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Amendments to Canada’s Hazardous Products Regulations

The Canadian government recently made amendments to the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) under the Hazardous Products Act.

The objective of the recent amendment of the HPR is to provide industry with the option to use prescribed concentration ranges to protect the actual chemical ingredient concentrations or concentration ranges on Safety data sheets (SDSs) for hazardous workplace products in Canada rather than submitting CBI applications under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act (HMIRA).

SDSs, which accompany hazardous products sold or imported for use in Canadian workplaces, must disclose the concentrations or concentration ranges of the ingredients in a product that present health hazards in accordance with the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR).  This information could be considered confidential business information (CBI) to industry.  CBI for workplace hazardous products can be protected by filing an application with Health Canada under the (HMIRA) and paying the associated fee.

Regulated parties proposed that they should have a means to protect the concentrations or concentration ranges of ingredients without having the burden and cost of the HMIRA application process.

Health Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and its regulations.  The purpose of the HPA is to protect the health and safety of Canadians by regulating the sale and import of hazardous products for use in the workplace.

Ontario Transitioning Municipal Hazardous Waste Program

The Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change recently issued direction to Stewardship Ontario (SO) to wind up the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program by December 31, 2020. This wind up will allow the transition of materials collected under the program to individual producer responsibility under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016.

The Minister’s letters can be found at:

Information related to the program wind up and future consultations will be posted to the Program Wind Up page when available. Until the wind up date, the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program will continue to operate without disruption. This includes the operation of the Industry Stewardship Plans managed by the Automotive Materials Stewardship, the Product Care Association and SodaStream.

The Ontario Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program recycles or properly disposes of paint, antifreeze, batteries, fertilizers and other hazardous or special materials.  These wastes will continue to be managed in Ontario, but under a new program.  The winding down of the existing program is part of the provinces attempt to shift to a circular economy – a new waste management approach where waste is seen as a resource that can be recovered, reused and reintegrated into the production stream.

Ontario’s new waste management framework includes new legislation and a strategy to guide progress that will protect the environment, drive innovation, performance and competitiveness, and stimulate economic growth and development.

 

New spill rules tag transport companies with response, recovery costs in B.C.

As reported by Dirk Meissner of the Canadian Press, the Government of British Columbia has introduced pollution prevention regulations to hold transport companies moving petroleum products across the province responsible for the costs of responding to and cleaning up spills.

Environment Minister George Heyman said recently that the new regulations will take affect at the end of October and apply to pipeline, railway and truck company owners and transporters moving more than 10,000 litres of liquid petroleum products.

The rules increase responsibility, transparency and accountability for operators who transport potentially dangerous products through B.C., he said.

“I would hope that business doesn’t believe that individual members of the public through their tax dollars should be responsible for cleaning up spills they incur in the course of doing business and making a profit.”

The aim of the new rules is to prevent spill sites from being left contaminated for months and sometimes years, Heyman said, noting companies will be required to submit spill response and recovery plans ahead of moving their products.

“Most people subscribe to the polluter pay principle,” he said. “These regulations also require that spill contingency plans be put into place and that recovery plans and reporting plans be implemented in the case of a spill. That’s just reasonable.”

CN Rail said in a statement that it continues to work with the B.C. government and its industry partners on emergency response and preparation plans. The railway transports oil and numerous other products, including grain, across B.C.

“Emergency and spill response preparation and training is an important part of our business,” the statement said. “CN has in place emergency response plans and conducts spill and emergency response training with stakeholders across our network.”

The B.C. Trucking Association said in a statement that it supports the province’s new rules.

“We have been actively engaged in working with the government on the development of these regulations because the safety of our drivers, the public and the environment is our number one priority,” the statement said.

New pollution prevention regulations will hold transport companies and pipeline operators moving petroleum products across British Columbia responsible for spill response and recovery costs. A pipeline at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, with an oil tanker in dock on Burrard Inlet.

Last spring, the previous Liberal government amended the Environmental Management Act to include some of the new regulations, but Heyman said he further tweaked the polluter pay regulations to ensure annual public reporting by the government.

He said he also shortened the deadline for operators to put their spill contingency plans in place to one year for trucking companies and six months for railways and pipelines.

The new rules do not apply to marine vessels carrying petroleum products along the B.C. coastline.

“Marine spills are regulated by the federal government but there is some jurisdiction for the province if a marine spill ends up washing onto the shoreline of B.C.’s jurisdiction or the seabed,” Heyman said.

The province is developing a strengthened marine response and recovery program that complements federal spill regulations, he added.

The new regulations come on the one-year anniversary of a fuel spill off B.C.’s central coast, where a tug sank, spilling more than 100,000 litres of diesel into waters near the Great Bear Rainforest.

Marilyn Slett, chief of the Heiltsuk First Nation, said the sinking of the tug, Nathan E. Stewart, has had devastating social and economic impacts on her community.

A valuable fishing area remains closed a year after the spill and many Heiltsuk face the prospect of a second year without revenue from the area’s valuable shellfish species, she said.

by Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press