7. Environmentally Sound Management

Section 185(2) of CEPA 1999 provides that:

The objective of managing waste and material in manner that will protect the environment and human health against adverse effects is known as environmentally sound management, or ESM. Domestically, Environment Canada has been working with the provinces and territories through the CCME to improve existing technical guidelines for the management of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials, with a view to strengthening ESM nationally for domestic and transboundary movements. Internationally, Canada is signatory to various agreements that call for the ESM of hazardous wastes and recyclable materials, including the Basel Convention, the OECD Decision and the /Canada/US Agreement.

Environment Canada outlined its proposal that the new regulations prescribe an ESM framework and provide a mechanism for ensuring that applicants meet relevant ESM requirements prior to issuance of import or export permits. Essentially, the approach outlined by Environment Canada during the consultations would have the new regulations require applicants to self-certify that each facility that will be involved with the waste or recyclable material:

Departmental officials described their proposal that Environmentally Sound Management within the new EIHWR consist of three main elements:

Under Section 185(2), the Minister's authority to determine ESM is linked to the notification process for proposed exports and imports.

Environment Canada acknowledged that, given the large number of often similar notices received from various importers and exporters every year, it will be important to ensure that the ESM mechanism does not unduly slow down the notice review process.

Under the model presented during the consultations, the regulations would require applicants for a permit to import or export to submit a self-certified declaration that each receiving facility that will be involved with the waste or recyclable material will manage the waste or material in manner that will protect the environment and human health against adverse effects because it:

The Minister would then consider the information, and the regulations would authorize the Minister to request additional information potentially including an audit of the validity of the declaration. Failure to provide such information could result in the Minister refusing to issue an export or import permit. In addition, filing a false declaration could be subject to enforcement action under CEPA 1999.

Environment Canada explained that this self-certification process could occur in advance of the shipment, and could apply to all relevant facilities, including interim storage and transfer facilities as well as the final destination for the hazardous waste or recyclable material. This would give Environment Canada time to consider the information and thereby expedite the review at the time of notification. However, a certification of the validity of the declaration to the particular activities and wastes would also be required at the time of notification to ensure that the general declaration fits the specific case.

Environment Canada officials also explained that they are considering requiring that the certificate of disposal/recycling (which is already required under the current regulations) certify that the waste/recyclable material was, in fact, managed in an environmentally sound manner.

Although there was general support for the principles of ESM, many workshop participants had significant concerns about the proposed implementation mechanisms. Industry generally felt th at the approach was overly burdensome, and ENGO representatives felt it was too process-based and would not have a significant impact on performance and standards. Participants made the following comments related to the proposed mechanism for implementing ESM within EIHWR:

The following specific comments were made concerning the proposed self-certification mechanism:

10 These core performance elements are based on OECD work. Having an EMS is one of the OECD core performance elements. This paper describes the EMS requirement separately to highlight the fact that an EMS is a tool to monitor compliance with the other core performance elements.

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