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Reply to Comments Received in Submissions on the Proposed Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations

Comments and Reply: Harmonization

A number of industry stakeholders recommended that the proposed Regulations be harmonized with either provincial regimes or the approach taken in U.S. Regulations.

Harmonization with the United States

Considering Environment Canada's statistic that more than 95 percent of the Canadian trade in hazardous wastes/hazardous recyclable materials is with the United States, it would seem practical to directly align to OECD commitments as opposed to other international agreements such as Basel. Also, since Basel allows for an opt out if other equivalent agreements are in effect - such as the Canada/USA agreement or multilateral agreements such as the OECD decision(s) - alignment to these other recognized agreements would also mean Canada is complying with Basel obligations. A customized Canadian solution can recognize our unique situation (USA/Canada trade) as well as yield a competitive advantage for Canada and meet our international obligations (Basel plus others) all the while delivering greater environmental protection not only in Canada but with our major trading partner as well.

Harmonization between Canada and the US regulations is critical to avoid rail transportation disruption including railway interchange and intermodal operations.

We would hope that your proposed rule changes recognize the changes that the US EPA recently proposed with respect to the definition of "solid waste." The proposed rule changes are intended to revise and clarify the RCRA definition of solid waste as it pertains to certain types of hazardous secondary materials that, because they are not being discarded, are not regulated wastes under RCRA Subtitle C. Any material which is generated and reclaimed in a continuous process within the same industry is not "discarded" for the purposes of Subtitle C, and further provided that the recycling process is "legitimate".

Response: Article 11 of the Basel Convention allows parties to the Convention to enter into bilateral agreements, as long as such arrangements do not derogate from the environmentally sound management of wastes. Accordingly, the Canada-U.S.A. Agreement and its supporting regulatory framework are aligned with the control procedures set out in the Convention.

Environment Canada agrees that the proposed Regulations should be harmonized with those of the United States to the extent possible. As such, Canada's definitions of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material are harmonized with those of the U.S. using a hazardous characteristic and listing approach, while Schedules 1 and 2 are consistent with both the Basel Convention and OECD Decision.