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January 12, 2012 - Volume 9, Number 1

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Federal News

Provincial News

Ontario

Québec

Alberta

British Columbia

What's Happening?


Environment Canada releases Code of Practice for the Management of Tetrabutyltin in Canada

On November 5, 2011, Environment Minister Peter Kent, pursuant to subsection 54(4) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, gave notice of the availability of the Code of Practice for the Management of Tetrabutyltin in Canada.

The Code is available here: www.ec.gc.ca/CEPAREGISTRY/default.cfm.

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DFO issues Notice of Intent to develop regulations for fish pathogens and pest treatment used in aquaculture facilities

On November 5, 2011, Fisheries and Ocean Canada (“DFO”) provided notice of its intention to develop regulations under the Fisheries Act and the Health of Animals Act (“HAA”) to support responsible treatment and control of fish pathogen and pests in aquaculture facilities. DFO’s stated purpose for developing the regulations is to ensure the protection of fish and fish habitat when fish pathogen and pest treatment products are deposited in aquaculture facilities under the HAA, and when other treatment methods are used. The proposed regulations would include activities occurring in the territorial sea and the internal waters of Canada with respect to requirements under the HAA and its Regulations and under CEPA, 1999. It would also encompass aquaculture activities occurring within facilities from which fish or water may escape into the territorial sea and the internal waters of Canada, including hatcheries on land or any closed contained system with potential escape or water deposit into fish bearing waters.

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Environment Minister declares polar bear as a species of concern

On November 10, 2011, Environment Minister Peter Kent declared the polar bear as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act. A management plan that will build a National Polar Bear Conservation Strategy for polar bears will need to be prepared within three years as a result of the listing.

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Environment Canada releases a Consultation Document for the main elements of proposed regulations to further limit greenhouse gas emissions from new on-road light-duty vehicles

On November 15, 2011, Environment Canada released a Consultation Document to initiate discussions on proposed Canadian regulations to further limit greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions from new light-duty vehicles for model years 2017 and beyond. The proposed regulations are an extension of the work that Canada has already completed with the United States to establish common North American standards for regulating GHG emissions from new passenger cars and light trucks for the 2011-2016 model years.

Environment Canada accepted written comments on the Consultation Document until December 16, 2011, and indicated that consultations will continue with the transportation and vehicle manufacturing industries, environmental non-governmental organizations, provinces/territories and other stakeholders throughout the regulatory development process.

Environment Canada intends to develop proposed regulations for pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette in the fall of 2012.

The Consultation Document indicates that transportation accounted for approximately 22% of total GHG emissions in Canada in 2005, and passenger and light trucks accounted for 59% of GHG emissions from transportation. Environment Canada’s efforts to regulate GHG emissions from new light-duty vehicles is therefore an important part of the federal government’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions in Canada.

The Consultation Document is available here: http://www.ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/default.asp?lang=En&n=3C125336-1.

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Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announces decision to issue a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

On November 30, 2011, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announced its decision to issue a Waste Nuclear Substance Licence to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited for the Port Granby Long-Term Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Project for a period of 10 years.

A Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for the Decision are available online on the CNSC website: www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca.

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Environment Minister issues Significant New Activity Notice for Calcium magnesium hydroxide

On November 5, 2011, Environment Minister Peter Kent issued a Significant New Activity Notice, pursuant to s. 85 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, that subsection 81(4) applies to Calcium magnesium hydroxide in accordance with the prescribed conditions.

Significant New Activity Notices set out the prescribed information that must be provided to the Minister for assessment prior to the commencement of any new activity described in the Notices.

The Notice is available here: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2011/2011-11-05/html/notice-avis-eng.html#d105.

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Final decision about hexabromocyclododecane published following screening assessment

On November 12, 2011, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health (“Ministers”) provided notice about Cyclododecane, 1,2,5,6,9,10-hexabromo- CAS RN* 3194-55-6 (“hexabromocyclododecane”) indicating that they:

  • intend to recommend to the Governor in Council that hexabromocyclododecane be added to the list of toxic substances in Schedule 1 of the Act;
  • propose risk management measures to achieve the objective of virtually eliminating releases of hexabromocyclododecane; and
  • are releasing a risk management approach document for hexabromocyclododecane to continue discussions with stakeholders on the manner in which the Ministers intend to develop a proposed regulation or instrument respecting preventive or control actions in relation to the substance.

The risk management document is available on the Government of Canada’s Chemical Substances website (www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca). The notice provides that any person, within 60 days after publication of the proposed risk management approach document, may file written comments on the risk management approach document with the Minister of Environment.

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Final decision about quinoline published following screening assessment

On November 19, 2011, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health (“Ministers”) provided notice about Quinoline, CAS RN* 91-22-5 (“Quinoline”) indicating that they:

  • intend to recommend to the Governor in Council that Quinoline be added to the list of toxic substances in Schedule 1 of the Act; and
  • are releasing a risk management approach document for Quinoline to continue discussions with stakeholders on the manner in which the Ministers intend to develop a proposed regulation or instrument respecting preventive or control actions in relation to the substance.

The risk management document is available on the Government of Canada’s Chemical Substances website (www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca). The notice provides that any person, within 60 days after publication of the proposed risk management approach document, may file written comments on the risk management approach document with the Minister of Environment.

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Environment Minister publishes Notice of Intention to amend the Domestic Substances List for benzene, (chloromethyl)-

On November 26, 2011, Environment Minister Peter Kent gave notice that he intends to amend the Domestic Substances List pursuant to s. 87(3) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to indicate that subsection 81(3) of that Act, which prescribes the requirements for a significant new activity in respect of a substance on the List, applies to Benzene, (chloromethyl)- in accordance with the prescribed conditions.

Any person may, within 60 days of publication of this notice, file with the Environment Minister comments with respect to the proposal.

The notice is available here: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2011/2011-11-26/html/notice-avis-eng.html#d109.

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Provincial News

Ontario

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario 2010-2011 Annual Report: Engaging Solutions

On November 29, 2011, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released his 2010-2011 Annual Report entitled Engaging Solutions. In his prepared remarks to the Ontario Legislature, Mr. Miller stated that “The title arises from a disturbing but increasingly common trend that characterizes the government’s response to various environmental problems Ontario is and has been facing. It seems the government is adept at defining environmental problems and even analysing and proposing solutions, but too often they can’t seem to get on with implementing solutions. There are many examples of this inaction emerging from the articles in this report…”

A media release on the ECO website characterized examples of inaction cited by the Environmental Commissioner in his report as follows:

  • “On waste, the Ministry of the Environment has written four different reports and discussion papers outlining options for increasing waste diversion in the province. But this has resulted in little action on what Miller says should be one of the government’s top environmental priorities.
  • On species-at-risk, the Ministry of Natural Resources is not doing enough to protect and recover species at risk. Much of what the ministry is doing has become an empty bureaucratic exercise that does little on-the-ground to tangibly benefit endangered species.
  • On funding, the Government of Ontario has passed notable legislation such as the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, the Endangered Species Act, 2007 and the Green Energy Act, 2009, but has not given the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of the Environment the additional resources they need to oversee and monitor new legislation while also covering their previous core responsibilities.
  • On the Great Lakes, lengthy negotiations between Ontario and the federal government threaten to paralyze progress towards further clean-up, and Ontario is allowing its existing policy tools to idle. Meantime, the Obama administration has promised $2.2 billion over 5 years.”

Engaging Solutions is available here: http://www.eco.on.ca/blog/2011/11/29/media-release-ontario-government-needs-to-act-environmental-commissioner/.

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Québec

Québec and Canada announce 15-year commitment to protect the St. Lawrence

On November 29, 2011, Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, as well as Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent and Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney announced a 15-year commitment to protect the St. Lawrence. The agreement, known as the St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011-2026, will continue the Canada-Québec collaboration on the St. Lawrence that began in 1998. The Action Plan seeks to provide for the protection and sustainable use of the St. Lawrence’s resources.

The governments also confirmed a joint investment of $70 million over five years to carry out actions identified in the Action Plan.

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Québec amends the Regulation respecting greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles
By: Paul Granda

In order to harmonize with the Federal regulation made in 2010, the Québec government made the Regulation to amend the Regulation respecting greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles (“Regulation”) on November 9, 2011. The Regulation was published in the Gazette Officielle du Québec on November 23, 2011, and it came into force on December 8, 2011. The Regulation exempts a person from the requirement to file an annual report for city and highway greenhouse gas emissions of motor vehicles sold, leased or otherwise marketed in Québec if the person has provided the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks with the equivalent annual information pursuant to an agreement entered into with the Ministry. The amendments also provide that fleet average emission requirements set forth under the regulation and the provisions pertaining to emissions assessment and calculation of credits and fees do not apply, for the 2012-2016 model years, to vehicle manufacturers that comply with the provisions of the federal Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations (SOR/2010-2011).

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Québec releases the 2009 Québec Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
By: Paul Granda

According to the recently released 2009 Québec Greenhouse Gas Inventory, total GHG emissions in Québec for 2009 were 81,8Mt CO2 equivalent or 10,4 tons per inhabitant. The sector that emits the most GHGs in Québec is the transportation sector, which is responsible for 43.5% of all emissions. Road vehicles represent 76.1% of the transportation sector’s emissions or 33.1% of total GHG emissions. Emissions from the industrial sector reached 22.9Mt or 28% of total emissions. According to the Report, Québec GHG emissions were 2.5% below 1990 levels. The industrial sector was a main contributor to this reduction having reduced its emissions by 25.1% compared to 1990. The inventory can be obtained at:

http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/changements/ges/index.htm.

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Amendments made to the Regulation respecting the application of Section 32 of the Environment Quality Act, the Groundwater Catchments Regulation, and the Regulation respecting waste water disposal systems for isolated dwellings
By: Paul Granda

On October 19, 2011, the Government made the Regulation to amend the Regulation respecting the application of section 32 of the Environment Quality Act, the Groundwater Catchment Regulation and the Regulation respecting waste water disposal systems for isolated dwellings (the “Regulation”), which was published in the Gazette Officielle du Québec on November 2, 2011, and it came into force on November 17, 2011.

One of the objectives of the Regulation is to exempt certain works from the requirement to submit drawings and specifications to the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks for wastewater or storm water works provided that the work is not likely to discharge wastewater into the environment or, as the case may be, increase the frequency or volume of overflows in one of the combined sewer overflows of the sewer system. The exempted works include the reconstruction of sewer mains, the replacement of a combined sewer by separate sewers or partially-separate sewers, work carried out on an existing pumping station, work on an existing combined sewer overflow or an existing retention basin in accordance with certain conditions, the installation or reconstruction of manholes or catch basins in an existing sewer system and, in the cases designated under the Regulation, sewer works intended for the management of storm water of only one lot. The Regulation also exempts works relating to a temporary industrial camps (for example, the installation of drinking water mains, the installation of drinking water treatment apparatus or equipment or an increase in their production capacity, the installation of a water supply intake, the installation of sewer or wastewater treatment systems or the installation of an outfall intended to discharge process water from an apparatus or equipment relative to a drinking water treatment installation). The Regulation also requires that the owner of any such installation must appoint a member of the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec to supervise the work and certify that it has been carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Regulation respecting the application of Section 32 of the Environment Quality Act.

The Regulation also amends the Regulation respecting waste water disposal systems for isolated dwellings in order to exempt an isolated dwelling that is part of a temporary industrial camp from its application. The Regulation defines a “temporary industrial camp” as all facilities and their dependencies set up for not more than six (6) months per twelve (12) month period for the purpose of carrying out forest management, mining exploration or transportation work, work related to the production, transportation or distribution of electric power or only for timber salvage following a forest fire. The Regulation also amends the Groundwater Catchment Regulation to exempt temporary industrial camps from its regulatory obligations.

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Québec adopts a GHG Cap and Trade System
By: Paul Granda

On December 14, 2011, the Regulation respecting the cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances was adopted to implement a GHG emission allowances cap and trade system based on the rules established by the Western Climate Initiative (“WCI”) . the system is scheduled to officially start on January 1, 2013 at the same time as the system being set up by the WCI. Québec, California, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario are all WCI members.  On that date, 75 large emitters in Québec in the industrial and electricity sectors whose annual GHG emissions equal or exceed the annual threshold of 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year will be subject to the cap and required to reduce their GHG emissions.

A second compliance period will begin on January 1, 2015 and will apply to operators of businesses that import or distribute fuels in Québec that are used in the transportation and building sectors where their combustion generates 25,000 tons of CO2 equivalent or more per year. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, the system to be put in place will provide companies sufficient flexibility to plan their short, medium and long-term investments in order to meet emission standards and to buy emission allowances on the market until they are ready to modernize or replace certain equipment. Those companies that will have reduced their GHG emissions below the prescribed regulatory requirement, thereby creating an allocation of emission units that is higher than what they actually emitted, shall be able to sell their excess units in the system.  During the course of 2012, participants will be able to register with the system and take part in pilot options. The adoption by Québec of the Regulation constitutes the first of two main steps towards implementing a regional North-American carbon market. The second step involves concluding of a series of recognition agreements between the different WCI partners to link their systems together. The Regulation and additional information can be consulted at: http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/changements/carbone/Systeme-plafonnement-droits-GES-en.htm.

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Alberta

Oil Sands Information Portal open for business

On November 10, 2011, the Government of Alberta announced that it was rolling out the Oil Sands Information Portal to facilitate finding detailed information on the environmental performance of Alberta’s oil sand facilities. Searchable data in the Portal include facility-specific water use, greenhouse gas emissions, tailings pond size and land disturbance and reclamation. The Portal also includes an interactive map with real-time regional air quality information and river flow data. A downloadable data library with access to environmental impact assessments, water approvals and licences, and compliance reporting is also available through the Portal.

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British Columbia

Government announces $17 million in funding for clean energy vehicles

On November 5, 2011, BC Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman announced that BC consumers will be able to access $17 million in funding that is being provided by the BC government to support clean energy vehicles and the green-tech sector in British Columbia. The funding program includes four programs:

  • point-of-sale incentives for qualifying new battery electric, fuel cell electric, plug-in hybrid electric and compressed natural gas vehicles;
  • funding for new charging stations and upgrades to hydrogen fuelling stations at existing facilities;
  • rebates for homeowners that install dedicated charging stations in their homes for clean energy vehicles; and
  • funding for BC SCRAP-IT Society to remove high-polluting vehicles from BC roads.

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What's Happening?

Who’s Who Legal recognizes Gowlings Environmental Law National Practice Group as a leader in environmental law in Canada

The recently published Who’s Who Legal, Canada, 2011 states “Gowlings performs  outstandingly in the environment chapter, fielding six highly recommended lawyers, the largest contingent of any firm in the research”.

“Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP is the best represented firm in this section, with six lawyers from three offices ranking highly. Paul Granda leads the environmental team of the firm’s Montreal office and is an “authority” on compliance and contamination liability, with a particular focus on the natural resources sector, and has represented clients before administrative tribunals and the courts. Toronto’s David Estrin has more than 30 years of experience advising government bodies, corporations and financial institutions in environmental matters as well as a “distinguished” record before the federal and provincial courts. Mark Madras heads the Toronto office’s real estate, environment and urban planning department and counsels clients in a wide range of matters, encompassing climate law, substance regulation, contamination and waste management, and peers place him “in the first rank” of lawyers nationwide. National environmental law practice leader Harry Dahme’s “extensive” and “highly respected” expertise extends to waste management, policy advice, energy infrastructure and advocacy. Completing the Toronto listings is the “very bright” Jennifer Danahy, who focuses on the environmental aspects of corporate transactions, while in Vancouver Alan Blair is noted for his “stand-out” work in litigation and regulatory matters, with a particular emphasis on health and safety law.”

Reprinted from: Who’s Who Legal, Canada 2011

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Harry Dahme (Toronto)
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