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Responsibility Matters TM

Regulatory Generations...where to from here?

D a v e S a u cier

The Chemunicator theme for this issue is “generations”. During 2011 the CACD celebrated its 25th anniversary and in many regards, it’s coming of age. Much was accomplished by the first generation of CACD members. Much more will have to be done by the current generation to maintain the frenetic regulatory compliance pace to sustain positions and achieve growth in the Canadian chemical industry.

governments interact. The provincial and territorial members are still passionately debating regulatory points that have been in force for almost 25 years. The revision to CEPA in 1999 commenced the third generation of our current regulatory revolution. The barrage started in earnest with a long list of government initiatives, policies and regulations regarding chemicals. Drug and Explosive Precursor regulations were enacted; CEPA Section 71 mandatory sur veys were launched to assist with categorizing and prioritizing existing substances and the subsequent Chemical Challenge to Industry with Batch 1 through 12, now commonly referred to as the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The National Pollutants Release Inventory (NPRI) was introduced.

Ma na ge r, Re gula to r y & Go v e r n me n t A ffa ir s

This brief vignette will take us through the regulatory generations and conclude with where I think the path will lead. With respect to chemical regulations we are now concluding the third generation, and fast approaching the commencement of the fourth. Regrettably or gratefully, depending on the day and my personal perspective, I have lived through all these generations and hope to continue to participate in the next few, at the very least.

Significant New Activity orders (SNAc) were published and the debate still rages whether a SNAc is a regulation without having gone through the regulatory process. CMP phase 2 was announced in late 2011 with funding to continue the good work built on phase 1.

I can safely say that life was simple prior to 1985 before the first onslaught of regulations to impact the chemical distribution industry, which was for all intents and purposes the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG). Good ‘ole perennial Her Honour Hazel McCallion, the enduring Mayor of Mississauga, “lit a fire under the Government of Canada’s chair” and insisted on regulations in response to the infamous Mississauga derailment that occurred at the same time I started my first chemical distribution job in November 1979.

In between, we’ve had Environmental Emergency, Pollution Prevention Plan regulations; the City of Toronto Sewer By-law 681; the Ontario Toxic Reductions Act, to name but a few. So what is the next generation of regulations going to provide in terms of complexity and challenges? Well, we already know of a few imminent ones almost at the Canada Gazette stage: GHS and new Dangerous Goods Transport Security regulations are being drafted. The new Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) has been created between Canada and the United States to harmonize regulations to improve border security and trade between our respective countries, something we desperately need (I hope).

Since then I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to have to deal, in one way or another, with the following generations of regulations now in play and on the horizon that have and will affect our industry. The year was 1988 and ushered in Generation 2 of the regulation revolution to hit distribution. A one-two punch with the jab being the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), followed quite quickly with the uppercut and introduction of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and the creation of the Domestic Substances List (DSL). In fact there were multiple DSL’s developed back then.

The antiquated Food and Drug Act will be modernized; Volatile Organic Compound limits for personal care and consumer products are under development and will be in force during 2018. The list of non-regulated chemicals which can be used to produce illicit drug and/or explosives continues to grow and provides communication and awareness training issues that must be addressed. Who could have imagined that Citric Acid or Calcium Carbonate sales would be monitored to make sure that they are not diverted for nefarious reasons?

I recall many members being offered the opportunity to voluntarily participate in the “core” DSL which was published in August 1989. I also recall the majority declining to take advantage of the invitation. 200 companies did indeed participate including my employer at the time. This was followed by the “provisional” DSL where all companies in Canada were “invited” to add to the core list. The provisional list became the official DSL on July 1, 1994 and is what we all use today.

I think this little trip down memory lane provides clarity on one single point of focus – training. One of the recent CACD branding exercise tag lines is EDUCATION MATTERS. Never has this been more accurate! The challenges all member companies are faced with today is exponentially more complex than when we were faced with the need to develop compliance programs to TDG, then WHMIS and then CEPA.

The Responsible Distribution Code of Practice was born at this time and will itself commence its 3rd generation at this year’s annual general meeting. New Substance Notification regulations came into force on July 1, 1994.

We must ensure that the current and next generations of employees in our industry have the necessary tools to be able to manage the complexities of the regulatory world we must all live and thrive within. Our industry is easy pickings – the Government has almost carte blanche with alcohol, tobacco and chemicals in regards to regulatory proposals, all in the name of protecting Canadians.

As an aside, I recently participated in the WHMIS Current Issues Committee teleconference to update members on the current status of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), and much to my comfort, nothing has changed between how the federal and provincial


The Chemunicator - Spring 2013  

The 2013 Spring issue of The Chemunicator. Published by the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors (CACD) represents chemical distri...