Th action involved claims between neighbouring property owners arising out of alleged contamination of the plaintiffs’ property by hydrocarbons flowing from the defendant’s property. Following the discovery of the contamination, the plaintiffs notified the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), which became involved in addressing the contamination.
In response to the defendant’s limitations defence, the plaintiffs argued that the MOE’s involvement was a reasonable means to attempt to remediate the damage, and a claim wasn’t an appropriate remedy for that damage until eight years later when expert investigation directed by the MOE (and funded by the defendant) determined the source of the contamination.
The court rejected this argument. The MOE’s involvement was not part of a dispute resolution process or mechanism: the MOE acts at its own discretion, it has no power to award damages, and the there could be no certainty as to when its involvement would come to an end:
 In considering whether the MOE’s interventions in this case constitute a legally appropriate means to remedy the plaintiffs’ damages it is necessary to recognize that the provisions of the EPA do not provide a dispute resolution process or mechanism. The steps the MOE chooses to take are in the MOE’s discretion. The MOE has no power to award damages or compensation to the plaintiffs. Neither the previsions of the EPA nor the facts of this case allow the court to say with any certainty when the MOE’s involvement would come to an end so as to determine when the limitation period might commence.
 Moreover the MOE intervention cannot result in a declaration of responsibility for the contamination nor can it award damages for stigma nor the full recovery of legal, engineering and other costs and expenses nor damages for other economic losses, all as claimed in the plaintiffs’ statement of claim.
 On the other hand, I recognize that the MOE has substantial powers in the exercise of their discretion to require the defendants to investigate the cause of and remediate contamination on both the defendants’ and the plaintiffs’ lands and to direct that this be done at the defendants’ cost.
 The EPA broadly empowers the MOE to make orders to clean up contamination and prevent the discharge of contaminants into the environment. For instance, pursuant to section 17 of the EPA, the Director has the power to issue “remedial orders” where a person has caused or permitted a contaminant to be discharged into the natural environmental. This section empowers the Director to order that person to repair the injury or damage:
Where any person causes or permits the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment, so that land, water, property, animal life, plant life, or human health or safety is injured, damaged or endangered, the Director may order the person to,
a) Repair the injury or damage;
b) Prevent the injury or damage; or
c) Where the discharge has damaged or endangered or is likely to damage or endanger existing water supplies, provide temporary or permanent alternate water supplies.
(a) Prevent or reduce the risk of a discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment;
(b) Prevent, decrease or eliminate an adverse affect that may result from:
(i) The discharge of a contaminant from the undertaking, or
(ii) The presence or discharge of a contaminant in, on or under the property.
 In determining whether a court action is an appropriate remedy pursuant to s. 5(1)(a)(iv) of the Act, Laskin J.A. in ETR Concession instructed that the court should consider (a) the nature of the plaintiffs’ loss; (b) the circumstances of the plaintiffs, and (c) efficiency of the court.
 This is an environmental claim. The major dispute between the parties has been, at least until very recently, whether the pollutants are emanating from the defendants’ land onto the plaintiffs’ land or, as the defendants claim, from the plaintiffs’ land onto the defendants’ land. On the facts of this case, there can be no doubt that the MOE’s interventions have provided a means to determine the source of the contamination and remedial orders have been made.
 The plaintiffs submit that given their particular situation, the MOE interventions may substantially reduce the plaintiffs’ damages and therefore it would be inappropriate to require the plaintiffs to prematurely resort to court proceedings while the regulatory process under the EPA is ongoing.
 In my view the principal difficulty with the plaintiffs’ position is that there is no reasonable basis to ascertain when the MOE’s involvement will end. To date, it has gone on in excess of eight years with no end point in site. I agree with the defendants’ submission that the EPA does not in any sense establish an alternative adjudication or dispute resolution process for contamination claims. While the MOE has significant remedial powers to direct the investigation and remediation of ground water contamination, these powers are outside the land owners’ control and are discretionary in nature. These powers do not include any right to award economic damages or to grant declaratory orders, which is a significant component of the relief sought in this action.
 The plaintiffs have argued that the limitation period should not run until the causation question was resolved (within the last two years) concerning the direction of flow of the contaminants. They suggest that prior to resolving that issue it would have been unreasonable to commence court proceedings.
 The plaintiffs emphasize the benefits they have achieved by allowing the MOE to deal with the contamination. Thanks to the MOE exercising its statutory powers to direct the investigation and remediation of the groundwater contamination, the plaintiffs have avoided the considerable engineering costs of investigating the problem, of obtaining experts’ reports and of soil removal and other remedial measures. They have also avoided or lessened the litigation risk of a possible determination that the contamination emanated from their own property, rather than the defendants’ property.
 In effect, the plaintiffs can be said, in retrospect, to have made a wise economic choice in leaving the contamination issue in the hands of the MOE. However this was manifestly a tactical decision made by the plaintiffs to avoid the costs and litigation risks of investigating their claim and establishing their case on liability and damages. They chose to stand back for some four years prior to commencing this action to allow the MOE to move matters forward. The case law is clear that tactical decisions will not toll the limitation period, see Markel and Presidential MSR. As Mew J. observed in J.C. v. Farant at para 87:
Another recent decision, Gravelle (CodePro Manufacturing) v. Denis Grigoras Law Office, 2018 ONCA 396 (CanLII), reinforced the principle that a tactical decision to delay the commencement of proceedings will not, absent other factors – such as the pursuit of alternative means to resolve the very claim that I the subject matter of the action – delay the running of time. At para. 6, the Court of Appeal stated:
The appellant decided for tactical reasons not to bring his action against the respondents until the arbitration proceedings were completed. He was entitled to make this choice, but he must live with the consequences of it.
 In my view this position is untenable and inconsistent with the appellate case law binding on this court. The circumstances triggering the running of the limitation cannot be a moving target incapable of being ascertained with the level of reasonable certainty required. This would create a situation in which the plaintiffs essentially determine when the limitation period commences.
 In my opinion the approach advocated by the plaintiffs and the intervenors ignores the requirement that the appropriate means exception in sub-section 5(1)(a)(iv) of the Act be restricted to factual situations in which the alternate avenue of redress is legally appropriate in the sense that the courts must not be required to interpret the parties’ communications or negotiations or, be required to analyze the significance of the technical findings of ongoing engineering studies and importantly, there needs to be a fixed end point.