Spill Response Engagement

Regulations are now being developed to enact the new legislation. The ministry has designed a five-phase engagement process to discuss the proposed legislative and regulatory changes with industry, communities, First Nations, first responders and the public. All input will inform the development of the new regulations. Presentations, summary reports and other engagement materials are available for public review.

1. Public input on a third intentions paper

On April 5, 2016, the Province announced the launch of public engagement inviting British Columbians to review and comment on a new intentions paper around spill preparedness and response in B.C.

The intentions paper summarizes amendments to the Environmental Management Act (EMA), introduced on Feb 29, 2016 and passed on May 10, 2016 (see news release), which provide the legal foundation to establish a new spill preparedness and response regime (regime) to address environmental emergencies in B.C.

The public comment period for the Spill Response Regime Third Intentions Paper ran from April 5, 2016 to June 30, 2016. Stakeholder submissions and public responses to the discussion questions remain available for public viewing.  

2. Symposium

More than 250 industry, First Nations, local government, other regulators and environmental non-profit organizations attended this 2-day Spill Response Symposium held April 20 and 21 in Richmond, B.C. The presentations and summary reports and other engagement materials are available online.

3. Regional meetings with First Nations.

The First Nations Fisheries Council coordinated six regional meetings on the BC Spill Response Regime with First Nations. Meetings were held in Fort St. John, Kamloops, Prince Rupert, Prince George, Nanaimo and Richmond. Summary reports will be published after a final meeting is held in Vancouver, coordinated by the Coastal First Nations.

4. Technical Working Groups and ongoing meetings

Technical Working Groups represent diverse experts in the field of spill preparedness and response, as well as critical groups impacted by the spill of hazardous substances in B.C. Recommendations will be used to inform the regulations that enact the legislation. Regulations will be developed in a staggered approach. The first three priority subject areas for the regulations include:

  • Defining the regulated person by determining which hazardous substances and amounts will be regulated.
  • The content of spill contingency plans
  • Response times 

Final reports from each technical working group will be published on the engagement materials webpage upon completion; the first three are due out in Fall 2016.

Other staff to staff meetings with other regulators, industry associations and other interested parties are ongoing. 

5. Summary Engagement Report

The results of all five phases of the current engagement process will be summarized in a final report to be published in the fall of 2016.

The current public engagement period builds on previous engagement on two other spill intentions papers, released in 2012 and 2014.

Stakeholder Discussion Papers

Both formal and informal engagement meetings continue with other regulators and groups potentially impacted by the changing provincial spill management legislation and regulations. As part of this process, some participants are proposing their own solutions and recommendations to ministry staff for consideration. In response, Ministry staff may request further engagement or provide a written response. Staff will assess all proposals against the intention of the original legislation and determine which of the suggestions will inform the next set of regulations.

Each of these documents is posted under “Stakeholder Discussion Papers” on the Engagement Materials webpage.