Proposed EHS Regulatory Changes – May 2019

Jonathan Brun

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

Updates proposed for ignitable hazardous waste and mercury thermometer rules

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to update the regulations for the identification of ignitable hazardous waste and modernize the test methods that currently require the use of mercury thermometers. These revisions would

  • Allow the use of non-mercury thermometers in a variety of analytical methods that currently require mercury thermometers;
  • Allow for the use of modern equipment and techniques for making ignitability determinations for waste; and
  • Clarify certain issues related to the ignitability characteristic, including the exclusion for certain ignitable liquids containing alcohol, as well as how to properly sample wastes containing multiple phases.

Comments must be received on or before June 3, 2019. More information is available here.


The rules concerning pilotage of ships could soon change

A bill has been introduced in the House of Commons to makes amendments to the rules concerning pilotage of ships.

The changes would notably

  • transfer responsibility for enforcement and issuance and charging of licences and certificates to the Minister of Transport;
  • set out an enforcement regime for the Act, including penalties such as fines and imprisonment, orders such as exemption and interim orders, and ministerial directions;
  • “provide that regulatory matters for the safe provision of compulsory pilotage services cannot be addressed in service contracts between the Pilotage Authorities and pilot corporations”;
  • “allow the Pilotage Authorities to impose charges other than by making regulations”; and
  • “require that service contracts between pilot corporations and the Pilotage Authorities be publicly available”.

Those changes would be implemented by amending the Pilotage Act (RSC1985,cP-14).

More information is available here.

A new Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights has been proposed

A new bill has been introduced in the House of Commons to enact a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights.

This new Act would notably

  • Give Canadian residents various environmental rights, and impose the federal government the obligation to take “all reasonable measures to give [them] effect”;
  • Allow any Canadian resident the possibility to file an application for investigation by the federal government of any violation of a federal law provision respecting the environment, at the exception of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (SC1999,c33);
  • Allow “environmental protection actions” against people who have contravened or are likely to contravene to a federal law respecting the environment in certain circumstances; and
  • Allow various procedures to review federal law or federal government decisions relating to the environment.

More information is available here.

Railway interswitching rules could soon be amended

The Government of Canada announced its intention to modify rules concerning railway interswitching to align them with changes made to the Canada Transportation Act (SC1996,c10) concerning the way to set interswitching rates.

The changes would

  • remove the interswitching rate schedule, since the rates are now set by decision of the Canadian Transportation Agency; and
  • split the interswitching distance zone 4 into two zones:
    • The zone 4A that includes sidings located outside of zone 1, 2 or 3, wholly or partly within a radius of 30 km and within a maximum track distance of 40 km of an interchange; and
    • The zone 4B that includes sidings located outside of zone 1, 2, 3 or 4A, wholly or partly within a radius of 30 km but outside of the maximum track distance of 40 km of an interchange.

Interested persons can make comments concerning these changes until April 29, 2019. More information is available here:


Construction projects requirements could soon be modified for the automobile manufacturing industry

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to modify some requirements relating to construction projects for the automobile manufacturing industry.

Those changes would

  • Increase to $250,000 the labor and materials cost threshold determining whether a constructor should provide a notice of project to the government; and
  • exempt plant employers from ensuring the successful completion of “working at heights” training for workers they employ at construction projects.

According to the Government of Ontario, these changes would not affect other employers’ requirements, such as the obligations

  • “to notify the ministry of construction projects involving high risk activities”; or
  • to “ensure that a worker who may use a fall protection system is adequately trained in its use and given adequate oral and written instructions by a competent person”.

Interested persons are invited to make comments concerning these changes by April 16, 2019. More information is available here and here.


The rules concerning building inspections could soon change

A bill has been introduced at the National Assembly of Quebec that would amend the rules concerning building inspections in the province.

The effect of the changes would notably

  • allow the Régie du bâtiment du Québec to refuse a license if the applicant failed to pay money due under the Building Act (RSQ,cB-1.1) or its regulations;
  • allow the Régie du bâtiment du Québec to “order the suspension of construction work where the person carrying out the work or having it carried out does not hold the appropriate licence”;
  • require certification to act as a building inspector, and regulate building inspection; and
  • change the annual adjustment of certain fines and levies under the Building Act (RSQ,cB-1.1).

More information is available here.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Environmental assessment under review

Input is being sought to inform changes to provincial processes for assessing the environmental impacts of proposed projects.

According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, environmental assessment processes and regulations “[need] to be updated to reflect developments in: best practices in access to information, engagement, and procedural steps; technological advances; and emergent environmental issues (e.g.: climate change, sustainable development, cumulative effects).”

Changes will likely be made to the Environmental Assessment Regulations (NLR.54/03) and Environmental Protection Act (SNL2002,cE-14.2).

Comments will be accepted until May 15, 2019. More information is available here.

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