12. Other Issues
- 12.1 Electronic Notification and Manifesting
- 12.2 Liability and Compensation
- 12.3 Basel Ban Amendment
- 12.4 Proposed Landfill Guideline
- 12.5 Enforcement
In addition to the proposed amendments to the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations, Environment Canada provided participants with the opportunity to comment on the proposed electronic notification and manifesting system, various proposed CCME Guidelines, and Canada's position and obligations with respect to certain international agreements.
On May 13, 2002, TMB implemented the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) pilot project for web-based electronic permitting of import notices of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials to five selected industry stakeholders and four provincial authorities. The new system will allow notifications and manifests to be submitted electronically to federal and provincial authorities, and it is hoped that the electronic format will allow for faster processing of required forms. The electronic forms will appear on the screen as they do on paper, and will allow users to store tombstone information.
Firms that choose to use the electronic form will be required to obtain a PKI key. The PKI key will ensure each firm has exclusive access to its complete records, and will also serve as an electronic signature. Users will also be able to use a SMART card that will provide Environment Canada with a means of securely identifying drivers and updating information contained on the shipping manifests, including the ability for drivers to digitally sign the e-manifest. This will give Environment Canada the ability to track hazardous waste shipments on a "real time basis".
Participants provided the following comments regarding electronic notification and manifesting:
- Environment Canada should explore opportunities to harmonize the federal electronic permitting system with other provincial and international systems.
- Since all parties involved in completing a manifest do not have electronic access, it will be difficult to complete a form in its entirety.
- Receivers should maintain "read but not write" capabilities on Parts A and B of the manifest.
Currently, the EIHWR require Canadian exporters and importers of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials to carry insurance to cover the costs of environmental clean-up and third-party liability should an incident occur. The EIHWR require Canadian exporters and importers to be insured for environmental impairment liability to the amount of $5 million for all hazardous wastes destined for disposal and $5 million for those hazardous wastes destined for recycling that are considered to pose a significant risk to human health and the environment. Wastes under this regime are listed in Parts I and II of Schedule III of the Regulations and include all recycling outside of the OECD. Some hazardous recyclable materials (listed in Parts III & IV of Schedule III) shipped between Canada and OECD member countries require $1 million coverage.
Although Environment Canada does not intend to change the insurance and liability and compensation provisions in the new regulations at this time, there are various issues it is reviewing for possible changes in the future. For example, Environment Canada continues to analyze the potential impact of acceding to the Basel Protocol on Liability and Compensation for Accidents Resulting From The Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal. The Protocol is not yet in force, and Canada has yet to decide whether or not to accede to this agreement.
Future possibilities being considered for the EIHWR in the area of liability and compensation include:
- Providing a detailed definition of "damage" under the Regulations to clarify that the mandatory insurance requirement is for damage associated with the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material itself, not for accidents which involve no releases;
- Requiring environmental impairment insurance coverage to cover such damage, rather than allowing automobile and general liability policies as a basis for coverage;
- Developing mandatory insurance requirements based on the risk associated with the hazardous waste/hazardous recyclable material being shipped.
Participants provided the following comments with respect to the proposed liability and compensation scheme:
- The proposed minimum insurance coverage ($5 million) does not appear sufficient to cover the costs associated with environmental emergencies.
- Firms should be required to post a bond to ensure that funds will be available in the case of an environmental emergency.
- Canada should introduce cradle to grave requirements that provide an incentive for liability insurance.
At the third Conference of the Parties (COP III) to the Basel Convention held in September 1995, an amendment was adopted banning the export of hazardous waste destined for disposal or recycling from OECD countries to non-OECD countries, i.e. developing countries or countries with economies in transition. The ban is unidirectional it that prohibits the movement of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials from OECD countries to non-OECD countries, but the movement of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials from non-OECD to OECD countries and between OECD countries would still be permitted.
Canada concedes there is sufficient evidence to warrant acceptance of the ban amendment, but has made it clear that it does not support the provisions of the amendment concerning exports of hazardous waste destined for recycling operations. The Canadian government continues to believe that the text of the ban amendment could be improved to promote environmentally sound recycling in all countries.
Participants provided the following comments concerning the Basel Ban Amendment:
- Rather than rely on ESM requirements to ensure effective management in foreign jurisdictions, Canada should ratify the Basel Ban.
- If Canada does not ratify the Basel Ban, it should develop a formal process that will prevent Canadian wastes and recyclables from entering foreign countries that do not have the capacity to manage the materials in an environmentally sound manner.
In 1991, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) published the "National Guidelines for the Landfilling of Hazardous Waste" to set out guidelines on the basic design, operating and performance standards to be used by federal and provincial/territorial regulatory agencies to minimize the risks posed by the landfilling of hazardous waste.
The CCME is presently in the process of preparing a revised version of the current CCME Landfill Hazardous Waste Guidelines, including the three options under consideration (derived from rule, pretreatment standards and up-dated landfill design). Recommended changes will be based upon several background studies conducted within the last year including an impact analysis to evaluate the costs and benefits to the federal government provinces and territories resulting from the adoption of a derived from rule and pre-treatment standards of hazardous waste prior to disposal.
Participants provided the following comments regarding the proposed landfill guideline:
- The new Guidelines should be consistent with Environment Canada's proposed approach under EIHWR.
- One participant objected to the language used in the discussion paper to describe the design of a hazardous waste landfill in Ontario.
While not explicitly addressed on the agenda or in the discussion paper, the issue of enforcement came up during all sessions. Many stakeholders supported the concept of using ticketing provisions for minor administrative offences, and focussing enforcement activities on parties operating completely outside of the regulations.
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