Canada: Environment @ Gowlings - August 2007

Last Updated: October 9 2007

Edited by Harry Dahme

FEDERAL NEWS

  • Parliament Passes Opposition Bill to Require Kyoto Compliance
  • New Exclusion List Regulations under CEAA
  • Amendments to the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations
  • Government Decides on Approach to Managing Nuclear Waste

NEWS FROM THE PROVINCES

ALBERTA:

  • Overview of Alberta's New Guidelines For the Remediation of Contaminated Sites

ONTARIO:

  • Policy Statement on Waste Management Planning and new E-Waste Plan Requirements
  • Phase I of Ontario's Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program Ready to Go, Almost
  • Ontario Minister of the Environment Releases Annual Report on Drinking Water
  • Ontario's Chief Drinking Water Inspector Issues 2005-2006 Annual Report
  • Ontario Takes Measures to Address Lead in Tap Water
  • Clean Water Act and Regulations Now in Force
  • Ontario Bans Burning Used Oil in Space Heaters

QUÉBEC:

  • Draft Regulation Respecting the Annual Duty Payable to the Québec Green Fund
  • Proposed Limitations on Water Containers Exceeding Eight Litres
  • Amendments to the Québec Program for the Awarding of Lands for Wind Projects

FEDERAL NEWS

Parliament Passes Opposition Bill To Require Kyoto Compliance

Bill C-288, a private member's bill introduced by Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez, has received Royal Assent and is now in force. The bill, known as the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, requires the Minister of the Environment to prepare an annual Climate Change Plan to ensure that Canada meets its greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. The bill also requires the government to achieve the Kyoto targets within 180 days of the coming into force of the bill, by making or amending the necessary regulations.

It is unusual for a private member's bill to make it into law, even when the government holds a minority of the seats in Parliament. The exact legal implications of this particular bill are the matter of some uncertainty. Conceivably the opposition could call a vote of non-confidence in Parliament if the government were to contravene the new Act. This in turn could topple the government and trigger a general election.

Bill C-288 is available at:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?
Language=E&Parl=39&Ses=1&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-288_4

New Exclusion List Regulations Under CEAA

Updated regulations under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act ("CEAA") came into force on May 31, 2007. The new Exclusion List Regulations, 2007 repeal and replace the previous Exclusion List Regulations. These regulations specify projects with insignificant environmental effects that are exempt from the federal environmental assessment process under CEAA. The new regulations contain 21 additions and 36 modifications to the previous regulations.

For more information please see:
http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/2007/20070613/html/sor108-e.html

Amendments To The Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations

The Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998 have been amended in order to facilitate transfers or exchanges of permits or quantities of methyl bromide among companies that have been granted critical or emergency use exemptions from the international ban on the substance.

Further information is available at:
http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/2007/20070627/html/sor129-e.html

Government Decides On Approach To Managing Nuclear Waste

The federal government has formally selected "Adaptive Phased Management" as its preferred approach for the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste. This approach, which involves storing nuclear waste in a deep geological repository, was recommended by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization in its final report to the Minister of Natural Resources in November 2005.

Further information is available at:
http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/2007/20070627/html/si63-e.html

NEWS FROM THE PROVINCES

ALBERTA:

Overview Of Alberta's New Guidelines For The Remediation Of Contaminated Sites

At the end of June 2007, Alberta Environment released new guidelines for the remediation of contaminated sites: Alberta Tier 1 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines and Alberta Tier 2 Soil and Groundwater Remediation Guidelines. The framework for the management of contaminated sites is designed to achieve three policy outcomes: pollution prevention, health protection and productive use. Under this framework, three management options are provided: Tier 1, Tier 2 and Exposure Control.

Within a given land use, sites will fall into a range of sensitivities because of differences in receptors and site conditions. For example, workers on a construction site experience a different exposure than a baby living on a residential property. Tier 1 remediation guidelines are generic. They are developed to protect the more sensitive end of the range and can be used at most sites without modification. The Tier 1 approach is based on the assumption that all exposure pathways and receptors relevant to a particular land use are actually present. Tier 2 remediation guidelines allow the consideration of site-specific conditions through the modification of Tier 1 guidelines and/or removal of exposure pathways that may not be applicable to the site. Exposure Control involves risk management through exposure barriers or administrative controls based on site-specific risk assessment.

The Tier 1 remediation guidelines are simple tabular values that require minimal site information. Conservative assumptions about soil and groundwater characteristics have been used to develop Tier 1 guidelines to protect sites likely to be sensitive to contamination. Sites that may be more sensitive than conditions assumed in the Tier 1 guidelines are better dealt with under the Tier 2 guidelines.

The Tier 2 guidelines usually require more information from the site than the Tier 1 guidelines, resulting in a more tailored approach. Tier 2 guidelines may be more restrictive or less restrictive than Tier 1 values depending on the sensitivity of the site. Less sensitive sites may have Tier 2 guidelines that are less restrictive than Tier 1 values, however the same level of human and ecological health protection would be delivered because they are tailored to that specific site.

The same level of human or ecological protection, human health and ecological endpoints must be maintained at all management Tiers. Changes to endpoints require ongoing administrative controls or site management and therefore would be considered under Exposure Control. When adverse effects are evident, contaminants must be managed to alleviate adverse effects, regardless of whether a site meets Tier 1 or Tier 2 remediation guidelines.

The Tier 1 and 2 guidelines replace the Alberta Soil and Water Quality Guidelines for Hydrocarbons at Upstream Oil and Gas Facilities (2001 Upstream Guidelines). Also, soil monitoring and management programs at approved facilities will adopt the new guidelines as outlined in their operating approval and Soil Monitoring Directive.

ONTARIO:

Policy Statement On Waste Management Planning And New E-Waste Plan Requirements

Ontario is currently facing challenges in terms of managing the increasing volume of waste that has resulted from its expanding economy and growing population. Existing public and private waste management infrastructure in Ontario is under great pressure to handle increasing quantities of waste and exporting waste is not a viable long-term solution.

In the face of these challenges, on June 12, 2007, Ontario's Ministry of the Environment published a "Policy Statement on Waste Management Planning" and invited all interested stakeholders to comment on the proposed policy until July 27, 2007. This policy sets out what the province suggests as best practices for the management of waste and the creation of waste management plans.

The policy provides a framework for waste management decisions which is intended to meet the following goals:

  • Protect the environment and public health
  • Resource conservation
  • Encourage innovation
  • Promote sustainable systems

To meet these goals, the policy outlines 12 principles that reflect a "holistic approach" for all stakeholders to consider, including "environmental protection is a shared responsibility", "waste management choices should consider economic, social and environmental costs", "waste should be managed as close to the source of generation as possible", "producer responsibility should be incorporated into waste reduction and management", "maximum value from waste should be recovered from the waste stream" and "innovative waste management technologies and approaches as appropriate to local circumstances should be incorporated to achieve sustainable solutions".

The policy also outlines the Ministry of Environment's expectations regarding municipal waste management plans including the principles to be considered in developing a waste management plan, as well as the categories of information to be included by a municipality in its plan. The municipal waste management plans are to cover all residential waste generated within the applicable area and all other waste managed by the municipality. This includes residential waste collected by private contractors through a curbside collection program, or collected/disposed at municipal transfer stations, landfills, composting facilities or material recovery facilities. It also includes waste generated by municipal operations or waste collected by the municipality from industrial, commercial and institutional ("IC&I") or construction and demolition ("C&D") sources.

In developing a waste management plan, municipalities are to consider the framework referred to above and the waste management principles set out in the policy statement. The policy encourages partnerships between municipalities to increase efficiency and manage costs, and encourages municipalities to reduce waste at the source, exhaust options to reuse products prior to recycling, and resort to waste disposal only as a last option.

Municipalities with populations of 100,000 or greater are expected to have waste management plans within two years of the policy statement being finalized, whereas municipalities with populations under 100,000 are to have waste management plans within two and a half years of the policy statement being finalized. These waste management plans are to cover a period of 20-25 years.

In conjunction with the release of this policy statement, the Ministry of Environment also announced on June 12, 2007 that it has directed Waste Diversion Ontario to develop an industry-funded waste diversion program for waste electrical and electronic equipment ("WEEE"). A program plan is to be submitted to the Ministry in phases. A Phase I program plan is to be submitted by Waste Diversion Ontario by February 1, 2008, and a Phase II program plan is to be submitted one year following the Ministry's approval of Phase I. The first phase is to deal with products that have the lowest diversion rates such as desktop and notebook computers, monitors, printers, fax machines and televisions. The second phase is to deal with additional products like canners, typewriters, cell phones, cameras, radios, audio players and recorders, and speakers. Other items not specifically referred to are to be phased in at a later date.

These are two steps that the government of Ontario is taking under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 in an effort to improve waste diversion and implement integrated waste management in Ontario. These steps are in addition to the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste diversion program that is also currently in progress (see below).

Although the comment period has now closed, the provincial policy statement on waste management planning is still posted on the Environmental Registry at www.ontario.ca/environmentalregistry, registry number 010-0420. The Minister's E-waste program request letter to Waste Diversion Ontario can be viewed on the WEEE Program website at:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/land/WDA/electronics/regulation.htm.

Phase I Of Ontario's Municipal Hazardous Or Special Waste Program Ready To Go, Almost

On May 25, 2007, Waste Diversion Ontario ("WDO") submitted the first phase of the planned Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste ("MHSW") program to the Ministry of Environment ("MOE") for approval. Phase I of the program targets, at a minimum, a 50% diversion rate for the following waste categories:

  • paints and coatings, and containers in which they are contained;
  • solvents, and containers in which they are contained;
  • oil filters, after they have been used for their intended purpose;
  • oil containers that have a capacity of 30 litres or less;
  • single use dry cell batteries;
  • antifreeze, and containers in which they are contained;
  • pressurized containers, such as propane tanks and cylinders;
  • fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides, and the containers in which they are contained.

The remaining Municipal Hazardous or Special Wastes as listed under O. Reg. 542/06 are intended to be phased in, in accordance with future program requests from the Minister of Environment.

Currently, diversion rates for the various categories range from less than 5% (single use batteries) to approximately 47% (paints) where (often rudimentary) municipal programs are already in place to deal with the specified waste category. As such, in an effort to expand programs already in place and to promote the development of new ones, a common plan element for all waste categories is simple promotion and public education.

Ultimately, all phases of the program target waste from homes in addition to small quantity waste from industrial, commercial & institutional (IC&I) businesses, and focus on reduction, reuse and recycling (3Rs) approaches so as to divert these wastes from disposal in Ontario landfills. This is intended to greatly contribute to the overall 60% waste diversion goal the province has set for itself by the end of 2008. The comment period for both the program plan and the accompanying consultation documents closed on July 11, 2007 and the MOE is currently in the process of reviewing the comments received in an effort to decide whether or not to approve the program plan.

Additionally, proposed new regulations required to address Stewardship Ontario's new governance structure that would result if the Minister approves the MHSW program, were posted for comment on the Environmental Registry. Specifically, the draft regulations address the composition of the Stewardship Ontario Board of Directors, such that the Board includes, at a minimum, representatives from the eight waste categories affected in Phase I of the program.

To view the program plan, the consultation documents and the draft regulations, visit the Environmental Registry at:
www.ontario.ca/environmentalregistry, registry number 010-0558.

Ontario Minister Of The Environment Releases Annual Report On Drinking Water

The Ontario Minister of Environment released the first Annual Report on Drinking Water on June 26, 2007. With its release Minister Broten stated that 103 of the 121 recommendations made by the Walkerton Commission have been implemented and the Ministry is currently working on implementing the final 18.

The report outlines the state of drinking water initiatives in the province, a key focus being the newly enacted Clean Water Act, 2006 and the Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario's Water Act, 2007. The report reiterates the emphasis on inspection and enforcement in this sector. It also addresses recent government actions to expand water safety protection and reduce potential levels of lead in drinking water.

Emerging issues identified in the report include microbiological contamination, viruses, perfluorinates, pharmaceuticals, treatment by-products and cyanotoxins. The report indicates that these emerging pathogens and chemical pollutants will be an area of focus for the Ministry going forward.

To view the report please see:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/publications/6141e.pdf

Ontario's Chief Drinking Water Inspector Issues 2005-2006 Annual Report

On June 21, 2007 the Chief Drinking Water Inspector's Annual Report for 2005-2006 was released and "confirms that overall the province's drinking water is safe and of very high quality. In all, 99.84 percent of water quality tests met Ontario's stringent drinking water standards."

The 108-page document aims to "provide Ontarians with the information needed to understand and evaluate the quality of the drinking water provided to their communities," said Jim Merrit, chair of the Advisory Council on Drinking Water and Testing Standards. It explains the eight components of the province's drinking water safety net, including the legislative framework, and outlines measures to strengthen them in 2005-2006. The report covers, for the first time, inspection ratings for municipal residential drinking water systems, the top areas for improvement in laboratory practices, drinking water quality comparisons between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 data and the Ministry of the Environment's experience with the Compliance and Enforcement Regulation (O. Reg. 242/05). In 2005-2006 the Ministry issued 39 orders to 43 municipal residential drinking water systems. There were 33 convictions under O. Reg 170/03 and two convictions of licensed laboratories.

The report states that the 2005-2006 inspection rating for each municipal system sets a baseline for measuring future improvements and will help track yearly progress toward the goal of 100% compliance for all systems province-wide.

To view the report please see:
http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/publications/6055e.pdf

Ontario Takes Measures To Address Lead In Tap Water

On June 7, 2007, prompted by tests showing elevated lead levels in older homes in several Ontario municipalities, the province announced a series of measures to address lead in tap water.

In particular, a new regulation has been issued under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002: the Schools, Private Schools and Day Nurseries Regulation (O. Reg. 243/07). This imposes more stringent requirements on schools and daycares to flush their plumbing and to test for lead.

Moreover, amendments have been made to the Drinking Water System Regulation (O. Reg. 170/03) to implement a Mandatory Community Lead Testing Program, which requires the owners and operators of municipal and non-municipal residential drinking water systems to perform at-the-tap lead testing twice a year. If the tests indicate lead problems, the owner and the operator of the system would be required to follow the directions of the local Medical Officer of Health. In the case of large municipal residential systems, the municipality would also be required to develop a corrosion control plan to reduce the leaching of lead from the distribution system and from plumbing connected to the distribution system.

Further information is available at:
http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do
?noticeId=MTAxMjM0&statusId=MTUxMjc1&language=en

Clean Water Act And Regulations Now In Force

The Clean Water Act, 2006, which requires local communities to protect the sources of drinking water, entered into force on July 3, 2007.

On the same day, the first five regulations under the Act entered into force. These are:

  1. Source Protection Areas and Regions (O. Reg. 284/07)
  2. Source Protection Committees (O. Reg. 288/07)
  3. Terms of Reference (O. Reg. 287/07)
  4. Time Limits (O. Reg. 285/07)
  5. Miscellaneous (O. Reg. 286/07)

Further information is available at:
http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do
?noticeId=MTAwMTI4&statusId=MTUwNzMy&language=en

Ontario Bans Burning Used Oil In Space Heaters

Regulation 347 ( General – Waste Management ) has been amended to ban the use of waste oil in space heaters. The ban will not apply in northern Ontario.

Further information is available at:
http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do
?noticeId=MjkxMDk=&statusId=MTUwNjQ4&language=en

QUÉBEC:

Draft Regulation Respecting The Annual Duty Payable To The Québec Green Fund

Bill 52, entitled the Act concerning the implementation of the Québec Energy Strategy and amending various legislative provisions, which came into force last December, amended the Act respecting the Régie de l'énergie (the "Act") in order to confer upon the Régie de l'énergie the power to establish an annual duty on fuels and natural gas to be paid into the Québec Green Fund. As a result of these amendments, Chapter VI.3 entitled Financing of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change was added to the Act and applies to a natural gas distributor, a person or partnership that brings fuel to Québec for the production of electricity, as well as a distributor of fuel, excluding hydrocarbons used as raw material by industries that transform hydrocarbon molecules through chemical and petrochemical processes. Accordingly, any such distributor must file with the Régie de l'énergie a declaration indicating, namely, the volumes of natural gas distributed or the volume of sales of fuel intended for consumption in Québec that was refined in or brought into the province.

The Québec government thus tabled in June the draft Regulation respecting the annual duty payable to the Green Fund (the "Draft Regulation") intended to establish the rate and method of calculation of the annual duty payable by a distributor on the basis of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by the combustion of natural gas and fuel and the conditions on which distributors must pay the annual duty to the Green Fund created under Section 15.1 of the Act respecting the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs. According to the Draft Regulation, the annual duty payable to the Green Fund is the amount obtained by multiplying the applicable rate by the quantity of CO2 emissions attributable to the distributor. The applicable rate, in dollars per tonne of CO2 emissions, is determined each year by dividing the annual financial investment in the Green Fund by the total quantity of CO2 emissions determined pursuant to the Draft Regulation. For this purpose the quantity of CO2 emissions attributable to a distributor is the product obtained by multiplying the CO2 emission coefficients, listed in the Schedule to the Draft Regulation, by the respective volumes of natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, light heating oil, heavy heating oil, propane and petroleum coke or by the respective mass of the various varieties of coal that is attributable to the distributor. The volume and mass will be determined by the Régie de l'énergie on the basis of the distributor's annual statement for the preceding fiscal year. The total quantity of CO2 emissions will be determined by calculating the sum of the CO2 emissions determined for all distributors.

The annual duty will be payable to the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks in four equal instalments on the first day of October, January, April and July of each year, the first instalment of the annual duty being payable on the first day of the quarter occurring after the date of coming into force of the Draft Regulation. For the purposes of the Draft Regulation, the CO2 emission coefficient is the mass in grams of CO2 generated by the combustion of one unit of natural gas or fuel per cubic metre, per litre or per unit of coal mass in kilograms. For instance, the Schedule sets the CO2 emission coefficient for natural gas at 1,891 g/m³, for gasoline at 2,360 g/l, for diesel at 2,730 g/l and for light heating oil at 2,830 g/l.

Proposed Limitations On Water Containers Exceeding Eight Litres

The Québec government recently tabled the draft Regulation respecting the reuse of water containers with a capacity exceeding 8 litres that was published in the Gazette Officielle du Québec of July 11, 2007. The purpose of the draft Regulation is to require that containers with a capacity exceeding 8 litres used to market water intended for human consumption be designed and manufactured to be refilled a number of times during their useful life. It also aims to reduce the volume of residual materials produced and to promote source reduction and reuse. According to the draft Regulation, reusable containers are required to be handled by a recovery system and bear a clear indication that they are returnable and reusable. For the purpose of the draft Regulation, the expression "to market" means to offer for sale, sell, distribute or otherwise make available to consumers. If adopted, the Regulation provides that in case of non-compliance, offenders will face a fine of $2,000 to $25,000 for a natural person and of $5,000 to $150,000 for a legal person, these fines being doubled in the case of a second or subsequent offence.

The intent of the government, from an environmental perspective, is thus to prevent the emergence of a new market for large non-refillable containers that would substantially increase the number of containers used to market bottled water. It is also intended to prevent an increase in the volume of residual materials going to landfill and thereby alleviate storage and handling problems for municipal recovery services.

Comments can be made until September 11, 2007.

Amendments To The Québec Program For The Awarding Of Lands For Wind Projects

The Québec government, by Order-in-Council 647-2007 of August 7, 2007, brought certain amendments to the "Program for the awarding of lands in the domain of the State for the installation of wind turbines" approved initially in 2005. The purposes of the amendments are to allow, on the one hand, municipalities or regional county municipalities to manage the program on lands in the domain of the State whose management has been delegated to them and, on the other hand, to allow the bidder who has entered into a power purchase agreement with Hydro-Québec for the purchase of wind energy following a tender solicitation to obtain a reserved land area to carry out the wind turbine installation project. It was also necessary to amend the program to fix the rent payable for such lands and determine an annual indexing mechanism. A municipality or regional county municipality that has signed territory management agreement or a management delegation agreement with the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife under the program can thus be authorized by the Minister to manage the provisions of the wind program on those lands in compliance with his instructions and the orientations stated in the public territory regional development plan for wind projects. The term of land rights awarded for the installation of wind power facilities may now exceed by one year the term of the wind energy purchase contract with Hydro-Québec and the annual rent for leasing land in the domain of the State for the installation of a wind turbine will be calculated on the basis of the wind energy production capacity based on a rate of $5,000 per MW except for the land leased for the installation of wind turbines following the first 2003 tender solicitation from Hydro-Québec for the purchase of 1000 MW of wind energy for which the rent will be $1,700 for a 1 MW wind turbine, $2,400 for a 1.5 MW wind turbine, $2,900 for a 1.8 MW wind turbine, $3,200 for a 2 MW wind turbine and $4,000 for a 2.5 MW wind turbine. The rents and rates are subject to be indexed April 1 each year to the nearest dollar based on the Average Consumer Price Index for Québec by Statistics Canada.

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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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