Proposed EHS regulatory changes – September 2020

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

Canada

United States

  • Federal – Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
  • Federal – Proposal To Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits
  • Federal – Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Clothes Washers and Clothes Dryers

    Canada

    Federal

    COVID-19 Response Measures Act

    Published – 28 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – General Industry, Office Spaces, Building Management and Maintenance

    The federal rules concerning leaves related to COVID-19 could soon change.

    According to the Government of Canada, the changes would notably
    – modify “the reasons for which an employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19”;
    – modify the number of weeks an employee is entitled to take during a leave related to COVID-19; and
    – ensure “that employees may continue to take leave related to COVID-19 until September 25, 2021”.

    These changes would be implemented by amending the Canada Labour Code (RSC1985,cL-2), the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act (CA-SC2020,c5), and the Canada Labour Standards Regulations (CRC,c986).

    Additional information is available here.

    An Act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping

    Published – 23 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – Oil and Gas Industry, Water Transportation

    This bill has been reinstated from the previous Parliament session.

    A bill has been introduced by a member of parliament part of the opposition to put an end to the oil tanker moratorium.

    According to Transport Canada, the oil tanker moratorium “prohibits oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil products as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in the moratorium area”. This area extends from “the Canada/United States border in the north, down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland across from the northern tip of Vancouver Island”.

    More information about the oil tanker moratorium is available here and here.

    Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act

    Published – 5 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – General Industry

    The Government of Canada announced its intention to modify the List of Wildlife Species at Risk to
    – add 8 new species;
    – reclassify 4 species; and
    – make changes to the name of 2 species.

    The changes would be implemented by amending the Species at Risk Act (SC2002,c29).

    Interested persons can make comments concerning these changes until October 5, 2020.

    More information about the oil tanker moratorium is available here.

    An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel)

    Published – 23 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – Agricultural Industry

    This bill has been reinstated from the previous Parliament session.

    The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act could soon be amended to modify a definition related to the farming fuel qualified for certain exemptions.

    The changes would notably add marketable natural gas and propane to farming fuel qualified to be exempted from the application of certain charges in certain circumstances.

    More information about the oil tanker moratorium is available here.

    Quebec

    Bill 65, An Act to amend mainly the Environment Quality Act with respect to deposits and selective collection

    Published – 24 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – General Industry

    A bill has been proposed to change various powers of the Quebec government respecting deposits and selective collection, to empower it to “require any person, including any person operating an industrial or commercial establishment, who generates residual materials by their activities to develop and implement a selective collection system and a deposit system for certain such materials”.

    The changes would also allow the government
    – to “regulate the development, implementation and financing of the selective collection system and the deposit system”; and
    – to “mandate a non-profit body to take on the responsibility for developing, implementing and financing, in the place and stead of specific persons, all actions necessary to ensure the operation of the systems”.

    The changes would be implemented by amending the Environment Quality Act (RSQ,cQ-2) and by repealing the Regulation respecting compensation for municipal services provided to recover and reclaim residual materials (RRQ,cQ-2,r10).

    Additional information is available here.

    Cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances—Amendment

    Published – 9 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – General Industry 

    The Government of Quebec announced its intention to change the rules respecting emission units.

    According to the Quebec government, the changes would notably
    – amend “some of the terms and conditions for sales of emission units by mutual agreement”;
    – harmonise the price of the emission units with the prices of partner entities;
    – change “the way in which offers are submitted by purchasers”;
    – set a maximum to “the quantity of units that can be purchased by a single purchaser”;
    – modify “the method used to allocate lots”;
    – allow “issuers to continue to use emission units issued in Ontario for transactions or to cover emissions”;
    – specify “the rules for the use of reserve emission units and unsold emission units, in order to adjust the allocation of units free of charge when the Minister’s account does not contain enough emission units”;
    – modify “the rules governing emitters who register voluntarily for the cap-and-trade system [such as the rules] concerning the permanent cessation of their activities”;
    – allow “new emitters in the industrial sector to register as early as 1 June in the year preceding the year in which their emissions will reach or exceed the threshold for registration”;
    – remove “the requirement to cover emissions relating to the importation of electricity produced in the Canadian provinces and territories which are now subject to carbon pricing”; and
    – modify “the calculations used to determine the quantity of emission units allocated to certain emitters free of charge”.

    The changes would be implemented by amending the Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances (RRQ,cQ-2,r46.1).

    Interested persons are invited to make comments by October 24, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

    Quality of drinking water—Amendment

    Published – 2 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector: General Industry, Office Spaces, Building Management and Maintenance

    The Government of Quebec announced its intention to modify the rules respecting drinking water quality, notably to lower the maximum concentration of lead in the water, to modify sampling procedures, and to increase transparency concerning water quality.

    According to the Quebec government, the changes would notably
    – lower “the standard for the maximum concentration of lead in drinking water to 5 micrograms per litre”;
    – modify “the sampling protocol applicable for the control of the standard in determining the volume of water to be taken and in order to take into account a period of stagnation before sampling”;
    – require “the persons in charge of residential distribution systems serving more than 20 persons, if the lead-related standard is exceeded, to establish an action plan including the measures that will be taken to remedy the situation and a detailed schedule of those measures and make the plan available to the users”; and
    – require “[the persons in charge of residential distribution systems serving more than 20 persons, if the lead-related standard is exceeded,] to add, in the annual report on the quality of water, the measures they have taken to protect the users against the risks involved when the standard was exceeded”.

    The changes will be implemented by amending the Regulation respecting the quality of drinking water (RRQ,cQ-2,r40).

    Interested persons can submit comments until October 17, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

    Ontario

    Hazardous Waste Digital Reporting Service Modernization

    Published – 18 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector: General Industry

    The Government of Ontario is seeking feedback on a proposition to modify the way hazardous waste digital reporting services are delivered.

    According to the Ontario government, the changes would notably
    – require “the regulated community (including waste generators, carriers and receivers) to report waste management information to the Authority instead of to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks”;
    – change “registration and reporting requirements to support a fully electronic reporting service”;
    – remove “the annual registration renewal requirement (currently between January 1st to February 15th) and only collect information from generators at the time the business has a waste management activity to report”;
    – “require that businesses review and update their initially reported information when they are ready to report their first waste management activity after 365 days from the last time they reviewed and confirmed this information”;
    – require businesses that generate subject waste “to report their activities on, or prior to, the date that the activity takes place or within 90 days of generating or temporarily storing the subject waste if no other waste management activity has taken place”;
    – “allow delegates to register, report, and pay fees on behalf of generators”; and
    – align “with Federal regulatory phrases under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act(TDGA)”.

    The changes would be implemented by amending General – Waste Management (O.Reg.347) and adopting a new regulation.

    Interested persons are invited to make comments by November 2, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

    Amendments to O. Reg. 316/03 Regarding Off-Road Vehicle Access on Municipal Highways

    Published – 15 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector: Road Transpotation

    The Government of Ontario announced its intention to allow “approved types of off-road vehicles to operate on all municipal roads”.

    According to the Government of Ontario, municipalities would have the possibilities to “restrict or prohibit off-road vehicle access on some or all roads under their municipal jurisdiction”.

    This change would be implemented by amending the Operation of Off-road Vehicles on Highways (OReg316/03).

    Interested persons are invited to make comments by October 16, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

    Proposed Project List for comprehensive environmental assessments under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA)

    Published – 11 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector: General Industry

    The Government of Ontario is seeking input on a proposed list of projects that would be designated projects subject a comprehensive environmental assessment under Part II.3 of the Environmental Assessment Act (RSO1990,cE.18).

    According to the Government of Ontario, the proposal follows the reform of the Environmental Assessment Act (RSO1990,cE.18) which seeks to subject projects to environmental assessment based on what the project is, instead of on who is doing the work.

    The Ontario government is particularly interested in receiving feedback from
    – Indigenous communities;
    – members of the public;
    – industry/industry associations; and
    – non-governmental organizations.

    Interested persons are invited to make comments by November 10, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

    United States

    Federal

    Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

    Published – 17 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – General Industry, Office Spaces, Building Management and Maintenance

    Occupational health rules could soon be amended to prohibit employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

    According to the Federal government, the proposed change would notably make it an unlawful to “(1) fail to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations of such job applicants or employees, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an entity’s business operation; (2) deny employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations to an applicant or employee; (3) require such job applicants or employees to accept an accommodation that they do not want, if such accommodation is unnecessary to perform the job; (4) require such employees to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to their known limitations; or (5) take adverse action in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment against an employee requesting or using such reasonable accommodations.”

    The proposed change would also “set forth enforcement procedures and remedies under various statutes that cover different types of employees in relation to such unlawful employment practices”.

    Additional information is available here.

    Proposal To Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits

    Published – 15 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – General Industry

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is proposing to revise its standards governing Nationwide Permits (NWPs). NWPs are a type of general permit that is designed to authorize, under conditions, certain activities in federally jurisdictional waters and wetlands that have no more than minimal adverse environmental impact. The proposed change would notably (1) modify existing conditions and definitions for utility line activities and oil and natural gas pipeline activities; and (2) create new provisions for five new categories of NWPs.
    According to the Federal Register, “(two) of those proposed new NWPs would authorize certain categories of mariculture activities (i.e., seaweed and finfish mariculture) […]”; “[…] (two) proposed new NWPs would authorize activities associated with the construction, maintenance, repair, and removal of electric utility lines/telecommunication lines and utility lines that convey water, sewage, and other substances [….]”; and “[…] (the) fifth proposed new NWP would authorize discharges of dredged or fill material into jurisdictional waters for the construction, expansion, and maintenance of water reuse and reclamation facilities”.

    Comments must be received on or before November 16, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

    Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Clothes Washers and Clothes Dryers 

    Published – 11 Sept, 2020
    Industry Sector – Hardware Manufacturing

    The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) is proposing an extension to a comment period. On August 13, 2020, DOE proposed to establish separate product classes for top-loading residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes.

    The public comment period for that proposed change is extended from September 14, 2020, to October 13, 2020.

    Additional information is available here.

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