Canada: Environmental Issues In Agriculture: Regulating GHG Emissions In B.C.

Last Updated: March 26 2014
Article by Sarah Hansen


1. Metro Vancouver Air Quality Management Bylaw

2. Permits and Approval Process

3. Proposed new Air Quality Management Bylaw

4. Do's and Don'ts for Air Quality Permits and Applications

5. West Coast Reduction Case

Applicable Bylaws

  • Air Quality Management Bylaw No. 1082
  • Air Quality Management Fees Regulation Bylaw No. 1083

Air Contaminants and Odour

  • "Air Contaminant" means any substance that is emitted into the air That

(a) injures or is capable of injuring the health and safety of a person;

(b) injures or is capable of injuring property or any life form;

(c) interferes or is capable of interfering with visibility;

(d) interferes or is capable of interfering with the normal conduct of business;

(e) causes or is capable of causing material physical discomfort to a person; or

(f) damages or is capable of damaging the environment; ...

  • "Pollution" means the presence in the environment of substances or contaminants that substantially alter or impair the usefulness of the environment; ...

Permits and Approvals


11 The district director may issue a permit to allow the discharge of an air contaminant subject to requirements for the protection of the environment that the district director considers advisable and without limiting the generality of the foregoing the district director may do one or more of the following in the permit:

(1) place limits and restrictions on the quantity, frequency and nature of an air contaminant permitted to be discharged and the term for which such discharge may occur;

(2) require the holder of a permit to repair, alter, remove, improve or add to works or to construct new works and to submit plans and specifications for works specified in the permit;

(3) require the holder of a permit to give security in the amount and form and subject to conditions the district director specifies;

(4) require the holder of a permit to monitor, in the manner specified by the district director, an air contaminant, the method of discharging the air contaminant and the places and things that the district director considers will be affected by the discharge of the air contaminant;

(5) require the holder of a permit to conduct studies, keep records and to report information specified by the district director in the manner specified by the district director;

(6) specify procedures for sampling, monitoring and analyses, and procedures or requirements respecting the discharge of an air contaminant that the holder of a permit must fulfill.

The proposed New Bylaw will apply to:

  • Facilities that process organic materials including farms and farm processes, facilities that compost organic waste, rendering plants, animal feed plants, mushroom media composting facilities, intensive agricultural feedlot activities, and anaerobic digesters processing nonagricultural waste.

Classification System

  • Facilities will be classified into low risk sources, medium risk sources, and high risk sources based on the amount of odour released into the community, the sensitivity of the receptors, and the offensiveness of the odours.
  • This classification will determine the action the facility will be required to take, as well as the fees the facility will be required to pay.

Criticisms of proposed New Bylaw

  • Fees imposed will be determined by the use of odour units, the same method of monitoring and testing which the Board in West Coast Reduction found to be too imprecise to be used for compliance purposes.
  • Fees lessen the financial resources available to be utilized to develop odour reducing solutions within the facilities at issue.
  • The complaints system is unreliable.
  • The new Bylaw undermines the public interest in sustainable management of organic wastes, as articulated by Metro Vancouver itself in a series of recent formal policy pronouncements, specifically: the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management; the Zero Waste Challenge: Goals, Strategies and Actions Zero Waste Challenge; and the Regional Organics Strategy Regional Organics Strategy.

Indirect Tax?

  • Those facilities classified as high risk will face charges of $5 per year for each person exposed to a specified level of odour.
  • The new policy will shift the cost of odour enforcement onto high-risk odourgenerating facilities at $5 per person per year for those that are impacted (as determined by Metro Vancouver).
  • The level of odour will be determined by odour units, to be measured by an odour panel who will assess the odour in accordance with internationally accepted methodologies.

West Coast Reduction Case

  • 2010 decision out of the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board, West Coast Reduction Ltd. v. British Columbia (Ministry of Environment).
  • West Coast sought to set aside the decision of the Air Quality District Director to amend their existing air permit to add various requirements, conditions, criteria, standards, guidelines and objectives all relating to the eventual reduction in the amount of odour emitted from their rendering plant.
  • "battle of the experts"

Key Points from the West Coast Reduction Case

  • The Board found that the amendments were wrongfully imposed by the Director, as he did not have the authority or jurisdiction to impose the requirements at issue.
  • The Board found that the complaints process utilized by the GVRD provides significant room for error, and did not provide sufficient information to determine whether or not the amendments were necessary for the protection of the environment.
  • It was found to be more likely that the amendments were an attempt to placate the public rather than to provide a real solution to the odour issue. As a result, the Board found that the Director's amendment of the permit was an improper exercise of discretion.

West Coast Reduction Case

  • In relation to the use of odour units, the Board found that the Director does have authority to introduce a new unit of measurement into a permit amendment in certain situations.
  • "The notion that odour units can be used as an indicator of an environmental "smell" is simply too flawed to be used as a method of determining compliance, and is therefore not suitable for determining whether the environment is adequately protected."
  • "Given that there are many steps in the process of attempting to calculate odour units which are problematic, and which contain so many points of bias and subjectivity, the Panel finds that the ultimate number or value coming out of an odour unit measurement cannot be relied upon as meaningful, particularly for the purposes of evaluating compliance with a mandatory term of a permit."

Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan

  • The overriding principle of the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan is the avoidance of waste through an aggressive waste reduction campaign and through the recovery of materials and energy from the waste that remains. In line with this principle, the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (ISWRMP) has four goals:

– Goal 1: Minimize waste generation

– Goal 2: Maximize reuse, recycling and material recovery

– Goal 3: Recover energy from the waste stream after material Recycling

– Goal 4: Dispose of all remaining waste in landfill, after material recycling and energy recovery

Negotiating Air Quality Permits

  • Do your homework and review like permits for like Facilities
  • If you are capping emissions, make sure you will be able to comply those caps
  • Consider your source input for emissions calculations
  • Limit reporting obligations and testing requirements
  • Build in flexibility for improving your operations or minor changes to works and procedures
  • Develop a good relationship with the regulator
  • Find a good consultant with expertise for testing and Monitoring
  • Don't forget to calculate your fee
  • Don't set emissions caps you can't meet
  • Don't accept "no odours"
  • Don't assume that the source of complaints is your facility

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Sarah Hansen
In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions