The Ontario Climate Change Discussion Paper 2015

On February 12, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) released its Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper 2015 (‘Discussion Paper’). This 43-page paper is meant to restart the conversation about climate change in Ontario, in terms of the possible actions the government may take.  The Discussion Paper has been posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights website, which provides an opportunity for the public to submit comments until March 29, 2015.  Public consultations have also been organized across the province. 

Once the comment period has concluded, MOECC plans to consider all input as it finalizes its Climate Change Strategy, which is anticipated to be released prior to the Climate Summit of the Americas (July 7-9). There will also be a document released in the spring regarding carbon pricing, and the mechanism options (i.e., carbon tax or cap and trade system), followed by some technical consultation. To read the complete summary of the discussion paper, please click here.

Relevance to Provision Members:

Provision members should be aware that the paper includes a section regarding carbon pricing, with information provided about the various systems that could be implemented; cap and trade, baseline and credit, carbon tax, and regulations and performance standards.  In recent years, the government has been leaning towards the cap and trade model. However, looking to the BC example, a carbon tax is also being discussed as a possible way forward.  

In addition, Ontario’s biggest GHG emitters, by sector, are identified, with the top five being transportation, buildings and communities, electricity, industry, agriculture and forestry, and waste (emissions from landfill).  The government will be looking at these sectors in particular to reduce emissions through new practices, technology and improved planning. Changes within these sectors could have an impact on existing practices undertaken by the food and beverage manufacturing sector

The Ontario Toxics Reduction Living List Framework:

What Is The Living List Framework?

The Living List Framework is a new process to guide the review and to make changes, additions, or deletions to the prescribed lists of Toxic Substances and/or Substances of Concern.  Development of the Framework was led by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), and guided by a multi-stakeholder working group and public comment process.  

Why Was It Created?

The Living List Framework was created to offer an opportunity to nominate substances for deletion or a change to how they are listed, such as to the volume threshold or listed definition. Substances currently on the list of Toxic Substances drive onerous regulatory requirements.  They must be tracked and reported annually, with plans developed to reduce their use or creation, and annual plan reports and summaries prepared - even if there is no safety concern, ability, or intention to reduce the use or creation of a substance.  Having the ability to propose changes to this list has the potential to positively impact a manufacturer’s cost of compliance.

How Do I Nominate A Substance?

Under the Framework, nominations for a change to the status of substances can be made by government or the public.  These will be screened against specific criteria, with successful nominations subjected to government review and public consultation. Nominators must submit a supporting rationale with their request to add, delete, or change the status of a substance.  The Living List Framework considers both scientific and practical evidence:  environmental data, human health data and/or contextual information related to the use or creation of the substance in Ontario.  Information will be considered confidential as appropriate under Ontario legislation.  A guidance document will be available to facilitate nominations. Nominations can be submitted at any time.    

Government’s review of successfully nominated substances will evaluate the hazard profile plus the contextual information, within the mandate of the Toxics Reduction Act.  Expert input will be sought when needed, such as in the case of any data gaps or uncertainty. Encouragingly, government “may also consider costs to industry under a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) as well as any economic/environmental benefits of any proposed changes to the list of prescribed substances.”  Proposals to add, delete, or change substances will be posted for public comment.  Final decisions by MOECC will also be posted online along with anticipated implementation timing.

Relevance to Provision Members:

Provision Coalition members may wish to consider candidate substances for which a nomination for deletion or a change to the listing may be appropriate. In parallel, it can be expected that public organisations may nominate substances for addition to the list. While change is not expected to be easy, the new Framework presents an opportunity. Credible and thoughtful nominations by industry now can effectively pilot the new Living List Framework and help lead to successful outcomes.

To review the the full summary document, click here.

Briefing Note: Food Substances Alert

Health Canada and Environment Canada continuously evaluate the human health implications and environmental safety of all substances used in food and food packaging that are sold in Canada. Food additives, food processing aids and food substances (such as flavours, colours, etc.) must be listed on either the revised In Commerce List or the Domestic Substances List in order to be used in Canada or contained in a food that is imported into Canada. Similarly, substances used in food packaging in Canada or imported into Canada for use in food packaging, including inks and adhesives, must be listed on the Domestic Substances List. As such, it is important that food and beverage manufacturers be aware of the substances used in their operations and of their obligations with respect to these lists.

For more information on the changes to the 
Revised In Commerce List and Domestic Substances List, see Provision's Food Substance Alert Briefing Note.

Relevance to Provision Members:

If a food substance used in your product or product packaging is not listed on the Revised In Commerce List and/or the Domestic Substances List, it is your regulatory responsibility to have it added. The Government of Canada can stop the manufacture or import of food and food packaging containing a substance that is NOT found on either the revised In Commerce List or the Domestic Substances List. 

Environmental Compliance Approvals System (eECAS)

Provision has been asked to share an invitation to the upcoming testing sessions for the electronic Environmental Compliance Approvals System (eECAS). The MOECC is seeking volunteers to participate in the testing of the new online application system for environmental compliance approvals. Participating organizations will get a firsthand glimpse of the online application process and gain experience with the system before beginning to submit their own ECA applications electronically.

There are two testing days scheduled: Monday, March 30 (1:30 - 4:30 pm) and Friday, April 10 (9:00 am - 12:00 pm). The testing sessions will take place at 720 Bay Street, Toronto, ON. Those interested in attending a testing session are encouraged to send a confirmation email to James King, Senior Program Coordinator at MOECC, as soon as possible. Space in these sessions is limited and only 3 participants from a given organization / association will be permitted to register.

Relevance to Provision Members:

These sessions may be of value for Provision members that currently engage in the Environmental Compliance Approval process.

MOECC Permission To Take Water Focus Group Session

As part of Ontario’s commitment to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, applicants for a new Permit to Take Water (PTTW) where the consumptive use may exceed 19 million litres per day will be required to perform a site-specific calculation of consumptive use. Consumptive use refers to the amount of water taken and not returned within the Great Lakes Basin and can include incorporation into products, evaporative losses, or any other losses that remove water from the basin. For more information on the Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, click here.

The methodology discussed in this focus group session aims to provide enhanced documentation of the consumptive nature of a proposed PTTW, while limiting the amount of effort required by the applicant. The calculation approach is customized for multiple sectors and seeks to provide more accurate estimates of site-specific water demands, with specific focus on the municipal, irrigative, and industrial / commercial / institutional (ICI) sectors.

Relevance to Provision Members:

Although the focus group session was informative, this PTTW process presents no immediate impacts to Provision’s member associations. The consumptive water use values of typical food and beverage manufacturing facilities fall considerably short of the 19 MLD threshold for the updated PTTW application procedure.

MOECC Organic Waste Diversion Pre-Consultation Process

Provision was approached by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to get a better understanding of the issues, challenges, and opportunities for increasing organics diversion from the perspective of the food processing industry. As part of this process, Provision reached out to its members with an online poll to seek input prior to participating in the meeting with the Ministry on January 30, 2015. Member responses were collected and brought forward as part of the teleconference discussion. The input of Provision’s members was well-received by the Ministry and they stated their intention to continue engaging the coalition in future consultations.

Relevance to Provision Members:

The MOECC appreciates the members’ input and will continue to work closely with Provision to address organic waste diversion in Ontario.

Member Poll: D-Series Land Use Guidelines

Provision’s involvement in the review of the D-Series Land Use Guidelines will help to establish a workable policy that, when applied, ensures that decisions made by municipalities at Official Plan and zoning levels don't put Provision's member companies out of compliance with the Environmental Protection Act. To date, only 4 of Provision's 11 member associations have responded to the short poll regarding Provision's participation in the review process. The survey remains active and can be completed here.

Relevance to Provision Members:

These land use regulations have the potential to impact zoning requirements of member facilities.

Ontario Blue Box Program – Update on 2014 Fee Adjustment and 2015 Fees

All obligated Blue Box Program Plan (BBPP) stewards of packaging and printed paper materials, including many Provision Coalition member companies, are required to pay fees through Stewardship Ontario. In December 2013, Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) reported that the 2014 fee schedule would await the outcome of the arbitration. Meanwhile, Stewardship Ontario made interim payments to municipalities based on the 2013 fee schedule, in June/July and again in September 2014. It was confirmed then that the remaining 2014 Blue Box payments to municipalities, due December 2014 and March 2015, would be adjusted as necessary based on the arbitrator’s decision. In parallel, consultations were also held on planned 2015 fees. During the October 15, 2014 Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA) Second National Annual Meeting, it was noted by Stewardship Ontario that the Ontario 2015 Blue Box Program fee obligation was also pending the arbitration ruling.

Ontario’s 2014 Blue Box Arbitration Decision was released on November 25, 2014. The Arbitrator concluded that the 2014 steward obligation was just over $115 million. This was a $99.5 million increase from the interim 2014 payments. The final 2014 payments were therefore increased. The 2014 BBPP Adjustment Fee Schedule  was approved December 10, 2014 to address the shortfall due to municipalities by March 31, 2015. Ontario’s Pending 2015 Fee Schedule is also now posted and awaits WDO approval.  

As next steps, individual company stewards can access their 2015 Fees and Submission Reports via the stewards-only WeRecyclePortal and should be working directly with Stewardship Ontario to ensure they meet all their 2014 and 2015 payment obligations. See also Stewardship Ontario’s website for further information, particularly SO's information about 2015 fee schedule and rules and SO's summary of Blue Box fees and payments.

Relevance to Provision Members:

Provision Members that participate in the Blue Box Program should be aware that applicable fees may increase as a result of these decisions.