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Past Consultations - Updating the Regulatory Framework for the Transboundary Movement of Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Materials


Management of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Materials in Canada

The control of hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials within Canada is a responsibility shared by the federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments. The federal government is responsible for regulating international and inter-provincial/territorial movements. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for regulating and licensing waste generators, carriers, and disposal, recycling and treatment facilities. Municipal governments are responsible for establishing waste collection and disposal programs within their jurisdictions.

Under the authorities provided by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), Environment Canada (EC) currently has three Regulations in force for controlling transboundary movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials. They are:

  • the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations, 2005 (EIHWHRMR);
  • the Interprovincial Movement of Hazardous Waste Regulations, 2002 (IMHWR);
  • the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) Waste Export Regulations, 1996.

These Regulations were enacted to ensure that hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials are transported across borders in an environmentally sound manner that protects the environment and human health. They also contribute to Canada’s ability to meet its obligations under three international Agreements (see sub-section below) by bringing these obligations into national legislation.

Building on the work done over the past few years and, in light of the 2007 Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation, EC is undertaking a review and update of these Regulations (hereafter referred to as the Regulatory Framework) to: improve efficiency and effectiveness; minimize duplication; ensure consistency of definitions; improve policy coherence; streamline requirements; clarify some provisions; add new ones to better align with international requirements and address emerging issues; and ensure greater protection for Canadians, their health and their environment.

International Agreements

Canada is party to three international Agreements that establish obligations with respect to the management and international movement of hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials:

  • the United Nations Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989 (ratified by Canada in 1992);
  • the Decision C(2001)/107/Final of the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) Concerning the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations; and
  • the Canada-USA Agreement on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 1986 as amended in 1992 to include provisions for non-hazardous waste.

The Basel Convention has the following key objectives:

  • minimize the generation of waste and its hazardous characteristics;
  • minimize the movement of waste;
  • ensure that waste is disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

In line with these objectives, the three international Agreements are consistent and ensure that international movements of waste and hazardous recyclable materials are managed in an environmentally sound manner from the point of generation to the final disposal or recycling. For that purpose, the Agreements establish the following common risk management processes:

  • ensure that international movements are properly documented and directed to authorized facilities that perform the disposal or recycling operations under environmentally sound management (ESM) practices;
  • implement prior informed consent mechanisms for export, import and transit of hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials.

The current review and update of the Regulatory Framework is guided by these key objectives and risk management processes. The complete text of these agreements is available through EC’s waste management and reduction web page under “International Agreements”.

Elements Included in this Update of the Regulatory Framework

The review of the Regulatory Framework includes the following elements:

  1. new provisions regulating the export and import of non-hazardous waste;
  2. new provisions to improve the regulation of the export and import of designated electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) destined for final disposal, recycling or reuse;
  3. streamlining and integrating provisions for the export and import of hazardous waste containing PCB;
  4. simplification of IMHWR requirements and alignment of definitions with the current EIHWHRMR;
  5. administrative adjustments to improve clarity, accuracy and efficiency without affecting the essence of the regulations.

These elements are detailed in Section 2 of this discussion document.

1.1 Objectives of this Consultation

EC is committed to ensuring that meaningful and effective consultation with stakeholders is part of all initiatives aimed at modifying existing regulations and developing new regulatory provisions to manage environmental risk posed by the movement and management of hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials. In keeping with this commitment, EC has prepared this discussion document to:

  • inform stakeholders of the proposed review of the Regulatory Framework;
  • invite stakeholders to provide comments on the proposal;
  • provide an opportunity for stakeholders to raise their concerns, and to offer comments and suggestions to improve the proposed updates to the Regulatory Framework; and,
  • ensure that EC officialsclearly address all stakeholder questions and concerns on the proposed regulatory provisions.

These consultations are therefore intended to ensure that the proposed regulatory provisions are as open, transparent, effective, and straightforward as possible, that protection of the environment and human health are at the forefront, and that they support all government policies and international agreements related to hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials.

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