Environmental, Health and Safety Update


Proposed health and safety training for workers and supervisors

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) has proposed a new regulation under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that would require all "workers" and "supervisors" (as defined in the OHSA) to complete mandatory occupational health and safety awareness training programs. Under the proposed regulation, workers or supervisors who have previously completed awareness training in accordance with minimum content requirements would not be required to be retrained. Employers regulated by the OHSA would be required to ensure that workers and supervisors completed the training developed by the MOL, or a similar training program, before or shortly after commencing employment. The MOL has indicated that the regulation would likely come into force on January 1, 2014, which would provide a period for existing workers and supervisors to complete such training (if they have not already done so).

The MOL is accepting comments this proposal until February 4, 2013. For further information, please see the MOL news release.

Proposed management framework for forfeited corporate property

The Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI) has proposed a new management framework for forfeited corporate property. The goals of this framework are to (i) reduce the number of properties that are forfeited to the Crown (which may occur when an Ontario incorporated corporation is dissolved while still owning property); (ii) return forfeited corporate property to productive use in a timely and efficient manner; (iii) increase corporate accountability for costs associated with forfeited property; and (iv) provide greater transparency and certainty in the management and disposition of forfeited corporate property.

The proposed framework would enable the provincial government to impose legacy cleanup costs on anyone who was a director or officer of a corporation in its last two years before dissolution. According to the MOI, this would help avoid the high costs the government incurs in managing forfeited corporate properties that often have environmental, health or safety issues, among others.

The MOI is seeking comments on its proposal by December 21, 2012.  For further information, please see the MOI website.

Proposal to add certain electricity generators, cooling equipment and dust collection systems to the EASR

As reported in Torys’ October 2011 EH&S Bulletin, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) established the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR), an online registry for certain activities that the MOE identifies as low risk and that no longer require an environmental compliance approval, provided that the activities meet the applicable requirements and are registered on the EASR. The MOE recently released three discussion papers for public consultation, each summarizing the proposed rationale for including the following items that may be registered on the EASR: (i) small electricity generators; (ii) evaporative cooling equipment; and (iii) dust collection systems at retail locations.

The MOE is accepting comments until January 14, 2013. For further information, please see the Environmental Registry.


Quebec issues final regulation to link its cap-and-trade system with California’s system

On December 13, 2012, the Quebec Cabinet announced its adoption of an amendment to its Regulations respecting the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances. As reported in Torys’ July 2012 EH&S Bulletin, the amendment is aimed at harmonizing Quebec’s cap-and-trade system with California’s, as well as with those of future partners.

For more information, please see the Quebec news release.


Amendments to transportation of dangerous goods regulations

On December 5, 2012, amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations came into force. The amendments, among other things,

  • introduce the notion of an "overpack" (a large means of containment) and associated label display requirements;
  • modify the requirements for placarding large means of containment;
  • modify the requirements for the display of a "DANGER" placard; and
  • introduce new safety marks for certain dangerous goods.

United States

Appeal court dismisses challenge of proposed carbon dioxide emissions limits for power plants

On December 13, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed as premature a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed rules for limiting emissions of greenhouse gases from new fossil-fuel power plants. With certain exceptions, the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) proposed under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act would, if finalized, limit emissions from certain fossil-fuel power plants for which construction began after April 13, 2012. The limit would be 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt-hour, calculated over a rolling 12-month period. Several power companies argued that the draft standards should be subject to judicial review because they have the effect of forcing covered facilities that began construction after April 13, 2012, to take steps toward complying with the proposed rule, even if the rule is ultimately never finalized. However, the Court held that the draft NSPS could not be subject to judicial review because it is not a final agency action. Consequently, the power companies can request a rehearing or simply wait until April 2013, when the EPA must finalize the NSPS, to challenge the final rule.

To read the Court order, please see Las Brisas Energy Center, LLC v. EPA.




To discuss these issues, please contact the author(s).

This publication is a general discussion of certain legal and related developments and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

For permission to republish this or any other publication, contact Janelle Weed.

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