The federal government has enacted further restrictions in the use of mercury in products in Canada. The Products Containing Mercury Regulations set a November 7th, 2015 deadline for the prohibition on the manufacture or importation of many mercury-containing products.
Many Consumer and Commercial Products Affected
Specifically, the regulations target the following types of products:
- button cell batteries;
- fluorescent, vapour and metal halide lamps and lighting devices; dental amalgams;
- radio frequency switches and relays in control instruments;
- scientific thermometers and calibration instrumentation;
- in-vitro diagnostic and medical devices;
- industrial/commercial film and paper; and
- certain light detectors and electrodes;
Permit For Continued Use Available
Environment Canada has recognized that alternative, non-mercury containing products may not be available by the prohibition deadline for many manufacturers and importers and has provided for a continued use permit. The permit requires evidence that no alternate product achieving similar results with less environmentally harmful impacts is available in the marketplace. Further, an applicant must develop a plan to minimize or eliminate the mercury’s harmful effect on human health or the environment with safe handling and restrictions upon end-of-life releases into the general waste stream.
Separate Labelling Obligations
In addition to the new permit requirement for continued use, the Regulations also impose new labelling requirements including:
- identification of the product as containing mercury, as well as the “Hg” symbol;
- safe handling and emergency measures information; and
- waste disposal and diversion options such as recycling in each province and territory in which the product is sold.
Broad Supply Chain Reporting and Record Keeping
Finally, the Regulation requires a report to Environment Canada on any manufacturing and importing of mercury-containing products, regardless of whether the products are caught by the new prohibitions or are covered by a use extension permit. In conjunction, there are ongoing record-keeping obligations which also require clear and current knowledge of supply chains for these products. The permit is available for renewal 3-year periods and should be sought in advance of the November deadline to prevent disruptions in manufacturing or importation practices.