Proposed EHS Regulatory Changes – October 2018

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This is a list of select proposed EHS regulatory changes for October 2018 in the United States and Canada. We cover EHS legislation in over 100 countries and 200 jurisdictions.

If you would like to track EHS legislation in specific regions, jurisdictions or countries, we are happy to help. Please send us a request for more information here and we will get in touch shortly.

United States

Revisions proposed for equipment containing substitute refrigerants

Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing the following changes, which relate to recent amendments that updated refrigerant management requirements and extended requirements that previously applied only to refrigerants containing an ozone-depleting substance (ODS) to certain substitute refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons:

  • To revise the appliance maintenance and leak repair provisions so they apply only to equipment using refrigerant containing a class I or class II substance
  • To revise the list of practices that must be followed in order for refrigerant releases to be considered de minimis to clarify that the reference to following leak repair practices only applies to equipment that contains ODS refrigerants
  • To extend by six to twelve months the January 1, 2019 compliance date for when appliances containing only substitute refrigerants subject to the venting prohibition must comply with the appliance maintenance and leak repair provisions

More information is available here.

Information requested on emerging smart technology appliances and equipment

The Department of Energy is seeking comments pertaining to appliances and commercial equipment that incorporate smart technology and the direction from which they are emerging, especially any suggestions for reducing or avoiding regulatory burdens within this context.

More information is available here.

Canada

New energy efficiency requirements for heating equipment could soon be adopted

The Energy Efficiency Regulations, 2016 could soon be amended to introduce new minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), labelling, reporting requirements, and testing standards.

According to the Government of Canada, the changes would

  • “Introduce MEPS, labelling and reporting requirements for […] new product categories”: electric furnaces, commercial gas boilers, household and commercial gas-fired instantaneous water heaters, commercial oil-fired boilers, commercial electric water heaters, commercial gas-fired storage water heaters, and commercial oil-fired water heaters;
  • “Introduce more stringent MEPS and update testing standards, as necessary, for [the following] currently regulated product categories”: household gas boilers, gas fireplaces, gas furnaces, and household oil-fired boilers; and
  • “Introduce labelling and reporting requirements for [heat recovery ventilators and energy-recovery ventilators, which are a] new product category”.

More information is available here.

Information and labelling requirements for pest control products might change soon

The Pest Control Products Regulations could soon be amended to replace some provisions concerning labelling, packaging and documentation.

According to the Government of Canada, these changes would notably

  • Require that when pest control product is transported in a railway tank car or transport truck tanker-trailer and the tank car or trailer is the product’s only container, some information be shown in documents that accompany the shipment, and that when “the container is in storage or is being used to distribute or dispense the product from the container, then the documents… must be attached to the container in a [certain] manner”;
  • Provide that some label information could accompany a pest control product instead of having to be attached at all times to the product;
  • Require that when a pest control product is distributed to a user, the full label information, such as direction for use, be provided; and
  • Require that the outermost packages of registered pest control products have certain information that is visible under normal conditions of storage, transport or handling.

More information is available here.

British Columbia

Input sought on proposed changes to occupational health and safety rules

The Government of British Columbia is seeking feedback on proposed changes to provincial occupational health and safety rules.

According to the Government of British Columbia, the proposed changes would notably

  • Amend eye and face protection requirements to “update the referenced standards to the current versions of those standards, clarify stakeholders’ obligations, remove redundancies, and provide consistency”;
  • Amend concrete formwork and falsework requirements, notably to
    • “[Clarify] the responsibilities of employers and professional engineers [with respect to] the safe erection, use and dismantling of concrete formwork, falsework and reshoring”;
    • “[Introduce] a new requirement to specify in [worksite specific] plans the maximum concrete slump the form or mould is able to withstand”;
    • “[Expand] the current requirements restricting worker access to areas underneath formwork during and after the placement of concrete or other intended loading to apply to all persons”; and
    • “[Specify] under which circumstances the placement of concrete or other loads must stop: when there is weakness, undue settlement, excess distortion, or other similar unanticipated or dangerous condition”;
  • Amend requirements for blasting operations in order to “address electronic detonators”; and
  • Amend requirements for diving, fishing, and other marine operations, notably to “take a prescriptive approach to provisions on when crew members must wear a lifejacket or [personal flotation device]”.

More information is available here.

Manitoba

Proposal to remove miscellaneous regulatory requirements

The Government of Manitoba is proposing to remove several miscellaneous regulatory requirements.

The proposed changes would notably, according to the Government of Manitoba,

  • “[Establish] a simpler process […] for municipalities to issue permits for designated classes of buildings”;
  • “[Provide that] a hazardous waste facility that is licensed under The Environment Act no longer requires a licence under [the Dangerous Goods Handling and Transportation Act as well”;
  • “[Provide that] a local assistant is able to delegate the performance of fire safety inspections to persons who have the qualifications set out in regulation”; and
  • “[Provide that] contracts entered into by Manitoba Infrastructure are no longer required to be sealed with the departmental seal.”

These changes would be made by a bill that, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading in the legislature.

More information is available here.

Greenhouse gas emissions pricing plan proposed

The Government of Manitoba is proposing a set of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures which include greenhouse gas emissions pricing.

The measures would notably, according to the Government,

  • “[Establish] an output-based pricing scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial operations”;
  • “[Expand] existing fuel tax rates […] to include a carbon tax rate, which is based on a rate of $25 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the fuel”;
  • “[Require] the government to develop a plan with a comprehensive set of policies, programs and measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address the effects of climate change, promote sustainable development and protect Manitoba’s water resources and natural areas”; and
  • Replace the Manitoba Water Council with a new expert advisory council.

The changes would be made by a bill that, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading in the legislature.

More information is available here.

Quebec

New requirements concerning health and safety course, lighting and scaffolding in the construction sector could soon be adopted

Changes to the Safety Code for the construction industry (RRQ,cS-2.1,r4) have been announced. They would

  • Replace the requirement that workers have either received a certificate from the Commission or taken a safety course, by the requirement that they must have successfully completed the course on health and general safety on construction sites if they do not have the certificate;
  • Replace the CSA standard on industrial lighting concerning the arrangement of work site by requirements provided in the regulation;
  • Modify the requirements concerning scaffoldings’ putlogs and mooring/anchors; and
  • Add a schedule on anchors of scaffoldings that are less than 18 m when a tarpaulin or a net is used.

Interested persons can submit comments until November 17, 2018. More information is available here.

Ontario

Renewable energy rules in Ontario could soon change

Local and provincial governments in Ontario could soon be given more control over the development of renewable energy products, and renewable energy projects would be subject to planning legislation and municipal by-laws.

This change would be put in place by repealing the Ontario Green Energy Act, 2009 and making consequential amendments to other Acts. The regulations under the Green Energy Act would also be repealed, and enabling provisions for some of those regulations would be moved under the Electricity Act.

According to lawyers from Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, some rules will be kept, such as those “that allow the province […] to require public agencies and other entities to prepare and submit an energy conservation and demand management plan and report their energy consumption and water use [and] those that restrict the sale or lease of appliance or products that do not meet prescribed efficiency standards”.

These changes are proposed by means of a bill that, at the time of publication of this alert, had reached second reading.

More information is available here.