This week, the Ontario government introduced Bill 167, the
Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, which is intended to give
Ontarians better disclosure about the use and release of toxic
substances in their communities.
Bill 167 would expand on the federal National Pollutant Release
Inventory (NPRI) to require a broad range of industrial facilities
to track and quantify their use of 300 toxic substances, develop a
plan to reduce such use and disclose a summary of the plan to the
public. While the implementation of these plans would be voluntary,
facilities would be required to report on their progress under
Bill 167 would also authorize the collection of information
regarding an additional 19 'substances of concern' that are
not currently tracked through NPRI. Prohibitions or notice
obligations regarding the manufacture, sale or distribution of
toxic substances could also be imposed under Bill 167.
Details regarding Bill 167, such as the list of prescribed toxic
substances and substances of concern, categories of facilities to
be covered and timelines for planning and reporting, will not be
available until the draft regulations are released. However, it is
anticipated that requirements would be phased in over several
years. For example, manufacturing and mineral processing facilities
would be required to (i) report on the use of 45 priority NPRI
substances by June 1, 2011 and (ii) submit a summary of the toxics
reduction plan for such substances by December 31, 2011.
Requirements for the remaining 255 NPRI substances would likely
start in 2013 and may affect a wider range of facilities. It is
also anticipated that the draft regulations would align provincial
reporting thresholds and timelines with NPRI requirements.
With the expanded scope of disclosure proposed by Bill 167,
Ontario businesses may find themselves subject to increased public
scrutiny in the area of toxics reduction.
The Ministry of Environment's comment period for Bill 167
ends on May 7, 2009. Further information regarding Bill 167 may be
found at: www.ebr.gov.on.ca.
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