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Demolition | Skills Training

March 17, 2005

Agency backs off initial plan

Code will be sold as best practices guide

CANCUN, Mexico

Environment Canada now plans to “sell” a code for the reduction of air emissions from construction and demolition activities as a voluntary best practices guide rather than a regulation, says Regina contractor Wayne Morsky.

Wayne Morsky

In a report to the Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA) board of directors, the incoming chair of the CCA environment committee said the federal agency has “backed off” its initial plans.

“At a public meeting in February, CCA mobilized the industry and presented a united front against this report,” said Morsky, a partner in the Morsky Group of Companies.

“As a result, Environment Canada has backed off the idea of selling this document as a form of regulation.

“However, there is still an appetite amongst some Environment Canada officials and environmental groups to impose some new form of regulation for construction firms.”

For the past year, CCA has participated in an Environment Canada task force that has been looking at ways to encourage the construction and demolition industry to reduce its levels of particulate matter emissions.

In December, the agency issued a report that contained a number of recommendations for contractors on how such emissions could be reduced.

It suggested that this document could become a code of practice that provinces and municipalities would be encouraged to adopt as regulation.

“However, the recommendations in this report showed a complete lack of understanding about the industry — for example, the report recommended that all construction activity cease when temperatures or wind speed rose above certain levels,” Morsky said.

Additional meetings of the multi-stakeholder working group are scheduled. Environment Canada is said to be anxious to put in place measures that would encourage industry to improve its record on particulate matter emissions.

“As this process continues over the coming year, CCA will be taking the lead with its other industry partners to prevent any negative impacts that this process may create for the construction sector,” Morsky said.

On another front, he reported that one of the environment committee’s priorities over the coming year “undoubtedly” will be the issue of recycling and reuse.

“We know that many jurisdictions are requiring contractors to divert a certain percentage of its construction waste away from landfills,” Morsky said. “However, the biggest problem that we as contractors run into is that there are few places that will accept construction waste for recycling and reuse purposes.

“Over the coming months, we will be discussing with other national stakeholders how to stimulate a market for recycling and reusable products.”

This issue will be looked at in more detail at the committee’s next meeting in Victoria.

Morsky also reported that the CCA’s mould task force has been hard at work creating a new educational course, which is expected to be finalized by late spring. To date, some 15 associations have agreed to host these courses.

“In addition, even though the CCA guide on mould is only one-year old, the task force soon will be conducting a thorough review of the document to ensure that its content contains the most up-to-date information available.”

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