Environmental, Health and Safety Update

Ontario

Employer’s duty to report fatal and critical injuries narrowed

On February 7, 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) reversed a Divisional Court ruling that had found that an employer has a duty under subsection 51(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to report all fatal and critical injuries at a workplace, including incidents involving members of the public. As reported in Torys May/June 2011 EH&S Bulletin, the case Blue Mountain Resorts v. Ontario (Labour) arose from a December 2007 fatality at Blue Mountain Resorts, when a guest drowned in an unsupervised swimming pool located on the resort property. The ONCA interpreted subsection 51(1) of the OHSA to require reports when

  • a worker or non-worker is killed or critically injured;
     
  • the death or critical injury occurs at a place where (i) a worker is carrying out his or her employment duties at the time the incident occurs, or (ii) a place where a worker might reasonably be expected to be carrying out such duties in the ordinary course of his or her work; and
     
  • there is some reasonable connection between the hazard giving rise to the death or critical injury and a realistic risk to worker safety at the workplace.

For further information, please see the ONCA decision.1


Ministry of Natural Resources proceeds with policy framework to modernize approvals

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) recently decided to proceed with its Policy Framework for the Modernization of MNR Approvals as that framework was originally drafted. As reported in Torys’ November 2012 EH&S Bulletin, the framework aims to modernize and streamline the MNR’s issuance of permits, authorizations and licences.

For further information, please see the Environmental Registry.


First source protection plan approved under Clean Water Act, 2006

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) recently approved its first source water protection plan under the Clean Water Act, 2006 (CWA). The goal of the approved Lakehead Source Protection Plan, which was developed by the Lakehead Source Protection Committee and certain municipal and community partners, is to prevent contamination from entering sources of drinking water in the Thunder Bay area. As reported in Torys’ August 2009 EH&S Bulletin, the CWA requires local source protection committees to develop source protection plans for watersheds across Ontario.

For further information, please see the News Release.


Canada

Regulations to harmonize Canada-U.S. vehicle emissions regulations

Environment Canada recently published regulations amending the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations. The amendments, which will come into force on January 1, 2014, are designed to maintain the alignment of Canadian vehicle emissions requirements with those of the United States, particularly with respect to the requirements for on-board diagnostic systems on heavy-duty engines and heavy-duty vehicles. Subsequently, on February 25, 2013, Environment Canada published new regulations (the Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations) that will further align Canadian vehicle emission regulations with those in the United States. by establishing progressively more stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards for 2014 to 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles.

For further information, please see the Canada Gazette regarding the regulatory amendments and Environment Canada’s press release regarding the new regulations.


Environmental Commissioner tables 2012 report

On February 6, 2013, the 2012 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was tabled in Parliament. The report examines what the Commissioner perceives to be incongruences between federal programs to promote offshore oil and gas development and the environmental threats posed by such development. The report also examines, among other things, ways to protect ocean resources by establishing marine-protected areas and options for requiring financial guarantees from, and setting liability limits for, certain mining, shipping, offshore platforms and nuclear power activities.

For further information, please see the Report.


Proposed regulations to promote the energy sector’s environmental compliance

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the National Energy Board (NEB) have each released proposed regulations, the Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations. The stated aim of the proposedregulations is to encourage environmental protection and promote compliance with the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) and the National Energy Board Act (NEBA). The regulations will, among other things, authorize the CNSC and the NEB to issue administrative monetary penalties (without a prosecution in court) for non-compliance with the NSCA, the NEBA or their respective regulations.

The CNSC and NEB will accept submissions on the proposed regulations until March 18, 2013. For  further information, please see the CNSC's regulations and the NEB’s regulations.


Proposed revisions to pipeline regulations

The National Energy Board has released a discussion paper that includes proposed revisions to the National Energy Board Pipeline Crossing Regulations, Part I, the National Energy Board Pipeline Crossing Regulations, Part II and the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999. The stated aim of these revisions is to ensure the safety of anyone who undertakes construction or excavation activities around NEB-regulated pipelines.

For further information, please see the National Energy Board’s website.

 

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1 Torys LLP represented the intervenor Conservation Ontario.

 

 

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