Environment

Current Policy & Initiatives

National Energy Board Modernization

Expert Panel Consultations
The Minister of Natural Resources has been mandated by the Prime Minister to modernize the National Energy Board (NEB) and to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in such fields as environmental science, community development and Indigenous traditional knowledge. An expert panel has been established to consult with intersted parties as part of the review.

UBCM has conveyed a submission [PDF - 400 KB] to the NEB, based on the resolutions and policy positions that have been adopted by the UBCM membership.

Urban Deer Management Funding

The Provincial Urban Deer Cost-Share Program will help local governments or First Nations with funds to help address urban deer management challenges through operational or research projects. The program aplication is available untill November 22, 2016.

Provincial Urban Deer Cost-Share Program: A Program and Application Guide

Marine Safety

In July 2016, Transport Canada held a cross-sector roundtable to discuss improving marine safety and formalizing a tanker moratorium in northern BC. UBCM President Al Richmond attended the roundtable to advocate on behalf of local governments, and provided a summary of UBCM positions on these topics to Transport Canada.

UBCM Policy Positions on Marine Safety

Invasive Species

On the issue of invasive species, the BC Ministry of Environment has issued clarifying information about the use of certain glyphosate-based products for treating invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed by stem injection.

The BC Ministry of Environment’s Integrated Pest Management Program (IPMP) was recently asked to provide interpretation of label requirements for pesticides containing glyphosate (with a label section for stem injection) when considering their use on Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica).

This label interpretation was confirmed by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which is responsible for registering pesticides for use in Canada.

Stem injection is not allowed on Japanese Knotweed with any glyphosate products currently registered in Canada. As per label instructions, stem injection is restricted to woody species. This is not a new requirement, but an interpretation of existing label conditions; pesticide uses must be described on a label in order to be allowed for use in BC.

For more information, please contact the provincial Integrated Pest Management Program: bc.ipm@gov.bc.ca.

Energy Efficiency Working Group

UBCM was invited to participate in a provincial working group on energy efficiency requirements for large and complex buildings ("Part 3" buildings in the BC Building Code). This working group brings together local governments, industry and the Province to explore energy efficiency performance beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code and within the boundaries of the regulatory environment established in the Building Act.

Energy Efficiency Working Group Terms of Reference

Land Based Spill Preparedness & Response

UBCM represents local government on the Advisory Committee for the proposed provincial Land Based Spills Preparedness and Response Strategy. Building on this, UBCM has undertaken ongoing advocacy regarding the issue. Some of the significant advocacy work is referenced below.

Letter to Minister of Environment re: land based spill preparedness and response regime - Jan 2015

Comments on the provincial government's Land Based Spill Preparedness and Response Second Intentions Paper - June 2014

Letter to Minister of Environment re: industry paper on land based spill preparedness and response - April 2014

Letter to Minister of Environment re: land based spill preparedness and response plan - Jan 2014

Comments on the provincial government's Land Based Spill Preparedness and Response Intentions Paper - Feb 2013 

Vessel Pollution & Dangerous Chemicals Regulations

Transport Canada is considering changes to the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals regulations. Local government feedback was sought prior to January 9, 2015.

Overview: Proposed Changes to the Vessel Pollution & Dangerous Chemicals Regulations

Detailed information: Potential Changes to the Vessel Pollution & Dangerous Chemicals Regulations

Packaging & Printed Paper Stewardship

An Advisory Committee was established by Multi-Material BC (MMBC) to inform and consult with BC stakeholders regarding the implementation of the printed paper and packaging stewardship program. As part of UBCM's efforts to monitor this implementation and the ongoing operation of the program, the UBCM Executive called for representation on the Advisory Committee. MMBC offered UBCM three seats on the Advisory Committee—two voting seats for elected officials and one non-voting seat for technical staff.

MMBC Advisory Committee Draft Overview

Previously, at the 2013 UBCM Annual Convention, members raised a number of concerns regarding the Packaging and Printed Paper Stewardship Agreement being managed by Multi-Material BC. Arising from these concerns, the UBCM membership endorsed resolution 2013-SR1, which in part called on UBCM to create a Recycling Negotiating Committee, representing local government interests, to work with the Province and MMBC. The newly-formed UBCM Recycling Negotiating Committee sought member input on the MMBC Master Service Agreement.

UBCM Recycling Negotiating Committee Meets With MMBC: Information Update - Nov. 22, 2013

UBCM communicated with the Ministry of Environment about resolution 2013-SR1; below is the initial provincial response.

Letter to UBCM from Wes Shoemaker, Deputy Minister of Environment

Liability for Contaminated Sites & Local Government Responsibility

All public sector entities, local governments included, will be required to report liability for remediation of contaminated sites for fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2014 (usually March 31, 2015). The requirement is for contaminated sites that the public sector entity has responsibility for and that have contamination that exceeds environmental standards.

Five criteria must be met for remediation of contaminated sites to be recognized in local government accounting:

  1. An environmental standard exists
  2. Contamination exceeds the environmental standard
  3. The government is directly responsible or accepts responsibility
  4. It is expected tat future economic benefits will be given up, and
  5. A reasonable estimate of the amount can be made.

A Decision Tree has been designed to help explain the process.

For the issue of local government liability, most liabilities for remediation arise from legal obligations which can be enforced by a court of law. Typical examples to consider would include a liability of all or part of an operation that is no longer in productive use, or an unexpected event (i.e. chemical spill or natural disaster) resulting in contamination. The regulation does not include liabilities for closure and post-closure care of a solid waste landfill site when the site stops accepting waste.

Small Water Systems

The UBCM Small Water Systems Working Group has developed best management practices guidelines in an effort to address specific outstanding local government concerns around small water systems:

Financial Best Management Practices Guidelines

Subdivision Best Management Practices Guidelines

At the UBCM Executive meeting on January 24, 2014, the Executive also endorsed the Working Group's recommendations paper, Recommendations for Addressing Key Small Water Systems Challenges. The paper will be presented to the Province for consideration.

Related Programs

Gas Tax Fund 

Policy Scope

The Environment Committee works on behalf of UBCM members to monitor and advocate positive change in environmental policy, as well as promote solutions and share information to support community planning and sustainability. Through the Committee UBCM fulfills four basic functions:

  1. Advocates changes in federal and provincial environmental policy to assist local government in solving environmental concerns at the local level;
  2. Represents local government in the development of environmental policy at the federal and provincial level;
  3. Promotes and shares information on solutions to environmental problems which local governments have implemented; and
  4. Evaluates environmental policy as it relates to community sustainability and community planning.

Contact

Jared Wright
Director of Advocacy & Government Relations
jwright@ubcm.ca
250-387-0891

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