Proposed EHS regulatory changes from Canada and the United States – October 2021

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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

Canada

Newfoundland & Labrador

Renewable Energy Plan Consultations

Published Date: 14 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Industry, Energy and Technology is developing a Renewable Energy Plan to “create employment opportunities for the people of [the] province, further position Newfoundland and Labrador as an energy supplier, and ensure that [the] Province’s clean energy resources are developed in a responsible, sustainable fashion,” and is seeking feedback from the public, industry, and stakeholders.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments, fill out the public questionnaire, or fill out the stakeholder questionnaire until 4 November 2021.

Additional information is available here and here.

Bill 6 – Radiation Health and Safety Act, 2021

Published Date: 19 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has proposed new rules regulating the management and operation of radiation equipment in the province. The new rules would require the owners of radiation equipment to maintain the lowest possible level of radiation exposure (i.e., below the maximum permissible dose of radiation), require the owners of radiation equipment to develop and implement practices and procedures for radiation workers who are or may become pregnant, allow government-appointed inspectors to inspect or examine any premises, equipment, processes, or books and records that they deem relevant for determining compliance with this Act, and increase penalty amounts for certain offences.

These changes would be enacted by replacing the Radiation Health and Safety Act with a new document of the same name.

Ontario

Recovery of Minerals

Published Date: 7 October 2021
Industry Sector: Mining & Minerals Industry

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to allow the “extraction or reprocessing activities of tailings and mine waste for the purpose of sale […] to proceed without a full closure plan for the whole mine site.”

According to the Ontario Government, the changes would notably set up an “application-based permitting regime, where the applicant could obtain a permit for the reprocessing/recycling activities on the tailings or waste rock,” give the Government the “discretion to determine the form and amount of financial assurance required commensurate to the project,” require the Government to “consider whether Aboriginal consultation has occurred,” and give the Government “additional order-making authority such as stop-work, remedial or preventative measures orders at current operating, closed or abandoned mine sites.”

These changes would be implemented by amending the Mining Act.

Interested persons are invited to make comments by 6 December 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Recovery of Minerals

Published Date: 7 October 2021
Industry Sector: Mining & Minerals Industry

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to allow the “extraction or reprocessing activities of tailings and mine waste for the purpose of sale […] to proceed without a full closure plan for the whole mine site.”

According to the Ontario Government, the changes would notably set up an “application-based permitting regime, where the applicant could obtain a permit for the reprocessing/recycling activities on the tailings or waste rock,” require “project-specific remediation plan and financial assurance commensurate with the impacts from the proposed [recovery] project,” and provide for “remediation to some standard […] but not necessarily the same as the Mine Rehabilitation Code,” require the Government to “consider whether Aboriginal consultation has occurred,” and give the Government “additional order-making authority such as stop-work, remedial or preventative orders at current operating, closed or abandoned mine sites.”

These changes would be implemented by amending the Mining Act.

Interested persons are invited to make comments by 21 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Improving the graduated regulatory approach to mine closure: A proposal to review requirements for low-impact mining projects

Published Date: 7 October 2021
Industry Sector: Mining & Minerals Industry

The Government of Ontario is seeking input on ways to “reduce the burdens of advanced exploration and mine production closure planning for projects that are identified as having a lower potential for environmental impact”. More specifically, the Ontario Government is requesting input on “rehabilitation and regulatory requirements for closure plans”; and financial assurance.

Interested persons are invited to make comments by 6 December 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Establishing a public registry for mining and exploratory licences of occupation information

Published Date: 7 October 2021
Industry Sector: Mining & Minerals Industry

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to create a public registry for Mining licences of occupation (MLO) and Exploratory licences of occupation (ELO). This change would be implemented by amending General – Mining Act.

Interested persons are invited to make comments by 21 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Proposed Regulatory Amendment to Reg. 543 s.3 (2): X-Ray Safety Code for adopting updated requirements for shielding methodology under the Healing Arts and Radiation Protection Act (HARPA)

Published Date: 7 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry, Office Spaces

The Government of Ontario announced its intention to “modernize the shielding methodology for x-ray installations”. According to the Ontario Government, the changes would notably “replace compliance with Health Canada’s Safety Code 20A with the most recent Safety Code 35 for shielding methodology”, and update various references to the Safety Code 20A. These changes would be implemented by amending the X-Ray Safety Code.

Interested persons are invited to make comments by 22 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Quebec

Bill 103, An Act to amend various legislative provisions mainly for the purpose of reducing red tape

Published date: 6 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry, Building Management & Maintenance

The Government of Quebec announced its intention to modify rules in multiple sectors to reduce the burden caused by red tape on businesses. According to the Quebec Government, the changes would notably withdraw the requirement to hold a mining prospecting licence, abolish “staking as a mean of obtaining [mining] claims [and] extend the term of a claim to three years,” modify “the mechanism for applying for the exclusion of a lot from an agricultural zone [and] [provide] for the Government to decide on the inclusion of a lot in an agricultural zone,” provide “that a decision of the Government authorizing a use of a lot in an agricultural zone for purposes other than agriculture or authorizing an exclusion of a lot from such a zone may be accompanied by impact reduction measures considered sufficient,” extend the filing time for an environmental characterization study “to one year from the date of cessation of an industrial or commercial activity” and authorise the Government to grant additional time, and allow “for accreditations or certifications of laboratories carrying out environmental collections, analyses and other verifications to be combined into a single accreditation or certification.”

These changes would be implemented by amending the following documents: An Act Respecting Land use Planning and Development, The Mining Act, An Act respecting the preservation of agricultural land and agricultural activities, The Environment Quality Act, The Regulation respecting wildlife habitats, and The Regulation respecting mineral substances other than petroleum, natural gas and brine.

Additional information is available here.

Bill 102, An Act mainly to reinforce the enforcement of environmental and dam safety legislation, to ensure the responsible management of pesticides and to implement certain measures of the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy concerning zero emission vehicles

Published Date: 5 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry, Building Management & Maintenance, Office Spaces

Important changes could soon affect various areas of the environmental legislation in Quebec. According to the Government of Quebec, these changes would notably create a “common framework” for the enforcement of several environmental laws, which would notably include provisions relating to inspections, and to penal and administrative investigations, “general provisions relating to monetary administrative penalties [… and] to penal proceedings brought to ensure compliance,” and “powers to refuse, suspend, revoke or cancel various types of authorization granted under the Acts” covered by the framework.

The rules on pesticides would also be modified, notably to “regulate the use of seeds coated with pesticides,” and enable the government to “establish rules for the possession of pesticides.”

The changes would also modify the rules respecting the safety of dams to create the general requirement for “owners to maintain their dams in working order such that they are unlikely to compromise the safety of persons or property,” and adjust “the authorization and approval regime” applicable to dams.

Finally, various changes would be brought to broaden the Government’s powers to limit, prohibit, or encourage the lease or sale of certain classes of motor vehicles, regulate the “use of credits accumulated in excess of those required within the framework of [the Environment Quality Act],” require prior authorization for “certain impact-causing mining exploration work” conducted by claim holders, allow “preventive pruning and felling of trees and shrubs that could cause an electrical outage,” require the recovery, cleaning, or treatment of a matter contaminated by the accidental release of a contaminant, set out new record requirements relating to hazardous materials, and adjust the “environmental impact assessment and review procedure” under the Environment Quality Act.

These changes would be implemented by enacting an Act respecting certain measures enabling the enforcement of environmental and dam safety legislation, and by amending more than a dozen Acts.

Additional information is available here.

Recovery and reclamation of products by enterprises—Amendment

Published Date: 13 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The Government of Québec announced its intention to modify the rules concerning the recovery and reclamation of products by enterprises.

According to the Québec Government, the changes would notably determine “the obligations regarding the recovery and reclamation of certain new products,” extend the rules concerning the recovery and reclamation of products to enterprises with no domicile or establishment in Québec if they market a new covered product in Québec, add three new categories of products: agricultural products, pressurized fuel containers and pharmaceutical products, add new subcategories of products, restrict a requirement applicable to certain types of covered products containing components that are also covered products, postpone and change the “minimum recovery rates applicable to products already covered,” introduce “eco-design and circular economy objectives that, if attained, will reduce the required minimum recovery rate,” grant “compensations for purposes of calculating the minimum recovery rate to be attained, based on the quantity of products recovered prior to 1 January 2022,” replace “the obligation to pay a sum to the Fund for the Protection of the Environment and the Waters in the Domain of the State in case of failure to attain the minimum recovery rate by the obligation to implement a remediation program to enhance the recovery and reclamation plan,” require that the recovery and reclamation of covered products be carried out under a program, promote “public access to information concerning the recovery program and its performance,” and modify the “operating rules for recovery and reclamation programs, auditing of service providers, annual reporting and audit rules.”

Interested persons are invited to submit comments until 27 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Yukon

Amendments to the Assessment and Taxation Act and the Municipal Act tabled in the Legislative Assembly

Published Date: 14 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry, Building Management & Maintenance

The Yukon government is proposing “to develop the Better Buildings Program to enable ultra-low interest loans so residential and commercial property owners can improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Changes to relevant legislation will enable the government to construct and fund local improvements outside of municipalities, expand the definition of “local improvement” to include energy-efficiency retrofits, and introduce a retrofitting program.

The changes have been introduced in the legislature as Bill No. 3, the Act to amend the Assessment and Taxation Act and the Municipal Act, and interested parties may submit feedback to the relevant contacts found at the bottom of the page here.

Additional information is available here.

Yukon Wetlands

Published Date: 18 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The Yukon government is seeking feedback on the draft framework to guide the management of wetlands across the territory, which includes provisions supporting wetland inventory, protection of wetlands of special importance, and management of human (and development) impacts on wetlands.

The draft policy document is available here.

Interested parties are invited to submit feedback to the relevant contacts listed at the top of this webpage, and to fill out a survey here until 3 December 2021.

Bill No. 4 – Act to Amend the Motor Vehicles Act (2021)

Published Date: 18 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The Yukon Government is proposing changes to impaired and dangerous driving laws in the territory. The proposed changes would align territorial rules concerning blood alcohol limits for roadside sanctions and waiting periods for the ignition interlock program with the Criminal Code of Canada, and provide greater authority to enforcement personnel to issue licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments.

The changes would be enacted by amending the Motor Vehicles Act.

Additional information is available here and here.

United States

Federal

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Standards Related to the Manufacture of Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances for Feedstock

Published date: 29 September 2021
Industry Sector: Chemicals Industry

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed rules “to require the control, capture, and/or destruction of a hydrofluorocarbon [HFC] that would otherwise be emitted from manufacture of hydrochlorofluorocarbons [HCFC].” It would “require companies to control, capture, and destroy HFC-23 byproduct generated at plants that manufacture class II ozone-depleting substances regulated under current Clean Air Act regulations, such as HCFC-22.” It would require that HFC-23 be “captured and employed for a commercial use or destroyed” using EPA-approved technology. Existing exceptions to production restrictions for use in transformation or as a feedstock would remain in place.

Interested parties may submit comments until 15 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Establishment of Time-Area Closures for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Published date: 28 September 2021
Industry Sector: Water Transportation Industry, Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping Industry

The United States National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing the establishment of “mandatory-time area closures of Hawaiian spinner dolphins’ essential daytime habitats at five selected sites in the Main Hawaiian Islands.” The effect of these closures would “prohibit any person or vessel, on or below the surface, to enter, cause to enter, solicit to enter, or remain within any of the five time-area closures, for the purpose of preventing take of Hawaiian spinner dolphins in areas identified as important essential daytime habitats for spinner dolphins that have high levels of human disturbance. The proposed mandatory time-area closures would occur from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily in areas of Kealakekua Bay, Hōnaunau Bay, Kauhakō Bay (Ho`okena), and Makako Bay on Hawai`i Island, and La Perouse Bay on Maui.”

Interested parties may submit comments until 27 December 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of 23 Extinct Species From the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants

Published Date: 30 September 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing “to remove 23 species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants due to extinction.” Current scientific and commercial information indicate that these species are no longer extant, and thus do not meet the definition of endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

The species include Bridled white-eye, Kauai akialoa, Kauai nukupuu, Kauai `o`o (honeyeater), large Kauai thrush (kama), little Mariana fruit bat, Maui akepa, Maui nukupuu, Molokai creeper (kakawahie), Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis (no common name), and po`ouli (honeycreeper), Bachman’s warbler, Flat pigtoe, southern acornshell, stirrupshell, and upland combshell, Green blossom (pearly mussel), tubercled blossom (pearly mussel), turgid blossom (pearly mussel), and yellow blossom (pearly mussel), Ivory-billed woodpecker, and Scioto madtom.

Interested parties may submit comments until 29 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Listing of Substitutes Under the Significant New Alternatives Policy Program; Supplemental Proposal

Published Date: 6 October 2021
Industry Sector: Chemicals Industry

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is proposing “to list for a limited period of time certain [hydrofluorocarbon blend] substances in the foamblowing sector, extruded polystyrene: Boardstock and billet end-use, as acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits,” under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy program for ozone-depleting substances that pose a risk to human and environmental health.

Interested parties may submit comments until 22 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Significant New Use Rules on Certain Chemical Substances (21-1.F)

Published Date: 12 October 2021
Industry Sector: Chemicals Industry

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is proposing “significant new use rules (SNURs) […] for chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). The chemical substances received “not likely to present an unreasonable risk” determinations under the TSCA [Toxic Substances Control Act]. The SNURs require persons who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of these chemical substances for an activity that is proposed as significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity.” Persons would be prohibited from commencing manufacturing or processing for the significant new use until EPA has adequately reviewed the notification and made appropriate determinations.

Interested parties may submit comments until 12 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Updates to Marine Engineering Standards

Published Date: 19 October 2021
Industry Sector: Water Transportation Industry

The United States Coast Guard is proposing to incorporate by reference updated marine engineering standards for boilers, pressure vessels, auxiliary machinery, piping, valves, and fittings for different types of vessels. Alternative standards would be added, and outdated or unnecessarily prescriptive regulations would be removed as “part of a continuing effort for regulatory reform that increases compliance options for the regulated public while providing a cost savings to the regulated public and the U.S. government.” 

Interested parties may submit comments until 20 December 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Southern Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment of Fisher

Published Date: 19 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to designate the critical habitat for the federally endangered Southern Sierra Nevada distinct population segment of fisher (Pekania pennanti) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Approximately 554,454 acres in six units of Californa would be designated as the fisher’s critical habitat.

Interested parties may submit comments until 20 December 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act

Published Date: 22 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The United States government has proposed changes to workplace protections for breastfeeding mothers. According to Congress.gov, the changes would expand “the requirement that employers provide certain accommodations for [employees with a need to express breastmilk] to cover salaried employees and other types of workers not covered by existing law.” It would also provide that the “time spent to express breast milk must be considered hours worked if the employee is also working” and extend the period that these accommodations are available to two years.

Additional information is available here.

Alternate PCB Extraction Methods and Amendments to PCB Cleanup and Disposal Regulations

Published Date: 22 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing expanded options for “extraction and determinative methods used to characterize and verify the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) waste.” The changes would “greatly reduce the amount of solvent used in PCB extraction processes, thereby conserving resources and reducing waste,” and would make cleanups quicker, more efficient, and less costly. The EPA is also proposing amendments to the “performance-based disposal option for PCB remediation waste; the removal of the provision allowing PCB bulk product waste to be disposed as roadbed materials; the addition of more flexible provisions for cleanup and disposal of waste generated by spills that occur during emergency situations (e.g., hurricanes or floods); harmonizing the general disposal requirements for PCB remediation waste; and making other amendments to improve the implementation of the regulations.”

Interested parties may submit comments until 21 December 2021, however, “comments on the information collection provisions are best assured of consideration if the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) receives a copy of your comments” on or before 22 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulations for Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat

Published Date: 27 October 2021
Industry Sector: General Industry

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are proposing to remove the regulatory definition of “habitat.” The existing definition “constrain[s] the Service’s ability to designate areas that meet the definition of “critical habitat” under the [Endangered Species] Act,” as the existing definition “excludes areas that do not currently or periodically contain the requisite resources and conditions,” necessary to support one or more life processes of a species.

Interested parties may submit comments until 26 November 2021.

Additional information is available here.

 

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