2. Workshop Results

The workshops were held in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver and Calgary in order to get a broad regional stakeholder representation. Representatives from industries, carriers, waste management companies, and environmental non-governmental organizations were invited to attend the workshops.

The workshops were held over two days and were divided into four plenary and three breakout sessions, where numbers permitted. To ensure the full participation of attendees, workshop participants were assigned to breakout groups of no more than twenty (20) members. The breakout groups were structured to include individuals from as many of the stakeholder sectors as possible in order to obtain varied input from each of the groups.

The consultation was broken into four topics of discussion. These topics were discussed in the following order:

Session 1:
Part I - Definitions
Part II - Scope of Coverage
Part III - Exemptions
Part IV - Prohibitions
Session 2:
Part V - Transboundary Movement Control Regimes
Part VI - Permits of Equivalent Level of Environmental Safety ( PELES )
Part VII - Liability and Insurance
Part VIII - Waste Reduction Plans
Session 3:
Part IX - Environmentally Sound Management
Session 4:
Status of Interprovincial Regulations Next Steps
Next Steps

The agenda for the workshops can be seen in Figure 1. Each workshop followed this agenda with some minor modifications to the order of topics occurring at some of the locations.

Day 1
Day 2

Primary facilitators presented each of the topics to the entire group of participants in plenary sessions. Breakout groups and wrap-up plenary sessions then followed the presentations. In each breakout session, the participants discussed a list of pre-identified issues about the given topic. (The list of pre-identified issues for each session is included in Appendix A.) Each breakout group had a group facilitator to ensure that the discussion stayed on course and that the concerns and requests for clarifications were recorded. At the end of each breakout session, the participants selected a representative to present the group's thoughts on the various issues at the following plenary session.

The invitation packages and the discussion paper were made available to the stakeholders in both English and French. In order to ensure the effective participation of all attendees, simultaneous translation services were provided at the Montreal workshop. However, it should be noted that most of the presentations at the Montreal workshop were made in French.

A total of 148 stakeholders participated in the workshops, representing waste generators, recyclers, carriers, disposers, industry associations, and Environmental Non-governmental Organizations (ENGOs).

The Toronto workshop had the greatest number of attendees with 60 stakeholders, while the Vancouver workshop had the smallest attendance with 13 participants. A total of 28 representatives attended the Montreal workshop, 27 were present at the Calgary location, and 20 were present at the Halifax workshop. It should be noted that several registered participants were not present at the actual meetings. For example, although 60 stakeholders participated in the Toronto workshop, over 80 were registered. In addition, several ENGOs were invited to the Calgary session. However, none were present at this session, even though follow-up phone calls were made in an attempt to confirm their attendance. The list of ENGOs that were invited to all of the workshops is presented in Appendix B. The distribution of representation by sector for each workshop is shown in Table 1.

Table 1 - Breakdown Of Attendance Per Workshop
Location Number Breakdown of Stakeholders by Sector
Industry Assoc.
Carrier Recycling/
Waste Mgt.
ENGO Consulting Other
Truck Rail
Toronto 60 25 2 3 17 5 2 6
Montreal 28 13 3 1 2 1 0 8
Halifax 20 9 1 0 0 2 0 8
Vancouver 13 5 0 0 3 2 0 3
Calgary 27 10 1 3 6 0 1 6

Throughout all five workshops, there were a number of common issues that the majority of participants identified in the breakout groups and plenary sessions. These issues and recommendations from the workshop participants are summarized below.

In general, participants throughout all the workshops favored a generic harmonization of regulations across borders and inter-provincial jurisdictions. However, there was general frustration among participants about the speed of progress in this area, since it was felt that there has been much discussion on the topic with no significant progress to date.

Effective harmonization of the regulations would help industries and governments in improving efficiency and delivering services in a cost-effective manner. Harmonization should also include a generic itemization procedure across many regulations. Participants also suggested that Canadian law should not be extended to foreign exports. As such, it was felt that the country of import (e.g. Basel signatory, OECD country) would extend their own requirements to imports into their country. Harmonization with the U.S. was supported particularly strongly among most of the participants.

Participants also identified an urgent need to harmonize inter-provincial regulations with intra-provincial, import/export, and transport regulations. Without this harmonization, participants generally felt that adhering to the regulations would become a hindrance and an added paper burden.

The general feeling was that the simple fact of decoupling hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material do not in and of itself facilitate nor promote recycling. As such, many stakeholders felt that EC should work to remove unnecessary impediments to the flow of recyclable materials. Most participants expressed that little is achieved by differentiating waste and recyclable materials in definition if they are not distinct in the regulations. It was stated that having to follow all of the regulations for recyclable materials does not encourage the 3 R's. In order to better promote recycling, it was felt that recyclable materials should be considered products or commodities. However, some participants suggested that the differences should be limited to those recyclable materials that do not create hazardous waste residue after treatment. In addition, separate and distinct regulatory regimes for waste and recyclables was a favorable item for most participants.

Participants also expressed a desire for a distinction between hazardous waste and dangerous good carriers and that recyclables be considered a dangerous good. Many suggested that EC develop more criteria to be used to demonstrate that once processed, a hazardous recyclable material has become a product (commodity). When a product meets certain specific uses, it should no longer be deemed a waste.

The general sense was that recyclable materials should be treated as a commodity rather than a liability. This was repeated many times throughout the course of the workshops.

Participants generally supported having a mechanism for administrative variances in the regulations. The efficiency of the process of obtaining Permits of Equivalent Level of Environmental Safety (PELES) was an area of concern for participants. PELES was often confused with the Conditional Exclusion, and many participants were unsure of the application of each mechanism. Also, many participants were concerned about the amount of time and effort that would be required to obtain such permits. For example, if obtaining a PELES required a year of work and numerous expenditures, most felt that these would not be useful. It was generally agreed upon that they are both beneficial mechanisms if they would be relatively easy to obtain within reasonable time frames. Many participants were also cautious because of the anticipated requirements for proof, (i.e. what information would be required to obtain a PELES or be approved for a conditional exclusion?). Participants also questioned Environment Canada's ability to process such permits quickly enough to be used effectively by shippers and transporters.

The issue of public access to and availability of information was also raised in a discussion of PELES. Some participants were concerned that PELES and conditional exclusion submissions should be available for public review, including the requirement for public hearings and posting for comment, of PELES in major newspapers and/or on the Internet.

In light of U.S. EPA experience, participants desire a system that is fair, consistent, economical and timely. It was requested that the regulations spell out more clearly the process and criteria to be employed by the issuing authority.

There was general support for small quantity exemption. The proposed amendments currently stipulate an exemption from the regulations of 5kg/5L for waste and recyclables and 25kg/25L for recyclables that are samples. Many participants felt that this limit was much too restrictive because samples that exceed this limit are often required for process and new technology-testing purposes. This is particularly true in the metals/minerals recycling industry. It was felt that Environment Canada should consider a separate limit for research purposes for samples that are being sent across borders.

There was general support among participants for the reduction of operational burdens on industries in general. Stakeholders, especially those in the hazardous waste transport business, were very interested in those proposals that reduced operational burdens on industry. Participants were open to new concepts such as e-filing (making notice submissions easier and more efficient), renewal mechanisms (whereby yearly renewals would be easier for industries and could be obtained with greater ease with adequate data submission), and reducing burdens on industry where waste is only hazardous in Canada for recyclables. In essence, participants expressed the requirement for greater efficiency in the administration of the regulations, where possible, and its associated requirements.

The following section summarizes the key responses from the breakout groups as well as highlights and questions from associated plenary sessions. General topics are presented, rather than addressing each question for discussion. These theme areas were generally observed to be the key discussion points.

Participants at all workshops were generally satisfied with the fashion in which key terms were defined, and understood how the definitions would function within the new regulations. Certain definitions did present issues for participants, and these were raised in most of the workshops. Others understood the definitions, but required clarification on some of the terms to ensure proper interpretation. The largest concerns were raised over the definition of "waste" vs. "recyclable." Comments received in the breakout sessions indicated that the distinction between the terms was difficult to understand. The following issues were also raised in discussions over definitions:

Due to the relatively recent introduction of the ESM concept, extensive discussions were held on this issue. While there is unanimous agreement that hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable material must be managed in an environmentally sound manner, many participants raised concerns over how the proposed elements could be applied in the new regulations. Others suggested that it may be premature to proceed with ESM due to a generally poor understanding. The breakout sessions also indicated participant confusion over the difference between ESM and EMS. In the breakout sessions, a series of 10 questions were discussed dealing with ESM and EMS. In some of the latter workshops, the discussion questions were reformulated to include 12 questions. Most participants, having been exposed to EMS for quite some time, were receptive to its use in the regulations, while others were concerned with the possibility that the imposition of such a system may duplicate requirements already in place under provincial law or those that are voluntarily within industry. The following issues were also raised in the breakout sessions:

As a final note on ESM, participants suggested that EC work to further define the requirements under ESM. Subsequent to this, participants requested that EC then consult with stakeholders once again, allowing for proper comment on the desired focus of ESM.

The questions concerning liability and insurance generated a significant amount of discussion, resulting in a number of diverging issues and common interests. Most participants agreed that current requirements and levels were adequate for the activities being performed by industries. On the other hand, some participants felt that levels were too low and not in line with the risk posed by hazardous waste transport. Other stakeholders expressed concern over the enforcement of liability and insurance requirements for those who choose to transport without it. Some of the issues and concerns raised in these discussions were:

As seen in the points raised above, there were a number of diverging opinions on liability and insurance requirements. Most, however, were concerned about issues related to differing requirements in provinces, the U.S. and internationally.

Although presented as a new concept in the realm of the Regulations, e-filing was well received by workshop participants. It was felt that such a system should proceed with cautionary measures to ensure that the process is efficient, easy to understand, and include as little burden as possible. Some of the points raised by participants include:

There was mixed reaction to waste reduction plans among workshop participants. Some felt that industries were already implementing these plans. Some of the feedback on this issue is as follows:

The proposed renewal mechanism to increase efficiency of notification and facilitate compliance when manifesting was supported by many of the workshop participants. Many commented that it was a step in the right direction toward creating a more efficient reporting and tracking program. As such, many suggestions were offered on how the program could work effectively to achieve its intended goals. The following comments were received regarding the proposed renewal mechanism:

Page details

Date modified: