Proposed EHS Regulatory Changes – April 2019

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This is a list of select proposed EHS regulatory changes in the United States and Canada in the past few days.

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

Modifications to fuel regulations proposed to enable more flexibility

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking comments on proposed regulatory changes to

  • Allow gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol to take advantage of the 1-pound per square inch (psi) Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months;
  • Define gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol as “substantially similar” to the fuel used to certify Tier 3 motor vehicles; and
  • Modify certain elements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance system, in order to improve functioning of the renewable identification number (RIN) market and prevent market manipulation.

Comments must be received on or before April 29, 2019. More information is available here.

Information and comment sought on standards for powered industrial trucks for general, maritime, and construction industries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking information and comments on issues related to requirements in the standards on powered industrial trucks for general, maritime, and construction industries.

The information being sought includes the types, age, and usage of powered industrial trucks; the maintenance and retrofitting of powered industrial trucks; how to regulate older powered industrial trucks; the types of accidents and injuries associated with operation of powered industrial trucks; the costs and benefits of retrofitting powered industrial trucks with safety features; and the costs and benefits of all other components of a safety program; amongst others. There is also question as to whether the differences between the standards for maritime, construction, and general industry are appropriate and effective for each specific industrial sector.

Comments must be submitted on or before June 10, 2019. More information is available here.


New rules for emissions of air pollutants from off-road engines might be adopted

New emission standards and requirements concerning the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM) by large spark-ignition engines (LSI), stationary compression-ignition engines (SCI), and mobile compression engines (MCI) could soon be adopted to align with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) rules.

According to the Government of Canada, those changes would

  • introduce limits for the emission of NOx, HC, CO by incorporating the “U.S. Tier 2 exhaust emission standards for HC + NOx and CO for LSI engines”;
  • “introduce standards for evaporative emissions for LSI engines” coming from “fuel tanks, fuel lines and other components of an engine’s fuel system”;
  • “align the emission standards with those of the U.S. EPA applicable to small engines used to power bicycles” in some circumstances;
  • “introduce standards for NOx, PM, non-methane HC and CO emissions aligned with the U.S. EPA Tier 2, or 3, or 4 emission standards for [new] SCI engines” with a displacement of less than 30 L per cylinder. The stringency of the standard would vary depending on different factors such as the size, the remoteness character or the destined use of the SCI engine;
  • incorporate by reference the U.S. EPA certification test procedures and allow for equivalent, or more stringent, alternative testing methods, to allow for the manufacture or importation of new SCI engines not certified to the required U.S. EPA standards;
  • replace the current regulations for MCI engines without changing the emission standards;
  • “allow MCI engines used in recreational vehicles to meet the standards for either a recreational vehicle or an MCI engine”;
  • include reporting, record keeping, marking and information requirements for MCI, LSI and SCI engines; and
  • create exceptions for MCI, LSI and SCI engines in specific circumstances.

Those changes would be implemented by repealing and replacing the Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations, and making consequential amendments to the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations and the Marine Spark-Ignition Engine, Vessel and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations.

Interested persons can make comments concerning these changes until May 23, 2019. More information is available here.

British Columbia

Mobile equipment safety rules may change

Input is being sought on proposed changes to occupational safety rules for mobile equipment.

The proposed changes would notably

  • Modify the definitions of various types of equipment, including a narrower definition of “mobile equipment” which excludes certain towed components;
  • Provide that rules for mobile equipment apply even if the equipment is not used by or around workers;
  • Require inspection and defect reporting before mobile equipment is operated, and require that operators continuously monitor the performance of mobile equipment during a shift;
  • Establish requirements to make and keep records of any defects found in mobile equipment;
  • Remove exemptions from belt use for all mobile equipment with rollover protective structures, except for graders with standing operators;
  • Exempt rock drill operators from prohibitions against boarding or leaving mobile equipment while it is in motion;
  • Require that mobile equipment have an additional means of pedestrian protection if conditions (such as weather and ambient noise) render standard means ineffective;
  • Establish more restrictive requirements which apply if a person other than a mobile equipment operator is to ride on a prime mover without a rollover protective structure;
  • Establish new requirements for securing loads;
  • Change requirements for tire servicing, including removing requirements that an inline valve and remote chuck be used to inflate tires;
  • Require non-slip material on walking and standing areas of mobile equipment;
  • Prohibit mobile equipment’s fuel tank fill point or vent opening from being located within an enclosed cab; and
  • Add new requirements related to rollover protective structures, and remove the 700 kg minimum threshold for these requirements.

These changes would be made through amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Input is being gathered through both oral public hearings and written submissions. Written submissions will be accepted until May 10, 2019. More information is available here.

Workplace standards under review

Minimum workplace standards may soon change. According to the Government of British Columbia, they are currently seeking feedback on proposals to

  • “[Categorize] some work as hazardous/unsuitable for children”;
  • “[Expand] unpaid leaves”;
  • “[Strength workers’ ability to recover wages/monies owed”;
  • “[Change] hours of work and overtime standards”; and
  • “[Change] provisions concerning notice of termination or pay in lieu”.

These changes would be made through amendments to the Employment Standards Act.

Comments will be accepted until March 31, 2019. More information is available here and here.

Northwest Territories

Oil and gas lease rules may change

Changes have been proposed to rules governing the lease of onshore oil and gas rights in the Northwest Territories.

The proposed changes, according to the Government of the Northwest Territories, would notably

  • “[Amend] the criteria for an interest holder to be eligible for a significant discovery licence and restrict the term of a significant discovery licence”;
  • “[Require that government publish] additional notices respecting [oil and gas] activities”;
  • “[Require] that [the text of exploration, production, and significant discovery] licences be made publicly available [by government]”;
  • “[Increase public representation on the Environmental Studies Management Board”;
  • “[Add] consideration of Indigenous traditional knowledge and input from Indigenous organizations when appointing Board members”;
  • “[Clarify] the requirements respecting conflicts of interest and remuneration of Board members”; and
  • “[Require] the disclosure of greater amounts of information with respect to the activities of the Environmental Studies Research Fund”.

These changes would be made by amendments to the Petroleum Resources Act. These amendments are proposed in a bill which, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading. More information is available here.

Smoking restrictions may be tightened

New restrictions may be placed on smoking and otherwise consuming cannabis and tobacco.

The proposed changes, according to the Government of the Northwest Territories, would notably

  • “[Create] prohibitions and offences, including in respect of smoking in a public place and in a motor vehicle while another person who is a minor is present in the motor vehicle”; and
  • “[Impose] requirements in respect of the display of signs, including signs respecting the health risks associated with smoking”.

These changes would be made by repealing and replacing the Cannabis Smoking Control Act. They are contained in a bill which, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading. More information is available here.

Nova Scotia

Coastal development restrictions proposed

A law has been proposed which would prohibit development and activities in coastal areas which either damage the environment or increase the risk of damage to residences and buildings.

The proposed law would notably

  • Provide for the creation of Coastal Protection Zones within which development and activities must meet certain requirements;
  • Prohibit municipalities from issuing building or development permits or agreements within Coastal Protection Zones without the approval of a third-party professional, with some exceptions; and
  • Require that approvals under the Environment Act for certain activities in a Coastal Protection Zone take into account whether the activity meets requirements which will be established by regulations.

These changes are proposed in a bill which, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading. More information is available here.

Municipal powers may be broadened

A bill has been introduced which would broaden municipal powers.

The proposed changes would, according to the Government of Nova Scotia, notably

  • “[Clarify] that the powers conferred [on municipalities] by the Halifax Municipality Charter [and Municipal Government Act] must be interpreted broadly”; and
  • “[Expand] the power of [municipal] councils to make by-laws charging for the installation on private property of energy-efficiency equipment, renewable energy equipment and water conservation equipment with the consent of the property owner”.

These changes would be made through amendments to the Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. They are contained in a bill which, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading. More information is available here.


The rules concerning temporary stairs on construction projects could soon change

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to modify the rules about temporary stairs on construction sites.

According to the Government of Ontario, the changes would

  • “clarify that temporary stairs must be installed from the lowest level of a construction project, including underground levels such as a basement”;
  • “provide that stairs would not be required where formwork or falsework is erected to a suspended slab”;
  • “require that the width of a staircase be at least 610 millimetres where reasonably possible, and at least 500 millimetres”.

These changes would be implemented by amending Construction Projects.

Interested persons are invited to make comments concerning these changes by April 25, 2019. More information is available here and here.


New rules could be adopted relating to the remunerated transportation of passengers by automobile

News rules have been proposed for adoption by the National Assembly of Quebec to “monitor and control remunerated passenger transportation by automobile”, principally for matters of safety.

The new rules would notably provide for

  • safety measures for vehicles and allocate the responsibility for the safety of passengers;
  • prohibit smoking, but allow the possession of firearms, in automobiles considered to be taxis at law;
  • provide for a system of authorisations to operate transportation systems;
  • give monitoring and enforcement powers to the government, and allow delegation to municipalities; and
  • replace the legislation relating to the taxi industry.

Those changes would be implemented by enacting An Act respecting remunerated passenger transportation by automobile, and notably by amending the following legislation:

More information is available here.


The rules relating to the oil and gas sector could soon change to facilitate the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions

The Government of Saskatchewan recently announced its intention to amend The Oil and Gas Conservation Act to “facilitate emissions regulations in the oil and gas sector”, as part of the Prairie Resilience climate change strategy plan.

The changes would specify that new greenhouse gas emissions regulations contain mandatory requirements for licensees under the Act. It would also allow any adult resident of Saskatchewan to make a complaint to the Government to investigate an alleged breach of a greenhouse gas emission regulation. Finally, they provide for new penalties for violations to various sections under the Act.

More information is available hereherehere and here.


Input sought on proposed plastic bag fee

Input is being sought on a proposal to apply a recycling surcharge on single-use shopping bags.

According to the Government of Yukon, they are seeking input to inform decisions such as “the surcharge amount, type of bags, potential exemptions, timing and approach for implementation.”

Comments must be submitted by April 26, 2019. More information is available here.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Input sought on proposed plastic bag ban

Input is being sought on a proposal to ban single use retail plastic bags.

According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, “[information] gathered will assist in determining what implications a ban might have on businesses and the public, as well as what approach might reduce impacts on those who use, distribute, and make single use plastic bags.”

The deadline to submit comments is March 27, 2019. More information is available here.

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