Environmental Regulatory Bans, Delays, and Changes

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Our monthly environmental compliance tips are typically focused on daily compliance issues for the regulated community.  However, it’s also important to monitor the bigger-picture environmental issues as well.  Before we look at some of those larger issues we want to mention the change at Ontario Ministry of the Environment.  As of June 29, 2018, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has been renamed to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP).  We have already seen policy changes (below) and suspect there will be additional changes in the coming months.

Microbeads

As we shared several times in the past, microbeads are an environmental concern, not just in Canada, but also across North America and the globe.  In Canada, this concern has now officially resulted in a ban on this micro plastic for specific uses.

As of July 1st, the manufacture, import, and sale of most toiletries containing microbeads are banned in Canada.  There are some exemptions (natural health-care products and non-prescription drugs), but they, too, will be prohibited on July 1, 2019.

The companies affected by this ban have weighed in on the legislation previously and are likely well ahead of the curve on this issue.

The coming months may provide clear direction with respect to which direction Federal and Provincial Environmental Regulations will head

The coming months may provide more clear direction with respect to Federal and Provincial Environmental Regulations (Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash).

The 87 CEPA Recommendations

In January, we discussed the potential changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).  While many were anticipating an announcement with respect to adopting some of the changes, there was not much substance in a recent press release.

The June press release said, in part, “Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that the Government of Canada is taking action to strengthen Canada’s approach to managing harmful substances, and it is committing to reform the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.  Today’s announcement comes in response to the detailed report on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 prepared by the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.”

According to a report in Chemical Watch, “In detailed responses to the committee recommendations, issued on 29 June, the Canadian government says it agrees ‘with the intent’ of most of them.  However, it wants to assess them further in 2018 and 2019 as part of its ongoing consultations on the next phase of Canada’s Chemicals Management Programme (CMP) after 2020.”

The delay may be welcomed news for some, as there was criticism of the recommendations, including concerns expressed by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada.

Ontario’s Cap and Trade

If you go the webpage dedicated to Ontario’s Cap-and-Trade program (for carbon dioxide), you will find the following notice, “Effective July 3, 2018, we have revoked the cap and trade regulation, prohibiting all trading of emission allowances.  We are committed to an orderly wind down of the program.  We will share more details on how we will do this in the coming weeks.”

As we shared in 2016, this program, lauded by those concerned with Ontario’s anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG), it was also criticized by others who were concerned about the cost to comply.

The Ontario GHG cap-and-trade program was eliminated when conservative Doug Ford was recently elected as premier.  This ended more than 15 years of the previous liberal governance who were advocates of the cap-and-trade program.

Premier Doug Ford quickly announced an end to the cap-and-trade program saying, in part, “Every cent spent from the cap-and-trade slush fund is money that has been taken out of the pockets of Ontario families and businesses…Cancelling the cap-and-trade carbon tax will result in lower prices at the gas pump, on your home heating bills and on virtually every other product that you buy.”

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said recently, “If provinces do not wish to be part of the national plan, the federal government will move forward on bringing in a carbon price backstop…The clear mandate that I got elected on was to bring in a national plan to fight climate change.  That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Regulations aside, many companies have established their own GHG reduction targets and will continue to look for ways to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.  We have assisted clients in the past with inventory of facility-wide GHG inventories.

This is just a brief glance at some of the bigger-picture environmental issues, which as we all know, are subject to change.  If you have questions or would like to discuss an environmental-related issue, please feel free to contact me at 519-979-7300, Ext. 114.