June 13-20, 2005

Revisions to rules finalized for export, import of hazwaste, hazardous recyclables

Regulations to improve Canada's management of the export and import of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials such as leftovers from oil refining, the manufacture of chemicals and metal processing, batteries, computer and electronic waste were finalized this month through their publication in the June 1, 2005, edition of the Canada Gazette, Part II.

Revisions to the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations were needed to adapt to evolving international obligations and to strengthen measures to control the growing issue of electronic waste. The new Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations were published for consultation in 2004, and, following a short phase-in period, will be fully in effect as of November 2005.

The revisions maintain the core requirements of the current regulations, including the prior informed consent of countries before the movement of hazardous wastes takes place, the tracking of all transboundary movements, and the recycling of materials and disposal of wastes at authorized facilities.

The updated requirements will further protect the environment and/or human health by introducing specific criteria enabling the federal government to refuse to issue a permit for export, import or transit if the waste or recyclable material will not be managed in a way that will protect the environment and human health. The revisions also include a requirement for waste reductions plans pertaining to exports of hazardous wastes destined for disposal.

Environment Canada notes that exemptions for low-risk hazardous material-in accordance with the mechanism outlined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-will support a sustainable recycling industry in Canada by facilitating access of such materials. A streamlined administrative process will make it easier for the regulated community when they apply for permits and will improve the controls of the movements of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials across international borders.

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