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Consultations on PCB Waste Export and Import Regulations

2. The Process

Canada is in the process of updating its regulations to promote more efficient controls on transboundary movements and management of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials. This course is guided by the new Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 ("CEPA, 1999"), which strengthens the provisions concerning control and management of hazardous waste by incorporating new authorities into the legislation. These additional requirements include environmentally sound management, equivalent levels of safety and waste reduction plans for exports for final disposal.

A review of the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations (EIHWR) has been initiated, with plans for new regulations to improve regulatory efficiency and enforcement, to implement changes to applicable international obligations and to implement these new CEPA authorities by 2003. It is anticipated that the controls on the export and import of PCB wastes may eventually be integrated into these amended regulations as part of this 2003 EIHWR amendment. Development of the amended EIHWR is in its early stages and will also involve significant stakeholder consultation processes over the next two years.

Given the increasing interest in importing PCB wastes, rather than wait until EIHWR is amended, it was decided to amend the current PCBWER in 2001 to include imports. These regulations will become the PCB Waste Import and Export Regulations (PCBWEIR) and this is the subject of this discussion paper.

Concurrent with these changes, the revised Chlorobiphenyls Regulations (which will be calledthe PCB Regulations), which require among other things an accelerated phase-out and destruction of in-use and stored PCB products, are being developed under the new CEPA. These regulations only allow import of PCBs for treatment and destruction, where the PCBs will be destroyed in the process. While the revised PCB Regulations are not part of this consultation process, they will be an important element in conjunction with the stipulations in the new PCBWEIR in Canada's overall PCB waste management regime.

This present consultation process is designed to elicit your views on the proposed inclusion of import requirements to the PCBWER and other proposed amendments, including possible controls on materials contaminated with PCBs in concentrations between 2 and 50 ppm. Once the workshops are complete, Environment Canada will consider all suggestions and recommendations and draft the regulations accordingly. The draft PCBWEIR will then be submitted for legal drafting. A socio-economic study is also underway and will form the basis for the Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement that must accompany the regulations.

The Statutory Instruments Act (R.S., 1985, C. S-22) establishes the basic legal process the federal government must follow when developing regulations. The process is summarized as follows:1

  1. A copy of the regulations proposed to be made by the Minister or the Governor in Council under CEPA is published by the Minister in Part I of the Canada Gazette, Canada's official parliamentary journal. This publication is a statement that indicates the manner in which the Ministers (of the Environment and Health) intend to develop a proposed regulation.
  2. Within 60 days after the publication of a proposed regulation, any person, including a representative of the government of any country that would be affected by or benefit from it, may file with the Minister written comments on the proposed regulation.

Once a proposed regulation has been finalized, taking into account the comments received during the 60-day public consultation period, the final official regulation is published in Part II of the Canada Gazette. It is expected that the new PCBWEIR will be ready for Gazetting in (Part I) the Spring of 2001.

1 Government of Canada, CEPA Environmental Registry

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