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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.