We’ve highlighted important topics and developments that were discussed at CANECT 2018 courses. Thank you to Bennett Jones LLP for their help with this summary.
Spill and Release Reporting
Is this a spill? Is this a reportable release? What should you consider when reporting an incident to a regulator? There are many important questions that have to be considered in the context of an environmental release. There are multiple reporting obligations under Federal and provincial environmental laws – even municipal bylaws. As a general rule, spills and releases must be reported to regulators immediately. Failure to report a reportable release on time can, and often does, result in enforcement from the regulator. Do you have procedures in place to ensure that environmental incidents are identified and communicated to the appropriate person for reporting to the regulator? We discussed best practices and potential pitfalls with respect to spill and release reporting.
Excess Soil Developments
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is in the process of overhauling how excess soil is managed in the province. Proposed regulations and guidance documents have been posted to the Environmental Registry.
Excess soil is soil that has excavated as part of a project and removed from the project area. Excess soil would be designated as a “waste” and subject to the EPA’s waste provisions if the excess soil leaves the project area and is not reused in accordance with the new rules, including that the soil complies with the quality and quantity requirements in a site specific instrument or as prescribed by regulation and the soil is to be used for beneficial purpose (i.e., the reuse site is not used primarily for depositing soil). Expect to see expanded responsibilities for project leaders and qualified persons (QPs), who would be required to prepare excess soil management plans before the soil leaves the project area. The new excess soil regime is expected to come into force between January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021.
MOECC- What’s next for environmental permissions?
The MOECC’s Business Transformation Branch presented at CANECT to discuss the environmental permissions programs. This year, the MOECC announced a one year service standard for the review of Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) applications received after 2017. Last year, O. Reg. 1/17, known as the Air Emissions Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) Regulation, authorized a large number of facilities in the province to approve their air emissions through the EASR. Together, these modernization processes have been introduced to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses requiring environmental permissions. The MOECC continues to review opportunities for efficiencies in the delivery of the environmental permissions programs. Stay tuned for future developments relating to potential EASRs and program enhancements, including short-term water takings EASRs, brownfield service delivery model developments, and e-service delivery for Permits to Take Water (PTTW), Hauled Sewage and Pesticides Licensing.
Stay tuned for more CANECT course summaries and industry news. If you’d like to suggest topics for future CANECT courses, click here to email us.