2. Overview of Main Reforms

The EIHWR are intended to protect Canada's environment from the risks posed by unregulated traffic in hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials and to implement Canada's international obligations to protect the environment of other countries from uncontrolled exports of these wastes and recyclable materials from Canada.

The proposed revisions to the EIHWR address four main developments that have arisen since Environment Canada adopted the EIHWR in 1992 under the authority of the former Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1988 (CEPA 1988):

Since 1992, the volume of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials crossing Canada's border has increased. As well, during the last decade, various changes to the domestic and international legal regimes have occurred, and the parties involved in managing transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials have identified opportunities to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the design and implementation of the EIHWR. Through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Hazardous Waste Task Group (CCME HWTG), Environment Canada, the provinces and relevant industries have identified numerous opportunities to harmonize the relevant federal-provincial regimes, particularly in defining hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material.

The international regimes regulating the import and export of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable material have also evolved. These international obligations stem from three different agreements:

Since 1992, the Basel Convention has adopted new waste lists, new technical guidelines, a protocol on liability and compensation and a ban on exports from developed to developing countries. The 2001 OECD decision adopted the new Basel lists and made changes to the controls, including those for preapproved recycling facilities and shipments through transfer stations.

Similarly, CEPA 1999 includes various important new provisions. One of the most important of these changes is the authority for a distinct control regime for hazardous recyclable materials. In addition, the new Act authorizes the Minister of Environment to:

The new regulations will retain the primary objective of ensuring that environmental and human health is protected when transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials take place. As with the current EIHWR, the new regulations will establish controls that are consistent with Canada's international obligations. They will also contain substantial revisions from the current regulations in order to:

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