Vol. 149, No. 23 — June 6, 2015
Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992
Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Department of the Environment and Department of Health
(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 facilities and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production facilities under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Since the VCRR came into force in 1992, additional federal and provincial regulatory instruments have been introduced, resulting in regulatory overlap for Canada’s only remaining PVC manufacturing facility. Accordingly, it is proposed that the federal VCRR be repealed.
Identity, use and effect of vinyl chloride
Vinyl chloride (Chemical Abstracts Service Registry No. 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 1)
Vinyl chloride is not toxic to the environment; however, it is a human carcinogen. (see footnote 2) 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 1999, and releases of VC are being managed.
Canadian industry overview
Vinyl chloride production in Canada has decreased steadily over the years as offshore production has increased. During the 1990s, there were six facilities regulated by the VCRR, five of which have since shut down. Since 2009, only one manufacturing facility (that 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, Ontario Regulation 419/05 (Air Pollution — Local Air Quality) (see footnote 3) [hereafter referred to as the Ontario Regulation] came into effect November 30, 2005, to establish standards for the ambient air concentration of pollutants, including VC, at the facility’s fenceline 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, and 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 fenceline, coupled with air dispersion modelling standards outside the fenceline, the onus is placed on the facility operator to locate and mitigate any VC release source, 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 4) 24-hour standards, which control the ambient air concentration of VC at and beyond the facility fenceline, are an effective way of ensuring that total air emissions released from the facility are within levels that ensure protection of human health.
As part of the MOE certification, (see footnote 5) 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 6) as well as notice of possible contraventions, including notification to provincial authorities, as a result of the facility’s 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 Regulation 490/09 (Designated Substances), as part of the provincial 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 the Quebec Regulation closed in 1993.
Alberta and Quebec still have regulations in place, even though they no longer have facilities subject to their respective regulations.
Current federal regulations
The VCRR impose 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 7)
- 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
- The sum total from all process vents should be less than 100 kg per day.
The VCRR currently require 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.
The owners shall ensure that the operator meets these regulatory requirements.
Vinyl chloride air releases must also be reported to the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) under the authority of CEPA 1999. (see footnote 8)
Furthermore, VC is regulated under the Environmental Emergency Regulations (hereafter referred to as the E2 Regulations) under CEPA 1999. 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.
Some VCRR provisions are also designated under the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement under CEPA 1999, which designate the various regulatory provisions that are associated with an increased fine scheme.
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 9) 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 10) 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 NPRI reporting ensures transparency for Canadians. However, federal and provincial VC release regulations currently provide overlapping control of ambient air exposure outside the facility.
The objective of the proposed repeal is to eliminate federal-provincial regulatory duplication and reduce the administrative burden in the PVC manufacturing sector, without compromising human health.
The proposal would repeal the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992, (see footnote 11) and make consequential amendments to the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement under CEPA 1999 and to the Contraventions Regulations under the Contraventions Act.
The proposed repeal would 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 would therefore apply to this proposal, which is considered an “OUT” under the Rule. The proposed repeal would result in a net reduction of approximately $2,176 in the total annualized average administrative burden (on a per-business basis). (see footnote 12) The proposed 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 13) 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); and
- annual report submission (10 minutes × 1 time per year).
Small business lens
Although the sole Canadian facility subject to the VCRR employs fewer than 100 people, the small business lens does not apply, as the parent company is a major North American chemical manufacturer.
The remaining Canadian facility subject to the VCRR was consulted in June and September of 2014 and, on both occasions, did not have any 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. Therefore, the MOE is supportive of the proposed repeal.
In September 2014, Environment Canada conducted a conference call with a stakeholder community group to consult on the proposed repeal. The group, which was established by the remaining Canadian PVC manufacturing facility as part of its stakeholder engagement program, includes neighbouring residents, representatives of neighbouring companies, MOE representatives, and representatives of the PVC manufacturing facility. No concerns were raised by the stakeholder community group regarding the proposed repeal.
The proposed repeal would 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 saving to Government would result from the proposed repeal, reflecting reduced monitoring, compliance promotion and enforcement.
Only one PVC manufacturing facility in Canada, located in Ontario, remains subject to the VCRR. The proposed repeal would have no impact on the environment and there would be no impact on human health or on indoor air quality within the subject facility, which would 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 federal regulations and the Ontario Regulation differ in terms of the approach taken to measuring VC releases, both result in the control of ambient air levels of VC, effectively protecting 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, i.e. since the coming into force of the Ontario Regulation, which is deemed more stringent than the VCRR. The release limits set out in the VCRR could not have generated these reductions, which are the result of the Ontario Regulation.
Representatives of both Environment Canada and Health Canada consider the Ontario Regulation to afford adequate protection to human health. Provincial authorities and stakeholders consulted have all expressed no concern with the proposed repeal. The proposed repeal would also align with the Government of Canada’s commitment to reduce the regulatory burden on Canadian businesses as part of its “One-for-One” Rule.
Chemical Production Division
Place-Vincent-Massey, Room 11-029
351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard
Regulatory Analysis and Valuation Division
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière, Room 2501
10 Wellington Street
Notice is given, pursuant to subsection 332(1) (see footnote a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (see footnote b), that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 93(1) and sections 97 and 286.1 (see footnote c) of that Act, proposes to make the annexed Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992.
Any person may, within 60 days after the date of publication of this notice, file with the Minister of the Environment comments with respect to the proposed Regulations or a notice of objection requesting that a board of review be established under section 333 of that Act and stating the reasons for the objection. All comments and notices must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be sent to the Chemicals Sector Directorate, Chemical Production Division, Department of the Environment, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3 (tel: 819-938-4209; fax: 819-938-4218; email: email@example.com).
A person who provides information to the Minister of the Environment may submit with the information a request for confidentiality under section 313 of that Act.
Ottawa, May 28, 2015
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council
REGULATIONS REPEALING THE VINYL CHLORIDE RELEASE REGULATIONS, 1992
1. The Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (see footnote 14) 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 15) is repealed.
COMING INTO FORCE
3. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
- Footnote 1
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 2
- Footnote 3
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 4
Prior to July 2014, known as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
- Footnote 5
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 “environmental compliance approval” includes “certificate of approval” (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90e19_e.htm).
- Footnote 6
The MOE requires air dispersion modelling that applies the United States Environmental Protection Agency models.
- Footnote 7
SOR/92-631, Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992, sections 4 and 6 and subsection 7(1).
- Footnote 8
The 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 be undertaken to gather information on releases of a substance for NPRI reporting.
- Footnote 9
Memorandum from the Ministry of the Environment for Ontario, West Central Region, Ontario, April 14, 2013.
- Footnote 10
- Footnote 11
- Footnote 12
Approximately $2,176 in total annualized average administrative costs (constant 2012 dollars, base year 2012 at a 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 13
Administrative burden assumptions and estimates were developed using information provided by industry representatives.
- Footnote 14
- Footnote 15
- Footnote a
S.C. 2004, c. 15, s. 31
- Footnote b
S.C. 1999, c. 33
- Footnote c
S.C. 2009, c. 14, s. 80