Repeal the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and all associated regulations by December 31, 2021

ERO number
013-4234
Notice type
Act
Act
Toxics Reduction Act, 2009
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
December 6, 2018 - January 20, 2019 (45 days) Closed

This consultation was open from:
December 6, 2018
to January 20, 2019

Decision summary

We will repeal the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and its associated regulations on December 31, 2021. This will remove unnecessary duplication with the federal program and reduce burden for industry.

Decision details

As part of the Ontario Open for Business Action Plan, we consulted on:

Following these consultations we’ve decided to repeal the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and revoke associated regulations on December 31, 2021. A decision to reduce burden under Ontario Regulation 455/09 has already been implemented.

Reasons for repealing the Act

The Toxics Reduction Program has not achieved meaningful reductions. Results indicate an overall reduction of only 0.04% of substances used, created and released for all regulated facilities.

Repealing the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 in 2021 will:

  • eliminate duplication and overlap with the federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan program under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999.
  • preserve annual reporting of toxic substances to maintain Ontarians’ right to know until 2021.

Duplication and overlap with the federal program

The federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan program follows a rigorous science-based approach to assess and manage toxic chemicals in Canada.

The federal government consults broadly on:

  • their substance assessments; and
  • the development of risk management tools that are available and economically feasible.

Both Ontario and the federal government require industry to take action on a common list of toxic substances.

The Ontario Toxics Reduction Program requires industry to:

  • report publicly on how toxic substances are used, created, release and contained in product; and
  • identify options to reduce those substances in toxic substance reduction plans. However, implementation of those plans is voluntary.

The federal Chemicals Management Plan program requires industry to:

  • reduce the use and/or release of certain toxic substances; and
  • use both voluntary and mandatory approaches depending on the risk assessment of the substance to manage it.

Maintaining Ontarian’s right to know

Regulated facilities still have to maintain reporting under the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and its associated regulations until December 31, 2021.

Existing facilities with current plans for substances that meet reporting thresholds are required to report annually on:

  • the amounts of those substances used, created, contained in product; and
  • the progress in reducing those substances.

This information is available to the public on:

Ontarians can access this data to learn about:

  • toxic substances in their communities; and
  • what steps facilities are taking to reduce them.

Until the repeal, facilities can continue to voluntarily amend their plans. Summaries of amended plans must also be made available to the public.

Our approach to repeal the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and associated regulations, and to defer to the federal Chemicals Management Plan program in 2021, maintains the right balance between a healthy environment and a healthy economy. We encourage facilities to continue implementing toxic substance reduction options identified in their existing plans.

Ontario has a variety of existing compliance tools that address contaminants that are toxic substances. We have also released the proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, which will help to protect and conserve our air, land and water.

Comments received

Through the registry

167

By email

264

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

What we heard

We considered all feedback received during the comment period for this posting. We received comments from a wide range of interested parties, including:

  • individual members of the public
  • industry and industry associations
  • municipalities
  • non-governmental organizations

Industry was supportive of the proposed repeal of the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009.

The public and non-governmental organizations were not supportive of the proposed repeal of the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009.

Below is a summary of the comments received and how we considered them in our decision. Comments are grouped into five themes:

  1. Concerns with deferring to the federal Chemicals Management Plan program.
  2. Strengthening the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 to achieve better outcomes.
  3. Potential impacts to the environment, human health, and worker safety.
  4. Focus on cutting red tape and promoting corporate interests at the expense of public interests.
  5. Right to know about toxic substances in the community.

1. Concerns with deferring to the federal Chemicals Management Plan program

Commenters were concerned that the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 does not duplicate the federal Chemicals Management Plan program.

Response

Both Ontario and the federal governments require industry to take action on shared toxic substances:

  • The Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 requires industry to report publicly on toxic substances used, created, released, and contained in product. Prior to the recent regulatory amendments, they were also required to develop plans to reduce the amounts used, created, released and contained in product of those substances.
  • The federal Chemicals Management Plan program requires industry to reduce the use and/or release of certain toxic substances.

While implementing toxic substance reduction plans under Ontario’s program is voluntary, the federal program has many risk management tools appropriate for the substance that can include both voluntary and mandatory actions.

To avoid this duplication, Ontario’s facilities will benefit from no longer having to:

  • prepare new plans; or
  • review their existing plans.

We are confident in the federal government’s approach under the Chemicals Management Plan program to manage substances.

2. Strengthening the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 to achieve better outcomes

Commenters were concerned that the act was being repealed, and its associated regulations revoked, without first considering changes to the program to achieve better outcomes. This includes:

  • setting toxic substance reduction targets; and
  • proclaiming un-proclaimed sections of the act related to:
    • collecting information about substances of concern in Ontario;
    • labelling and banning of substances; and
    • imposing administrative penalties.
Response

Setting toxic substance reduction targets could cause unnecessary burden on facilities. The Toxics Reduction Program uses modern regulatory principles to reduce toxics. Facilities can set reduction targets and meet them on their own schedule at a pace that reflects their:

  • capabilities,
  • resources, and
  • availability of technology and alternative substances.

The federal program takes these factors into consideration as well when researching and selecting the most appropriate risk tools to manage a toxic substance.

The unproclaimed sections of the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 will lapse on December 31, 2019 and will not be proclaimed into force. Proclaiming these sections would increase burden on industry, and any regulations necessary to operationalize the unproclaimed provisions would only be in place until December 31, 2021. With regard to the three sections:

  • Collecting information about substances of concern in Ontario: To date, we have not received any requests to consider changes to our list of toxic substances, which would have required us to collect information about lesser known substances through this unproclaimed section. We will continue to evaluate the need, if required, to obtain information on lesser known substances.
  • Labelling and banning of substances: Any labelling and banning initiatives are best addressed at the federal level in line with international efforts to set new directions to safely manage toxic substances.
  • Administrative penalties: Since the introduction of the Toxic Reduction Program, the existing array of tools (such as warnings, letters, notice of violations, provincial officer’s orders and investigations) have proven to be effective to achieve compliance. This is demonstrated by the consistently high compliance rate over the last five years. For this reason, there is no need to proclaim additional compliance and enforcement tools such as the administrative penalties.

3. Potential impacts to the environment, human health and worker safety

Commenters were concerned that repealing the act could have negative impact on environmental and human health, and on the safety of those working at facilities.

Response

We are not expecting impacts to:

  • the environment,
  • human health, and
  • worker safety

Implementation of toxic substance reduction plans was voluntary, and there has only been a 0.04% overall reduction of substances used, created, released, and contained in product.

The federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan program is a rigorous, science-based program to manage toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The program’s goal is to review and manage the potential risks which chemical substances can pose to Canadians and the environment.

We also heard and recognize that many facilities develop and maintain their own comprehensive environmental, health and safety management systems. These management systems are developed to:

  • ensure a clean environment,
  • healthy communities, and
  • protect worker safety

4. Focus on cutting red tape and promoting corporate interests at the expense of public interests

Commenters were concerned that these changes would make it easier for facilities to use toxic substances and pollute. They feel businesses need oversight to protect public interests, including the environment and human health.

Response

We are committed to protecting the environment and human health while ensuring that Ontario is open for business.

This is why we recently released the proposed Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, which balances a healthy environment with a healthy economy.

Ontario also has a number of existing compliance tools that address contaminants that are toxic substances. For example, the Environmental Protection Act, 1990 allows the ministry to make regulations to collect information, or to set standards to limit the releases of a substance.

5. Right to know about toxic substances in the community

Commenters were concerned that the repeal of the act and associated regulations could negatively impact the public availability of information on toxic substances.

Response

The Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 defines toxic substances as:

  • those listed in the federal National Pollutant Release Inventory under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, as well as
  • acetone (adopted from Ontario Regulation 127/01 made under the Environmental Protection Act, 1990).

After 2021, facilities would continue to be required to meet the federal National Pollutant Release Inventory requirements to report publicly on releases to:

  • air,
  • land, and
  • water.

This information is also available online on a federally-managed site with a map, similar to Ontario’s Environment Map.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Toxics Reduction Program
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
4th floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

Connect with us

Contact

Sign up for notifications

We will send you email notifications with any updates related to this consultation. You can change your notification preferences anytime by visiting settings in your profile page.

Follow this notice

Original proposal

ERO number
013-4234
Notice type
Act
Act
Toxics Reduction Act, 2009
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposal posted

Comment period

December 6, 2018 - January 20, 2019 (45 days)

Proposal details

Description of act

As part of Ontario’s proposal to reduce regulatory burden, we propose to repeal the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and its regulations on December 31, 2021.

By 2021, all Ontario toxic substances will covered by the federal Chemicals Management Plan. At this time, Ontario proposes to repeal the Toxics Reduction Act and will defer to the federal government’s comprehensive program.

Purpose of act

Ontario’s toxic reduction Act

The purpose of the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 is to:

  • Prevent pollution by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances.
  • Inform Ontarians about those substances.

Industry is required to develop toxic reduction plans, and report publicly each year. Implementation of plans is voluntary.

The Toxics Reduction Program has not achieved meaningful reductions. Preliminary results indicate an overall reduction of 0.04% of substances used, created and released for all regulated facilities.

Proposed changes

Both Ontario and the federal governments require industry to take action on similar toxic substances:

  • The Ontario Toxics Reduction Program requires industry to report publicly on their use of toxic substances, and identify options to reduce those substances through toxic reduction plans.
  • The federal Chemicals Management Plan requires industry to reduce the use and/or release of certain toxic substances. The federal approach is more comprehensive than the existing provincial program.

This proposal cuts red tape and reduces regulatory burden for businesses. Addressing duplication and overlap associated with the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 was a theme during the Red Tape Challenge sector consultations.

Other program changes

We are proposing other program changes to maintain Ontarian’s right to know about toxic substances while also proposing to reduce burden on industry, until the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 is repealed.

Read about and comment on the additional proposed changes

Reducing red tape

Read more about Ontario’s proposal to reduce regulatory burden.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Toxics Reduction Program
Address

40 St. Clair Avenue West
4th floor
Toronto, ON
M4V 1M2
Canada

Office phone number

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from December 6, 2018
to January 20, 2019

Connect with us

Contact