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Health and Safety

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COVID 19 Disrupts Cross-Border Waste and Recyclables Flow In light of all the actions being taken by all levels of government to address the spread of the coronavirus, it is worth considering its impact on the waste management sector in Canada.  For most, how waste is collected and where it is taken, is not a daily consideration.  And yet, it is one of the most important public health and safety considerations. Canadian Waste Industry Vulnerable to US Shutdown…

This might have been the perfect opportunity for Health Canada to finally put a regulatory stake in the ground and define the rules for the safe reuse of (non-sharps) medical devices, with or without refurbishment and/or other reprocessing. After all, Health Canada’s Action Plan on Medical Devices defined its mandate as “continuously improving safety, effectiveness and quality” of medical devices, all of which are directly relevant to the burgeoning market for used medical devices. Presumably…

The announcement earlier this year by the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment granting a waste-based ethanol the lowest the carbon intensity value ever issued a transportation fuel in that province properly raises questions as to where energy-from-waste (EfW) now stands in the coming age of resource recovery / lifecycle circularity in North America.  The answer isn’t entirely clear. Haven’t the Europeans Already Figured This Out? North Americans will do well to recognize the origins…

The uncertainty among producers within the waste diversion industry in Canada over the coming change from an industry-funded organization (IFO) fee-based model to an individual producer responsibility (IPR) regime for “brand holders” has principally focused upon those various regulated waste streams at the centre of mandatory diversion, such as waste electronics and electrical equipment (WEEE) or used tires – the latter as test case for a circular economy IPR program in North America set for…

In the aftermath of a number of high profile environmental emergencies, the federal government of Canada has changed its Environmental Emergency Regulations to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (“E2 Regulations”) in the name of the “four pillars” of environmental emergency management: prevention; preparedness; response; and recovery. Hazard Risks Caught by E2 Regulations E2 Regulations will regulate substances identified as containing unacceptable hazards to environment/health & safety such as: carcinogenicity; corrosiveness; inhalation hazards; explosiveness; possibility of…

While there has been some hand-wringing over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement following the recent US election, a renegotiation of NAFTA would present the parties an opportunity to rethink their objectives behind the environmental provisions.   Just What Does NAFTA Say About the Environment? The main environmental Article in NAFTA itself provides a vague requirement to maintain current EHS standards: Article 1114: Environmental Measures 1. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed…

Environment Canada has issued a disclosure obligation mandating reporting for all companies which: manufactured, imported, exported, or otherwise used asbestos or asbestos-containing products. The minimum reporting quantity is five total kilograms of total asbestos during the period from 2013 to 2015.  This disclosure is a first step towards the intended complete ban on all forms of asbestos planned for 2018, which is anticipated to contain certain grandfathering provisions for certain sectors’ past use of asbestos. …

Last week EPA issued its first regulatory determinations for new chemical substances under the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The amended section 5 of TSCA requires EPA to make an affirmative safety finding with respect to new chemical substances.  EPA determined that four chemical substances are not likely to present an unreasonable risk.  The four chemicals are fatty alcohols-dimers, trimers, polymers; depolymerized waste plastics; propyl silsesquioxanes, hydrogen-terminated; and organic modified propyl silsesquioxane. EPA’s initial…

Following a landmark criminal case in Canada, a construction project manager was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison on January 11, 2016. Mr. Kazenelson, an employee of Metron Construction Corporation (“Metron”), was convicted of four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one court of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. These charges stemmed from a “swing stage” (a suspended work platform) collapse that killed four workers and severely injured a fifth in Toronto on December 24, 2009. Six workers…

Until recently, about the only workplaces where employers had to worry about noise levels were factories, mines and oil rigs. That all changed December 9th of last year when Regulation 381/15 was approved. Set to take effect July 1, 2016, the regulation extends noise protection requirements to the following workplaces: Farming Operations Construction Projects Health Care Facilities Schools Fire Services Police Services Amusement Parks The stated objective of the Regulation, which falls under the Occupational…