Vol. 150, No. 11 — June 1, 2016
SOR/2016-96 May 13, 2016
CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT, 1999
Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992
P.C. 2016-340 May 13, 2016
Whereas, pursuant to subsection 332(1) (see footnote a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (see footnote b), the Minister of the Environment published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on June 6, 2015, a copy of the proposed Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992, substantially in the annexed form, and persons were given an opportunity to file comments with respect to the proposed Regulations or to file a notice of objection requesting that a board of review be established and stating the reasons for the objection;
And whereas, pursuant to subsection 93(3) of that Act, the National Advisory Committee has been given an opportunity to provide its advice under section 6 (see footnote c) of that Act;
Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health, pursuant to subsection 93(1) and sections 97 and 286.1 (see footnote d) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (see footnote e), makes the annexed Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992.
Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992
1 The Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (see footnote 1) are repealed.
2 Item 8 of the schedule to the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999) (see footnote 2) is repealed.
Coming into Force
3 These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
The Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (hereafter referred to as the VCRR) have imposed limits on the release of vinyl chloride (VC) from both VC production and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production facilities under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). Since the VCRR came into force in 1992, additional federal and provincial regulatory instruments have been introduced, resulting in regulatory overlap for Canada’s remaining PVC manufacturing facility. Accordingly, the federal VCRR are repealed.
Identity, use and effect of vinyl chloride
VC (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number 75-01-4) is a colourless, flammable and explosive gas. It is also known as vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), chloroethene, chloroethylene, monochloroethylene or ethylene monochloride. It is used to make PVC, which is then used to make a wide variety of products including: electrical wire (insulation and cables), industrial and household equipment, medical supplies, food packaging materials, building and construction products and piping. (see footnote 3)
VC is a human carcinogen. (see footnote 4) Air emission releases of VC from PVC manufacturing and VC manufacturing facilities are a source of potential exposure for the general population. VC has accordingly been listed on the federal List of Toxic Substances, Schedule 1 of CEPA, and releases of VC are being managed.
Canadian industry overview
VC production in Canada has decreased steadily over the years as off-shore production has increased. During the 1990s, there were six facilities regulated by the VCRR of which five have since shut down. Since 2009, only one manufacturing facility (which manufactures PVC) continues to operate in Canada. Air emissions of VC from this facility, located in Ontario, are regulated by the VCRR and by provincial regulations.
Current provincial regulations
At the provincial level, the Ontario Regulation 419/05 (Air Pollution — Local Air Quality) [hereafter referred to as the Ontario Regulation] (see footnote 5) came into effect on November 30, 2005, to establish standards for the ambient air concentration of pollutants, including VC, at the facility’s fence line as measured by the facility’s air monitoring stations. The Ontario Regulation also requires the modelling of the ambient air concentration of VC outside the facility’s fence, whereupon the results must meet the standards set in the Ontario Regulation.
The Government of Ontario has incrementally increased the stringency of the standard for the remaining Ontario facility. The first set of more stringent air quality standards in Ontario took effect in 2009, with increased stringency implemented in 2014. Because the Ontario Regulation imposes standards on ambient air concentrations in samples at the facility’s fence line, coupled with air dispersion modelling standards outside the fence line, the facility operator is responsible for locating and mitigating any VC release source(s), including releases from the manufacturing process through vents, fugitive emissions and any possible spills within the facility property. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOE) (see footnote 6) 24-hour standards, which control the ambient air concentration of VC at and beyond the facility fence line, are an effective way of ensuring that total air emissions released from the facility are within levels that are protective of human health.
As part of the MOE certification, (see footnote 7) the facility is required to submit, monthly, the results of ambient air monitoring at the facility, in addition to quarterly summaries of the emissions results and dispersion modelling reports, (see footnote 8) as well as notices of possible contraventions, including notification to provincial authorities as a result of their modelling or measurements.
The remaining facility in the province of Ontario is also subject to indoor air quality standards for VC in the workplace environment under Ontario Regulations 490/09 Designated Substances, as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Alberta’s Substance Release Regulation (hereafter referred to as the Alberta Regulation), which mirrors the VCRR, was developed because of the historical operation of VC and PVC manufacturing within the province. The last facility subject to VC air emission limits under the Alberta Regulation closed in 2006.
Quebec prescribes air quality standards for VC manufacturing facilities in the Règlement sur l’assainissement de l’atmosphère (hereafter referred to as the Quebec Regulation) because there were VC and PVC manufacturing activities in that province in the past. The last manufacturing facility subject to Quebec Regulation closed in 1993.
These two provinces still have regulations in place, even though they no longer have facilities subject to their respective regulations.
The Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992
The VCRR imposed daily mass and concentration release limits from any point source (such as a vent), and also the daily limit from the sum of all sources (see footnote 9)
- from any single vent: less than 10 ppm and less than 2 kg per day;
- production-based: emission intensity limits of 0.002–0.2 kg VCM per 100 kg of PVC produced, depending on the type of production process; and
- sum total from all process vents should be less than 100 kg per day.
The VCRR required that owners of plants ensure that the operators
- sample and test the concentration of releases at the specific point-sources controlled under the VCRR;
- report any releases exceeding the standards under those Regulations;
- submit plans for the control of fugitive emissions;
- report emission testing and certain malfunctions and breakdowns; and
- prepare a plan to prevent accidental releases.
Some VCRR provisions were also designated under the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement under CEPA, which designate the various regulatory provisions that are subject to an increased fine scheme.
A violation of the VCRR requirements constituted a violation of CEPA.
VC air releases are required to be reported to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) under the authority of CEPA. (see footnote 10)
Furthermore, VC is regulated under the Environmental Emergency Regulations (hereafter referred to as E2 Regulations) under CEPA. The E2 Regulations list substances based on specified thresholds for storage quantity. The E2 Regulations may require persons who own or have the charge, management, or control of specified toxic and hazardous substances at or above the specified thresholds to provide information on the substances and their quantities and to prepare and implement environmental emergency plans.
Performance of current management regime
VC is managed thoroughly at the federal and provincial levels. Total air emissions of VC from the sole Canadian facility, reported to NPRI, decreased by 80% between 2005 and 2013. During the same period of time, air emissions of VC have decreased by 95% overall in the province.
In 2013, MOE monitoring of ambient air levels of VC, in the community surrounding the remaining facility, confirmed that emissions of VC were, on all occasions tested, well below the 24-hour average concentration standards set out in the Ontario Regulation. (see footnote 11) It should be noted that these reductions were not required by the VCRR, as the emission limits have remained unchanged since the VCRR came into force in 1992.
Total Canadian air emission data from the NPRI show a steady annual decline of VC, demonstrating a 97% reduction nationally in 2013 compared to 2005. (see footnote 12) Provincial occupational health and safety regulations control in-facility worker exposure at the remaining Ontario facility, while the federal E2 Regulations manage risks associated with storage of VC, and the NPRI reporting ensures transparency for Canadians. However, historically, the repealed federal VCRR and current provincial VC release regulations provided overlapping control of VC. Upon careful examination and consultation with stakeholders, federal and provincial authorities have agreed that the provincial VC release regulations adequately control emissions of VC to ambient air outside the facility.
The objective of the Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (the Repeal) is to eliminate federal and provincial regulatory duplication and reduce administrative burden in the PVC manufacturing sector, without compromising human health.
The Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 repeal the VCRR and make consequential amendments to the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement under CEPA.
The Repeal will eliminate administrative activities undertaken by regulatees in order to comply with the VCRR, including VC release data collection, calculations, analysis, assessment, record-keeping and reporting (on both a quarterly and annual basis). The “One-for-One” Rule will therefore apply to the Repeal, and is considered an “OUT” under the Rule. The Repeal is expected to result in a net reduction of approximately $2,034 in total annualized average administrative burden (on a per business basis). (see footnote 13) The Repeal is expected to save around 107 hours of labour each year, which results from repealed requirements for data collection, calculations, analysis, assessment and reporting. The annualized average administrative burden costs, including hours of labour required, were estimated based on information provided by the sole remaining Canadian facility subject to the VCRR.
Eliminated administrative activities, and associated assumptions, (see footnote 14) include
- monthly record keeping (2 hours × 12 times per year);
- quarterly report preparation (2 hours × 4 times per year);
- annual report preparation (30 hours × 1 time per year);
- quarterly sample collection reports (10 minutes × 4 times per year);
- annual laboratory analysis reports (20 minutes × 1 time per year);
- quarterly report submission and record keeping (10 minutes × 4 times per year);
- annual report submission (10 minutes × 1 time per year).
Small business lens
Although the sole Canadian facility subject to the repealed VCRR employs fewer than 100 people, the small business lens does not apply, as the parent company is a major North American chemical manufacturer.
Engagement with industry and the MOE was conducted prior to the prepublication of the proposed Repeal in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This engagement was targeted to the remaining Canadian PVC manufacturing facility, the MOE and a stakeholder community group. This group was established by the remaining Canadian PVC manufacturing facility as part of its stakeholder engagement program, and is comprised of the facility’s neighbouring residents, representatives of neighbouring companies and MOE representatives. A summary of comments received prior to the prepublication of the proposed Repeal is summarized below.
The remaining Canadian facility subject to the VCRR was consulted in June and September of 2014, and on both occasions, expressed no concerns with regard to the proposed Repeal.
In August 2014, the MOE was consulted regarding the proposed Repeal, whereupon no concern was expressed. MOE officials commented that the Ontario Regulation adequately controls ambient air emissions of VC, as well as monitoring and compliance of the remaining Canadian PVC manufacturing facility. As a result, the MOE expressed support for the proposed Repeal.
In September 2014 and April 2015, the Department of the Environment conducted a teleconference call with the stakeholder community group. All representatives were supportive of the proposed Repeal and expressed no concerns.
Prior to the prepublication in the Canada Gazette, Part I, the Department of the Environment informed the governments of the provinces and territories through the Canadian Environmental Protection Act National Advisory Committee (CEPA NAC) about the proposed Repeal and provided them with an opportunity to consult. No comments were received from CEPA NAC members prior to, nor during, the prepublication consultation period.
The proposed Repeal was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on June 6, 2015, followed by a 60-day public comment period. The Department of the Environment notified the remaining Canadian PVC manufacturing facility and the MOE concerning the prepublication and the comment period.
During the comment period, two written comments were received. The first written comment received was from the remaining Canadian facility subject to the VCRR. The representative of the facility indicated support for the proposed Repeal, indicated that the company did not have any concerns, and reported having received support from neighbouring residents and representatives of the neighbouring companies that are on its stakeholder community group. The second written comment received was from the MOE, which also provided their support for the proposed Repeal and indicated that the “air emissions from this facility are appropriately regulated under provincial requirements.”
The Repeal will eliminate federal-provincial regulatory duplication and reduce the compliance and administrative burden in the PVC manufacturing sector without compromising human health. It is expected that a small savings to government will result from the Repeal, reflecting reduced monitoring, compliance promotion and enforcement activities.
Only one PVC manufacturing facility in Canada, located in Ontario, has been subject to the VCRR since 2009. The Repeal will have no impact on the environment and there will be no impact on human health, or on indoor air quality within that facility, which will continue to be subject to indoor air quality standards in Ontario. VC continues to also be subject to the E2 Regulations as a substance listed in Schedule 1 of these Regulations with obligations based on specified thresholds for storage quantity.
Releases of VC in Ontario continue to be controlled under the Ontario Regulation, which imposes a standard on the concentration of VC in the ambient air at the fence line, and outside a facility’s fence line and thus provides protection to human health.
Although the repealed federal VCRR and the Ontario Regulation differed in terms of the approach taken to control VC releases, both curbed the ambient air levels of VC, which effectively helps to protect human health. NPRI total air emissions of VC from the sole Canadian facility are reported as having been reduced by over 80% from 2005 levels, since the coming into force of the Ontario Regulation.
The Department of Health considers that the Ontario Regulation affords adequate protection to human health. Provincial authorities and stakeholders consulted have all expressed no concern with the Repeal.
Strategic environmental assessment
As required by the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, (see footnote 15) a preliminary scan was conducted which concluded there would be no expected important environmental effects, either positive or negative; accordingly, a strategic environmental assessment is not required.
Chemical Production Division
Department of the Environment
Place Vincent Massey
351, Saint-Joseph Boulevard, Room 11-029
Regulatory Analysis and Valuation Division
Department of the Environment
200, Sacré-Cœur Boulevard, Room 1084
- Footnote a
S.C. 2004, c. 15, s. 31
- Footnote b
S.C. 1999, c. 33
- Footnote c
S.C. 2015, c. 3, par. 172(d)
- Footnote d
S.C. 2009, c. 14, s. 80
- Footnote e
S.C. 1999, c. 33
- Footnote 1
- Footnote 2
- Footnote 3
Health Canada, Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document Vinyl Chloride, March 2013. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/vinyl_chloride/index-eng.php.
- Footnote 4
- Footnote 5
Ontario Regulation 419/05 (Air Pollution — Local Air Quality); http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_050419_e.htm.
- Footnote 6
Prior to July 2014, formerly known as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
- Footnote 7
The MOE provides certification, which allows, under prescribed conditions, the regulated discharge of contaminants into the natural environment. Since the 2010 amendment of the Environmental Protection Act of Ontario, any reference to an environmental compliance approval includes certificate of approval. Source: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90e19_e.htm.
- Footnote 8
The MOE requires air dispersion modelling that applies the United States Environmental Protection Agency models.
- Footnote 9
SOR-92-631, Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992, sections 4, 6 and subsection 7(1).
- Footnote 10
NPRI is Canada’s legislated, publicly accessible inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling. However, reporting VC to the NPRI does not require monitoring. Only reasonable efforts must still be undertaken to gather information on releases of a substance for NPRI reporting.
- Footnote 11
Memorandum from the Ministry of the Environment for Ontario, West Central Region, Ontario, April 14, 2013.
- Footnote 12
- Footnote 13
Approximately $2,034 in total annualized average administrative costs (constant 2012 dollars, base year 2012 at 7% discount rate; over the 10-year analytical time frame). The wage applied varies from $20 to $33 per hour to reflect the level of staff assigned by the facility, in 2012 dollars, not including overhead.
- Footnote 14
Administrative burden assumptions and estimates were developed using information provided by industry representatives.
- Footnote 15