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New developments in emergency regulation.

Canada is about to see regulation of some important aspects of major hazard control involving dangerous substances, marking a first step in catching up with most of the industrialized world. CSChE's process safety management (PSM) Division has been closely involved with much of this work, which grew out of the earlier initiative of the former Major Industrial Accidents Council of Canada (MIACC).

Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Sections 200 and 199

Part VIII of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) deals with environmental emergencies, and two sections of this part of the Act provide the main tools for the federal government to control operations with the potential for such emergencies. The PSM division recently participated with Environment Canada in organizing a workshop in Calgary to review how pending regulation under Part VIII will apply.

Section 200 allows the government to establish a list of substances with potential for immediate and serious harm to human life or health, plus threshold quantities that, if present on a site at any one time, require the site to have an emergency plan. Section 199 gives similar authority, but is aimed specifically at a smaller list of substances defined as "CEPA-toxic" under Schedule I of CEPA (mainly substances that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic). Environment Canada intends to use Section 200 as the main means of control, and to incorporate Section 199 substances into the Section 200 list to provide one document covering what is required by regulated sites. (Substances in transport between sites are already covered by Transport Canada, and Environment Canada is clarifying how the interface between the regulations will apply).

The Section 200 regulation covers over 170 substances, and is expected to be in effect by the time this article appears. The accompanying guideline explains what is expected under Sections 200 and 199.

After a 90-day lead in period, all sites meeting the criteria (substance and threshold quantity) must register with Environment Canada. If the largest container of a listed substance also exceeds the criteria, the site then has six months to develop and a further six months to implement an environmental emergency that must cover all aspects of a potential environmental emergency--prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. Some of these are well known, but prevention--which basically means process safety management--has never been addressed by regulation before in Canada.

There are some exemptions, for example for quantities in containers less than 30 kg and also for those not normally present on a site and there for less than 72 hours. This is to focus the regulation on sites with major hazard potential rather than on the downstream or distribution/ retail end of the chain, at least to start with. Provisions have also been made to allow flammables to be addressed by specified physical criteria such as flash point, boiling point, etc. so that it is not necessary to calculate all the components of a mixture. However, the scope of the regulation is likely to be extended on the next review, for example to cover reactive chemicals, once initial problems with implementation have been resolved.

Ontario regulates emergency management

Ontario is also moving with regulation based on work under the former MIACC initiative, but extended to apply to emergencies in general rather than only dangerous goods.

The Ontario government has passed legislation calling for each Ontario ministry and also each municipality in the province to have an emergency management program. The program criteria have been established by Emergency Management Ontario (EMO). The municipal criteria are based on the three-level community self-assessment tool developed under MIACC and transferred on MIACC's dissolution to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs' Partnerships Toward Safer Communities initiative (the corresponding site self-assessment is available on the PSM division's website--these websites are www.ptsc-program.org and www. cheminst.ca/division/psm/index.htm.

Ontario municipalities are required to meet the essential level of the program by April 2004, with a goal of progressing to the higher levels over the following two years. All municipalities in the province have already designated a community emergency official, and most of these officers have also been through EMO's essential level orientation training course. Training for the enhanced and comprehensive levels is targeted for early 2004.

The follow-up to the essential level orientation is a Basic Emergency Management course. EMO is currently piloting a train-the-trainer course, and is working on making the course "JEPPable", which would allow municipalities to apply for funding under the federal government's Joint Emergency Preparedness Program.

For more information, contact Graham Creedy at the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association, gcreedy@ccpa.ca or 613-237-6215, ext. 242.
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Title Annotation:new Canadaian regulations are being created; Articles
Author:Creedy, Graham
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:763
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