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Consultations on PCB Waste Export and Import Regulations

Appendix A: A Brief History of PCB Waste Export and Import

DateEvent Result
1977 Canadian (Chlorobiphenyls Regulations) and U.S. borders closed to PCBsCanada and U.S. both pass legislation making it illegal to import PCBs (except for the importing to Canada for the purpose of destruction). 
1980U.S. PCB waste export/import ban imposed 
1985Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) introducedRegulates transport of hazardous materials, including PCB wastes
1986Canada-US Agreement on the Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous WasteAdministrative conditions for export, import and transportation of hazardous waste
1988Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) introducedDesignates PCBs as "Toxic Substance", provides for regulations respecting PCBs
Late 1980sPCB shipments from Canada to France and Ireland approved.Shipments successfully transported but enormous public concern in both Canada and country of receipt.
1989Failed attempt to export PCB wastes to the United Kingdom.Canada ultimately accepted return of the ships
1989The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal signed by CanadaCanada agrees to work to implement the Convention
1990PCB Waste Export Regulations introducedProhibits export to all countries except US
1992Canada ratifies Basel Convention Canadian legislation to apply Convention rules
1992Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations introducedInstituted to satisfy the requirements of the Basel Convention.  PCBs regulated as a hazardous waste.
1994North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)  Side Agreement to NAFTAPermits restrictions of transboundary movement and use of potentially harmful chemicals and treatment processes that do not meet the standards of a host country
Nov. 15 1995One US company granted "enforcement discretion" to import into US PCB wastes from CanadaSeveral U.S. companies eager to begin importing Canadian PCBs for destruction; have contracts in place waiting for border opening
Nov. 20 1995Interim Order under CEPA amends 1990 PCB Waste Export RegulationsPCB exports to the US cease.
1996CCME Guidelines on PCBs clarifiedClarifies prohibition landfilling of PCBs greater than 50 ppm
1996U.S. Import Rule on PCB waste importsAllows import of PCB waste into the U.S.
Feb. 7 1997Canadian PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996 in forceReplaced Interim Order and permitted export of PCBs to the U.S. for destruction but not for landfilling
July 8 1997U.S. Court of Appeals rules that the EPA did not have the statutory authority to allow the import of PCBs to the U.S.U.S. border closed to all imports of PCBs.  Some shipments had taken place between Feb. and July 1997, Canadian notifiers informed of US prohibition.
1999Several PCB waste management companies express interest in importing PCBs from outside CanadaEnvironment Canada begins to consider adding import provisions to the PCB Waste Export Regulations
1999Alberta government has approved to import of hazardous waste, including PCBs, at the Swan Hills Treatment Centre.No notices for import of PCBs into Alberta received to date.
1999CEPA, 1999Builds on federal authority to regulate movements of wastes and recyclable materials.
March 2000Attempt to import PCB contaminated transformers from US military base in Japan to facility in Northern Ontario.Shipment returned when Ontario determined that the facility was not authorized to receive the waste even if it was below the 50 ppm level.
Oct. 2000Swan Hills operator provided Province of Alberta with written notice of its intention to cease operations at facility on Dec. 31, 2000Subsequent announcement from the Province that an interim operator has been selected.


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