Canada ranks #1 in investment for cleantech innovation and #16 in cleantech commercialization

A recent survey conducted by Eco Canada of cleantech employers in Canada to assess market and industry trends.  Specifically, ECO Canada surveyed cleantech employers to uncover in-demand occupations, skills, trends, and opportunities facing the sector and its workforce.  The survey was conduct prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a global level, clean innovation is a trillion-dollar industry. Investments, activities and jobs in clean technology are expected to grow further, likely exceeding $2.5 trillion by 2022. While Canada has potential to become a market leader, ensuring an adequate supply of skilled workers is vital to supporting the sector’s growth.

ECO Canada surveyed 81 cleantech employers to gather relevant data such as in-demand occupations, skills, trends, and opportunities facing the sector and its workforce. Their responses provided the following key insights:

  • Employers that hire cleantech workers come from a variety of industries such as Natural Resources, Utilities, Construction, Manufacturing, among others.
  • Increased demand, corporate environmental commitment, and overall growth are driving cleantech revenue amongst businesses surveyed.
  • More than half of respondents plan to hire cleantech positions in the next 12 months, but they are experiencing shortages in a variety of occupations, and skills.
  • Some employers are implementing strategies to address labour shortages, however broader workforce solutions are needed to ensure an adequate supply of skilled workers are available in the months and years to come.

What is Cleantech?

In the survey, Eco Canada defined Cleantech as any technological process, product, or service that:
1) provides superior performance or lower costs than the current norm or standards,
2) minimizes negative environmental impacts, and
3) makes more efficient and responsible use of natural resources.

In other words, it is any technology that uses less material or energy, generates less waste, and causes less negative environmental impacts than the industry standard.

Download the report to get more insights into the cleantech sector.

About Eco Canada

ECO Canada is the steward for the Canadian environmental workforce across all industries. The organization is involved in job creation and wage funding, environmental training and labour market research. For over 25 years, the not-for-profit organization has forged academic partnerships, tools, and research not only to train and certify environmental job seekers, but also to help address labour and skill shortages.

 

Harnessing the power of reachback in radiological exercises

Written by Steven Pike, Argon Electronics

The use of accurate spectroscopy equipment is an essential factor in enabling emergency response teams, border control and law enforcement to quickly and efficiently screen, detect (and where possible identify) an unknown source of radiation.

Radiation-emitting materials can be broadly divided into several categories – encompassing what are known as naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM); Special Nuclear Materials (SNM); medical radioactive isotopes (radiological materials used for the purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment) and industrial radioisotopes (used in a wide variety of industry applications from construction to mining).

Additionally too, there are illicit radioactive materials that exist outside of regulatory controls and that represent a major global threat.

While personnel will have a basic level of understanding in the use of their radiation detector systems, there can be situations in which they may require the assistance of more in-depth analysis in order to verify a threat, make sense of the data or decide on the best course of action.

The power of reachback for in-depth analysis

As modern-day radiological operations become more localised, more dynamic and less predictable in their nature, there is a growing demand for access to remote collaborative support such as that provided by reachback.

The primary purpose of any reachback programme is to provide expert off-site technical advice and adjudication that helps to strengthen and support the detection mission.

Simulator detector training systems are already highly regarded for the important role that they can play in ensuring that personnel are confident in the operation of their equipment, in interpreting the readings they obtain and in being able to relay vital information up the chain of command.

Until now however, the option of being able to exercise reachback in a training setting is something that has been unachievable using any existing form of simulated radiation technology.

These limitations have been addresses however, with the development and imminent commercialization of the Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS).

Harnessing reachback capability with RaFTS

RaFTS is the culmination of an extensive collaboration between premier US research and development institution the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and UK simulator detector manufacturer Argon Electronics.

The RaFTS hardware comprises an externally mounted device that can be attached directly to any suitably adapted radiological detection system.

With the addition of a simple modification to the actual detector, it is then possible for that equipment to be safely used in a radiological training context by responding to totally safe simulated radiation sources.

The RaFTS technology is applicable to all types of handheld and mobile spectroscopic detection systems, as well as portal monitors and backpack detection equipment.

Realistic spectrometry-based radiation training

With the recent announcement of an exclusive commercialization and distribution agreement between LLNL and Argon Electronics, RaFTS is poised to provide substantial and unprecedented advancement in the delivery of realistic spectrometry-based radiation training.

From a radiation training perspective, there have always been inherent challenges in replicating the process of reachback in an exercise environment.

The game-changing nature of RaFTS’ architecture means it is now possible for organizations to apply their own sensitive scenario spectrum images during training exercises, and without the need to defer to any other party.

But perhaps most significant of all, the RaFTS technology is able to trigger the adapted detector to generate a high-fidelity spectra file that can be transferred in real time to an organization’s reachback centre, enabling that data to be analysed and fully integrated within a radiation training exercise.

Reachback has a crucial role to play in strengthening radiological detection capability, in informing technical and analytical decision-making and in aiding the integration of law enforcement, technical and scientific communities.

By harnessing the capability of RaFTS technology, radiological instructors now have the opportunity to integrate the power of reachback within their training scenarios, to provide even more more compelling and engaging learning experiences for their trainees.


About the Author

Steven Pike is the Founder and Managing Director of Argon Electronics, a leader in the development and manufacture of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) and hazardous material (HazMat) detector simulators. He is interested in liaising with CBRN professionals and detector manufacturers to develop training simulators as well as CBRN trainers and exercise planners to enhance their capability and improve the quality of CBRN and Hazmat training.

Who is causing mercury spills in Vancouver’s Stanley Park?

For the third time in less than a month, a Hazmat Crew was dispatched to Vancouver’s Stanley Park to clean-up a mercury spill.  In each of the incidents, the cause of the spill is either a broken thermometer or broken thermostat.

In each incident, it took hazmat teams a couple of hours completely clean up the tiny droplets of metal.

Vancouver police are working with Fire officials to determine if the three incidents are related, who is responsible, and what is the possible motive.

Exposure to Mercury and Health Implications

Mercury is a naturally occurring toxic heavy metal that is widely dispersed in nature.  Most human exposure results from fish consumption or dental amalgam.  Exposure to high levels of mercury, including acute exposure (exposure occurring over a short period of time, often less than a day) can have serious health impacts.

Typical acute exposure to mercury occurs due to an industrial accident.  Factors that determine whether health effects occur and their severity include: the type of mercury concerned; the dose; the age or developmental stage of the person exposed; the duration of exposure; and the route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion or dermal contact).

Elemental and methylmercury are toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.

Mercury Clean-up

There are several methods for cleaning up mercury spills.  One method involves sprinkling sulfur powder over the contaminated area and rubbing it gently all over the surface and into the cracks with a cloth. The sulfur powder binds with mercury and can be collected with a cloth.

Environment Canada has a guidance document on how to clean up small mercury spills.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a 133-page guidance document that describes eight different treatment technologies for mercury in soil, waste, and water.

 

Analysis of the Emergency Spill Response Market to 2026

According to a recent Emergency Spill Response Market research report prepared by Data Bridge Market Research, the global emergency spill response market is set to witness a substantial CAGR of 6.6% in the forecast period of 2019 to 2026. The report contains data of the base year 2018 and historic year 2017. This rise in the market can be attributed due to increasing environmental regulations across the world as well as increase in the global trade.

The Emergency Spill Response Market report comprises of detailed market segmentation, systematic analysis of major market players, trends in consumer and supply chain dynamics, and insights about new geographical markets.

Few of the major competitors currently working in global emergency spill response market are Adler & Allen, Clean Harbors Inc., Desmi A/S, Elastec, Marine Well Containment Company, Oil Spill Response Limited, Polyeco Group, US Ecology Inc., Veolia, Vikoma International Ltd, NRC Group, Briggs Marine & Environmental Services, AM Environmental, Lamor Corporation Ab., Blue Ocean Tackle, SkimOil, Fender & Spill Response Service LLC, American Green Ventures (US) Inc., Expandi Systems, Darcy Spillcare Manufacturer, Tomlinson Group, First Call Environmental and others.

Market Definition: Global Emergency Spill Response Market

Emergency spill response is the occurrence and release of the hazardous chemicals or waste that needs intercession of spill cleanup expert to contain and to eliminate the spilled material securely. Every spill should be estimate to detect whether it has crossed that threshold further which any cleanup is required by trained professional. The potential for chemical spills exists anywhere as these materials are used as well as transported through which the chemical spill may harm the employees, customers and general public.

Market Drivers:

  • Stringent environmental regulations across world to reduce the environmental pollution from spill will drive this market
  • With increase in the global trades around the world is driving the market growth
  • Growing awareness due to the effects of the spills on environment will drive the market
  • Increasing demand for mechanical recovery methods for spill recovery will propel the growth of the market

Market Restraints:

  • Decline in the large spills across the world will hinder the growth of the market
  • Strict compliance and regulations by the government for the companies is hampering the market growth

Canadian Company wins $17 million contract to supply environmental response equipment to the Coast Guard

Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard, recently announced that it has awarded a $1.7 million contract to Can-Ross Environmental Services Ltd. of Oakville, Ontario for the acquisition of 10,000 feet of environmental response equipment known as Tidal Seal Boom. The contract includes options for an additional 8,200 feet.  The award was granted following an open and competitive bid process.

The purchase of additional environmental response equipment by the Canadian Coast Guard is an effort to ensure it has modern equipment needed to respond to environmental spills quickly and effectively. The Coast Guard is striving to go beyond current standards regarding environmental spill response and is utilizing innovations and advancements in technology to do so.

Tidal Seal Boom acts as a barrier to protect coastal areas from spills and helps to contain pollution during active shoreline cleanup operations. The boom protects the shore by automatically adjusting to changing water levels, such as high and low tides, helping to ensure pollution doesn’t reach the shoreline while cleanup crews are at work.

The purchase of equipment from Can-Ross Environmental is part of the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan being undertaken by the government of Canada.  It is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways.  Since the Oceans Protection Plan started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span all of Canada’s coasts

In a media release, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, stated:  “Under the Oceans Protection Plan, we are providing our dedicated Canadian Coast Guard members across Canada with the best equipment possible. The Tidal Boom will ensure the Coast Guard can continue to respond quickly and efficiently in the event of an environmental emergency. These investments will help strengthen the Coast Guard and ensure it remains a world-leader in ocean protection and marine environmental response.”

Under the contract, new equipment will be delivered to Canadian Coast Guard facilities in Hay River, Northwest TerritoriesParry Sound and Prescott, Ontario, and Saanichton, British Columbia.

Ontario: Discussion paper on modernizing hazardous waste reporting

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) recently announced that it received 76 comments on its “Modernizing Hazardous Waste Reporting in Ontario” discussion paper.

The MECP made changes to the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA), and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) in Fall 2019, which allow the RPRA to provide digital reporting services, fee setting and collection for a wider range of waste and resource recovery programs.

The MECP issued a written letter of direction instructing the RPRA to prepare to deliver a digital reporting service for the Hazardous Waste program. The new hazardous waste digital reporting service would align with the open for business red tape reduction strategy by making it easier for the regulated community to track and report on waste.

Comments contributed to the proposed regulatory amendments and new proposed regulation and the MECP will continue to consider these comments as they take steps to update the Registration Guidance Manual for Generators of Liquid Industrial and Hazardous Waste and transition to the new digital reporting service.

Proposed Regulatory Changes

1. Amend Regulation 347 under the EPA to transition the delivery of hazardous waste digital reporting services to the RPRA

A. Transition delivery and operation of the hazardous waste digital reporting service

The MECP is proposing to amend Regulation 347 under the EPA to require the regulated community (including waste generators, carriers and receivers) to report waste management information to the RPRA instead of to the MECP, as they currently do. This would enable the RPRA to deliver and operate the hazardous waste digital reporting service, including collecting reports and fees from the regulated community.

B. Change registration and reporting requirements to support electronic service delivery

The amendments would also include changes to registration and reporting requirements to support a fully electronic reporting service. The new digital reporting service is intended to replace www.hwin.ca and paper document submissions.

Annual registration

The MECP is proposing to remove the annual registration renewal requirement (currently between January 1st to February 15th) and only collect information from generators at the time the business has a waste management activity to report (i.e. onsite storage/disposal/processing, or offsite movement of subject waste).

This would mean that businesses would complete an initial waste management activity report when they are reporting their first activity (using the new registry for the first time).

To ensure ongoing accuracy with facility, contact and payment information, the RPRA would require that businesses review and update their initially reported information when they are ready to report their first waste management activity after 365 days from the last time they reviewed and confirmed this information.

Reporting requirements

The MECP is proposing to amend Regulation 347 to provide more clarity about what waste management activities need to be reported to the RPRA and when they need to be reported. Reportable activities include both onsite and offsite management of subject waste and would remain the same. Reporting requirements for the Hazardous Waste program would be consolidated into one section.

The following activities would continue to be reportable waste management activities under the Hazardous Waste program:

  • Offsite management:
    • prior to completing the first off-site shipment of a subject waste
  • Onsite management:
    • within 90 days of generating and storing a subject waste where such waste is to be temporarily stored for more than 90 days and less than two years
    • prior to processing a subject waste onsite with the applicable Environmental Compliance Approval
    • prior to disposing of a subject waste onsite with the applicable approvals
    • prior to storing a subject waste for longer than two years with a valid Environmental Compliance Approval

Businesses that generate subject waste would be required to report their activities on, or prior to, the date that the activity takes place or within 90 days of generating or temporarily storing the subject waste if no other waste management activity has taken place. No generator of subject waste would be permitted to store subject waste for a period of greater than 90 days without reporting an activity to the RPRA. No generator would be permitted to manage such waste without reporting the activity to the RPRA.

In the near term, the ministry’s approach is to ensure that the proposed amendments would support the continued use of paper manifesting as an alternative to electronic reporting through the RPRA’s Registry, in a manner similar to that currently provided for under Regulation 347. Such reporting would continue to be provided directly to the ministry (director).

Report Completion

The MECP is proposing to amend Regulation 347 to clarify that reporting information would not be accepted in the new hazardous waste digital reporting service unless:

  • The entire waste management activity report is completed in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Regulation.
  • Any applicable fee payable by the generator is paid by or on behalf of the business.

This is intended to ensure that all members of the regulated community provide accurate information, on a timely basis and that they are paying for the subject waste that they generate in a timely manner.

Delegating Authority

The MECP is proposing that the new hazardous waste digital reporting service would allow delegates to register, report, and pay fees on behalf of generators. The generator would remain responsible for the subject waste that they generate and the information that is reported on their behalf. The RPRA would be responsible for ensuring confidential business information remains protected. The MECP is proposing to amend Regulation 347 to include a definition for ‘Delegate’ that would clarify this role.

The ability to delegate authority would provide flexibility for businesses (waste generators) to comply with the new hazardous waste digital reporting service, and ensure that the most accessible, knowledgeable and capable individuals are able to act on behalf of a business, should it be needed.

Paper-based reporting

The rules for paper-based reporting would remain the same in Regulation 347 because there is still a possibility that paper documents could be used in certain circumstances. In situations where paper manifests are used, businesses would continue to be required to ensure their manifest travels with the waste and applicable filing requirements are met with the ministry.

C. General housekeeping amendments to provide more clarity

The MECP is proposing to amend Regulation 347 to make various minor changes to provide more clarity and ensure consistency with other regulations.

Align with Federal regulatory phrases

Aligning with Federal regulatory phrases under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act(TDGA) would make it easier for businesses to learn and comply with both federal and provincial rules.

  • Align with the Federal phrasing in the TDGA by replacing “packaged” to “means of containment”.
  • The word “issued” should be removed when referencing TDGA manifests – because TDGA no longer “issues” manifests.
Definitions

Changes are needed to some existing definitions to provide more clarity for the regulated community.

  • The ‘field operation’ definition would be amended to clarify that specific medical clinics (blood donation/vaccinations and flu clinics) are included in the definition. This would reduce burden as these sites will not need to register and manifest at every site.
  • The ‘empty pesticide container’ definition would be updated to match the definition in Pesticides Act to help clarify and align with existing requirements.
  • The ‘reactive waste’ definition would be updated to correct a grammatical error and make it clear that the definition of reactive waste contains an independent list of criteria and not a multi-checklist of requirements. For example, if the waste meets any one criterion in the list, then it meets the reactive waste definition.
  • Both the ‘ignitable waste’ and ‘reactive waste’ definitions would be updated to align with the actual federal titles.

Some new definitions (i.e. RPRA, Registrar, Registry) would be needed so that the RPRA can deliver and operate the new hazardous waste digital reporting service. These definitions would have the same meaning as in the RRCEA. Other defined terms may also be required or desirable.

2. Create a new regulation under the RRCEA to carry over fee exemptions for certain activities related to hazardous waste – the RPRA would be required to consider the exemptions when setting program cost recovery fees.

The MECP is proposing a new regulation under the RRCEA that would carry over fee exemptions for certain activities related to hazardous waste from Regulation 347. The RPRA would be required to consider these exemptions, which would be based on the current exemptions when setting fees to recover the full cost of the Hazardous Waste program.

All fee setting references in Regulation 347 would be revoked when the new hazardous waste digital reporting service is implemented because the RPRA would have the responsibility to set and collect fees. The RPRA would be required to consult with stakeholders prior to establishing or amending fees for 45 days and post these fees on their website.

Read about and comment on the related proposed new regulation under the RRCEA.

Maintain government oversight for the hazardous waste program

Government would continue to play an important and on-going role in protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario, and the environment. With respect to the Hazardous Waste program, the ministry would maintain compliance and enforcement, and program and policy oversight activities.

The RPRA would be responsible for operating the hazardous waste digital reporting service to ensure reports are complete and related fees are collected. The RPRA would also notify the ministry of any suspected non-compliant activities. All incidents of non-compliance with program requirements would continue to be followed-up on by the ministry.

The ministry would continue to ensure all generators, carriers, and receivers are complying with requirements under the EPA and Regulation 347 to safely store, transport, process, and manage subject waste in Ontario. The ministry would continue to do this by conducting compliance inspections and following up on reported incidents of improper management of waste. The ministry would also continue to enforce program requirements through investigations and prosecutions.

Benefits of the new digital reporting service

A new digital reporting service for the Hazardous Waste program, would make reporting simpler, faster and more cost-effective. This change would also help us to meet our goals to:

  • Go digital – Implementing a modern digital reporting service that replaces the existing paper-based manifest program would improve our existing service and knowledge base, making it easier to report activities related to subject waste (i.e. hazardous waste and liquid industrial waste as defined in Regulation 347).
  • Hold polluters accountable – Implementing a modern digital reporting service would allow for more effective and timely compliance monitoring and enforcement actions.

Improved electronic data tracking and reporting would provide the regulated community and the ministry with an important set of tools that reduce administrative burden, saving time and money. For example, the service would:

  • Reduce unnecessary manual data entry.
  • Reduce the amount of time and money businesses spend preparing and mailing paperwork to the ministry, correcting administrative errors on paper, or searching for missing paperwork.
  • Provide the ministry with more accurate and timely information to inform decision making and policy development.
  • Allow the ministry to focus on risk-based compliance and enforcement to ensure subject waste is appropriately managed.

This new hazardous waste digital reporting service would align with Ontario’s Digital Service mandate by eliminating outdated approaches to processes, such as reporting using the existing online system (i.e. Hazardous Waste Information Network – HWIN) and using the more burdensome paper-based submission processes (e.g. paper manifests) that prevent the delivery of people-centered services.

The new hazardous waste digital reporting service would align with the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan by modernizing the way that the regulated community tracks and reports on subject waste (i.e. hazardous waste and liquid industrial waste as defined in Regulation 347 of the EPA). A better digital reporting service will enable more efficient and timely compliance monitoring and enforcement actions, which would provide assurance for Ontarians that polluters are held accountable, and subject waste is being appropriately and safely managed.

 

Town in Newfoundland & Labrador fined $50,000 for illegal discharges into river

The Town of Baie Verte recently pleaded guilty to two offences under the Canadian Fisheries Act in the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Grand Falls-Windsor, and was ordered to pay a total fine of $50,000.

The offences relate to the discharge of water containing elevated levels of chlorine from the town’s potable-water system into the Baie Verte River. The first offence relates to the release of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish; the second, to a failure to comply with a Fisheries Act direction that ordered the town to take action to remedy the situation or prevent future occurrences.

In August 2017, following a report that chlorinated water was being discharged from the town’s potable-water system into the Baie Verte River, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers conducted an onsite inspection and took field measurements, which confirmed that the chlorinated water was deposited into the river. On September 5, 2017, officers collected water samples for laboratory analysis. The analysis confirmed that the chlorinated water was a deleterious substance, as defined by the Fisheries Act. Consequently, enforcement officers initiated a formal investigation.

In September 2017, officers issued a Fisheries Act direction, which required the Town of Baie Verte to take all reasonable measures to prevent the deposit or to counteract, mitigate, or remedy any adverse effects that result from the deposit of the deleterious substance into the Baie Verte River. The town was also required to provide a written report documenting the measures taken to comply with the direction.

Fisheries Act direction is a compliance tool that may be issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch, when there is a deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish or when there is a serious and imminent danger of such an incident and immediate action is necessary. For example, a direction may be issued to compel a person who has the charge, management, or control of either a deleterious substance or an activity resulting in a deposit or the danger of a deposit to take remedial or preventative action.

Between November 8, 2017, and May 23, 2018, enforcement officers conducted field measurements and collected additional water samples for analysis. Each time, the chlorine concentration detected in the samples was in the range of 120 to 6000 times higher than the recommended limits under the guidelines established by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

The Town of Baie Verte failed to comply with the direction and was consequently charged with committing an offence under paragraph 40(3)(g) of the Fisheries Act. In addition, the town was charged for contravening subsection 36(3) by depositing a deleterious substance into the Baie Verte River.

As a result of this conviction, the Town of Baie Verte will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Although chlorine is frequently used in wastewater treatment and drinking-water systems, high concentrations of chlorine and chlorine residuals can be deleterious to fish. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life establishes 0.5 µg/L as the recommended limit for chlorine.