Toronto, ON – Ontario’s provincial government has released draft regulations under Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, which was passed in June this year, and is inviting public comment on the draft regulations until October 19.
In addition, the government says it will provide $24 million over three years to help facilities comply with the requirements of the new Toxics Reduction Act, act and to help them make the transition to a green economy. It says the funding will also support innovation in the field of green chemistry and engineering.
The new act requires regulated facilities to track and quantify the toxics they use and create, to develop plans to reduce their toxics, and to make summaries of their plans available to the public. The regulation outlines the rules for tracking, quantifying, planning and reporting on the substances they use and/or create, as well as the timelines for these activities. While accounting, planning and reporting for prescribed toxic substances is mandatory, implementation is voluntary.
Regulated facilities already submit toxics release information to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), a federal government inventory of substances designed to support the assessment and risk management of chemicals and encourage the reduction and release of pollutants into the environment. To ease the administrative burden on facilities, Ontario has closely aligned its proposed regulatory requirements, timelines and list of substances with the NPRI.
The substances included in the regulation are being rolled out in two phases. The first phase will apply to the list of 47 substances and substance groups in the list of priority toxics in the draft regulation.
From the ranking exercise, 34 substances, including 11 known or probable carcinogens, were prioritized. The ministry also reviewed carcinogens in consultation with Cancer Care Ontario and identified an additional 13 known or probable carcinogens for inclusion in the priority list. It is anticipated that the balance of NPRI substances will follow in two years in the second phase.
The act requires that the lists of substances be reviewed at least once every five years.
The draft regulation would apply to facilities at which manufacturing and mineral processing activities (except physical extraction, crushing and grinding) take place that meet prescribed toxic substance and employee thresholds. The proposed thresholds are generally the same as NPRI thresholds.
The draft regulation would require about 2,000 facilities to report to the Ministry of the Environment and the public on their use and creation of toxic substances. It also asks the facilities to consider how they plan to reduce their use and creation.
The draft regulations are posted on the Environmental Registry (www.ebr.gov.on.ca under registry #010-7792) until October 19, 2009 for public comment.