Environmental, Health and Safety Update


Ministry releases greenhouse gas discussion paper

On January 21, 2013, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) released a discussion paper titled "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in Ontario" in order to elicit public input on the development of a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction program. The paper indicates that the program would initially limit GHG emissions from fossil-fuel-fired electricity generators and large GHG emitters in certain industries, including petroleum refining, chemicals, steel, cement and pulp and paper. The paper also indicates that the program would limit emissions from facilities in these sectors (other than the electricity-generation sector) to the level of their current total emissions, with the limit declining thereafter by 5% over five years. Although it does not explicitly advocate a cap-and-trade system, the paper does suggest that the MOE will consider the use of emissions trading mechanisms to increase the economic efficiency of achieving the proposed limits.

The MOE will accept submissions on the discussion paper until April 21, 2013. For further information, please see the Environmental Registry.

Ministry of Labour launches winter safety blitzes

As reported in Torys’ October 2012 EH&S Bulletin, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) has launched safety blitzes targeted at workplace hazards across Ontario. The MOL’s recently announced winter blitzes are as follows:

  • January and February 2013 – underground mines, to check on diesel emissions and other hazards that could affect air quality;
  • February and March 2013 – industrial and construction workplaces, to check for slips, trips and falls hazards; and
  • February and March 2013 – healthcare workplaces, to check on workplace violence and harassment.

For further information, please see the MOL news release.

MOE amends guide on environmental compliance approvals

The MOE recently revised its Guide to Applying for an Environmental Compliance Approval to provide additional detail regarding supporting documentation and technical requirements. As reported in Torys’ February 2012 EH&S Bulletin, the MOE first published the draft guide in January 2012 to assist those applying for environmental compliance approvals.

For further information, please see the Environmental Registry.

Ministry of Natural Resources releases endangered species report

On January 21, 2013, the Ministry of Natural Resources released a report titled "Endangered Species Act Panel Report and Recommendations." The report contains stakeholder recommendations on improving the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, 2007, while continuing to protect species at risk in Ontario. Some of the key recommendations are as follows:

  • The MNR should undertake a comprehensive review of its Habitat Protection Policy to allow for greater habitat protection;
  • The MNR should adopt a strategic risk-based approach to the transitioning of protected species, while acknowledging permits previously obtained for projects/activities; and
  • The MNR should pursue web-based automation of the application for approvals to allow for greater processing efficiency and streamlining of approvals.

For further information, please see the Environmental Registry.


Environment Canada requires reporting of certain substances

Environment Canada recently released its notice under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 regarding the reporting of substances in the National Pollutant Release Inventory for 2012 and 2013. All persons who own or operate industrial facilities as described in Schedule 3 of the notice may be subject to reporting requirements. The required information pertaining to the 2012 and 2013 calendar years must be provided to the Minister of the Environment by June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014, respectively.

For further information, please see the Canada Gazette.

Proposed revisions to Halocarbon Regulations

Environment Canada has released a consultation document that includes proposed revisions to the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003. These revisions aim to continue minimizing the release of halocarbons into the environment and address various administrative and operational issues. Environment Canada has invited stakeholders to review the consultation document and provide comment on the proposed revisions by March 31, 2013.

For further information, please see the Environment Canada website.

Amendments to the nuclear facilities regulations and uranium mines regulations

On January 2, 2013, amendments to the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations and the Uranium Mines and Mills Regulations came into force. The amendments, among other things, establish 24-month timelines for projects that require the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s regulatory review and decision on new applications for the following types of licences: (i) a licence to prepare a site for Class I nuclear facilities; and (ii) a combined licence to prepare a site and construct a uranium mine and mill. These timelines are subject to certain exceptions.

For further information, please see the Canada Gazette Part II.




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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.

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