The start of the new year is a good time to update yourself on new standards and rules impacting the industry. According to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the following legislation and regulation changes are in effect as of January 1, 2023.

Emissions performance standards

The Ontario government is amending its Emissions Performance Standards program to meet stricter benchmark criteria set by the federal government, allowing the program to extend to 2030 and ensuring Ontario industries remain covered by our own Ontario-made program that will continue to be fair, cost-effective and flexible to meet the unique needs and circumstances of our province. The government will bring forward plans for the use of proceeds from the EPS program in 2023.

In addition, the Ontario government is amending its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting program to support the implementation and delivery of the province’s Emissions Performance Standards program for the 2023-2030 period and maintain harmonization with federal GHG reporting requirements.

Hazardous waste reporting registry

Regulatory amendments will require the use of a new hazardous waste reporting registry with streamlined reporting processes for more than 40,000 businesses and institutions regulated by the Hazardous Waste program, while modernizing by shifting from paper to electronic reports. Information will be submitted through a digital reporting service delivered by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority.

The reporting service opened on November 15, 2022, and the regulated community will be required to use it starting January 1, 2023. A new regulation was also created to carry over existing fee exemptions from Regulation 347 (e.g., fee exemptions for municipalities running hazardous waste days) and outlines other fee setting requirements the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority must follow when recovering the full cost of the Hazardous Waste program.

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Excess soils regulation

In setting clear rules to support the appropriate beneficial reuse of excess soils and working with municipalities and other law enforcement agencies to help put a stop to the illegal dumping of excess soil, the Ontario government implemented a pause beginning in April 2022 of certain requirements in the Excess Soil Regulation that came into effect January 1, 2022. The provisions that were paused will come back into effect on January 1, 2023, and include an amendment that removes the reuse planning requirements, such as registration, sampling and tracking, for excess soil moved from lower-risk projects, and amending the Rules for Soil Management and Excess Soil Quality Standards (Soil Rules) to remove limits on the pile size for temporary piles of soil for storage.

Environmental exemptions

The Ontario government brought in a regulation providing an exemption for certain Peel Region roads from the prohibition under the Environmental Assessment Act on proceeding with a planned undertaking within 30 days of completion of the class EA (Environmental Assessment) process. As this 30-day waiting period ended in in September 2022, the regulation is now spent and no longer needed.

Amendments to the regulation for Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities of Hydro One will be revoked on January 1, 2023. The revocation provision was included to provide MECP with time to update the approved Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (“Class EA”) to reflect the amendments made by the regulation.

On January 1, 2023, a time-limited exemption for Northern Ontario from the renewable content requirements for gasoline prescribed in the Cleaner Transportation Fuels regulation will expire.

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Resource recovery and circular economy

Ontario finalized amendments to regulations made under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016. In the case of the Tires regulation, the government made the following changes intended to reduce unnecessary administrative requirements while ensuring the environment and consumers are protected:

  • Amend the small producer exemption to require only record-keeping for all small producers.
  • Update producer hierarchy to replace Ontario brand holders with Canadian brand holders.
  • Add a provision to clarify what producer responsibility organizations can do for producers and how they share liability.
  • Allow repair of tires to count toward management targets.

In the case of the Batteries regulation, the government made the following changes intended to streamline enforcement efforts and increase transparency related to visible fees:

  • Amend the small producer exemption to require just record keeping for all small producers.
  • Add a promotion and education requirement related to visible fees.
  • Add a provision to clarify that producer responsibility organizations have shared liability with producers for certain aspects of the regulation, such as establishing the collection network and ensuring the collection is managed properly.

In the case of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulation, the government made the following changes intended to reduce streamline enforcement efforts and increase transparency related to visible fees:

  • Add a promotion and education requirement related to visible fees.
  • Update “producer agreement” provision to clarify how producer responsibility organizations and producers share liability.

The government finalized a new regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 to establish a framework for administrative penalties (AP) orders for non-compliant producers and others regulated by the Act, thus allowing for the use of administrative penalties as an enforcement tool. As a result, the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority will have an additional compliance tool to ensure obligations under the RRCEA and its regulations are being met and to ensure there are no disruptions in waste diversion services to Ontarians.

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Featured image credit: istock

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