What follows is a detailed breakdown of the proposed amendments.
1. Changes to the Global Warming Potential (GWP) Values to Adopt Internationally-Accepted Values
The Ministry is proposing to amend Regulation 452/09 to update the GWP to be used for reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to adopt internationally-accepted values, and in so doing align with other systems in Canada, including Environment Canada.
The Ontario and federal programs both require the reporting of seven types of GHGs: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). Each GHG persists for a different length of time in the atmosphere and has a different warming impact. Standard ratios are used to convert the various GHGs into equivalent amounts of CO2. These ratios are based on the global warming potential (GWP) of each gas, which describes its total warming impact relative to CO2 over a set period – usually a hundred years.
In November 2013, Environment Canada updated the GWP values that facilities are required to use to report their emissions.
The differences in the GWPs for the Ontario and federal programs mean facilities will appear to have different total emissions in their provincial and federal emissions reports. This may require them to submit separate reports to each jurisdiction.
2. Clarification on Verification Statements
Currently, a verifier can only issue a positive verification statement where there is full compliance with the regulation or an adverse verification statement where there are one or more areas of non-compliance.
The Ministry is proposing to amend the regulation to add a new category, qualified positive verification statements, where the emissions report contains no material discrepancy but there are one or more areas of non-compliance with some requirements of the regulation or guideline.
3. Clarification on Temporary and Partial Closures
Several facilities have been temporarily closed (minimal emissions) or partially closed with emissions that will not exceed the 25,000 tonne threshold, yet they are still required to submit a verification statement for at least three years. This adds administrative burden and cost.
The Ministry proposes to amend the regulation to remove the verification requirements for facilities:
- For years of temporary closure with minimum emissions; or
- For permanent closure of part of a facility where the remaining facility is not expected to exceed 25,000 tonnes of GHG emissions
4. Changes to the Guideline to Remain Consistent with Requirements in Other Provinces
Other provinces updated their reporting requirements in 2011 and 2013 to provide greater flexibility around the sampling and analysis of fuels and clarity on various calculations. In addition, there are a number of areas in the Ontario guideline that required clarifications to help facilities and verifiers in the application of the requirements.
The Ministry is proposing to amend the guideline to align with the reporting methods used in other provinces (e.g., B.C., Quebec) and to clarify other sections of the Ontario Guideline to help facilities and verifiers in the application of the requirements. Details of the proposed changes are provided in the tracked change version of the guideline (see link to documents under Additional Information).
5. Streamline Director Approvals in the Guideline
The guideline contains over twenty instances where director consent/approval or a submission to the director is required. This process can be streamlined and improved to reduce the administrative requirements.
The Ministry is proposing to amend the guideline to clarify and remove some of the director consents, director approval, and submissions to the director. Details of the proposed changes are provided in the tracked change version of the guideline (see link to documents under Additional Information).
6. Other Administrative Updates
The regulation refers to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The Ministry intends to adopt the 2012 version of the NAICS for the purposes of O.Reg. 452/09. The update to the reference would become effective upon publication of this notice to the Environmental Registry.