to protect you and your neighbor’s health and the environment as well as prolong the life of your investment.

Cambium Supports Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic

Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic Raising funds for Easter Seals – It’s all about having fun and raising funds to help kids go to camp.

Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Support of Easter Seals
Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Support of Easter Seals

Cambium’s Durham office was proud to sponsor a team in the 2017 Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic held at Iroquois Sports Park earlier this month.   The event raised an incredible $330,000 for Easter Seals kids.  The Cambium Team raised over $5,000 and got to play hockey for the day with Maple Leaf legend Dan Daoust.  They also go to play against Eric Lindros linemate on the Legion of Doom – John LeClair as well as Leaf icon Nik Antropov.

Cambium Aboriginal General Manager with Aiden – It’s all about sending these kids to camp!
Cambium Aboriginal General Manager with Aiden – It’s all about sending these kids to camp!

Cambium's Evan Black Signing One day contract for Leaf Legend Dan Daoust
Cambium’s Evan Black signing the one day contract for Leaf Legend Dan Daoust!


The level of hockey we played at solidified our belief that we were meant to protect the Earth rather than skate on it.  It was a great cause and next year our team will be looking to double our fundraising efforts.  Thanks to all of those that supported us.

Cambium Team Draft Pick Dan Daoust
The 5 Members of the Cambium Team calling their 14th round draft pick, Dan Daoust.


Congrats to Evan Black of Cambium and Michael Jacobs, General Manager of Cambium Aboriginal for organizing our hockey team.

Cambium’s Evan Black and Cambium Aboriginal General Manager Mike Jacobs ready to go!
Cambium’s Evan Black and Cambium Aboriginal General Manager Mike Jacobs ready to go!

How Your Site Investigation Costs Can Save You Money: a Tax Lesson.

A site investigation is a necessary part of expanding facilities, buying new commercial property or constructing a new building altogether. Their purpose is to ensure  a potential building site is safe for all potential users/occupants and that any and all environmental concerns are mitigated.  Cambium has decades of experience performing environmental site assessments, records of site conditions, ground water assessments, soil testing etc.  Our team has worked with a number of developers, planners, businesses and individuals to support the development of projects.

The cost for site investigations can feel like an added expense to on top of costly build project, regardless of the importance and  necessity.  However, you might be interested to know that there are some interesting tax implications that allow you to write off these costs.

For those of you familiar with Canada’s tax system, see the below paragraph. For those that wish to know a little more to understand the benefits – read on! If you run a business or represent a business’s interest, you are well aware of the ever-looming cost that is income tax. Most Canadian businesses are taxed at a flat rate on their taxable net income. Taxable net income in its simplest form is essentially just business revenues less expenses that are allowed to be deducted by the Income Tax Act (ITA). The lower your net income is, the lower your tax liability will be. However, any expenses that are capital in nature (i.e. have a long-term useful life, usually defined as more than a year) are not allowed to be deducted and must use a prescribed amortization rate provided by Canada Revenue Agency known as the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA). This means that instead of being able to reduce net-income for tax purposes in a given year all at once from a capital expenditure, a business must amortize the cost over its useful life. Due to the time-value of money, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future – so expensing costs now is better than doing so in the future.

Normally site investigation fees would be considered capital in nature and not deductible for income tax purposes.  However, an exception to this general rule is provided for any expenses incurred for site investigations. Expenses include: subsurface investigations, surveying, investigating permits, performing site assessments etc. The Tax Act essentially allows any fee related to investigating the usefulness or viability of a property as tax deductible – even if the taxpayer does not end up acquiring the property! What does this mean for you?  You can expense the entire cost of Cambium’s services for any site investigation – saving quite a bit in tax costs!

Municipal GHG Challenge Fund Opening Doors to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new Municipal GHG Challenge Fund is a federally-funded and provincially administered program designed to help the province meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. This is an exciting opportunity for municipalities to receive substantial funding. The way it works is simple: municipalities can apply for funding through the GHG Municipal Challenge Fund website found here if they have a project of any size that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any Ontario municipality may qualify – so long as the proposed project has a measurable reduction in GHG emissions for the province.

There is about $100 million slated for this year and it will likely repeat yearly. Financing is available for up to 100% of costs, but priority is given for projects that provide up to 50% of funding. Financing is available for capital/construction costs of implementing the project – but not for planning or document procurement. Municipalities must apply by November 14 this year, and will know if their project has been funded by February 2018. Projects that reduce GHG emissions that are currently underway can still apply for funding, subject to some restrictions.

Municipalities that wish to apply must have three things (unless they are a very-small municipality or a northern municipality where there is more flexibility):

  • Community-wide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory;
  • Community-wide GHG emissions reduction target;
  • And Community-wide strategy/plan to reduce GHG emissions.

These things must be provided along with the application and calculations detailing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the project will reduce. Details about all of these things can be found at the previously mentioned website.

A recent update on the government funding site notes that many municipalities are interested in the funding but do not have these items completed. As the interest in the fund is quite high…

“the eligibility requirements for the first round of funding will be opened to allow all municipalities to apply, so long as applicants demonstrate a commitment to completing their community-wide GHG inventory, targets and plan within 18 months, through a council resolution. If approved for funding, the council resolution must occur before the transfer payment agreement is completed.”

All applications will be scored according to the program criteria, and if theses items are not included in the submission, it will impact the applicants score in the “Alignment with Municipal GHG Planning” section.

Funding has very few limitations – any size and scale is allowed. Some examples provided during a webinar included replacing vehicle fleets with lower emissions equivalents, replacing recreation center heating systems with biofuel boilers, implementing a bike-sharing program, building solar farms to replacing other power generation facilities or upgrading a facility to improve its efficiency. There are very few restrictions beyond lowering the net emissions produced by a given municipality.

Applications are due November 14th; if your municipality has a project in mind, but need assistance calculating GHG reductions, making a community GHG inventory or other planning elements around submitting your proposal give us a call. Cambium’s engineers and technicians can help create these documents. Check our Environmental Compliance Approval Services page for a listing of the services.

Online Tool will help Municipalities Manage Excess Soils

The Importance of Managing Excess Soils

As Ontario continues to rapidly develop and cities continue to expand, the management of soils being excavated from developments and construction projects have to be considered. Excess soils are both a useful economic resource and a growing problem due to the sheer amount being moved. Excess soils have many uses such as constructing embankments, leveling or raising ground, commercial fills, agriculture etc. As useful as it  may be, it is not without its fair share of issues; soils may be of very different types and consistencies, be contaminated with pollutants, contain invasive species, be of generally low quality or be inappropriate for use in environmentally sensitive areas.

These issues are very detailed and specific which can make it quite difficult for municipalities to create By-Laws or regulations on the use of excess soils – something that may be very important for local sustainability and environmental damage control. Due to this issue the Canadian Urban Institute has created an online tool for municipalities to use for the creation of excess soils By-Laws simply and easily. The tool provides an easy-to-use interface and provides the language, structure, technical details and examples on excess soils for the creation of By-Laws. This new development should help to improve excess soil management greatly – which in turn will help to protect human health and protect the natural environment.

Cambium offers soils handling services and our goal is to provide a viable and feasible approach that satisfies landowners, developers, municipalities, and conservation authorities in maintaining the integrity and functionality of the natural systems. Give us a call if you have any questions about excess soils or would like further information about our services.

Environmental Activity and Sector Registry: How will the Air Emissions EASR Impact Your Facility

A guide to the new Environmental Activity and Sector Registry

Sadie Bachynski, Project Manager with Cambium, has written a blog to answer a number of questions about what the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) is, who it applies to and what it means to your operations.

What is the EASR?

After quite an extensive process of public consultations and stakeholder input, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is now operating the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). The purpose of this new registry system is to provide a streamlined and easy approach to registering an activity that an individual or facility might be engaged in that releases any type of emission into the natural environment – as is required by the MOECC. Emissions may include air, noise and odourous emissions from a given site. This new system is an easy-to-access registry that can be found online on the Service Ontario website.

The idea behind this new system is fairly straightforward: if a person or business is emitting anything into the natural environment they must self-register online before they do so. The government of Ontario website puts this as: “O. Reg. 1/17 requires persons engaging in activities that discharge or may discharge contaminants to the natural environment, other than water, to register in the EASR unless the activities do not meet the criteria in the Regulation”.

Who does this apply to?

New and existing facilities are required to register if they make any modification to their emissions related activity. In essence this is a phasing out of the existing ECA process; however, if a person or business submitted an application for an activity outlined in O. Reg 1/17 on or before December 31, 2016 they will have the option of remaining in the current ECA process or withdraw their application and instead register with the EASR. If a facility receives an ECA process approval, the facility will have to register with the EASR by January 31, 2027 or when the modification to the facility/activity occurs. In essence, the MOECC is looking to phase out the ECA process for eligible EASR facilities by 2027 completely.

One of the major criterions of those who must apply to the EASR is the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that they report under – these have carefully been assessed for potential environmental impact. Another major criterion is the complexity of the operations/activity being performed. In essence, anyone is eligible – unless the activity/operation in question is complex in nature and deemed to be a “potentially heavy emitter”. Complex operations remain under the realm of requiring an Environmental Compliance Approval from the MOECC. For more details on who is and is not eligible, see the link below to the full Regulation outline.


What does this mean for reporting?

This in no way alters the way a facility would have to assess, model, and even report on the air, noise and odour emissions. Nothing has changed in regards to registering – it is essentially the same as it would be for a full ECA in the sense that you still require full reports (or at least the associated screening to say that a report is not required). One difference is that the work is now to be signed off on by a professional engineer independent of the MOECC rather than by the MOECC. Specific documents related to a facility’s emissions of air, noise and odour will have to be supplied to the Ministry and the public and the detailed reports and any addendums made over time are to be kept at the facility.