Top 5 Things To Know About Canadian Hazardous Waste Regulations










Hazardous waste isn't taken lightly. You've probably seen news of hazardous waste disposal settlements and accusations regarding improper handling and disposal of waste and materials - such as Sims Group USA and AT&T which have both recently agreed to huge settlements as a result of hazardous waste disposal investigations.   

The handling and disposal of hazardous waste are heavily legislated in Canada, and businesses need to keep up with these. With that in mind, here's an overview of the top five things you need to know about hazardous waste regulation in Canada:


  1. In Canada, all three levels of government are involved with environmental protection and management of hazardous wastes.

    This means that you may be affected by all levels of government. Here is a breakdown of jurisdiction:
  • Municipal governments establish collection, recycling, and disposal programs within their jurisdictions.
  • Provincial and territorial governments establish criteria for licensing hazardous-waste generators, carriers, and treatment facilities.  They also control movements of hazardous waste within their jurisdictions.
  • The Federal Government regulates transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and recyclable materials.   

  1. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) is the legislative act that regulates the management of hazardous waste recycling and disposal.

    CEPA was enacted to prevent pollution and protect the environment and human health by contributing to sustainable development. According to Environment Canada, CEPA:  
  • makes pollution prevention the cornerstone of national efforts to reduce toxic substances in the environment;
  • sets out processes to assess the risks to the environment and human health posed by substances in commerce;
  • imposes time frames for managing toxic substances;
  • provides a wide range of tools to manage toxic substances, other pollution and wastes;
  • ensures the most harmful substances are phased out or not released into the environment in any measurable quantity;
  • includes provisions to regulate vehicle, engine, and equipment emissions;
  • strengthens enforcement of the Act and its regulations;
  • encourages greater citizen input into decision-making; and
  • allows for more effective cooperation and partnership with other governments and Aboriginal peoples.
  1. So what are hazardous wastes 

    The definition of hazardous waste was set out by CEPA and includes residues from industrial productions including solvents, acids, and bases, as well as residuals from oil refining and chemical/metal processing. Household hazardous wastes include items such as car batteries or oil-based paints.

    Hazardous wastes take many forms such as solid, liquid, gas, sludge, or paste, and are categorized into different classes. 

  2. There are 9 different classes of hazardous waste, each with its own unique set of criteria.

    Environment Canada has defined each class of waste. The class categories are:
Class 1: Explosives
Class 2: Gases
Class 3: Flammable Liquids
Class 4: Flammable Solids; Substances Liable to Spontaneous Combustion;Substances That, on Contact with Water, Emit Flammable Gases (Water-Reactive Substances)
Class 5: Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides
Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances
Class 7: Radioactive Materials 
Class 8: Corrosives
Class 9: Miscellaneous Products, Substances or Organisms
  1. Export and imports of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials are regulated under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) as part of CEPA 1999. 

    These regulations ensure all materials transported across international borders are managed properly to protect the environment and human health. This act only affects those who are involved in import, export or transit of hazardous wastes or hazardous recyclable materials.

Learn more about CEPA 1999 and EIHWHRMR by visiting Environment Canada

Best Practices for Compliance with Canadian Hazardous Waste Legislation

Navigating the complexities of hazardous waste legislation in Canada requires a diligent approach. Adhering to these best practices can ensure that your business not only complies with the law but also contributes positively to environmental sustainability.

Understand the Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and other relevant laws and regulations. It's crucial to understand which aspects of the legislation apply to your specific business activities.

Regular Training and Awareness: Conduct regular training sessions for your staff. Ensure that everyone involved in handling hazardous waste is aware of the regulations and understands the importance of compliance.

Accurate and Up-to-Date Record-Keeping: Maintain meticulous records of all the hazardous waste that your business generates, stores, transports, and disposes of. This includes keeping track of quantities, movements, and disposal methods. Accurate records are vital for compliance and can be crucial in audits or inspections.

Safe Storage and Handling: Implement and maintain safe storage and handling procedures for hazardous waste. This includes proper labeling, using appropriate containers, and ensuring safe and secure storage areas.

Regular Audits and Inspections: Conduct regular internal audits and inspections to ensure ongoing compliance with hazardous waste legislation. This proactive approach can help identify and rectify any potential issues before they become problematic.

Hire or Consult with Experts: Consider hiring environmental consultants or legal experts who specialize in hazardous waste management. Their expertise can guide you in complex areas and help ensure that your practices are in line with current legislation.

Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan: Have a plan in place for dealing with hazardous waste emergencies. This should include procedures for containment, cleanup, and notification of relevant authorities.

Stay Informed About Legislative Changes: Keep up to date with any changes in hazardous waste legislation. Regulatory environments can change, and staying informed will help you adapt your practices accordingly.

Contact Maratek to learn about our Hazardous Waste Disposal Services.

Learn More About Our Hazardous Waste Disposal Services

Maratek Environmental Inc. has proudly served industrial manufacturers who produce hazardous chemical waste and solvent waste such as printing, photofinishing, silver and paint related manufacturers for over 40 years.

Maratek corporate offices are located in Bolton, Ontario; about 15 minutes north of Toronto. Maratek Environmental Inc. 60 Healey Road Unit 8-10 Bolton, ON L7E 5A5 Phone: 905.857.2738 Fax: 905.857.2764 Toll Free: 1.800.667.6272 


Environment Canada
A Guide to Understanding the CEPA Act, 1999
Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations
Guide to Classification
Management of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials in Canada
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Materials


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