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Policy Proposal Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   010-4374
Creating Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Strategy – a Discussion Paper
Ministry of the Environment
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
August 27, 2008
Keyword(s):   Air  |  Health  |  Land  |  Water  |  Legislation
The comment period for this proposal is now over.
Description of Policy:

The provincial government has committed to introducing new toxic reduction legislation that would reduce pollution, and inform and help protect Ontarians from toxic chemicals in the air, water, land, and consumer products. As a first step, the government is developing a Toxics Reduction Strategy that would be comprised of proposed legislation, elements to build capacity and support for facilities to reduce toxics.  The proposed strategy is designed to foster a greener economy, and inform Ontarians about toxics, including carcinogens, in the environment and consumer products.

The purpose of this posting is to consult on the proposed components of the Toxics Reduction Strategy through the attached Discussion Paper, “Creating Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Strategy.” The Discussion Paper details the components of this proposed strategy and aims to solicit comments from Ontarians to ensure their questions and opinions are considered.

Proposed Toxics Reduction Legislation

The proposed legislation would create new requirements for many facilities using toxic substances, including materials accounting, toxic reduction plans, reporting, and public disclosure. Facilities would be required to identify how they are currently using toxic substances and explore options to reduce those uses. The proposed legislation and corresponding regulations would include a designated list of toxic substances, outline the sectors to be captured, and define toxic use and facility size thresholds.  The legislation would also create new authorities for Ontario to regulate toxic substances and/or products containing toxic substances in cases where the federal government does not take action.  This authority would allow the Province to act in the interest of Ontarians to help protect them from toxic substances in products, should it be decided that action is warranted.  The legislation could also establish a new body or bodies, external to the government, to provide technical assistance, toxic reduction planning support, and potentially training and certification of toxic reduction planners for regulated facilities. This new body (or bodies) could support research, commercialization of new green technologies and work to identify new and safer alternatives to toxics. 

Building Capacity

To build capacity and support for regulated facilities, the government is proposing technical assistance for facilities, partnerships and linkages to support research and the commercialization of green alternatives, and would explore economic and non-economic incentives to encourage toxic use reductions and the development of a greener economy.

Informing Ontarians

To ensure Ontarians are empowered to make informed consumer related and other choices about toxics, the development of an accessible, easy-to-understand internet portal to provide information on how and where toxics are used is proposed under the strategy. Additionally, this portal could provide the public with access to summarized information on facilities’ toxic reduction plans in their communities.

Specific consultation questions are included throughout the Discussion Paper to help facilitate the public dialogue on developing the Toxics Reduction Strategy.

Purpose of Policy:

The purpose of the proposed Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 is to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances, and to inform Ontarians about toxic substances.

Other Information:

In addition to new legislation, the Ministry of the Environment is proposing a broader Toxics Reduction Strategy that would include the following components: Support for Industry and a Green Economy; and Informing Ontarians.

Support to Industry and a Green Economy: 
• Provide compliance assistance, technical assistance and financial incentives to encourage toxics reduction, with a focus on small businesses.
• Train and accredit toxics reduction planners. If enacted, regulations made under the proposed legislation would provide detail on these planners.

Informing Ontarians:
• Increased public transparency by providing the public with access to place-based information on facilities’ use of toxics and progress in achieving toxics reductions.
• Public awareness activities to support increased toxics literacy and to provide Ontarians with the necessary knowledge to make informed choices and support a domestic market shift to greener products.

Public Consultation:

This proposal was posted for a 45 day public review and comment period starting August 27, 2008. Comments were to be received by October 11, 2008.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:

From August 27, 2008 to October, 11 2008, a Discussion Paper, “Creating Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Strategy” was posted on the Environmental Registry (Registry Number: 010-4374) to begin to consult on some components of the proposed Strategy. Elements of the proposed Strategy were outlined in the Discussion Paper.

Consultation Events

During the Discussion Paper consultation period, one hundred and twenty-eight (128) submissions were received. As a result the Ministry received a total of one hundred and forty-five (145) comments. Five (5) multi-stakeholder consultations were held in Toronto, Sarnia, Sault Ste Marie, Hamilton and Ottawa, involving one hundred and thirty-seven (137) stakeholders including representatives from industry, industry associations, environmental non-governmental organizations, health non-governmental organizations, labour organizations and municipalities. In addition, one-on-one sessions were held with over fifteen (15) organizations spanning an equally broad range of interests.

Information sessions with First Nations took place in Thunder Bay and Sarnia in October 2008. First Nations expressed support for the proposed Strategy, particularly the provisions that would increase public disclosure of industry activities.

The Minister of the Environment established a Toxics Reduction Scientific Expert Panel to provide advice on the development of the proposed Toxics Reduction Strategy in general and in particular the prioritization of toxics under the Strategy.

The Ministry will continue to work with stakeholders and the public to develop regulations and all interested parties will have an opportunity to provide comments.


Greg Mouchian
Senior Policy Advisor
Ministry of the Environment
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Strategic Policy Branch
Toxics Reduction Project
135 St.Clair Avenue
Floor 5
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 327-9639
Fax: (416) 326-6679

Additional Information:

The following government offices have additional information regarding this Proposal. To arrange a viewing of these documents please call the Ministry Contact or the Office listed below.

Strategic Policy Branch
77 Wellesley Street West
Floor 11
Toronto Ontario
M7A 2T5
Phone: (416) 314-3372

The documents linked below are provided for the purposes of enhancing public consultation.
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