Ontario: Hazardous and Special Products Producers Reporting Deadline is January 31st

Producers and producer responsibility organizations (PROs) of category A (oil filters and non-refillable pressurized containers), category B (oil containers, antifreeze, pesticides, refillable pressurized containers, solvents, paints and coatings) and category C (mercury-containing barometers, thermometers and thermostats) are required to submit a 2022 Interim Report to the Ontario Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority (RPRA) by January 31, 2022.

What information must be submitted in the 2022 Interim Report?

Category A and B producers

Producers of oil filters, oil containers, antifreeze, pesticides, refillable pressurized containers, non-refillable pressurized containers, solvents, paints and coatings are required to report the following information:

  • a list of all collection services provided, including collection sites, collection events, call-in collection services (call-in collection is only applicable to Large producers, see FAQ below to confirm if you are considered a large producer) and curbside pickup for the transitional period of October 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022
  • the name and contact information of each processor, hauler and disposal facility that is part of the collection and management system

Category C producers

All producers of mercury-containing barometers, thermometers and thermostats are required to report the following information:

  • a list of call-in collection services, and if applicable, collection sites and collection events that began as of October 1, 2021
  • the name and contact information of each processor, hauler and disposal facility that is part of the collection and management system

Working with PROs

Producers can enlist the services of a PRO to file this reporting (e.g. establishing and operating a collection and management system) on their behalf. The RPRA recommends that producers who have signed up with a PRO confirm with them directly that they will be submitting the 2022 Interim Report on their behalf. If you have not engaged the services of a PRO and wish to do so, you can find a list of PROs here.

Producers can also choose to establish and operate their own collection system. If you are establishing and operating your own collection and management system, you are required to send an email to [email protected] and a Compliance Officer will send you a template for completion. If you retained the services of a PRO after registering with the RPRA, you need to send an email to [email protected] indicating which PRO will be reporting on your behalf.

PROs submitting reports on behalf of producers

PROs who are reporting on behalf of their producer clients must use the 2022 Interim Reporting form that was sent to them by the Compliance and Registry Team.

About the Regulation

The Hazardous and Special Products (HSP) Regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (RRCEA) designates automotive materials (oil filters, oil containers and antifreeze), solvents, paints and coatings, pesticides, fertilizers, mercury-containing devices (barometers, thermometers and thermostats) and pressurized containers (non-refillable pressurized containers, refillable pressurized containers, refillable propane containers), under Ontario’s individual producer responsibility (IPR) regulatory framework.

As of October 1, 2021, following the wind up of the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program operated by Stewardship Ontario on September 30, 2021, HSP producers are individually accountable and financially responsible for requirements set out under the HSP Regulation.

Ontario: Testing, tracking and registration of Excess Soil now required under Excess Soil Regulation

On January 1, 2022,the testing, tracking and filing obligations of the Excess Soil Regulation came into effect, requiring construction and development Project Leaders and Operators/Owners of soil Reuse Sites, and Residential Development Soil Depot sites to file notices about how they reuse and dispose of Excess Soil in Ontario.

Notices must be filed through the Excess Soil Registry. The Ontario Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority  (RPRA) established and maintains the Registry, and supports Registry users.

About the Excess Soil Regulation

Rules related to the reuse of Excess Soil in Ontario are detailed in the Excess Soil Regulation. The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is responsible for policy and programs related to Excess Soil and, for conducting compliance and enforcement activities under the Excess Soil Regulation.

About the Excess Soil Registry

The three portals that can be used to access the Excess Soil Registry as follows:

  • The Registry Portal enables regulated persons to comply with registration and notice filing requirements outlined in the regulation. As part of the notice filing process, Registry users may be required to pay a fee upon completion of a notice filing to cover RPRA’s costs for building, maintaining, and operating the Registry and supporting Registry users. The 2022 Excess Soil Registry Fee Schedule can be viewed here.
  • The Public Portal enables transparency by allowing the public to access publicly available information contained in notice filings.
  • The Internal Database is available to designated ministry staff and facilitates compliance with the regulation by enabling the ministry to access notice filings and associated data.

The RPRA has provided a suite of training materials to help Registry users with accessing and navigating the Registry portals.

$1-Million Grand Prize Winner of “Women in Cleantech Challenge”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, in concert with MaRS, recently announced the $1-million grand prize winner of the Impact Canada Women in Cleantech Challenge: Amanda Hall, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Summit Nanotech, based in Calgary, Alberta.

Founded in 2018, Summit Nanotech is developing a sustainable and cost-effective green lithium extraction process to generate battery-grade lithium to help meet the energy storage needs of the future.

Today’s announcement follows a three-year intensive program that was launched in 2018. Through a national call and expert selection process, six women were chosen from nearly 150 applicants to receive a range of supports as they advanced their technologies and built their companies. In addition to business supports and advisory services provided by MaRS, each finalist received up to $250,000 in federal laboratory support and an annual stipend to help offset living and travel costs so they could focus on building their businesses. The grand prize winner of the Women in Cleantech Challenge was selected through a competitive and rigorous process designed and delivered by MaRs.

In her remarks accepting the award, Ms. Hall said, “The Women in Cleantech Challenge positioned my company for growth. The support provided to develop our technology and scale our business needs was critical to gain credibility and attract investors.”

The Women in Cleantech Challenge is one of six cleantech challenges that are part of the Impact Canada Cleantech initiative. The challenges were designed to help address some of the most pressing environmental problems. Since 2017, Natural Resources Canada has invested $75 million in six initiatives, including Women in Cleantech, The Sky’s the Limit, Power ForwardCrush It!Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative and Charging the Future.

Women are a powerful force in Canada’s innovation economy but are significantly underrepresented. Empowering women to succeed in Canada’s cleantech sector will help bring the needed diversity of thought to yield real technological answers for some of the biggest global problems.

Yung Wu, Chief Executive Officers of MaRs, said, “The Women in Cleantech Challenge was designed to help mitigate the gender imbalance in cleantech and to scale six new high-potential cleantech companies, led by women. It is my pleasure to congratulate the grand prize winner, Amanda Hall.”

 

 

ONEIA Board Nominations deadline for applications is December 2nd

ONEIA is now accepting applications from those who occupy senior positions at member companies and are interested in serving on our board for the 2022-2025 term.  Our current board of 15 members is made up of industry leaders who also serve on ONEIA committees, attend our events and support a strong voice for our industry and its concerns.

If you would like to make a contribution to your industry and to ONEIA, we would be pleased to add your name to the roster being considered by the nominations committee.

Please forward your CV, and a letter expressing interest which outlines how you could support the work of ONEIA, to Janelle Yanishewski, Operations Manager, at info@oneia.ca, prior to December 2, 2021. For a sample of what this letter may look like, please contact [email protected] and we can send you a template.

For more information, please contact Denise Lacchin, Chair of the Nominations Committee at [email protected]

Hamilton considers new report of cleanup options for Chedoke Creek

A new report for the City of Hamilton, written by GM Blueplan Engineering,  provides dozens of recommendations to clean up sewage contamination of Hamilton’s Chedoke Creek could cost the Ontario city more than $150 million over 14 years.

The GM Blueplan Engineering report offers options for studies, projects, programs and maintenance to the City of Hamilton’s general issues committee sitting on July 5th, as they determine how best to remediate the creek.

The contamination at Chedoke Creek was first disclosed by the City of Hamilton in July 2018 after it discovered that one of its combined sewer overflow tanks was discharging combined sewage into Chedoke Creek. The City immediately stopped the discharge, began clean-up activities in the area, and contacted the Provincial Spills Action Centre.

Since July 2018, the City has been working closely with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to investigate the incident, respond to Orders related to the spill, and plan for remediation efforts in the Creek and Cootes Paradise.

 

Currently, the City is working with the MECP and various stakeholders on remediation activities in the watershed. The City has recently submitted a workplan to the MECP outlining targeted dredging activities in Chedoke Creek and a report proposing remediation/mitigation methods for Cootes Paradise and the Western Hamilton Harbour Area.

The short-term work is expected to begin this summer, with the removal of dead algae and placement of small-scale aeration systems near the mouth of Cootes Paradise to guard against the formation of noxious algal blooms.

Researchers use Biochar to treat arsenic from mine waste

Written by Erin Matthews, Lightsource.ca

Researchers used synchrotron light to determine that plant waste could be an ideal, cost-effective method for preventing arsenic in mine waste from polluting our water.

The mining industry plays a key role in the North American economy and the wider global market. Precious metals like copper are crucial to several industries, including home construction and vehicle manufacturing. While we rely on precious metals for continued innovation, we also need to find ways to prevent environmental contamination from mining.

A program at the University of Arizona is working to reclaim landscapes that have been impacted by mining waste to create a more sustainable mining industry. Its researchers recently published findings on how reducing environmental impacts through remediation processes that are both efficient and cost effective.

Jon Chorover, a professor and head of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona, wants to clean up acid mine drainage that contains substantial amounts of heavy metals like arsenic and lead. These top priority pollutants are released when rock materials are exposed to oxygen and rain. The toxic compounds can leak into the ground and contaminate water used for drinking and farming, which can be detrimental to human health.

SM beamline
The SM beamline at the CLS that the team used for scanning transmission X-ray microscopic analyses.

“We have a strong interest in being able to treat acid mine drainage to remove the arsenic with something that’s relatively low cost,” said Chorover.

Using beamlines at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan and the SLAC National Accelerator, Chorover and colleagues analyzed the molecular interactions that occur when biochar is introduced to acid mine drainage.

Created naturally when plant matter is burned, biochar can also be engineered. And it may be the perfect solution for the mining industry if the environmental conditions are just right. It’s also a waste product of the logging industry, made from the woody plant materials that are left behind and it can be used as a remedial tool in the presence of iron.

“Synchrotron based X-ray spectroscopy is essential for being able to get a mechanistic understanding of what we can measure in the lab,” Chorover said. “The only way you can really get a handle on the long-term capacity for the material to retain that arsenic is if you know what bonded structures are formed.”

A man standing over scientific equipment
Co-author Dr. Rob Root conducting synchrotron work at SSRL.

Iron, another mineral found in mine drainage, interacts with the biochar to form a crystal-like structure. As these crystals grow, they attract the arsenic — similar to a magnet — and form very tight bonds. This allows the arsenic to be safely removed from the environment.

Using the SM beamline at the CLS, Chorover and his team were able to visualize the surface chemistry of the biochar and reveal the fine details of these complex interactions.

“We saw that biochar is not a perfectly homogenous material, but it actually has patchy locations that are highly reactive to the growth of these crystals and as those crystals grow, they sequester the arsenic,” Chorover said.

Chorover believes their research will provide companies and regulators with the information necessary to maintain the environment and reduce impact on communities located near mining operations.

Sustainable Brownfield Development Building a Sustainable Future on Sites of our Polluting Past

Christopher De Sousa, a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University, recently published a new book entitled Sustainable Brownfield Development Building a Sustainable Future on Sites of our Polluting Past.

While industrial and chemical innovations have contributed extensively to human advancement, the darker part of their legacy has been the hundreds of thousands of polluted sites left behind. Governments at all levels have rallied to support the remediation and reuse of these land resources and put many of the nation’s brownfields back into productive use. This book presents two dozen brownfield projects in the United States that have incorporated sustainability, highlighting project features, best management practices, and lessons from the field regarding the underlying policies and practices that enabled these projects to be completed or, in some cases, stalled, altered or abandoned.

The case studies represent an array of brownfield projects that aimed to go beyond conventional practice and include a range and variety of end uses (e.g., corner gas stations, industrial, office, residential, brightfields, green space, mixed-use, and transit-oriented developments). The cases investigate site histories, planning and development and examine sustainability characteristics to understand how projects overcame the barriers to brownfield reuse and the implementation of sustainability features and derive a series of lessons learned, including innovative policies, programs, and/or funding mechanisms that helped make these projects work.

Sustainable Brownfield Development will be of interest to developers, planners, consultants and community representatives interested in environmental policy, urban planning, community development, ecological restoration, economic development, and parks planning by providing direction and inspiration for those eager to erase the blight of the past and build a more sustainable future.

Table of Contents

1. Brownfields Background 2. Sustainability and Brownfields 3. Industrial and Commercial Redevelopment 4. Office Redevelopment 5. Residential Redevelopment 6. Green and Community Space Redevelopment 7. Corner Gas Station Brownfields 8. Main Streets, Neighborhoods, and Towns 9. Mixed-Use Complete Communities 10. Brightfields 11. Project Characteristics and Lessons Learned

Biography

Christopher De Sousa is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University and was previously at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research focuses on brownfields redevelopment in the United States and Canada. De Sousa is past President of the Canadian Brownfields Network, a Steering Committee Member of the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Brownfields/Land Reuse Health Initiative, and on the Management Committee of Ryerson’s Center for Urban Research and Land Development.

City of North Bay Ontario reaches $20-million PFAS cleanup agreement with DND

The City of North Bay and the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) have reached an agreement that will see the federal government fund the majority of costs related to the remediation of per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) at Jack Garland Airport.

“The City has been working proactively toward this agreement for the past two years. It is a major step that will advance PFAS cleanup efforts at the airport,” said Mayor Al McDonald. “The health and safety of our residents is our highest priority and we will continue to do all we can to move this remediation work ahead as quickly as possible.”

The $20 million-contribution agreement, which goes before Council this evening for approval, will see DND provide up to $19.4 million over six years toward the airport PFAS cleanup, including study, removal and remediation. The City will fund the balance of up to $600,000 over the same period. Additionally, the agreement allows the City to submit a second proposal in the future for additional costs, if required.

“Our government has been working hard with our partners to leave a better environment to future generations. Though our work to solve the PFAS issue in North Bay is complex and ongoing, we remain committed to addressing this issue with the seriousness it deserves. By working together with our partners, including the City of North Bay, we are making real progress,” said the Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

PFAS are manmade substances found in many consumer and industrial products, including firefighting foam. Past use of the airport lands for firefighter training between the early 1970s and mid-1990s has been identified as the main source of PFAS on the airport property.  Although firefighting foam containing PFAS was an accepted practice and was in accordance with regulations at that time, its use is very limited today.

Since 2017, the City has been working collaboratively with DND, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), and the Health Unit to support ongoing testing and monitoring for PFAS in Trout Lake, Lees Creek and residential wells in close proximity to the North Bay Jack Garland Airport lands. In order to expedite the remediation process, the City also completed its own environmental investigations into PFAS soil and groundwater contamination on the airport site.

The level of PFAS detected in the City’s municipal water supply remains significantly lower than drinking water screening values set out by Health Canada and the interim guidance level provided by the MECP. A long-standing drinking water advisory for Lees Creek remains in place as well as a fish consumption advisory for fish from the creek issued by the MECP.

Immediate next steps will include issuing a request for proposals for engineering consulting services to aid the City in the environmental remediation process for the airport lands.  The scope of work will include environmental assessment, site-specific risk assessment, development of remediation objectives, treatability studies and remediation design.  Once a design is complete, the works will be tendered and remediation can begin.

Source: City of North Bay

Canada: Court Of Appeal Clarifies Limitation Periods For Third Party Claims related to Contaminated Property

On Feb. 4, 2021, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its decision in Albert Bloom Limited v. London Transit Commission,  2021 ONCA 74. This decision clarifies the approach to limitations disputes with respect to third party claims; in particular, the analysis of when a defendant is deemed to develop actual knowledge of a potential claim against a third party and how continuing torts are to be treated in the context of third party claims.

Background

Trichloroethylene

The plaintiff, a private property owner, sued the London Transit Commission (LTC) on May 22, 2013, alleging that its property had been contaminated by Trichloroethylene that had flowed from adjacent lots owned by LTC. LTC defended the claim in January 2014, yet continued to resist demands by the plaintiff to investigate its property until the end of that year. After completing the testing and determining that Eaton, a previous landowner, had operated a sludge pit on the property before 1973, LTC brought a third party claim against Eaton on March 16, 2016.

Eaton brought a motion for summary judgment, arguing that all of LTC’s claims against it had been discoverable as of May 22, 2013 and had therefore expired two years later, pursuant to the Limitations Act. The motion judge agreed and dismissed the third party claim in its entirety.

The Court of Appeal decision

The Court dismissed the appeal, dealing with each of LTC’s submissions in turn.

With respect to the claim for contribution and indemnity, the Court began by noting that LTC bore the onus of demonstrating that its claim against Eaton was not discoverable on the day it was served with the Statement of Claim. The Court rejected LTC’s submission that there is a general rule that sub-surface testing is required to establish actual knowledge of prior contamination in environmental contamination cases. A paragraph in LTC’s Statement of Defence which blamed any contamination on a previous owner of its property also did not assist LTC’s submissions in this regard. The Court found that LTC had not met its onus to prove this was a mere “boilerplate”, pleading that did not indicate actual knowledge. The Court also held LTC had constructive knowledge of its third party claim more than two years before it was commenced, as it did not act with due diligence when it ignored the plaintiff’s demands for further investigation.

The Court also dismissed LTC’s alternative argument that because the claim against it was based on a continuing tort, its third party claim was similarly based on continuous conduct such that the limitation period had not expired. The Court explained Eaton’s involvement with the property had ended in 1973 and for a claim to be continuing in a limitations sense, the legal injury itself must continue, not just the ill effects of the prior legal injury.

Commentary

This decision highlights the importance of due diligence when responding to new claims ensuring that limitation periods for third party claims are not missed. Environmental lawsuits raise distinct factual issues, but the underlying legal principles remain the same for all claims for contribution and indemnity. The decision also reminds litigants that pleading choices which may seem harmless when made can have unintended effects on a party’s legal rights at a later stage.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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About the Authors

Aidan Fishman is an associate in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and is a member of the Insurance and Tort Liability Group. Aidan returned to BLG after articling with the firm. Prior to receiving his Juris Doctor in 2018 from the University of Toronto, Aidan graduated with a Masters of Arts, magna cum laude in Diplomacy from the Interdisciplinary Centre of Herzliya, and an Honours BA in International Relations from the University of Toronto.
Natalie Kolos practises civil litigation, including insurance law, municipal and police liability, defamation and occupiers’ liability at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.  She acts for municipalities, insurance companies and corporate clients in negligence claims.

Quebec cargo-handling company sentenced to pay $675,000 for Fisheries Act violation

The Compagnie d’Arrimage de Québec Ltée recently pleaded guilty in the Court of Quebec in the District of Québec to one count of contravening the Fisheries Act. The company was fined $100,000. In addition to the fine, the Court ordered the company to pay an amount of $575,000.

The guilty plea and fine arise from incident on December 10, 2017.  On that date, the Compagnie d’Arrimage de Québec Ltée, while unloading a ship at the Port of Québec, failed to take all necessary measures to prevent the discharge of an estimated 500 kilograms of fertilizer into the St. Lawrence River, contrary to the provisions of subsection 38(6) of the Fisheries Act.