Canada: B.C. Proposes To Significantly Broaden Requirements For Spill Reporting And Response

The British Columbia government is seeking further input on its proposed new regime for spill reporting, preparedness and response through the release of an intentions paper on April 5, 2016 and an open comment period until June 30, 2016. The proposed program is the government's response to concerns around the potential impacts of spills from the two major oil pipelines currently proposed to cross the province, and promises to implement a "world class" spill preparedness and response regime. In doing so, the government has also expanded the requirements of what needs to be done when spills happen.

The intentions paper provides an overview of proposed changes to the Environmental Management Act (EMA) which were introduced to the legislature in February 2016. It also sets out what the government is considering for the regulations that will implement the system once the legislative amendments are passed.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT

Bill 21, the Environmental Management Amendment Act, 2016 was introduced to the legislature on February 29, 2016. If passed and brought into force, the amendments will broaden the requirements for spill planning and response, and add to the box of tools available to the government for enforcement, including new and higher fines for failing to report or respond to spills.

These changes will have a particularly significant impact upon those who handle "prescribed substances" who will be required to pay for and implement area-based spill response plans. However, the amendments also include other new spill reporting and response requirements, which will affect all entities or individuals that cause spills of substances or "things" and that will likely result in a much heavier burden in terms of what has to be done when and after there is a spill.

PROVINCEWIDE SPILL PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

A key amendment proposed to the EMA creates a new category of "regulated persons" who will have significant responsibility of the implementation of the new provincewide spill preparedness and response regime. According to the intentions paper, the government is considering three scenarios though which an entity would be a "regulated person." If it: (1) transports any quantity of a prescribed substance though a pipeline longer than a kilometre; (2) transports more than 10,000 litres of the substance by rail or road; or (3) stores more than 50,000 litres of the substances in fixed facilities. There are currently 140 substances proposed to be prescribed.

Regulated persons will be required to carry out assessments of the magnitude of risk to the environment, human health and infrastructure that would result from the spill of a prescribed substance and to carry out spill contingency planning. The government will have the authority to order regulated persons to prepare, test, update and pay for geographic response plans.

The bill also establishes the framework for industry-funded certified preparedness and response organizations that will prepare and implement response plans for designated areas.

SPILL REPORTING AND RESPONSE EXPANDED

Under the current regime in the EMA, spills over a threshold quantity must be reported to the provincial government and remedial action must be taken. The prescribed amounts for reporting currently range from 1 to 200 kilograms or litres, depending upon the substances. Further action such as evaluation and remediation of impacts can also be required if the circumstances warrant it, but usually only under orders from the government. Under the amendments to EMA, the need for such orders will be reduced, as the actions automatically required when a spill occurs will be significantly expanded.

The amendments set out a definition of a "responsible person" as a person who has possession, charge or control of a substance when a spill of the substance or thing occurs or is at imminent risk of occurring. A spill is defined as the unauthorized introduction of a substance or thing that has the potential to cause adverse effects to the environment, human health or infrastructure.

Under the amendments, every responsible person must, in accordance with regulations:

  • Report prescribed information
  • Provide any information an officer requests respecting response activities
  • Ensure persons with the skills, experience, resources and equipment necessary to properly deal with a spill arrive at a site within a prescribed period after a spill and implement an incident command system
  • Prevent the continuation of any threats or hazards caused by the spill
  • Stabilize and clean up
  • Identify immediate risks
  • Evaluate long-term impacts
  • Take steps to mitigate immediate and long-term impacts.

The government is also empowered to order compensatory mitigation measures to be taken elsewhere if the impacts of the spill cannot be completely remediated or make a payment to a "primarily not-for-profit" organization that must apply the funds to projects that will compensate for the damage caused by the spill.

According to the intentions paper, there will be five stages of reporting set out in the regulations:

  1. Initial report by phone as soon as possible
  2. Web-based report within six hours to confirm and provide additional details
  3. Written confirmation report within 48 hours to confirm or update initial information
  4. Followup reports during response on a timeline set by the Ministry of Environment, if conditions change significantly, or every 30 days
  5. End of spill report including next steps and analysis of restoration needs.

CONCLUSION

It is not clear from the amendments or the intentions paper whether the trigger for reporting a spill will continue to be a threshold amount of a prescribed substance, or whether it will be solely based upon the more subjective requirement that it have the potential to cause an adverse effect on the environment, human health or infrastructure. Furthermore, it is also unclear whether all the steps set out above will apply no matter the size of the spill or the magnitude of the risk of the adverse effect. If they do, the amendments would appear to create a substantial regulatory burden upon both large and small entities (or individuals), which may not necessarily correspond with the potential impacts arising from a particular incident.

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 Mondaq.com.

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

Authors
Events from this Firm
26 Oct 2018, Other, Vancouver, Canada

Cybersecurity, including data privacy and security obligations, has become a critical chapter in every company’s risk management playbook.

30 Oct 2018, Other, Toronto, Canada

Please join us for discussions on recent updates and legal developments in pension and employee benefits as well as employment law issues.

12 Nov 2018, Other, Toronto, Canada

Stories aren’t falsehoods. Stories are the root of all effective human communications: they motivate, animate and clarify. If you aren’t telling stories, you probably aren’t getting your point across.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
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
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
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

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com 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.

Disclaimer

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.

General

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