(ENG) Proposed EHS Regulatory Changes – November 2018

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This is a list of select proposed EHS regulatory changes for November 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

 

Farm-related exemption proposed for release notification rules

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend the release notification regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to add a reporting exemption for air emissions from animal waste at farms. The EPA is also proposing to add definitions of « animal waste » and « farm » to the EPCRA regulations to delineate the scope of the reporting exemption.

More information is available here.

Proposal to redesignate lands around the Kalispel Indian Reservation as part of the prevention of significant deterioration of air quality program

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to redesignate lands within the exterior boundaries of the Kalispel Indian Reservation located in the State of Washington to Class I as part of the prevention of significant deterioration of air quality program. This would result in lowering the allowable increases in ambient concentrations of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.

More information is available here.

Proposal to remove restrictions on the commerce of self-contained self-rescuer respirator models

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention are proposing to remove restrictions on respirator manufacturers’ abilities to manufacture, label, or sell certain self-contained self-rescuer models in order to prevent a shortage of person-wearable large capacity escape respirators for underground coal miners who rely on these devices.

More information is available here.

Canada

 

Conditions for development and activities on and near native and frontier lands could change soon

The Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act could soon be amended to “establish an administration and enforcement scheme that would include the issuance of development certificates” which would be mandatory to carry certain developments in the Mackenzie Valley, and would contain conditions relating to the carrying of those developments.

The Canada Petroleum Resources Act would also be amended to allow the Government “to prohibit certain works or activities on frontier lands if [it] considers that it is in the national interest to do so”.

More information is available here.

British Columbia

 

Major reforms proposed for B.C.’s environmental assessment process

The Government of British Columbia has proposed significant reforms to its environmental assessment process.

According to analysis from Lawson Lundell LLP, the proposed changes would notably

  • “[Require] proponents of projects in certain categories to submit a project notification to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) even if the project does not meet the prescribed requirements for review”;
  • Prescribe a new early engagement process for reviewable projects;
  • “[Require] the EAO to seek to achieve consensus with Indigenous nations at various stages of the [environmental assessment] process”;
  • “[Establish] a codified dispute resolution process (yet to be fully prescribed) to be followed if consent is not secured or if there are disputes as to which Indigenous nations should be participating in the [environmental assessment] process for any given project”;
  • “[Permit] the EAO to enter into agreements with Indigenous nations regarding the conduct of [environmental assessments]”;
  • Impose new deadlines for proponents; and
  • Require new work products from proponents, “including a second level of project description and a revised application.”

These changes would be made through the repeal and replacement of the Environmental Assessment Act as well as other legislative amendments. They would be made by a bill which, at the time of writing, had just passed second reading.

More information is available here.

More stringent lobbying rules proposed in B.C.

New lobbying restrictions and reporting requirements have been proposed in B.C.

The proposed changes, according to the Government of British Columbia, would notably

  • “[Increase] the lobbying information available to the public to include details about who will benefit directly from the lobbying effort”; and
  • “[Create] new rules about gifts and the reporting of political contributions.”

These changes would be made through amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act. At the time of publication of this alert, the bill that proposes these changes had just passed second reading.

More information is available here.

Stricter protections proposed for B.C. agricultural land

It may become more difficult to use agricultural land for non-farm uses in B.C.

A new bill would notably, according to the B.C. Government,

  • “[Create] one zone for all [agricultural] land in B.C.”;
  • “[Limit] new house sizes to less than 500 square metres [about 5,400 square feet], except through application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) in cases where it would support farming; and requiring an ALC approval of any additional residences [on agricultural land] to curb non-farm development”; and
  • “[Crack] down on the dumping of construction debris, toxic waste and other fill [on agricultural land] through increased penalties.”

These changes would primarily be made through amendments to the Agricultural Land Commission Act. At the time of publication of this alert, this bill had just passed second reading.

More information is available here.

Northwest Territories

 

Worker compensation rules may change

Changes may soon be made to the Northwest Territories’ rules for worker compensation.

According to the Government of the Northwest Territories, the changes would notably

  • “Clarify the usage of the terms ‘impairment’ and ‘disability’;
  • Add detail respecting who is considered an ‘employer’ within the scope of the [Workers’ Compensation Act];
  • Remove the requirement for a primary health care provider;
  • Clarify the compensation paid to a dependent child of a deceased worker;
  • Add unemployment benefits as a category of remuneration;
  • Authorize information sharing and disclosure for the purpose of improving administration of the Act;
  • Enable an inspector to inspect health care providers’ records to verify services received; and
  • Correct inconsistencies and errors identified in the Act.”

These changes would be made by a bill which proposes to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act. At the time of writing, this bill had just passed second reading.

More information is available here.

Ontario

 

Cancellation of Ontario cap and trade program continues

The Ontario government has proposed to revoke various regulations related to the cancelled cap and trade program and the repeal of the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act.

Those regulations are the

  • Prohibition Against The Purchase, Sale and Other Dealings with Emission Allowances and Credits;
  • Administrative Penalties;
  • Ontario Offset Credits; and
  • Service of Documents – Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act.

More information is available here.

New regulation could be adopted to target sulphur dioxide emissions from petroleum facilities

New regulations could soon be adopted to target sulphur dioxide emissions from petroleum facilities in Ontario. According to the Government of Ontario, the changes would notably

  • Require petroleum facilities to
    • Report flaring incidents, calculate the sulphur dioxide emissions from and after any flaring incident, and “set out corrective and preventive actions to be taken” to prevent any future flaring incident;
    • Report calculated emissions of sulphur dioxide for normal operations;
    • “Install continuous in-stack monitoring equipment” within 2 to 4 years;
    • “Submit plans to the ministry for reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide and flaring incidents at the facility within one year”; and
    • “Engage the local community about sulphur dioxide emissions and plans to address the emissions”.
  • “Tailor requirements to the specific operations of individual petroleum facilities based on site-specific circumstances”; and
  • Suspend the application of “the flare modeling and upper risk threshold provisions of the Air Pollution – Local Air Quality” until July 1, 2023, if the facilities are complying with the new requirements.

Interested persons can make comments concerning these changes until December 15, 2018.

More information is available here.

Special rules and exemptions to employment standards regulations could soon change

The regulation on When Work Deemed To Be Performed, Exemptions and Special Rules could soon be amended for matters of consistency with the planned enactment of Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.

According to the Government of Ontario, these changes would

  • “Amend the special rules that apply to Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) for certain professionals”;
  • “Revoke the special rules that apply to PEL for construction employees”;
  • “Revoke exemptions from equal pay for equal work – employment status”; and
  • “Revoke exemptions [for employees in the recorded film and television sectors and employees in the auto sector] from scheduling and record-keeping provisions”.

Interested persons can make comments concerning these changes until December 16, 2018.

More information is available here.

Saskatchewan

 

Major changes announced to Saskatchewan greenhouse gas management regime

The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases and Adaptation to Climate Change Act could soon be amended. According to the Government of Saskatchewan, the changes would be made for matters of clarity and consistency, and would align the Act with the climate change strategy detailed in the Prairie Resilience document, notably to

  • “Allow for […] large emitters to be exempted from [the] Act in order to avoid dual regulation [with federal regulation] on the same greenhouse gas emissions”;
  • Remove large industrial emitters, bodies corporate and various distinctions between emitters, and adopt an approach where “any facility required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be considered a regulated emitter”;
  • Give powers to the government to
    • “Allow the minister to award performance credits and for both performance credits and offset credits to be used as a compliance option”;
    • “Determine a regulated emitter’s compliance obligation and associated use of compliance options”; and
    • Impose terms and conditions as mandatory requirements.
  • Change the basis for greenhouse gases emission regulation from a baseline basis to an “emissions intensity basis through output based performance standards”;
  • Introduce “a requirement that emitters who fail to meet their prescribed target accrue and must fulfill a compliance obligation”;
  • Remove the specification that returns submitted by regulated emitters should be annual and require “the opinion from a qualified person on all returns”;
  • Replace the tying of “compliance under a greenhouse gas emissions reductions program to a carbon compliance payment towards a technology fund” by a new provincial technology fund regime;
  • Remove “language specific to greenhouse gas emissions programming for the electricity and natural gas sectors”; and
  • Put in the Act details about the “process that will occur if a person requests that submitted documents be kept confidential” instead of in the regulations.

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.

Newfoundland & Labrador

 

New retirement benefit proposed for injured workers in Newfoundland and Labrador

Retirement benefits for injured workers may soon change in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The proposed change, according to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, would create “a new retirement benefit that is a one-time, lump sum payment of five per cent of Extended Earnings Loss (EEL) benefits, plus interest. For injured workers who were previously part of an employer-sponsored pension plan, the lump sum payment will be 10 percent of their EEL benefits, plus interest.”

The change would come into effect on January 1, 2019, and would be made through amendments to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act. The change is proposed by a bill which, at the time of publication of this alert, had just passed third reading.

More information is available here.