The primary objective of an industry standard is to set requirements for the industry to use the best available air pollution control or best practices. This will modernize operations and reduce air emissions.
In practical terms, an industry standard provides a set of air pollution control requirements or best practices that focus on key contributors to off-site concentrations of priority air toxics. A facility that meets its obligations under an industry standard is in compliance with the regulation.
When we develop a proposed industry standard, we compare representative facilities in the sector to other similar facilities operating in other jurisdictions to determine whether similar requirements can be set for Ontario facilities. We also review of the specific sources of contaminant(s) for that sector, benchmarking of technologies and best management practices to address these sources, and consideration of economic issues that relate to the sector.
Regulating air contaminants in Ontario
We regulate contaminants in air because we want to be protective of communities who live close to industrial sites.
Ontario's Local Air Quality Regulation (O.Reg. 419/05: Air Pollution - Local Air Quality) works within the province's air management framework by regulating air contaminants released into communities by various sources including local industrial and commercial facilities.
Ontario has a unique regulatory approach to improving local air quality that starts with setting science-based standards to protect human health and the environment. While these standards may not always be achievable due to limitations in technology or economics, the goal is to reduce emissions through continuous improvement and best available technologies and practices over time.
Some facilities that are not able to meet an air standard may request a site-specific or technical standard. These standards require companies to invest in the best available technologies and practices to reduce air emissions and improve air quality over time.
These standards are all about getting new investments in modern air pollution controls with the goal of minimizing air pollution over time. We closely oversee the companies' progress to ensure they are achieving the desired results.
We have seen vast improvements to address air emissions as a result of our regulatory approach.
Site-specific and technical standards are developed with full public transparency through public meetings and consultations. We consult the public on all applications for site-specific and technical standards and public input plays an integral role in the ministry's review of proposals.
Facilities in a sector that are operating under an industry standard must focus on best practices and lower emissions to reduce risks to local communities. When we develop a proposed industry standard, key sources of contaminants are identified and prescribed steps and timelines are proposed to address them. Some facilities may also chose to register under the industry standard for contaminants where they meet the air standards. This allows them to be excluded from the modelling requirements for the contaminant(s) facility registered for and reduce regulatory burden and costs while focusing resources where needed to manage emissions.
A facility that meets its obligations under a technical standard is in compliance with the regulation for the registered contaminants.