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.
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.
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.