Below are the EHS updates for North America for March April 2018. To know the detailed analysis, please contact us.
Comment period extended regarding proposed user fees for administration of the Toxic Substances Control Act
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended for an additional thirty days the comment period for user fees that would apply to manufacturers, importers, processors, and distributors of certain chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Learn More
Delay proposed for implementation date of amendments to Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects
The Environmental Protection Agency, among other federal departments and agencies, recently revised the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. They are now proposing to delay the implementation date of these amendments to January 21, 2019. Learn More
Information requested on safely transporting hazardous materials using automated vehicles
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is requesting information and comments on factors that should be considered in regulatory development to ensure the continued safe transportation of hazardous materials without impeding on the development and potential use of automated technologies for surface transportation (i.e., highway and rail). Learn More
Framework proposed for charges on fossil fuels
The Government of Canada has proposed a legislative framework that would apply charges to fossil fuels such as gasoline, fuel oil, propane, coal, and natural gas.
According to Norton Rose Fulbright, this framework would notably
- “set federal tax rates for various types of fossil fuels used for combustion in transportation, heating, electricity, manufacturing and industry…that will be paid by fuel producers, distributors and importers”.
- Producers, distributors and importers would have to register and file monthly reports.
- “Special registrations are provided for inter jurisdictional railways, trucking, buses and airlines”. Learn More
Expansions proposed for marine protection regime
Government authority to designate marine protected areas (MPAs) and control the activities that occur there could soon grow.
According to the Government of Canada, these changes, which would amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, would notably
- ”empower [the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (“the Minister”)] to designate marine protected areas by order and prohibit certain activities in those areas”;
- “expand the powers of enforcement officers”;
- increase fines and “provide that ships may be subject to the offence provisions” of the Oceans Act Learn More
More stringent energy performance standards proposed for appliances and equipment
As part of the initiative to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improved energy efficiency standards have been proposed for appliances and equipment.
According to the Canada Gazette, the proposed changes will
- “introduce minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), labelling and reporting requirements for 6 new product categories”;
- “introduce more stringent MEPS for 11 currently regulated product categories”; Learn More
New methane reduction requirements proposed for oil and gas industry
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is asking for public input on proposed requirements for reducing methane emissions from upstream oil and gas operations.
According to the AER, the requirements “address the primary sources of methane emissions from Alberta’s upstream oil and gas industry: fugitive emissions and venting, which includes emissions from compressors, pneumatic devices, and glycol dehydrators”. The Alberta Government notes that “[t]he draft directives include new and enhanced requirements for measuring and reporting methane leaks Learn More
Updates proposed to safety rules for lifejackets and electronic detonators
Stakeholders are being invited to comment on proposed updates and new requirements related to blasting operations and working in or near water.
In particular, comments are being sought on
- Updates to provisions related to the safe use of electronic detonators; and
- New requirements for use of lifejackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) for the commercial fishing industry, and alignment of provincial standards for lifejackets and PFDs with those in the federal regulations. Learn More
New requirements proposed regarding watershed management
The Government of Manitoba has proposed stringent provisions related to the protection of lakes and waterways.
According to the Government of Manitoba, these changes, which would amend The Conservation Districts Act, the Water Protection Act, and The Water Rights Act include
- “new requirements that would ensure drainage projects do not result in loss of certain classes of wetlands;
- modernizing drainage inspection and enforcement tools, and increasing penalties for illegal drainage;
- allowing the establishment of nutrient targets to help measure water quality across jurisdictions; (…) Learn More
Proposed infrastructure and transportation rules to reflect modernized system
The Government of Manitoba has proposed changes regarding the management of roadways.
Notably, the proposed changes
- “(enact) a new Act that modernizes the legislation for constructing and managing provincial transportation infrastructure”;
- “(set) out the authority and obligations of the department in relation to (funding agreements pertaining to the construction, operation, maintenance or repair of) airports, docks and ferries”; and Learn More
Proposed cannabis rules include restrictions on use in public places
To prepare for the federal legalization of cannabis, the Government of Manitoba has proposed changes related to smoking laws.
Notably, the proposed changes would prohibit the smoking and vaping of cannabis in outdoor public places such as “streets and sidewalks; parks and beaches; school grounds; restaurant patios and decks; (and) the grounds of health-care facilities” (Manitoba Government). Learn More
New requirements proposed to prevent workplace violence and harassment
New requirements related to workplace violence and harassment have been proposed. Notably, these requirements would require employers to Assess the risk of violence in the workplace. Establish a code of practice with respect to harrassment have been proposed.Notably, these requirements would require employers to
- Assess the risk of violence in the workplace.
- Establish a code of practice with respect to harassment and, if there is a risk of violence, establish a code of practice to mitigate the risk and ensure employee health and safety. For these code(s) of practice,
- Ensure that they are implemented and adhered to;
- Review them annually and keep them up-to-date; Learn More
Proposed cannabis rules include restrictions on use and transportation
As a consequence of federal laws for legalization of cannabis, territorial rules may soon be introduced that would implicate public smoking and impaired driving, as well as possession, sale, and distribution of recreational cannabis.
Notably, the proposed rules would
- Prohibit smoking of cannabis in certain public places and anywhere that tobacco smoking is prohibited;
- Set a minimum age for purchase, consumption, and possession of cannabis; Learn More
Public input sought on proposed changes to petroleum legislation
The Government of the Northwest Territories is requesting input on proposed amendments to the territory’s legislative framework for oil and gas exploration, production, and management.
According to the government, the amendments “fall under three distinct categories:
- administrative and technical amendments;
- transparency and public accountability; and
- significant discovery licences.” Learn More
New driving and smoking rules proposed regarding cannabis use
As part of an initiative to establish a provincial framework for the federal legalization of cannabis, changes are coming to various laws, including the ones pertaining to driving and smoking.
Notably, the changes would set prohibitions and restrictions on the use of cannabis in public places and on the transport of cannabis in motor vehicles. Learn More
Proposed cannabis rules include restrictions on use and transportation
As a consequence of federal laws for legalization of cannabis, provincial rules may soon be introduced that would implicate public smoking and impaired driving, as well as possession, sale, cultivation, and distribution of recreational cannabis.
Notably, the proposed rules would
- Prohibit the use of cannabis in public places.
- According to Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, “smoking cannabis would be prohibited in health and social services institutions, post-secondary schools and all other enclosed spaces to which the public has admittance. However, certain enumerated enclosed spaces may contain designated closed rooms where cannabis smoking is permitted. Operators of the spaces and facilities previously described must post visible signs indicating the areas where smoking is prohibited”. Learn More
New safety provisions proposed regarding fall hazards
The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail is seeking comments on proposed changes to requirements on protection and prevention against falls. In particular, the changes, would “provide new rules and updated standards … in relation to the layout of the premises and the use of individual and collective protection measures and equipment” (Gazette Officielle du Québec). Learn More
Changes proposed to Quebec labour standards
Changes are being proposed to the province occupational health and human resources rules.
Notably, the changes, which would be put in place by amending the An Act respecting labour standards
- Add new conditions related to psychological harassment, including preventing measures;
- Prohibit employees performing similar tasks to have access to different pension plans or other employee benefits, if their hiring date is the same;
- Prohibit employees performing similar tasks to be remunerated differently because of their employment status or work hours; Learn More
Newfoundland & Labrador
Input requested on potential changes to radiation health and safety rules
Owners, users, sellers, and maintainers of equipment that produce ionizing radiation (such as x-ray machines and CT scanners) should be aware that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is seeking comments on proposed changes to provisions related to the inspection, installation, use, maintenance and registration of such equipment. Learn More