Environmental emergency regulations: 2011 amendments
The Environmental Emergency Regulations came into force on November 18, 2003. That same year, based on consultations with non-profit stakeholders, Environment Canada committed to evaluate 49 additional substances for their potential to create environmental emergencies. In addition, stakeholders that are involved with acetic acid, styrene and ammonium nitrate requested that these three additional substances also be assessed. As an example of the hazards associated with styrene, an explosion that occurred in the province of Quebec in 1966 resulted in 11 deaths, 7 injuries and significant property loss. Of the 52 substances evaluated, 33 substances and classes of these substances (a total of 41 substances) were found to have the potential to create environmental emergencies due to their significant risk to the environment and human life in the case of accidents, vandalism or terrorist acts. Based on this conclusion, these substances are being added to Schedule 1 of the Environmental Emergency Regulations (the Regulations).
The fundamental objective of the Regulations Amending the Environmental Emergency Regulations (the Amendments) is to require that effective environmental emergency plans are in place to protect the environment and the health of Canadians by preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from an environmental emergency. The Amendments are supportive of, and are linked to, the federal government’s overall policies for public safety and emergency preparedness.
The Amendments enhance the existing protection provided by the Regulations for specified substances that are flammable or hazardous. In addition, the Amendments clarify some existing provisions and provide exceptions from the requirements of the Regulations. These modifications include:
- Addition of 33 substances and classes of substances representing different forms of the core 33 substances (a total of 41 individual substances) to Schedule 1 of the Regulations
- Exceptions to the calculation of quantities for certain solids, anhydrous ammonia and ammonia solution, and propane;
- Provisions for closed or decommissioned facilities;
- Exclusions from the List of Substances in Schedule 1 of the Regulations;
- Modifications to Schedule 1 of the Regulations to include substances that are aquatically toxic, carcinogenic, persistent or bioaccumulative;
- Revision to the reporting requirements of the Regulations; and
- Miscellaneous changes.
Effective environmental emergency planning is essential to reduce the frequency and consequences of environmental emergencies involving the unplanned, uncontrolled or accidental release of hazardous substances.
Full text of the Environmental Emergency Regulations, last amended December 8, 2011, can be viewed at the following;
These guidelines are intended for the use of any person or class of persons who owns or has the charge, management, or control of a substance that may be required to have environmental emergency planning.
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