Canada: Environment@Gowlings – February 2006

Last Updated: March 23 2006

Edited by Katherine Van Rensburg

Contents

Federal News

  • Minister of Environment Appointed President of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Corrigendum: Discontinuation of Agricultural Pest Control Products Under Re-Evaluation and Proposed Changes to Maximum Residue Limits
  • Public Comment on Federal Environmental Assessment Policies, Procedures and Guidance Materials
  • CNSC Releases Information Document

News From The Provinces

Alberta:

  • Waste Management Assistance Program Funding Allocated

British columbia:

  • Draft Environmental Best Management Practices Released for Public Comment

Ontario:

  • Increased Disclosure to the Public Regarding Nutrient Management
  • Harmonization of Ontario and Federal Air Emissions Reporting Systems Commenced
  • Proposed Legislation Would Allow Sharing of Information Among Designated Ontario Ministries
  • Ontario Challenges Proposed Amendments to U.S. Legislation Applicable to Power Plants

Québec:

  • New Minister Of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks
  • Agreement Signed With the Union Des Municipalités Du Québec For Curbside Recycling

Other news:

  • CIELAP Report on Emerging Contaminants in Water

Federal News

Minister of Environment Appointed President of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Canada's Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose has assumed the duties of President of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This appointment honours Canada's international commitment that was made during the Montreal Conference of the Parties to hold the presidency for a one-year-term. A new President will be elected during the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties in November 2006.

This appointment comes at a time when the intentions of Canada's new federal government with respect to Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol remain unclear. In response to reports that the Conservative government's climate change action plan may be similar to the plan of the previous Liberal government, Minister Ambrose recently reiterated that the position of Canada's new government is that the Kyoto Protocol is "seriously flawed." The Conservative government's means of implementing a "made-in-Canada solution" have yet to be seen.

Corrigendum: Discontinuation of Agricultural Pest Control Products Under Re-Evaluation and Proposed Changes to Maximum Residue Limits

The January 2006 edition of Environment@Gowlings reported on the Pest Management Regulatory Agency's (PMRA) review of the acceptability of 401 active ingredients and their associated end-use products in a manner that suggested that the PMRA's review had been completed. This is not the case. This article has since been amended in the on-line version of the January 2006 edition of Environment@Gowlings to indicate that the PMRA review is ongoing.

The amended version of the January 2006 edition of Environment@Gowlings can be viewed on Gowlings website.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Public Comment on Federal Environmental Assessment Policies, Procedures and Guidance Materials

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the "Agency") has invited public comment on the environmental assessment policies, procedures and guidance materials of two Crown Corporations that are involved in providing commercial loans: the Business Development Bank of Canada and Farm Credit Canada. The Agency's news release and the documents under review are available online at:
http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/013/009/003/pn060209_e.htm
.

CNSC Releases Information Document

On February 23, 2006, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Canada's nuclear regulator, released an information document entitled Licensing Process for New Nuclear Power Plants in Canada. The information document was prepared in response to requests of governments, CNSC licensees and stakeholders and provides an overview of the CNSC's licensing process for new nuclear power plants in Canada. The information document also provides a brief description of Canada's nuclear regulatory framework.

The information document discusses the major steps in the licensing process, including the completion of an environmental assessment. The contents of the information document are reflective of the requirements of Canada's Nuclear Safety and Control Act and its regulations, which characterize nuclear power plants as Class I nuclear facilities. Separate licences are required for each of the following five phases in the life cycle of a nuclear power plant: (1) site preparation; (2) construction; (3) operation; (4) site decommissioning; and (5) site abandonment. The information document also comments on the level of public involvement throughout the CNSC's licencing process for new nuclear power plants in Canada.

The information document's executive summary also explains that the CNSC is in the process of updating its regulatory framework for nuclear power plants. It is expected that the updated framework will incorporate international standards and best practices, to the extent practicable.

It is anticipated that additional regulatory documents related to the licensing of new nuclear power plants will be developed by the CNSC over the next few years.

For more information and a copy of the CNSC's new information document, see:
http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/media/news/news_release.cfm?
news_release_id=222
.

Alberta

Waste Management Assistance Program Funding Allocated

Alberta Environment's Waste Management Assistance Program has allocated grants to various communities in Alberta to upgrade or expand landfills or recycling facilities. Granted funds are expected to be applied to a variety of projects including composting initiatives, new waste management and responsible waste handling projects.

For more information, see the Government of Alberta's news release at:
http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200602/19498AD0EA1BF-FF42-4870-9433574EA2C57128.html.

British Columbia

Draft Environmental Best Management Practices Released For Public Comment

British Columbia's Ministry of the Environment has released the draft Environmental Best Management Practices for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia: Air Quality BMPs and Supporting Information for public comment. These best management practices are focussed on the health impacts of air pollution associated with proximity to roads.

For more information, see the draft document at:
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/air/airquality/pdfs/aqbmps_feb16_06.pdf.

Ontario

Increased Disclosure to the Public Regarding Nutrient Management

On February 17, 2006, Ontario's Nutrient Management Act, 2002 was added to the list of Acts that are prescribed for the purposes of s. 16 of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993. Proposals related to the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 that could have a significant effect on the environment now require public notice at least 30 days prior to implementation. This requirement applies to regulations pursuant to the Nutrient Management Act, 2002. Nutrient Management Plans ("NMP") and Nutrient Management Strategies ("NMS") prepared pursuant to the Act do not require public notice prior to their implementation because the regulation amendment did not include the classification of NMPs and NMSs as "instruments" under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993.

On the same day, Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced the establishment of the Nutrient Management Science-Based Standards Committee. This committee is expected to make recommendations to the Ministers regarding regulatory requirements for agricultural activities that generate impacts on water as well as science-based nutrient management standards and best management practices that could apply to farms based on risk by 2008.

For more information, see the EBR Registry posting announcing the amendment to the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/025764er.htm and the news release announcing the development of the Nutrient Management Science-Based Standards Committee at:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/news/2006/021703.htm.

Harmonization of Ontario and Federal Air Emissions Reporting Systems Commenced

Ontario's Airborne Contaminant Discharge Monitoring and Reporting regulation (Ontario Regulation 217/01) and the corresponding Step by Step Guideline for Emission Calculation, Record Keeping and Reporting for Airborne Contaminant Discharge have been amended to remove the requirement to report emissions of various substances. Items deleted include substances included in the federal National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and substances that present minimal risk to the environment and human health. The regulation and corresponding guidelines have been amended to allow for the consolidation of Ontario and federal air emissions reporting. Both federal and Ontario emissions can now be reported simultaneously using the One Window to National Environmental Reporting System, Canada's federal on-line reporting system known as OWNERS.

This first step in the harmonization of Ontario and federal emissions reporting systems was first described in the November 2005 edition of Environment@Gowlings which is available on Gowlings website.

For further information, see the Ministry of the Environment's news release at:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/news/2006/021502.htm.

Proposed Legislation Would Allow Sharing of Information Among Designated Ontario Ministries

Bill 69, the Regulatory Modernization Act, 2006, was introduced into Ontario's Legislature through First Reading on February 27, 2006. The implementation of this Act as it is currently drafted would allow Ministers responsible for designated legislation to authorize the collection, use and disclosure of information about regulated organizations for specified purposes. The Act would also give Ministers the ability to make various types of information public. The types of information that Ministers may require to be collected, used and disclosed and may make public include, for example, statistical information and various types of information regarding the organization's activities pursuant to the legislation. An organization's identity information may also be collected, used and disclosed pursuant to a Minister's authorization.

The Act would allow such information to be collected, used and disclosed for various purposes including, for example, for consideration in decisions regarding the issuance of a permit or licence, to compile the organization's compliance history or to assist with a sentencing proceeding. Bill 69 also proposes to allow prosecutors to request that the court consider a previous conviction under a designated Act to be an aggravating factor for the purposes of sentencing. The Act would also authorize information sharing without Ministerial authorization in circumstances where something relevant to another designated Act is observed during the course of exercising functions that are authorized by a designated Act.

Regulations would be drafted to identify designated legislation, however, the consequential amendments contemplated by Bill 69 suggest that designated legislation may include environment-related statutes such as the Environmental Protection Act, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, and the Waste Diversion Act, 2002.

Bill 69 is available on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario's website at:
http://www.ontla.on.ca/documents/Bills/38_Parliament/session2/b069.pdf.

Ontario Challenges Proposed Amendments to U.S. Legislation Applicable to Power Plants

Ontario's Minister of the Environment, Laurel Broten, filed formal comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding changes that are proposed for the United States' New Source Review (NSR) program and its application to electric generating units. The U.S. EPA's description of the proposed changes explained that they would "standardize the emissions test used in NSR to determine if a physical or operational change at a power plant would cause emission increases that would require the plant to install additional pollution controls." The proposed changes would introduce a new emissions test for existing electric generating units at power plants. Ontario's comments suggest that the proposed changes to this U.S. regime would have an adverse effect on the health and welfare of citizens of Ontario due to transboundary pollution. Ontario requests abandonment of the proposed amendments to the NSR and strengthened enforcement of the program.

For more information and a copy of Ontario's comments to the U.S. EPA, see:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/air/transboundary/index.htm
.

Québec

New Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks

In his February 27th 2006 cabinet adjustment, Premier Jean Charest appointed Mr. Claude Béchard as Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks replacing Thomas Mulcair. Mr. Béchard has been a Member of the National Assembly for the riding of Kamouraska-Témiscouata since 1997. Mr. Béchard is also Deputy-Leader of the Government and will continue to act as President of the Ministerial Committee for Economic Prosperity and Sustainable Development and to sit on the Government's Priorities Committee. Mr. Béchard was formerly Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export.

Agreement Signed With the Union Des Municipalités Du Québec For Curbside Recycling

Éco Entreprises Québec has finally executed the agreement with the Union des municipalités du Québec establishing the net costs incurred by the latter's member municipalities for curbside recycling services for 2005 and 2006. Éco Entreprises Québec is the certified industry representative for the "container and packaging" and "printed matter" classes of industry that are subject to Québec's compensation regime for municipal curbside recycling services. The execution of this agreement follows the signing of a similar agreement in January with the Fédération québécoise des municipalités, the other representative of Québec municipalities authorized under Bill 102 to negotiate curbside recycling costs with Éco Entreprises Québec. Éco Entreprises Québec has also entered into a licensing agreement with CSR (Corporation Sharing Responsibility) for use of the management system that is presently used by Stewardship Ontario in its Blue Box Program. It is anticipated that Ontario’s program will be adapted for Québec.

For more information, see Éco Entreprises Québec’s website at:
http://www.ecoentreprises.qc.ca/ANGLAIS/accueil.html.

Other News

CIELAP Report on Emerging Contaminants in Water

The Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP) has released a paper entitled: There is No "Away": Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products and Endocrine-Disrupting Substances: Emerging Contaminants Detected in Water.

The paper describes how emerging contaminants enter the water (e.g. through the disposal of unused pharmaceuticals and through human and animal excretion) and suggests that they pose a significant threat to the environment and human health.

Among the recommendations outlined in the paper are: more scientific research; phase out of the use of antibiotics and hormones as animal growth promoters; support for organic farming; environmental labelling programs for drugs and other personal care products; stewardship programs for the return of unused drugs; and municipal sewer use by-laws restricting the disposal of emerging contaminants.

For a copy of the report, see: http://cielap.org/pdf/NoAway.pdf.

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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