National Strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act

An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury

Sponsor

Darren Fisher  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment provides for the development and implementation of a national strategy to promote the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 19, 2016 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercuryPrivate Members' Business

January 31st, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am sure I will not need a full five minutes. I will say that I am truly humbled to rise again in this place to speak to Bill C-238, a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury act. The member who spoke previously is correct; it is a mouthful.

I would like to start by thanking my amazing family. It is not always easy to come here to Ottawa. In fact, I am missing my son's hockey game right now; he will take the ice in about a minute. We miss a lot of things by coming here to do the good work for the people in our communities, and I am proud to do the work for the people of the community of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

I have to thank the members of my team for their incredibly hard work on Bill C-238. This started out as nothing more than a bright idea, and they have been able to turn this into something tangible, into a private member's bill that is now at third reading and hopefully, fingers crossed, knock on wood, on its way to becoming a law.

My riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour inspired this bill. We have many innovative businesses in the Dartmouth Burnside industrial park. One of them, Dan-X Recycling, caught my eye. I have mentioned Dan-X before, but this facility is able to efficiently dispose of mercury-bearing light bulbs in a safe and environmentally sound way. This facility is an excellent example of the clean tech industry, and I am proud to have it in my riding. Just think, if Bill C-238 passes, we could improve the green economy by encouraging more facilities like Dan-X right across the country. Now that is a clean economy.

I have stated before that Bill C-238 is about working together, but I do not think I realized how true this would be. I have been humbled by the supportive and kind words I have received from colleagues throughout this House. Bill C-238 as amended passed unanimously at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. Many members have spoken to this bill in the several readings in this House, but my favourite comment so far has to be from the member for Yellowhead who said, “this bill is a winner”. I thank my friend for that comment. I would be remiss if I did not mention the member for Abbotsford, who through this process has become a friend. He sits on the environment committee with me and he has had some very good, supportive words to say about this bill.

Bill C-238 has created an incredible dialogue around mercury pollution, but it has also shown that when we care about the environment, when we care about Canadians, and when we care about making real change, we can work across party lines to make it happen. This is what Canadians want and this is what they expect from us in this House. I firmly believe that Bill C-238 has the potential to solve the issue of mercury-bearing light bulb pollution in our lands and in our waters. I encourage all members of this House to support Bill C-238, regarding the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury act.

Let us continue to work together. Let us solve this issue together to ensure that we leave this country a better place for all Canadians to enjoy.

An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercuryPrivate Members' Business

January 31st, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in support of Bill C-238, the national strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury act.

First, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, for bringing the bill forward. The bill serves an important purpose by contributing to efforts to reduce mercury emissions and releases. Mercury is a toxic subject that is harmful to the environment and human health, which is why the Government of Canada is committed to eliminating human sources of mercury emissions when feasible.

Bill C-238 calls for a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury. The bill would fill gaps within the existing framework governing management of mercury in Canada. Although robust measures are already in place to manage mercury emissions and products containing mercury, many Canadians are unaware of the dangers of improper disposal of lamps containing mercury. Many Canadians do not have ready access to facilities where lamps containing mercury can be disposed of safely and in an environmentally sound manner.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development studied the bill. I was there for one meeting. In a very collaborative way and arguably a way which all committees ideally would operate, adopted amendments that would facilitate a co-operative and collaborative approach to the development of the national strategy. These amendments are consistent with the purpose of the bill. The member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has noted that the bill is meant to be the beginning of a conversation. The amendments made at committee facilitate that goal by expanding the range of perspectives to be considered in the conversation and by ensuring flexibility in determining the elements of the national strategy.

The amendments made at committee strengthen the bill by recognizing that jurisdiction over waste management is shared between different levels of government. The national strategy is to be developed by the Minister of Environment, in cooperation with representatives of provincial, territorial, and other interested governments. The addition of “other interested governments” improves the original bill by capturing other governments, such as municipal and indigenous governments, that would like to have a role in developing and implementing the national strategy.

A related amendment is that the minister shall consult with “all interested persons and organizations”, rather than only requiring consultation with environmental groups and industry. This would help to ensure that a range of perspectives would be considered in the development of the strategy.

There are a number of reasons why the co-operative, flexible framework set out in the bill is essential to the success of the national strategy.

First and foremost, co-operation is important because jurisdiction over matters related to waste management is shared among different levels of government. The Government of Canada currently regulates international and interprovincial movements of hazardous waste, manages waste on federal lands, and has extensive authorities to regulate toxic substances and products that contain them. Provincial and territorial jurisdictions regulate waste management operations and facilities and the end-of-life management of products. Municipal governments collect and manage waste for recycling and disposal. Bill C-238 recognizes that these various levels of government have a role to play in the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

A collaborative approach to managing mercury emissions is nothing new. For years, important work has been coordinated by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to address various sources of mercury pollution, including lamps containing mercury.

One example of action at the CCME level is the Canada-wide action plan on extended producer responsibility. In 2009, all provinces and the federal government committed to implementing the Canada-wide action plan, which includes action on mercury lamps. Extended producer responsibility, or EPR, is an approach where producers are responsible for dealing with products at their end of life. Essentially, EPR shifts responsibility for dealing with waste products upstream to the producer and away from municipalities and general taxpayers. EPR can be an effective way to divert certain products from landfills and we have seen some success in the context of mercury lamps. Four provinces, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island, have implemented specific regulatory programs to collect and recycle mercury lamps.

This brings me to another reason why the co-operative approach put forth in the bill is so important. This approach recognizes that a number of efforts are already under way in different jurisdictions to minimize pollution from lamps containing mercury. Some provinces, and even certain areas within provinces, are further ahead than others in terms of managing lamps containing mercury in an environmentally sound manner. In other areas, such as much of the north, the infrastructure to properly divert these lamps from landfills simply does not exist.

There are also a number of federal initiatives to address mercury lamps. For example, in April of 2016, the Government of Canada published a Proposed Code of Practice for the Environmentally Sound Management of End-of-life Lamps Containing Mercury. I do not know how these titles are arrived at. It seems there is kind of an art form that goes with the creation of law that there has to be a title that runs for about four paragraphs.

The code of practice is a voluntary tool developed to complement provincial, territorial, and municipal initiatives and to promote the best practices for managing lamps containing mercury at the end of life. By setting out a co-operative framework, the bill would allow the national strategy to complement, rather than duplicate, existing federal, provincial, and municipal efforts to manage lamps containing mercury. The bill would not mandate what the national strategy must include. Instead, it would require that the strategy be developed co-operatively.

The bill would provide guidance by setting out certain elements that could be included in the national strategy. For example, the national strategy could include guidelines for facilities involved in the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury. This could be a facility like the recycling facility in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour and similar facilities across Canada. However, the elements of the national strategy are not predetermined by the bill. Rather, the strategy may include any elements to reflect the work and consultations that the minister will undertake with provinces, territories, municipalities, and other interested parties in the development of the strategy.

The bill focuses national attention on an important issue, an issue on which we have a real opportunity to reduce mercury emissions. I want to again thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his initiative and for bringing the bill forward. I expect that a national strategy will have an important impact on ensuring environmentally sound management of lamps containing mercury.

An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercuryPrivate Members' Business

January 31st, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak today on the bill brought forward by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

Bill C-238 would build upon efforts already under way across Canada to reduce mercury emissions to the environment. Reducing mercury emissions is an important goal, given the serious effects mercury can have on human health and the environment. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. It can cause damage to the brain, central nervous system, kidney, lungs, and is particularly damaging to the development of the human fetus, infants, and young children.

In terms of environmental impacts, mercury biomagnifies as it moves up the food chain, meaning that higher levels of mercury are found in animals higher on the food chain. This can lead to increased exposure for fish and wildlife, as well as humans who consume certain kinds of fish. Increased exposure means increased health problems, including slower growth, reproductive failure, and the development of abnormal behaviours. Mercury can travel long distances in the atmosphere. It has been found to accumulate in Canada's Arctic.

Given these impacts on human health and the environment, the Government of Canada is committed to minimizing and, when feasible, eliminating human sources of mercury emissions.

Domestic mercury emissions have been reduced by approximately 90% since the 1970s, thanks to a wide range of initiatives to address mercury emissions. However, more can be done.

In 2010, the Government of Canada released the risk management strategy for mercury. The strategy provides a comprehensive description of the government's plans and progress in managing the risks associated with mercury. One example is the products containing mercury regulations, which came into force in November 2015. These regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury, with some exemptions for essential products that have no technically or economically viable alternatives. In the case of lamps, the regulations set mercury content limits for fluorescent and other types of lamps that require labels to inform consumers about the presence of mercury.

In April 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada published the proposed code of practice for environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury. The code provides guidance and information relevant to managing these lamps at the end of their life. The final code of practice was expected to be published by the end of 2016.

International initiatives to address mercury pollution are another important element of the Government of Canada's approach. It is estimated that 95% of human caused mercury deposits in Canada come from foreign sources. To help reduce the impact of transboundary pollution on Canada, and particularly impact on Canada's Arctic where mercury tends to deposit, the government signed the Minamata convention on mercury in 2013. We are in the process of finalizing the necessary implementation measures required to ratify the treaty.

The bill introduced by my colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, would complement these and other existing measures to address mercury pollution by focusing on one particular source of emissions, light bulbs. Many energy efficient bulbs, including compact fluorescent lamps used in the homes and workplaces of many Canadians, contain a small amount of mercury. This mercury may be released if the lamp breaks or is improperly disposed of as regular garbage.

The bill would mandate the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. Amendments made to the bill at committee serve to reinforce the purpose of the bill and the need for co-operation across jurisdictions in the development of a national strategy. For example, the bill now speaks of safe and environmentally sound disposal.

The environmentally sound end-of-life management of lamps containing mercury involves a range of activities, including collection, processing, recycling, diversion, and storage. The national strategy contemplated by the bill would capture any number of these activities, rather than the disposal of lamps containing mercury in a landfill. This terminology is consistent with the proposed codes of practice for end-of-life lamps containing mercury.

The amendments made at committee also strengthen the bill by recognizing the jurisdiction over the protection of the environment, including matters related to waste management, is shared among all levels of government in Canada. Removing the requirement on the minister to implement the national strategy recognizes this fact as the minister cannot implement the national strategy on her own. As a result, the bill would require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with other parties, including the provincial and territorial governments, in developing a national strategy.

The bill also intends to capture other interested governments such as municipal and indigenous governments that may have important roles in the implementation of a national strategy. The minister will need to co-operate with them, but also consult with other interested parties, including stakeholders, in developing a national plan of this kind.

The bill lists examples of the kinds of things that the national strategy could include. Possible elements set out in the bill will not only help guide collaboration and consultation with other interested parties, including stakeholders, but will also help ensure that the national strategy does not duplicate efforts already under way.

The strategy can evolve to ensure that the range of perspectives are considered in the development of the strategy. One possible element of the national strategy is a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of disposing of mercury containing lamps safely and in an environmentally sound manner. Many Canadians are currently unaware that these bulbs should not be disposed of in regular garbage because they may break and release mercury into the environment.

The bill sets out a flexible framework for development the national strategy, but also contains important mandatory requirements. In particular, it requires the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop and report on the national strategy.

The first report to Parliament setting out the national strategy must occur within 15 sitting days of December 31, 2018, or within two years after royal assent, whichever is later. Every five years following the initial tabling, the minister must report on the strategy, including his or her conclusions and recommendations regarding the strategy. These reporting requirements promote transparency and accountability, and will help ensure that the national strategy achieves its intended purpose.

I sit on the environment committee along with the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. As we were going through the bill to make amendments, the importance of this issue became really apparent. I happened to be looking up at the ceiling and I noticed all the lights. I started to count them. There were over 70 fluorescent lights in the one committee room. Then I just happened to be in the Library of Parliament, looking over the speech. when I looked up and started counting lights. I got to over 250 and I still had not counted all of them. These are just two rooms in the millions of rooms in up to 10 million homes in our country that presently use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

It is so important that we develop a national strategy that can work with industry, that can work with all levels of government, that can work with innovation to try to drive forward new technologies, as we are presently, which are more efficient and more cost effective and will eventually eliminate the need for fluorescent bulbs altogether.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for bringing the bill forward. The government supports the bill, as amended, and looks forward to working with other governments, indigenous groups and stakeholders to develop an effective national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercuryPrivate Members' Business

January 31st, 2017 / 5:30 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, before I begin my speech, I will take a moment to express my sincere sympathy for the families of the victims of the shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec. The tragedy has shaken us all. We are all aware of the importance of continuing to strive to live together in harmony and understanding, and to be united in the face of this tragedy. There are no words to describe the horror of this act. It is important for us as parliamentarians to say that we must always fight against hateful messages and hate directed at those who are a little different from ourselves. We are all united in asserting that. I wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in that unspeakable attack.

I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-238, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury. As we know, mercury is a dangerous substance. It is an incredibly dangerous neurotoxin, which can cross the placental barrier and endanger the fetus, and can be found in breast milk. Therefore it should not be taken lightly. Very minor exposure to traces of mercury can damage the nervous system and even lower IQ levels. It can also cause tremors, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular changes, headaches, and other problems. It is not a substance to be taken lightly. That is why having a strategy for the safe disposal of certain lamps containing mercury is very important.

I support the bill of the Liberal member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who took this initiative. It is very good and a step in the right direction. The NDP supports all initiatives relating to sustainable development. We want to minimize the presence of toxic substances that can threaten the balance and viability of our ecosystems. Unfortunately, biodiversity is currently diminishing from year to year. It is really something we need to consider. As you know, the NDP has always been a leader in environmental protection. We have put forward many bills to protect the environment. We have been working very hard on this for a long time, which is why we must figure out solutions to the unsafe disposal of mercury component lamps.

I, myself, was on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development when this bill was being studied. I asked questions about certain aspects of the bill that might be improved, to ensure that we had a sounder approach.

To explain the bill a little, it requires that the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change develop and implement a national strategy for the safe disposal of bulbs containing mercury. It asks the minister, in cooperation with the provinces, the territories, industry stakeholders, and environmental groups, to work on establishing a national strategy for the safe disposal of bulbs containing mercury. It also asks the minister to monitor and rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy.

On that point, I would personally have preferred that there be regulations to implement the strategy, but there are none in the bill. It is hard to have tangible action when there are no stringent regulations to be followed. This is one of the points in the strategy that could have been improved. As I was saying, this is a start, but the bill could have been tougher, firmer, and more rigorous. This is one of the first points.

Another point is that even though this is a federal responsibility, we are ultimately asking the municipalities to take action.

The risk is that the financial responsibility will be foisted on the municipalities. In reality, this is a federal government responsibility.

This is a concern I have shared with my colleague. Unfortunately, my concern has not been allayed and I am still worried. The financial burden of this federal responsibility should not be off-loaded on our colleagues in the municipalities. As we know, our colleagues in the municipalities already have their hands full and they have a lot of things they have to look after. They do not have a whole lot of ways to raise funds. We have to be careful not to weigh them down with more responsibilities.

I am going to talk a little about an extremely important principle when it comes to the environment: the expanded responsibility assigned to producers. It is important to understand this process, so that as little waste as possible ends up in landfill sites and so that it does not pollute those sites. That is why it is important to change the way we look at things. Unfortunately, we too often think that items that are no longer useful are trash or waste, when they should be thought of as resources. We should see trash as resources that can be reused at a later time.

Extended producer responsibility means that producers have to think about the parts or residual materials of an object that could be used for other purposes and that will be easy to recover and reuse at the end of the object's useful life. That is called extended producer responsibility. It is also known as cradle to cradle or circular economy. Instead of producing objects that will end up in the garbage and the landfill at the end of their useful life, producers should instead ensure that the various components of the object can be recovered later. This is especially important when there are other problems related to landfill sites, which are not easy to manage.

It is extremely important to ask questions in order to convert our economy into a circular economy. Producers need to take on extended responsibility. We cannot afford to keep throwing everything out. The planet has a lot of resources, but we must take better care of it than we are right now. It is extremely important.

Since 2001, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has been promoting standards to reduce the amount of mercury in lamps sold in Canada. Those measures were introduced a while ago. Unfortunately, things are moving too slowly, and there is still a long way to go. There are far too many lamps containing mercury in landfills. We will need to work much harder on this.

I will close by saying how tremendously important it is for the government to raise awareness. Without an awareness campaign, if people do not know where to take lamps containing mercury for safe disposal and potential reuse, the strategy will fail. It is vital that we back it up with a public awareness and information campaign so that everyone knows how to dispose of lamps containing mercury.

As I said, municipalities are doing excellent work in waste management, but managing waste, or, as I prefer to say, resources, containing mercury is the federal government's job. The feds must not download this responsibility on to municipalities. It is extremely important for the federal government to step up and support municipalities on this.

The House resumed from November 28, 2016, consideration of the motion that Bill C-238, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury, be read a third time and passed.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

November 28th, 2016 / 11:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure as the member of Parliament for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook to speak today to this important bill, Bill C-238, a national strategy for sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

I would like to speak about the leadership of my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. This bill is a continuation of his hard work at the municipal level.

At the municipal level, environmentally sustainable protection of the environment was a key item and objective of his. It is pretty impressive because I was told as a new member that maybe only 20% of private members' bills made it through. My colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour had unanimous consent in the House, and that is an indication of the hard work and consultation that he has done.

In listening to the audio of the committee, again, it was very obvious that members of all parties across the House and in the committee were eager to have the bill move forward on its merit because of the environmentally safe disposal.

The amendments coming back to the House under the guidance of the sponsor, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, would allow for all parties, governments, and stakeholders to sit together, talk about this issue, and find solutions, which is crucial. I would like to read a quote from my colleague for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour:

We need to include our partners in other levels of government to ensure that they, along with the federal government, take ownership of this initiative. This will be a strong collaborative effort that will include any interested indigenous groups, governments, stakeholders, or citizens to ensure the strategy is best for all Canadians.

I could not be more in agreement with my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

The contents of the bill are crucial. The bill speaks to Canadians wanting to reduce their energy use and their costs. Therefore, they need to find an environmentally friendly alternative. This compact fluorescent light bulb would do that. The savings are great, and it is a very positive step. However, Canadians need to know that the light bulbs contain mercury, the effect that mercury will have, and ways of recycling it. That is extremely crucial for the bill.

It was noted also by the ministry that four provinces had mandatory programs to collect these light bulbs: B.C., Manitoba, Quebec, and Prince Edward island. Nova Scotia Power has put in place a program to take back the light bulbs. These are extremely positive steps.

We must also note the importance, environmentally, for the economy. For the green tech economy, this is another step forward. I am so proud to see my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who was inspired by visiting a local business that was disposing and recycling the lamps in a very sustainable and environmentally safe way. It is impressive that the MP took the example of that situation after visiting a company and moving it through steps. The first step, of course, was to the municipal government. The member did what he could in the municipality to ensure that all municipal fluorescent light bulbs would be recycled. That is a very positive step at the municipal level. His initiative would allow the federal government, the provinces, and stakeholders to work together to find solutions for a national strategy.

This is a green environmental initiative that is very well supported by the federal government and by all parties in committee.

As the Prime Minister has said on many occasions and as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has repeatedly said, the economy and the environment go hand in hand. This legislation is a good example of that.

It is extremely important for people to realize that we have to fix the mercury problem and that there are many ways to do so.

In the past, people did not really know what was causing the problem. They put these things in garbage dumps and trash cans. The problem is that it ended up in the air or the soil.

Incineration was another option. The whole thing can be burned to produce energy. The trouble is that it causes a lot of air quality problems.

The best approach, what we would like to see happen, is recycling, which ensures that the substance does not cause any problems in the air or the soil, and that is essential.

We need leadership on many fronts: businesses, municipalities, the provinces, and the federal government.

My colleagues may not know this, but in 2011, Statistics Canada found that 50% of people were unaware of the problems caused by mercury.

They also did not have access. Therefore, if people do not know the danger or they do not know where they can have these things recycled and if that is not accessible, they probably will not do what is best for our environment and our country.

The bill is extremely important. It proposes a national strategy, which will shine a light, make people more aware, and ideally dispose of these things in a way that is totally environmentally safe.

The second thing I want to note is the importance of collaboration among all parties, as indicated in the bill, as well as indigenous groups and all stakeholders that are concerned and want this to move forward.

We have to be careful. This is an add-on. It builds on programs already in place. It is not a duplication. That is what is extremely important about the bill. This is an opportunity to do what is right, an opportunity for the safe management of these lights to the end of their life, without compromising the environment.

It has been a great pleasure for me to speak to the bill. I congratulate the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his hard work. I also congratulate the committee members for all of their hard work. I will be supporting the bill.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

November 28th, 2016 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be here today, even though I had a bad week last week. Labour rates for the number one employer in Alberta are going crazy, the Oilers lost, the Flames lost, and the Stampeders lost. However, this bill is a winner, and I am happy to stand here today to speak to this bill. I thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for introducing this bill. We sit on the environment committee together, and this is a winner.

As a member of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-238, a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury act. The bill would establish a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, guidelines regarding facilities for safe disposal, and the creation of a plan to promote public awareness.

Mercury has been identified as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The release of mercury poses a significant risk to the Canadian environment and public health. Canada-wide standards for mercury-containing lamps were developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and endorsed in 2011.

I want to spend some time on the plan to promote public awareness. I know a lot of younger members in the House probably grew up during the Star Wars era and played with florescent lamps of sorts. They probably broke them. Hopefully they put some protection on their hands, but no one thought about protection from what they were breathing in when they broke.

I remember, a little before that era, that school teachers used to bring out mercury during science classes. We would play with the mercury hand to hand and roll it back and forth. No one knew any better. In fact, I remember a friend of mine putting it on his tongue to taste it. Think about that. I am not sure if he is around anymore, and I do not really want to inquire. That is how ignorant we Canadians were a number of years ago. We are not ignorant today, and we need to address it.

Going back a number of years, I was a young police officer in the mid-1970s, and I went to a community called Fort St. James in the interior of British Columbia. About 25 miles north of Fort St. James was an area called Pinchi Lake. There was a mercury mine on that lake. The mercury mine opened in around 1941, operated through the 1940s, closed for about 10 or 12 years, started up again in the late 1960s, and shut down again in the mid 1970s. There was contamination from that mercury mine. There was an open-pit mine and an underground mine.

Pinchi Lake is a beautiful lake on the outskirts of the mine. I remember driving there in the spring of 1978 to have a look at it, as I had heard about it. There was a town there too, a ghost town now, because no one lives there. There were people fishing on the lake, but on the shore, about every 300 yards, there were signs saying, “Mercury contamination. Do not fish”. Yet there were people out there, aboriginal people, fishing. I stopped to talk to some of them. They said it would not hurt them and that the signs were just to keep them off the lake.

That is why we need to educate people. It was wrong then and it definitely would not be acceptable today.

Mercury is an essential component in some energy-efficient lamps, such as florescent tubes and light bulbs.

At home I have a fairly large shop. I like to play around with motorcycles and cars. As I get older, I cannot see as well as I used to. I hate glasses when I am working on something, because they always fall off and then I bang my head when I bend over to pick them up, so I decided to get the best lights out there, mercury vapour. I have these big vapour lights in my shop.

I went to a recycle shop in Edmonton, because I believe in recycling, to see if I could buy some. It probably was not so much being a real environmentalist; I am a little cheap and I could buy them a lot more cheaply used than new.

I bought mercury vapour lights, and I put them in my shop. I remember when I went over to pick them up, the guy was testing them. One did not work. Crash. One worked, so I bought that one. He did it about two times in a row. They did not work, and he threw them. I said, “You get half a dozen, which I need, and I will come back in a few hours”. It was not a healthy atmosphere to be in.

Again, it is ignorance. People do not know the significant dangers of mercury lamps.

Why am I using them? I know better. Again, I am using them because they are very efficient. The use of fluorescent bulbs or mercury vapour bulbs lowers energy use, thus reducing the mercury that would come from power plants. That is why a lot of people use them. Plus they are more cost-effective and last 10 times longer than a normal light. That is why people in industry and people in shops use them and why they are in skating rinks across the country. They use them for that reason.

When our former Conservative government was in power, we were very active in negotiating the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013, as mentioned earlier by the last speaker, which called for tougher measures to reduce mercury emissions. In 2014, our government followed up with regulations prohibiting the broad import and manufacture of products containing mercury.

Even prior to that, in 2001, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, which I mentioned earlier, got together and came up with a set of guidelines. The target was a 70% reduction in the average mercury content of all mercury-containing lamps by 2005, compared to 1990 levels, and an 80% reduction by 2010. Industry jumped to meet it, and the lamps passed the 80% standard by 2006.

Industry, when it is challenged, will comply and will work very hard to meet the guidelines set by government.

Much of the work and cost of implementing the strategy in Bill C-238 would actually be done at the provincial and municipal levels, which is where these recycling and disposal facilities would be located.

Prior to my role as an MP, I sat as the mayor of the city of Fort St. John and as a director on the Peace River Regional District board, which is the area encompassing all of North Peace. One of my portfolios was garbage disposal and garbage dumps. I travelled throughout the North Peace area.

I feel I am a bit of a trash expert. I know that much work needs to be done by bringing in this bill, Bill C-238. We need to educate the people running our garbage disposal dumps, although probably not so much in our larger urban areas, because those garbage dumps and facilities are very well organized and have professional people. I am talking about rural Canada and the Northwest Territories. In these small areas, most of what I will call waste disposal sites are unmanned. They are run by the counties. They may be manned one day a week by someone who comes in to look after them during a special day. However, at these sites, there are usually just garbage bins. Most people today probably bring their fluorescent lights or their mercury vapour lights, if they burn out, and toss them in. That is not good. That is bad, because we do not know where they are going.

We need to make sure that we educate the people managing these facilities to make sure the facilities have proper containment for mercury vapour lights. That will not be a big cost, but it is a cost. We must ensure that the government works with all levels of government to make sure they are there so that when people bring in mercury vapour lights for disposal, there is a safe place to put them and none of the mercury escapes.

Although a number of initiatives to address the lamps that contain mercury are already under way across Canada, co-operation among all levels of government will promote a consistent nationwide approach to the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps.

Our Conservative Party supports Bill C-238. The bill would ensure lamps containing mercury would be safely disposed, and it would be in line with the party's previous efforts to keep Canada's environment clean and control harmful toxic substances.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

November 28th, 2016 / 11:40 a.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak today about Bill C-238, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, which was brought forward by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

Bill C-238 builds upon efforts already under way across Canada to reduce mercury emissions to the environment. Reducing mercury emissions is an important goal, given the serious effects mercury can have on human health and on the environment.

As members are no doubt aware, mercury is a potent neurotoxin. It can cause damage to the brain, central nervous system, kidneys, and lungs. It is particularly damaging to the development of the human fetus, infants, and young children.

In terms of environmental impacts, mercury biomagnifies as it moves up the food chain, meaning that higher levels of mercury are found in animals higher in the food chain. This can lead to increased exposure for fish and wildlife as well as humans who consume certain kinds of fish. Increased exposure means increased health problems, including slower growth, reproductive failure, and the development of abnormal behaviours. Also, mercury can travel long distances in the atmosphere and has been found to accumulate in Canada's Arctic.

Given these impacts on human health and the environment, the Government of Canada is committed to minimizing, and when feasible, eliminating human sources of mercury emissions. Domestic mercury emissions have been reduced by approximately 90% since the 1970s, thanks to a wide range of initiatives to address mercury emissions, but more can be done.

In 2010, the Government of Canada released the risk management strategy for mercury. The strategy provides a comprehensive description of the government's plans and progress in managing the risks associated with mercury.

One example is the Products Containing Mercury Regulations, which came into force in November 2015. These regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury, with some exceptions for essential products that have no technically or environmentally viable alternatives. In the case of lamps, the regulation set mercury content limits for fluorescent and other types of lamps and requires labels to inform consumers about the presence of mercury.

In April of this year, Environment and Climate Change Canada published the proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury. The code provides guidance and information relevant to managing these lamps at their end of life. The final code of practice is expected to be published by the end of 2016.

International initiatives to address mercury pollution are another important element of the Government of Canada's approach. It is estimated that 95% of human-caused mercury deposits in Canada come from foreign sources. To help reduce the impact of transboundary pollution on Canada, particularly the impact on Canada's Arctic where mercury tends to deposit, the government signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013. We are in the process of finalizing the necessary implementation matters required to ratify the treaty.

The bill introduced by my colleague for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour would complement these and other existing measures to address mercury pollution by focusing on one particular source of emissions: light bulbs. Many energy-efficient bulbs, including the compact fluorescent lamps used in the homes and workplaces of many Canadians, contain a small amount of mercury. This mercury may be released if the lamp breaks or is improperly disposed of in regular garbage.

The bill would mandate the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. Amendments made to the bill at committee served to reinforce the purpose of the bill and the need for co-operation across jurisdictions in the development of a national strategy.

For example, the bill now speaks of safe and environmentally sound disposal. The environmentally sound end-of-life management of lamps containing mercury involves a range of activities, including collection, processing, recycling, diversion, and storage. The national strategy contemplated by the bill would capture any number of these activities rather than the disposal of lamps containing mercury in a landfill. This terminology is consistent with the proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury.

The amendments made at committee also strengthened the bill by recognizing the jurisdiction over the protection of environment, including matters related to waste management, is shared between all levels of government in Canada. Removing the requirement on the minister to implement the national strategy recognizes this fact, as the minister cannot implement the national strategy on her own. As a result, the bill requires the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with other parties, including the provincial and territorial governments, in developing a national strategy.

The bill also intends to capture other interested governments, such as municipal and indigenous governments, that may have important roles in the implementation of the national strategy. The minister will need to co-operate with them, but also consult with other interested parties, including stakeholders in the development of a national plan of this kind.

The bill lists examples of the kinds of things that the national strategy could include. The possible elements set out in the bill would not only help guide collaboration and consultation with other interested parties, including stakeholders, but would also help to ensure that the national strategy does not duplicate efforts already under way.

This strategy can evolve to ensure that a range of perspectives are considered in the development of the strategy.

One possible element of the national strategy is a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of disposing of mercury-containing lamps safely and in an environmentally sound manner. Many Canadians are currently unaware that these bulbs should not be disposed of in regular garbage, because they may break and release mercury.

The bill sets out a flexible framework for developing the national strategy but also contains important mandatory requirements. In particular, the bill would require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop and report on the national strategy.

The first report to Parliament setting out the national strategy must occur within 15 sitting days of December 31, 2018 or within two years after royal assent, whichever is later. Every five years following the initial tabling, the minister must report on the strategy, including his or her conclusions and recommendations regarding the strategy. These reporting requirements will promote transparency and accountability and will help ensure that the national strategy achieves its intended purpose.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for bringing this bill forward. The government supports this bill, as amended, and looks forward to working with other governments, indigenous groups, and stakeholders to develop an effective national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

November 28th, 2016 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege to stand in the House to speak on Bill C-238, sponsored by my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

We do some very good work together on the environment and sustainable development committee. This is an opportunity to discuss his important idea that has received support thus far from nearly every member. That is not alway easy to do with a private member's bill like this, but he has done it. I want to recognize him and staff for all their hard work on this bill.

This is an important piece of legislation that aims to achieve a good goal. I will be supporting it as it moves forward. Exactly what does this bill do?

First, it establishes national standards for the safe disposal of mercury-containing lamps. Second, it establishes guidelines regarding facilities for safe disposal of mercury lamps. Finally, it asks the government to come up with a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of the proper disposal of mercury lamps. It also calls on the government to table its national strategy within two years of the bill's becoming law, and for it to be reviewed by Parliament every five years after that.

Fluorescent bulbs are in use for a very good reason. They conserve power in a way that conventional light bulbs simply cannot. In fact, they use between 20% and 25% of the energy required by traditional incandescent Edison bulbs. They are the most energy efficient and affordable means of lighting our homes and places of work and leisure. They also last up to 10 times longer than the old-fashioned bulbs. This is why they are so widespread in our communities and should continue to be readily available for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, one of the critical components if fluorescent bulbs is mercury. In fact, there is no way to make these bulbs without it. It would be like a fish trying to live out of water; there is simply no way it can. Therefore, it is critical that we carefully dispose of these lamps in a responsible and environmentally conscious way when they finally burn out. Tossing these bulbs into the trash is very detrimental to the environment and human health. Those are the main issues here today.

The issue is that when these bulbs end up in regular landfill with the rest of our household waste, a large portion of the mercury inside the bulbs is released into the air or water. This has debilitating effects on the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, two resources that we need to stay alive.

The wonderful thing about this is that recyclers can recuperate the mercury found in these bulbs. There are methods of recycling this toxic substance. Mercury is a dangerous toxic substance that can have a severe impact on human health, especially in vulnerable populations like expectant mothers, as well as their babies developing in the womb. It can cause brain and central nervous system damage. It can also attack kidneys and lungs.

As this is a dangerous toxic substance, I am happy that the bill will help address its disposal from fluorescent lamps. There is definitely an environmental and safety impact from fluorescent bulbs. If they break in a home or workplace, the immediate release of mercury vapours can pose a health risk to people. Not only is this an issue, but there can be also the release of more mercury vapour into the air if the proper cleanup and disposal procedures are not put in place.

There are some other aspects of environmental stewardship that this bill intends to target. It supports the aim of our environment and sustainable development committee in looking at clean technology alternatives to products like fluorescent bulbs. There are a number of best practices for the disposal of mercury bulbs, and I would like to talk about some of those recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, in the United States. They have a wealth of ideas on how mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs should be properly disposed of.

One of its recommendations, which may seem obvious, is that spent bulbs be handled with great care to avoid breakage. We have already discussed why it is a bad idea to break fluorescent bulbs. An already broken bulb cannot be properly recycled. It also recommends good strategies for employers, including that they be trained to know whom to call in the case of a burned-out lamp. This would employees taking the initiative to remove or replace burned bulbs, which could possibly lead to breakage.

Another of its recommendation that may seem obvious is for the recycling of fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury. As the EPA states in one of its documents:

EPA strongly encourages the recycling of all spent fluorescent lamps as the preferred approach to managing lamps throughout their full productive lifecycle. Proper recycling not only minimizes the release of mercury in the environment but also allows for the reuse of the glass, metals, and other materials that make up a fluorescent lamp.

Virtually all components of a lamp can be recycled. Recycling fluorescent lamps reduces the amount of waste going to landfill, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gases and mercury emissions.

The EPA is not alone in having good tips on how to safely dispose of mercury-containing bulbs. Australia's department of environment has established the FluoroCycle program. Its website states:

FluoroCycle is a scheme that aims to increase the recycling of lamps that contain mercury and reduce the amount of mercury entering the environment.

To achieve this, FluoroCycle provides a national voluntary scheme that businesses, government agencies, and other organizations can join as signatories. The scheme gives public recognition to the signatories for their commitment to recycling. This sounds like a really good initiative. Although somewhat different from what this legislation is proposing, it is a good example of how we can bring industry and commerce on board with recycling these mercury fluorescent lamps, instead of simply throwing them away.

This is a great project that our friends from down under have initiated, and I hope that we could maybe consider something similar here. This would only build on the great work done by my honourable friend from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

The Republic of Ireland has an interesting program. In Ireland, retailers take old bulbs, as long as new ones are being bought, on a one-for-one basis. This strikes me as a good idea, because this way the retailers can deal with the bulbs' safe disposal and transport to designated recycling facilities, removing the hassle from consumers. It is also good in that these consumers would be buying a new energy efficient fluorescent bulb to replace the spent bulb.

These lights are becoming more common. It seems as though every home, business, and place of work has at least some fluorescent lighting. Statistics Canada has said that, “In 2011, almost 9 out of 10 households (87%) in Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs) had at least one type of energy-saving light.” Statistics Canada also had this to offer:

In almost every case, households used only one method to dispose of their dead or unwanted CFLs. In 2011, slightly less than one-third (32%) used a “controlled” method of disposal, with 24% using a depot or drop-off centre, and 8% returning the bulb(s) to the supplier or retailer (Table 2). Half of the households disposing a CFL used an “uncontrolled” method (i.e., throwing them in the garbage), or still had them at the time of interview (12%). The remainder used an unknown method to dispose of them.

These are eye-opening statistics, and I am certain this is one of the reasons my colleague across the way proposed this piece of legislation. He is also a supporter of a recycling facility in his constituency. My colleague has been doing great work on this file. I appreciate he and his team's taking the time to get this right, and I am looking forward to seeing this project move forward.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

November 28th, 2016 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

It is truly an honour to stand here in the House of Commons today at third reading on Bill C-238. I have had the pleasure of speaking to this bill a few times in the House and at committee.

However, before I get started, to better reflect the environmentally positive intent of the bill and to complement the federal government's proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury, at the committee stage, we amended C-238's title to read, “a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury act”. This title better represents the precautionary approach and nature of the bill. It is important to me that Canadians are protected from toxic mercury and that we ensure these bulbs are recycled by Canadians in an environmentally sound way.

I want to thank my colleagues throughout the House for their support on Bill C-238. I want to deeply thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for approaching me early to jointly second this bill.

Bill C-238, as amended, passed unanimously through the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. The comments and questions at the committee stage, from all parties, were thoughtful and supportive. I thank the members throughout the House who have provided me with constructive feedback and support. I truly believe that we are better when we work together. I appreciate, and have remained open to, members' comments, because this is what Canadians want and what they expect from us. They want us to work across party lines. Together, we can develop a robust national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing lamps.

I come from a great place. Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is not just where elite hockey players are born, and it is not just the place over the bridge and across the harbour from beautiful Halifax.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour is home to innovative businesses and bright minds—from Dalhousie University's Dr. Jeff Dahn, who has the research agreement for Tesla batteries; to facilities like Dan-X Recycling, in Burnside, which can take every bit of a mercury-bearing light bulb and safely recycle its components.

To represent this riding filled with great people and good ideas is an honour. As the federal representative for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, it is my job to bring these bright ideas from home and effect real change.

A Halifax regional councillor visited me the other day and asked me what the topic was for my private member's bill. When I told him about Bill C-238, he remarked, “Are you still on that? I remember when you worked on those bulbs as a councillor.” Yes, I am still on this.

The idea for Bill C-238 goes all the way back to my early days as a municipal councillor. Like any new representative, I wanted to make sure that I knew my district inside and out. While visiting the Burnside industrial park, I came upon Dan-X Recycling. While touring this facility, I learned that it was able to recycle every bit of a fluorescent mercury-bearing light bulb in an safe and environmentally friendly way.

I also learned that it only takes 0.5 milligrams of mercury to pollute 180 tonnes of water. This statistic really resonated with me, especially coming from Dartmouth, the “City of Lakes”. It is up to us to keep our lands and waterways safe. I also learned that these bulbs are valuable recyclables that can easily be diverted from landfills. Canadian municipalities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on landfill cells each year. Whenever possible, we must divert recyclables.

Dan-X Recycling separates and reuses the glass in the production of new bulbs. The metal is melted down and reused by metal recycling facilities. It even processes and recycles the phosphor powder, which contains the mercury. This facility barely takes up 1,000 square feet, and employs local people through this clean technology.

It was at this point that I learned that when the previous government banned the use of inefficient incandescent bulbs, it was always assumed that regulations for fluorescent bulbs, in particular, CFL bulbs, would follow.

Back then, I committed to help in solving the issue of mercury-bearing light bulbs and to divert them from our city landfills. I helped to ensure that all Halifax regional city facilities diverted their spent mercury-bearing light bulbs to recycling facilities, ensuring their safe and environmentally sound disposal.

Now, as a member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, with one of these amazing facilities in my riding, I remain committed to solving this issue.

I have been a member of Parliament for only about a year. However, as soon as I could, my team and I hit the ground running on this issue. I want to ensure the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing bulbs nationwide. This is a problem with a positive solution, and together we can make this happen. Bill C-238 would build on the work of the previous Conservative government by producing a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of these bulbs.

I spent almost seven years as a councillor for the Halifax Regional Municipality, and I remember what it is like to have costs and red tape imposed by higher governments. From listening to my colleagues across the floor speak to Bill C-238, and through consultation, I came across a possible costly measure that required amendment. The member for Red Deer—Mountain View spoke to how the reporting mechanism in the original draft of this bill could cause delays and perhaps unnecessary costs, and I agree. It will be up to the consultation process, and any governments that might be implicated by this legislation, to determine any sort of reporting features, regulations, and standards. That makes the most sense.

While listening to testimony from indigenous witnesses at the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, I heard first-hand about the toxic effects of mercury on populations. Mercury is a toxic substance, with the ability to undergo long-range transport. I have used this example before in the House, and I will use it again. Hypothetically, mercury deposited in a Halifax landfill could redeposit into a northern Canadian community, or any other remote area. Although some provinces are making headway on this issue, mercury does not stop at provincial boundaries. Bill C-238 is about working together to find solutions while ensuring that every appropriate body is at the table.

Throughout this process, I have appreciated and listened to the feedback from my colleagues, and I have remained open to good amendments. After listening to the members for Abbotsford and for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, I agreed to amend, strengthen, and open the consultation process of this strategy. It is imperative that all interested and appropriate governments, persons, and organizations are part of this consultation, and that they are all owners of this strategy. Bill C-238 must be a strong, collaborative effort that will include any interested indigenous groups, governments, stakeholders, or citizens, to ensure that this strategy will be best for all Canadians and will represent all Canadians. This will ensure a nationwide solution to this issue.

I believe that a problem like mercury-bearing light bulbs in landfills takes real environmental leadership to solve. I look forward to the dialogue that Bill C-238 will generate among governments, stakeholders, and citizens. I believe that, as a whole, we can take responsibility and protect Canadians from this needless pollution through this collaborative effort. This is another opportunity to show that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.

It has been an honour to bring this bright idea from home, in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and to work to make it a reality here in Ottawa. It is a humbling experience for me, as a new member of Parliament, to have an opportunity to create a law that will benefit Canadians nationwide. I hope that all members of this House will continue to support Bill C-238, a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing lamps. It is up to me to make the voices of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour heard here in Ottawa, but it is up to us in this House to work together to improve the lives of Canadians, now and for future generations.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-238, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

November 16th, 2016 / 3:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Deb Schulte Liberal King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development in relation to Bill C-238, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendment.

November 15th, 2016 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

I move that Bill C-238 be amended by replacing the long title on page 1 with the following:

An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

November 15th, 2016 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Chair, I move that Bill C-238, in the short title, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 1 with the following:

Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act.

November 15th, 2016 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

The amendment is that Bill C-238 in clause 2 be amended by replacing lines 8 to 18 on page 1 with the following:

ments and with representatives of other interested governments in Canada that are responsible for the environment, and in consultation with all interested persons or organizations that he or she considers appropriate, must develop a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury. The strategy may include (a) the identification of practices for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of those lamps; (b) the establishment of guidelines for facilities where activities involved in the safe and environmentally sound disposal of those lamps are carried out; and (c) the development of a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of those lamps being disposed of safely and in an environmentally sound manner.

That is the conclusion of my amendment, Madam Chair.

November 15th, 2016 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

My amendment would be that Bill C-238 in clause 2—because we're on clause 2, correct?—be amended by replacing lines 8 to 18 on page 1 with the following, and I'm going to read this out. I did ask the clerk in advance, and it was her recommendation that we read it out to get it on the record, so I will do that.

November 15th, 2016 / 5 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

No.

When a subamendment to an amendment is moved, it's voted on first. Then another subamendment may be moved, or the committee may consider the main amendment and vote on it. Once every clause has been voted on, the committee will vote on the title and the bill itself. An order to reprint the bill may be required if amendments are adopted, so that the House has a proper copy for use at report stage.

Finally, the committee will have to order the chair to report the bill to the House. That report contains only the text of any adopted amendments as well as an indication of any deleted clauses.

I thank all the members for their attention and wish everyone a productive clause-by-clause as we go through the consideration of Bill C-238.

Are there any questions?

Mr. Shields.

November 15th, 2016 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

I'd like to first thank Darren for bringing Bill C-238 forward. I do have some concerns as a former municipal mayor, as a councillor, and as a county councillor who looked after the dump situation we had. In a county, unlike a municipality, you may have 15 or 20 facilities that you need to consider. My concern is with the disposal of the mercury vapour lights. In my shop, I have five of the largest ones you can get. When I was buying them, I watched the guy say, “Oh, this one doesn't work”, and throw it in the garbage, where it smashed. I didn't want to hang around there very long. I grabbed the ones that did work and left.

I wonder if you can give me an example of another similar chemical that we have out there that is put into voluntary waste disposals, and tell me how those work. I'm wondering how we transport these things. The little farmer takes his mercury vapour lights over to the county dumpsite that's not occupied by anybody, but eventually somebody comes and moves the stuff. I wonder if you can think of any other examples, for other chemicals, of voluntary systems that work, or of compulsory systems, that do disposal through a dumpsite.

November 15th, 2016 / 4:25 p.m.
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Virginia Poter Director General, Industrial Sectors, Chemicals and Waste Directorate, Department of the Environment

Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you to the committee for the invitation to appear here today to contribute to its study of Bill C-238, the national strategy for safe disposal of lamps containing mercury act. Thank you to Mr. Fisher for bringing forward this bill.

Before focusing on Bill C-238, I would like to provide a brief overview of how mercury is currently managed in Canada, as it may be helpful context to your study.

As you are likely aware, and as Mr. Fisher has pointed out, mercury is a potent neurotoxin that poses a risk to Canadian ecosystems and human health. Although mercury occurs naturally in the environment, it is also released as a result of human activities, such as the combustion of coal and the use and disposal of consumer products such as lamps.

Because of the dangers posed by mercury to the environment and human health, mercury is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, or CEPA.

In 2010, Environment Canada, along with Health Canada, released “Risk Management Strategy for Mercury”, and I believe a copy was provided to the committee. The strategy provides a comprehensive description of the Government of Canada's plans and progress in managing the risks associated with mercury. One federal action outlined in the strategy that may be of particular interest to you is the promulgation of the products containing mercury regulations, which came into force about a year ago, in November 2015. These regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury or any of its compounds, with some exceptions for essential products that have no technically or economically viable alternatives. In the case of lamps, the regulations set mercury content limits for fluorescent and other types of lamps and require labels to inform consumers about the presence of mercury, as well as safe handling procedures and options available for the end-of-life management of these products.

In addition to the broad range of domestic measures included in the risk management strategy, the need for global action on mercury was also highlighted. Since 2010, Canada has been active in the international negotiations for the Minamata convention on mercury, which our government signed in 2013 and recently tabled in Parliament. Once the necessary compliance requirements are in place, the government will be in a position to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

I will now turn to Bill C-238 and how it would contribute to the government's ongoing efforts to address mercury.

The bill addresses one source of mercury pollution: lamps. Mercury is an essential component in some energy-efficient lamps, such as fluorescent tubes and light bulbs. These lamps contain a small amount of mercury, which may be released when the lamps break or are improperly disposed of as regular garbage.

There are four aspects of the bill that I want to mention specifically.

First, the bill speaks of “safe disposal”. In the waste-management context, the term “disposal” often means final disposal in a landfill or incineration. However, the environmentally sound management of lamps at end of life includes a range of activities, such as collection, transportation, processing, and recycling, as well as final disposal. I note that the discussion of the bill in the House of Commons, as well as the remarks made by Mr. Fisher today, seems to acknowledge that the national strategy is intended to cover the full range of these activities to ensure the environmentally sound management of these lamps at end of life.

Second, the bill would require the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop and implement a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury in co-operation with representatives of provincial and territorial governments. It is important to keep in mind that the jurisdiction over the protection of the environment, including matters related to waste management, is shared among different levels of government in Canada. Other governments, including provincial, territorial, and municipal, have an important role to play in the management of lamps containing mercury. Therefore, a national plan of this kind would build on the existing areas of responsibility and the respective strengths of the various government levels in order to effectively address gaps and make timely progress on this issue.

Third, the bill would require the minister to engage with environmental groups and industry in developing and implementing the national strategy. However, consultations with a range of other interested parties, including indigenous groups, would also be important in order to create an effective national strategy, as the protection of the environment is a responsibility shared among all Canadians.

Fourth, Bill C-238 sets out three elements that a national strategy must include, in paragraphs 2(a) through 2(c). Our experience working with our provincial and territorial partners suggests that flexibility is important when developing national approaches to issues that are of shared jurisdiction, in order to accommodate existing initiatives.

At this point, allow me to provide you with a very brief overview of some related initiatives currently under way.

On April 8, 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada published the proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury, for public comment. The code is intended to address reducing mercury releases and emissions to the environment from these lamps, and also includes options for diverting used lamps from landfill and managing them in remote and northern areas. We are currently working to finalize the code of practice for publication later this year.

It's important to note that all provinces and the federal government have committed to implementing the Canada-wide action plan on extended producer responsibility. This plan, approved by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment in 2009, aims to divert products from landfill and increase the recycling of a broad suite of products, including mercury lamps. One important aspect of extended producer responsibility programs is the enhanced financial responsibility that manufacturers and importers in the management of waste would assume. As a result, all provinces now have in place the necessary authorities to implement programs, and work continues to explore options for northern territories. Four provinces have implemented specific mandatory programs to collect and recycle mercury lamps, and as Mr. Fisher noted, those are British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.

Although a number of initiatives to address lamps that contain mercury are already under way in Canada, co-operation among all levels of government will promote a consistent nationwide approach to the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury.

Thank you again for inviting me to appear today. I would be pleased to respond to your questions.

November 15th, 2016 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Thank you, colleagues and friends.

My private member's Bill C-238 calls for a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. Bill C-238 calls upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with the provinces and territories to develop a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-containing lamps.

We know that mercury is dangerous and we know that it is very toxic. This is an element that causes severe health problems, birth defects, and even death. We advise Canadians that if they break a mercury-bearing light bulb, they should step out of the room, but for years we've done very little to protect Canadians from the mercury-bearing bulbs that are thrown into landfills and that contaminate our lands and waterways every day.

To better reflect the environmental intent of the bill and to complement the federal government's proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury, I propose an amendment right off the bat. I'd like to amend the title to now read “A National Strategy for Safe and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act”. I believe, Madam Chair, that this better represents the precautionary approach and nature of this bill and the importance of viewing legislation through an environmental lens, as we've talked about so many times at this committee.

When the previous government took steps to ban the use of incandescent bulbs and promoted the use of efficient, compact fluorescent lamps, it was always assumed that regulations for their safe disposal would follow. In 2014 StatsCan reported that three-quarters of Canadians were using energy-efficient CFL bulbs. At a point where so many Canadians are using these bulbs, we must ensure their safe disposal.

I will note that this bill does not speak to a ban on fluorescent bulbs; it speaks to ensuring that Canadians are aware and are able to dispose of them in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Whenever we introduce or promote the use of a new product, we must look at the full life cycle.

The idea for Bill C-238 goes back to 2012. There was a realignment of districts when I was a municipal councillor, and all of a sudden I found myself representing Burnside industrial park. While touring local businesses to get caught up on what was going on in the park, I came upon a very innovative fluorescent light bulb recycling facility called Dan-x Recycling. This facility has the ability to recycle these mercury-bearing light bulbs entirely in a way that is safe for the environment. During my tour I asked what the regulations or guidelines were for the end of life for mercury-bearing bulbs, and I was shocked when I found out there were none. They were always contemplated but never enacted. At that point I started working within the municipality to, at the very least, divert the bulbs used in city-owned buildings to an environmentally sound disposal facility.

Canadians are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in municipal landfills across the country. These bulbs are valuable recyclables and they must be diverted from landfills and disposed of in an environmentally sound way. All of this was the inspiration for my Bill C-238.

Light bulb recycling facilities like the one in the riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour employ Canadians, while providing a valuable environmental service. This is the beauty of the clean economy. This is where costs are recouped, industry grows, and our environment gets protected.

Like all of you here, I want to leave this world a better place for our children and for our future generations. It's for Canadians and for future generations that we must move forward on a strategy now. This is an opportunity for us to provide leadership and to work with all levels of government to better the lives of Canadians.

I'm sure that some folks would focus on the potential costs associated with the consultation for a national strategy or for its implementation, but we must remember that there is always a cost to inaction.

Our colleague Nathan Cullen, who was formerly on this committee, explained eloquently in the House when he spoke to the bill that:

...if we look at the full cost of what is happening, there is a cost already being borne on municipalities and provinces, in trying to deal with these toxins, like mercury. There is a cost to consumers and Canadians directly through their health care.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment reported that waste lamps, whether broken or intact, contribute 1,050 kilograms of mercury into Canadian landfills each year. Remember that for a moment and know that sources state also that it takes only 0.5 milligrams of mercury to pollute 180 tonnes of water.

Remediation of mercury in land is very costly. We must prevent mercury contamination whenever possible.

From my days as a municipal councillor, I remember what it was like to have costs and red tape imposed on us by other levels of government. Through consultation with colleagues and stakeholders and comments made in the House of Commons during the reading of the bill, I've come across one measure that should be amended and removed from this legislation.

Our Conservative colleague, Mr. Dreeshen, of Red Deer–Mountain View spoke to the reporting mechanism in the original draft of the bill. He spoke to how the reporting mechanism, through working with the provinces, could cause delays and unnecessary costs. I'm inclined to agree to this point and have brought forward an amendment to that effect. I believe that it will be up to the consultation process to determine any sort of reporting features, regulations, or standards. Too much red tape could put undue hardship on the governments implicated in this legislation.

I must make note that certain provinces are leaders in the safe disposal of mercury-bearing bulbs. There are cool things being done across the country already. British Columbia, through its LightRecycle outreach program, is now diverting 74% of all mercury-bearing bulbs sold in the province for safe disposal. Let's put that number in perspective. They were diverting only 10% back in 2010. Imagine what we can do with a national strategy, instead of a piecemeal approach across the county.

Outreach and public awareness are important parts of Bill C-238. Mr. Cullen spoke in the House about the importance of education and awareness around the safe disposal of these bulbs. I think he hit the nail on the head when he said:

changing the way we recycle and use products is important, but a key element in that is that consumers have full knowledge and full participation in whatever program we are trying to initiate.

It's another reason why a piecemeal approach does not work. It's also dangerous for Canadians. Mercury has the ability to undergo long-range transport. This means that, theoretically, mercury deposited into a Halifax municipality landfill could redeposit somewhere else, perhaps in northern Canada. It's our responsibility to show real environmental leadership and to protect Canadians whenever we can. It's also our responsibility to properly engage and consult relevant and interested governments and stakeholders whenever possible.

After listening to our colleagues in the House, such as Mr. Fastand and Mr. Cullen, speak to Bill C-238, I would like to amend, strengthen, and open the consultation process of the strategy. It's important that all interested and appropriate governments, persons, and organizations be part of this consultation. We need to include our partners in other levels of government to ensure that they, along with the federal government, take ownership of this initiative. This will be a strong, collaborative effort that will include any interested indigenous groups, governments, stakeholders, or citizens to ensure that this strategy is best for all Canadians.

Again, it's important to note that I'm not here to tell provinces, territories, or municipalities what to do and how to do it. We could sit here and we could speculate on what a strategy could look like or should look like, but it isn't up to just us. It is important to me that Bill C-238 not put demands on the provincial and territorial governments. Bill C-238 complements our government's firm belief that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. You've heard that a lot, even recently around this committee from Mr. Fast echoing the Minister of Environment.

Now is the time to take responsibility and protect Canadians from this needless pollution. We must work together with all interested levels of government, stakeholders, and Canadians to develop a robust national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of mercury-bearing lamps. It is only by working together that we can leave the world a better place for future generations.

I want to thank you again, Madam Chair.

I want to thank you, friends and colleagues on this committee, for your consideration today.

I look forward to any further discussion you may have on Bill C-238.

Thank you very much.

October 20th, 2016 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

The Chair (Mrs. Deborah Schulte (King—Vaughan, Lib.)) Liberal Deb Schulte

I call the meeting to order.

Before we get started with our witnesses, I want to ask a couple of things, because I know some people have to leave a bit early, so I want to make sure we get these things sorted out.

I want you all to know that I have sent thank-you letters to all of those who helped us on our trip and were there showing us around and organizing the excellent experiences and the meetings that we had there. On behalf of the committee, we've sent letters out to all of the groups.

We also have letters going out to all the committees, asking them to study the work that the minister has done with the new strategy and talking about needing to embed the sustainable development principles through a whole-of-government approach to ensure significant progress. Anyway, we sent a letter in the hope that it will catch their attention and interest them in doing a little bit of work on that too.

We've just had Darren's bill come through to the committee. I would propose that we have that in front of the committee after we do the drafting instructions at the beginning of November. That would put it on Tuesday, November 15, and it's an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. We're going to have one session. I think we can manage it in one session, unless things really go sideways.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

October 19th, 2016 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-238 under private members' business.

The House resumed from October 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-238, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

October 7th, 2016 / 2:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am happy and, in fact, thankful to rise to speak again on my private member's bill, Bill C-238, a national strategy for safe disposal of lamps containing mercury act.

We know that mercury is toxic, and we must keep it out of our waterways and off our lands. I would like to take a second, if I could, to thank the good people, the constituents of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and also the stakeholders, locally and from across the country, who have reached out with their feedback and support for the bill. I will always do my best to make their voices heard here in Ottawa. I must say that I deeply appreciate the support from my colleagues, which crosses all party lines. I am thrilled that we have been able to work together on the bill.

As federal representatives, this is what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to take good ideas from home, bring them to Ottawa, and effect change. We hope to change and improve laws, and make new laws. My bright idea for Bill C-238 came when I was a municipal councillor, and I visited Dan-X Recycling in my hometown of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

From those folks, I learned about the dangers of mercury in the fluorescent bulbs, and that this facility can recycle every bit of a mercury-bearing lightbulb. This facility not only employs Canadians across its region, but it provides a valuable and very needed environmental service. This is a fantastic example of what the clean economy can accomplish.

Some provinces and municipalities across Canada have shown real environmental leadership and are leading the way in recycling these bulbs. Back home, under the leadership of Mayor Mike Savage and council, the Halifax Regional Municipality took initiative on its own and started recycling all of the spent fluorescent light bulbs in their municipal facilities. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. As a recyclable, we must ensure that fluorescent bulbs are diverted from all of our landfills across the country. Economically and environmentally, it makes good sense.

The bill calls for collaboration. It calls upon our Minister of Environment and Climate Change to open a dialogue and work with our provinces and territories to develop a robust national strategy, ensuring mercury-containing light bulbs are safely disposed of and recycled.

I believe that the successes we have seen on this issue in some provinces will help lead the discussions to a great solution that will work nationwide. It is extremely important that we have a national strategy for the safe disposal of these mercury-bearing bulbs, because a piecemeal approach hurts other parts of the country.

We heard today that toxic mercury has the ability to undergo long-range transport. Hypothetically, theoretically, mercury deposited in a Halifax landfill could redeposit into a community in northern Canada or any other remote area. This is why we cannot afford to pass the buck. It is up to us to take the initiative, to show real environmental leadership, and to protect Canadians.

I have appreciated all of the members' support so far in moving Bill C-238 forward. I urge members to please help me encourage our federal government to create an open dialogue with our provinces and territories to develop a strong national strategy for the safe disposal of mercury-bearing lamps.

Now is the time to take responsibility and protect Canadians from this needless pollution. It is only by working together that we can protect our communities and our country from this toxic mercury. It is by working together that we can leave the world a better place for future generations. Please support my bright idea, Bill C-238.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

October 7th, 2016 / 1:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying how pleased I am to rise to speak to Bill C-238, which my friend and colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has referred to as his bright idea.

The bill is important because it promotes a healthy environment and a strong economy at the same time. It involves the development of a natural strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury.

Before I begin my remarks, I want to thank the hon. member for his leadership on environmental issues. He has been an advocate for the environment within our caucus in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, his community at large, and, of course, by virtue of the bill in this House as well.

As many people already know in this House, the member was formerly a municipal councillor and deputy mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality. His legacy as an environmental leader carries on today from his time in that position. I want to thank him for his continued leadership on these issues. He has even taken the opportunity to meet with individuals who live in my riding and are trying to promote environmental products and drive the economy. They are outside of HRM, but he recognizes the benefit it will have on our region of Atlantic Canada as a whole.

From every corner of the country, whether it is my friends in Joe Batt's Arm, on Fogo Island, Tuktoyaktuk, or Vancouver Island, Canadians by and large are trying to promote a healthier environment to combat climate change. Finding more energy efficient options to household products is a great and easy place to start.

We have known for some time that energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, as many people know them, are easy and long-lasting ways to cut down on the amount of energy we use in our homes every day. For this reason, many of us have used CFLs over the years. There are 75% of Canadians in large cities who have at least one of these light bulbs in their homes today.

Canadians know that protecting the environment is important for our health and safety, but also, and as a new parent, for the health and safety of our children and our grandchildren as well. This is an important motivating factor. When Canadians purchase energy-efficient lamps, they are doing something in a small way to improve the future for other generations.

They may not be aware of the proper process for disposing of these environmentally friendly products once they have them in the home, which is also very important. It is important because when it is not done correctly, these products can release toxic substances into our environment, in particular in this case, mercury, as many of the hon. members have pointed out in their remarks on the bill already.

Mercury is actually a very useful substance. It appears in many consumer and commercial products. It is a great conductor of electricity. It reacts to temperature and pressure changes, which is why it is in everyone's thermometer. However, when products containing mercury are broken or when they are disposed of in a landfill, as they often are today, the mercury can get into the environment and have an adverse impact on our ecosystems, because it is highly toxic.

The more fragile products, such as fluorescent lamps, may also break during transportation and release mercury into the air. The EPA, in the United States, estimates that 3% of the total mercury in discarded fluorescent lamps is released to the atmosphere during transportation to a disposal facility.

If a product that contains mercury ends up in a landfill, the mercury can leach into the surrounding soil or be released into the atmosphere. If waste containing mercury is incinerated, the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere may be even higher. Without pollution controls, almost all of the mercury contained in waste entering an incinerator will be released into the air.

The best way to prevent mercury releases to the environment is to send lamps for proper recycling, instead of throwing them away.

Improving public awareness about the need for safe disposal and recycling of used lamps is very important. Canadians want to know how to best deal with these products, and they want to know that their government is taking steps to reduce these risks.

As one of my colleagues from the NDP pointed out, we are not always doing it now because we do not know and we are not made to, but municipalities and industry have taken early action. Many cities have already implemented specific collection programs, and some have incorporated them into household hazardous waste programs.

In B.C., Manitoba, Quebec, and P.E.I., manufacturers and importers are subject to extended producer responsibility regulations and are required to join or implement programs to collect and recycle lamps containing mercury at the end of their life cycle. In Ontario, manufacturers and importers take part in voluntary take-back programs for these kinds of lamps.

This all being said, too many Canadians still dispose of mercury-containing lamps in the garbage simply because they do not know that they contain this harmful substance or they do not understand the importance of safely disposing of these products. In addition, many environmentally sound recycling options are not readily available at this time.

This is precisely the purpose of the bill. It calls on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with different stakeholders and partners to develop and implement a national strategy on the safe disposal of these lamps. The strategy would encourage concerted action by the federal government, as well as other jurisdictions and stakeholders, to shine a light on this important issue.

Increasing public awareness can lead to actions that are going to reduce the harmful impacts of releasing mercury into the atmosphere. The minister is not able to do this without the help of others. We need the provinces, territories, municipal governments, and communities all to have a role to play if we are going to make something happen here.

In addition to environmental groups and industry, which are specifically listed in the bill, we need to collaborate on the safe disposal of mercury with our indigenous communities as well. A careful study of the provisions of the bill would ensure that the national strategy would build on and not simply duplicate work that is already being done in some of the provinces and territories, where some progress has been made in diverting this toxic substance from our landfills.

The bill would provide an opportunity for all jurisdictions and interested stakeholders to work together to develop this national strategy aimed at safely managing these lamps at the end of their lives. The proper end-of-life management of these lamps would allow us to benefit from their energy efficiency qualities without compromising the environment.

In addition, there is a serious economic impact. I know a few members have mentioned the company Dan-X in the riding of the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. This is a perfect example of how the environment and the economy can work together and promote one another at the same time.

If there is an environmental problem, such as the unsafe disposal of mercury in our landfills, there are companies that will actually create new jobs in turning what is currently treated as a waste product into a value-added product that can be injected back into the economy. This is new money that is currently literally being thrown into the garbage that would result in more jobs for Central Nova, Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, and every riding across this country if we implement a proper national strategy.

For these reasons, I am proud to be supporting the hon. member's bright idea and would ask that the committee carefully review the provisions of the bill to ensure that we can all work together with every interested party and stakeholder to make this national strategy as effective as it can be. I know the residents of my riding and my region are all going to be better off if they can enjoy a cleaner environment, greater public health, and more jobs for the region.

We are all doing what we can to protect the natural beauty of our wonderful country and we want to for generations to come. The bill would help, at least in a small way, to make a difference for the environment at home.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

October 7th, 2016 / 1:50 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-238, tabled by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who I sit on the environment committee with, is proposing a strategy for dealing with the mercury that comes from lamps containing mercury. He proposes three measures: national “standards”, which I will discuss later; guidelines for disposal facilities, which is required under the Basel convention and long overdue; and a plan to promote public awareness for the need for safe disposal.

By way of background, in November 2014, the previous government promulgated regulations requiring that products containing mercury be addressed. However, those regulations had exempted lamps and excluded disposal. Interestingly, in the meantime there was a Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Canada-wide standard, which seems to have been forgotten. It also announced the intention to bring forward a code of practice, and in the spring of 2016, under the current government, the government posted for public comment a proposed code of practice for safe disposal. However, the issue has been known for far longer.

By way of background, from 2001 to about 2008, I participated in both the national MERS and Alberta processes related to the elimination of mercury in the environment. Why? The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment had issued a list of top priority substances for elimination, and mercury was at the top of the list as a neurotoxin of serious impact, particularly to children. The identified major sources were not light fixtures or any product, including auto switches, but in fact coal-fired power and cement plants. Sadly, to date, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary suggested in his speech on the bill, the federal government has absolutely failed to regulate either of those significant sources.

However, in 2005, the Alberta government, to its credit, responded to a multi-stakeholder framework issued by the Clean Air Strategic Alliance and issued regulations requiring coal-fired power plants to capture their mercury emissions. To its additional credit, this past year Alberta moved forward to shut down coal-fired plants in a faster time span due to health reasons.

Interestingly, in 2007, the federal government initiated a public consultation on alternatives to reduce mercury contamination from products containing mercury. One source was compact fluorescent bulbs. Strangely, this alternative, while more energy efficient, contained the dangerous neurotoxin, mercury. I had the privilege of participating in Environment Canada's consultation in Vancouver that year. At that meeting, I raised concern with the mercury contamination potential and that there was no life-cycle strategy. There were strong concerns being voiced across the country that the federal government was merely downloading the costs of recycling, recovering, and disposal of the mercury to the municipalities. As the Canadian Environmental Protection Act requires a cradle-to-grave response to its proposals, the department had failed in addressing this part of its mandate.

There was strong support for the need for a compliance strategy up front to evaluate the efficacy of the approach with these lights to ensure that they would limit harm to health and the environment by requiring the capture of the mercury from the bulbs when disposed. There was also a widely held view across North America that without a regulation requiring the capture of this mercury, there would be no incentive to pursue an alternative cleaner technology.

Some provinces and some municipalities have, in the interim, established programs for the recovery of the bulbs containing mercury, where others have not. Some companies have stepped up, and some have backed down. For the most part, recovery depends on the voluntary actions of homeowners or businesses to take their bulbs to an eco-station, and by and large, the cost is then passed on to the municipalities to pay for the handling, transport, and recycling. Environment Canada has estimated that approximately 10% to 15% of these bulbs sold in Canada are recycled. The rest go to landfills. This dismal showing reflects widespread public ignorance about the issue, hence the bill the member has brought forward.

Back to Bill C-238. The first measure is a proposal for national standards. Indeed, action is needed but it is unclear exactly what mechanism is proposed by the member in the bill. Is it merely another Canada-wide standard that is not legally binding? Is it a code of practice, which is not legally binding as well?

Both of these measures could be made binding if they were adopted in permits or in regulations issued by provinces or territories. If it were a binding standard, the provinces or territories could enforce, and their law, if enacted, could claim equivalency. In fact, the government could issue a code of practice or a guideline if the agreement was with the provincial and territorial jurisdictions that they were going to take measures to actually make this happen.

I note that the government of the day has already issued notice that by the end of this year, it will issue and have in place a code of practice. I note that the member is proposing a measure, but only to come into effect two years from now, and it is not clear which of the three measures he would come forward with more quickly. Perhaps, given the fact that the government has shown initiative, at least one measure would be expedited.

The second proposed measure is guidelines for disposal facilities. It is not clear whether that would be a code of conduct or a guideline. Again, it would not be binding unless it was implemented by permit by a province or territory, and it would then be binding on the facility that was disposing of the mercury-containing product.

Third, the member proposes a plan for public awareness. There indeed has been a lot of support on the need for action on awareness. As I mentioned earlier, only 10% to 15% of these bulbs are being returned for proper disposal or recycling, so there needs to be awareness. However, there has also been concern that simple public awareness is not going to get it done and that we need additional measures to support, for example, the recycling facility in the member's own riding, Dan-X, which currently recycles mercury.

However, it is clear from our past experience with enterprises like this that have been set up that unless one is obligated to submit the substance for recycling, we cannot guarantee the return. Therefore, indeed, we need public awareness, but we need the first two initiatives more.

The second issue is that the code of practice the government put forward offered training for employees, but by and large, it is homeowners who take these bulbs to the recycling centres, and they are not going to be subject to the training.

In short, I am very pleased that the member has come forward. This is an important action, but I look forward to the member also supporting my initiative and move on the largest source of mercury, which is coal-fired power plants. I look forward to him taking similar action in his province of Nova Scotia.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

October 7th, 2016 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-238, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, put forward by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour.

I was pleased to listen to the member for Hull—Aylmer, and I have had a chance to speak him on numerous occasions. He did bring back a few of the things that I remember when these light bulbs first started coming into discussion, and how we would have young children trying to sell these to their parents in a fundraiser so we could save the environment.

Of course, there are some unintended consequences that happen, and this is certainly one of those. We recognize what the base metal included in this can actually do. We have so many other issues with rare earth metals that are needed, for batteries, for windmills, and for solar devices. Again, there are unintended consequences, but we have to make sure we understand what all of that will do.

I am glad that the member has put forward a bill that builds on our previous Conservative government's actions to control mercury in our environment. I would also acknowledge my colleague from Abbotsford and the official opposition critic for the environment and climate change for his work on environmental issues. Bill C-238 would provide the opportunity for the House to work in a bipartisan manner, to not only pass the legislation but to kick-start the process of raising awareness and educating Canadians on the safe disposal of light bulbs containing mercury.

Most Canadians are aware of the dangers of not having a proper disposal procedure for the highly toxic substances like mercury. In 2010, our Conservative government put forth a strategy for proper mercury disposal, and, in 2013, we negotiated the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international convention that essentially calls for tough measures to reduce mercury emissions.

Supporting Bill C-238 is in line with our previous Conservative government's approach to controlling toxic substances that pose a risk to human health. This same approach made me proud to stand with my colleagues when our previous government passed the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, in 2010, banning the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles. I want to stress the importance of all such initiatives.

In the bill, we discuss the effects of mercury, which has the ability, as was mentioned, to be spread between water, air, and soil. Contaminations can have a catastrophic impact on our environment, and the health of all Canadians. We know that mercury is toxic and that it is related to various health problems, including birth defects, rashes, and even death. Even in lower quantities, when mercury is accumulated, it creates a significant risk to our most vulnerable.

Products containing mercury are in our landfills. We know that through this disposal method, mercury has the potential to leak into our soils and water sources. Most Canadians would agree that it is something that must be dealt with.

We, as parliamentarians, have a duty to make sure that our work also creates the right circumstances for us to protect our environment for future generations and ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.

The bill calls for the environment minister to develop and implement a plan or proposal for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. I know that the people in my constituency of Red Deer—Mountain View, and all Canadians, will welcome our efforts to minimize the presence of mercury in our immediate environment and put a stop to the negative health risks that come along with it.

Bill C-238 contains three essential elements: the establishment of national standards for the safe disposal of mercury-containing lamps, the establishment of guidelines regarding facilities for safe disposal, and the creation of a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of those lamps being disposed of safely.

The bill also requires that the strategy be tabled in Parliament within two years of royal assent, and that a review and evaluation of that strategy takes place every five years afterwards. The Liberal government can implement, through regulation and policy, and by working with provincial counterparts, the three elements proposed in Bill C-238 at any time. There is a way to make things more efficient, but with a Liberal government in place, Canadians would not be surprised with delays and unnecessary costs being the result of its actions.

My colleague from Abbotsford has looked at a few similar pieces of legislation to this one that have already been presented in the House. Two such red-tape legislative instruments have been put forward. First, Motion No. 45 required that all infrastructure projects at the municipal level over $500 million in value would have to go through a full climate change impact analysis to determine what the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emission implications would be of those projects. Second, Bill C-227 would place a requirement on contractors for projects within the federal realm.

The member who has brought forward Bill C-227 suggests that projects at the municipal level originally chosen because they meet the current need of municipalities and provinces would henceforth primarily be selected through a lens of their climate change implications. This would impose additional costs on our local governments and additional red tape and delays. For example, if a building contractor wanted to bid on a federal building project, the contractor would have to go through a community benefit analysis, adding additional costs and more red tape for projects because that would have to be built into the bid price. On top of that, it would complicate the federal bidding process by adding more red tape to the process, when in fact these projects should be bid-based on best value for taxpayer dollars or, in other words, best value for the best price.

In a way, I am somewhat skeptical about Bill C-238. Would it be another example of the Liberals over-reaching and ultimately adding additional costs to taxpayers? As much as the motives behind these initiatives are commendable, they are duplicative and would pose additional regulatory burdens on Canadians. That is my fear with this and with most any Liberal strategy.

The member could have moved forward by simply asking the government to enact the necessary regulations through robust consultation with the provinces and municipalities to provide the appropriate recycling and disposal policies across the country. For whatever reason, the member did not do that. We can deal with dangerous toxic waste like mercury now. That essential task is something the government can do now even without this bill. The Liberal government can move forward right now with regulations that set the standards and guidelines for safe disposal of these lamps. The government has the ability to make the public aware of these standards and guidelines.

Our caveat about the bill is the fear that it would lead to the Liberals actually calling for a national strategy, which would take far too long to conclude and create additional initiatives that would come with higher costs, higher taxes, and more red tape. There are many provincial jurisdictions that have programs in place, and by simply working with them we can achieve great results without adding any unnecessary hoops.

When it comes to important issues like emissions targets, research and development investments, infrastructure, and increases in health care funding, the Liberals are quite content to use evidence-based policies from the former Conservative government. While we expect them to refresh these initiatives with some Liberal red paint, unfortunately the overall Liberal program also comes with a massive amount of red ink for future generations.

In this case, making sure that mercury-containing lamps are safely disposed of is something that everyone should support. We should also do the right thing and make sure that our proposed solutions are efficient and, most importantly, effective.

I support taking this to committee in the hope that it will establish national standards for the safe disposal of mercury-containing lamps, guidelines regarding facilities for safe disposal, and create a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of such lamps being disposed of safely. I look forward to a process that will be cost efficient and does not impose an additional undue tax burden on Canadian taxpayers, nor add additional red tape that would tie up businesses, provinces, and municipalities.

The House resumed from May 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-238, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2016 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-238, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. I support this important bill at second reading because it is a good initiative and a step in the right direction.

The NDP supports all initiatives relating to the sustainable development of our communities. We want to minimize the presence of toxic substances that can threaten the balance and viability of our ecosystems.

Our record proves that the NDP has always been a leader in environmental protection. We must figure out solutions to the unsafe disposal of the mercury component of bulbs.

There are three main points in this bill. First, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must develop and implement a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. I congratulate my colleague on proposing such a strategy. This should have been done a long time ago, but unfortunately, the Conservative government was not particularly concerned about the environment. This is a step in the right direction.

Second, the bill calls on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to work with representatives from the various levels of government, industry, and environmental groups to implement a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. That is extremely important.

Later, I will explain why we need to work with the provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as the private companies that make these products. I will explain why we need to address the root of the problem, the creation of this waste.

Third, the bill calls on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to monitor and properly assess the effectiveness of the strategy. That is common sense. The NDP has always called for a ban on incandescent light bulbs. We want the government to implement a plan that will make it mandatory to recycle compact fluorescent bulbs. What is more, we want the companies that sell these light bulbs to be subject to a code of practice that is not just voluntary.

A voluntary code of practice does not ensure the implementation of a robust process. The process cannot be monitored or assessed and so no progress is made. A voluntary code of practice is no longer good enough. We need a code of practice that makes it mandatory for the industry to safely dispose of lamps containing mercury.

I worked in the environmental field for a number of years, and I think that extended producer responsibility is one of the most important things. Producers cannot just put a product on the market and then wash their hands of it. They need to be responsible for that product from cradle to cradle, from its creation to its recovery or reclamation. That is what is meant by extended producer responsibility.

It is important to reduce the quantity of waste materials sent for disposal by making companies responsible for the recovery and reclamation of the products that they put on the market and promoting more environmentally friendly products.

At the manufacturing stage, companies need to think about what will happen to a product at the end of its useful life. They need to think about how its components can be repurposed and how to dispose of it safely. This is known as extended producer responsibility.

It is important to implement a strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, but we need to go even further and implement a national strategy on extended producer responsibility, in order to come up with ways to dispose of all products manufactured in or imported into Canada in a manner that is safe for the environment and for Canadians' health.

In that respect, I have worked very hard to find ways to improve the overall performance of products before their life cycle ends, specifically in order to minimize waste at the source.

In fact, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has been advocating for standards to reduce the amount of mercury in lamps sold in Canada since 2001. Of course, it is now 2016.

I congratulate my colleague on his contribution towards creating this national strategy, and I want to assure him of my full support. I will help and encourage him in his efforts. Unfortunately, the Conservatives did nothing on this file for far too long, for nearly a decade in fact, which is really disappointing.

Many businesses and organizations in Drummond are doing their part, and I would like to highlight one in particular: Ressourcerie Transition.

On April 22, Earth Day, I visited a number of organizations and industries that work on environmental protection, as well as some organic farms in my riding. One of the organizations I visited was Ressourcerie Transition, which works on the reuse, recovery, and repurposing of products. This is very important.

There has to be a shift from producing disposable products that end up in our landfills and create major problems in our communities, to coming up with a way to have products that meet conditions for the 4Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, and reclaim.

I want to congratulate Ressourcerie Transition on reusing and reclaiming objects and then reselling them to the public.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2016 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill C-238, an act respecting the national strategy for safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, put forward by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. I would also like to congratulate the member on putting forth his first private member's bill in the House.

Bill C-238 would provide for the House to work in a bipartisan manner to not only pass the legislation, but begin the process of raising awareness and educating Canadians on the safe disposal of light bulbs containing mercury.

Mercury has the ability to be spread between water, air, and soil, which can significantly and negatively impact human and environmental health. It is well known that mercury is toxic and can cause health problems, including birth defects, rashes, and death. When low quantities are accumulated, they create a risk to mothers and their babies.

Mercury poisoning can also cause neurological damage, including slurred speech, memory loss, and tremors. The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland did not get eccentric and zany from the exotic tea he was drinking; it was the mercury that led him down the rabbit hole of insanity.

Bill C-238 prescribes three important elements that need to be considered and supported. Precisely, it would establish national standards for the safe disposal of mercury-containing lamps; guidelines regarding facilities for safe disposal; and would create a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of those lamps being disposed of safely.

Previously, in 2010, our Conservative government released a risk management strategy for mercury, which proposed to reduce releases of mercury through the products containing certain toxic substances regulations. Supporting the bill is in line with the previous Conservative government's approach to controlling toxic substances that pose a risk to human health. For example, the previous government passed the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, Bill C-36, in 2010 and banned the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles.

As the environment is a shared jurisdiction with the provinces and territories, we also must be mindful to not overstep our boundaries as a federal government. I believe, however, the legislation would strike not only the right balance but could lead to a productive partnership on this file.

I appreciate that the legislation is focused and has a clear purpose as the thrust of the bill is to instruct the environment minister to develop and implement a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. As it stands, many provinces and municipalities have different approaches to this issue. I believe that best practices can be shared, and when different levels of government work together, we will be able to educate consumers on how to safely dispose of these light bulbs without a considerable cost to the taxpayers.

In Brandon, Manitoba, the city has taken the approach of allowing our collection point for hazardous goods to be open six days a week, as an example. Furthermore, it has partnerships with hardware stores across the city at which people can drop off hazardous goods. The city communicates on a regular basis with its residents on which goods should not be tossed into the regular garbage pickup to ensure they do not end up in the landfill.

There are many other examples of municipalities having programs that accept household products that contain mercury. Some have implemented collection programs specifically for fluorescent bulbs, while others collect them as part of their household hazardous waste programs.

The reason the legislation is timely is many Canadians have fluorescent bulbs in their homes, their businesses, or farm operations. The reason we still use fluorescent bulbs is that they are more energy efficient than incandescent lights. The use of fluorescent lamps in place of incandescent bulbs can reduce energy consumption and in turn keep our electricity bill down. Nonetheless, we must not forget about their negative effect on the environment and on health.

The knowledge curve on properly educating consumers on how to safely dispose of them needs to be enhanced, and this legislation is a good starting point for that to occur. In fact, I hope the legislation will spur hardware stores, department stores, and just about anyone who sells florescent bulbs to take it upon themselves to share with their customers how to safely dispose of the bulbs and how to take the appropriate measures when a bulb is accidentally broken.

Moreover, the legislation can provide an opportunity for light bulb manufacturers to review how they package and ship their products to further enhance the safe transport of their products.

As with all programs and activities in the federal government, it is important to measure the effectiveness of specific initiatives. Far too often governments have good intentions, however, do not have systems in place to see if goals are being met. That is why it is necessary to emphasize that under the bill the Minister of Environment and Climate Change would have to report to Parliament. In particular, under clause 3, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change would be responsible for preparing a report setting out a national strategy and implementing it. Moreover, clause 4 describes the review of the report where within five years of the tabling of the report and every five years after that the minister of environment would set out his or her conclusions and recommendations regarding the national strategy.

It is imperative that all levels of government work together to keep toxic substances out of Canadian landfills and waterways. I am pleased to highlight that in the member's riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, a company called DAN-X recycles mercury-bearing light bulbs, which is reducing the environmental risk to its landfills. Many members might be interested to know that recyclers can recover the mercury for reuse.

I am pleased that we have such effective facilities in our country. We need to encourage their growth and success in order to keep our lands and waterways clear of hazardous materials. It is important that all members of the House support the legislation as the associated risks from mercury to our health and the environment are too high.

I know all Canadians care about our environment, which is why it is so important to involve the provinces, territories, municipalities, and private industries in developing and implementing this national strategy. Working together and supporting each other is the only effective way to make positive changes in our communities, and in Canada as a whole. Together, we can provide strong environmental leadership and can protect our lands and waterways. After all, this is what Canadians expect from us. The time to fulfill this obligation in a tangible way is right now.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2016 / 11:40 a.m.
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North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to the bill introduced by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, which proposes the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps that contain mercury. I certainly commend him for his efforts in this regard. The lamps referred to in the bill are light bulbs such as florescent tubes or compact florescent light bulbs, which are known commercially as lamps.

Mercury, as many of us know, is a potent neurotoxin that can cause damage to the brain, central nervous system, kidneys, and lungs, and is particularly damaging to the development of the human fetus, infants, and young children. It is a chemical of global concern due to its high toxicity and its ability to travel long distances in the atmosphere. It has impacts on human health and the environment in places far from its source of release, such as Canada's Arctic. There, mercury levels in wildlife have been increasing over the past 30 years.

While the effects of mercury are most significant in Canada's Arctic and pose a particular risk to populations who rely heavily on the consumption of predatory fish and traditional food, the impacts are evident in all regions of Canada. The bill could make an important contribution to reducing releases of mercury and can build on other actions Canada has taken domestically and internationally.

Domestically, the federal government has undertaken several targeted policy and program initiatives to reduce emissions and releases. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the government is taking action to address the health and environmental risks of mercury, including mercury from lamps.

For example, the products containing mercury regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury, with some exemptions for essential products that have no technically or economically viable alternatives, for example, certain medical and research applications, and dental amalgam. In the case of lamps, the regulations limit the amount of mercury the lamps can contain and require labelling to inform consumers of the presence of mercury, safe handling procedures, and options for end-of-life management and recycling.

In addition, in April of this year, the government published a proposed code of practice for the environmentally sound management of end-of-life lamps containing mercury. The code of practice provides guidance on environmental best practices for managing these lamps at their end of life. It also includes information on diversion and end-of-life management options for areas where access to recycling and disposal facilities is limited, such as northern and remote communities.

The proposed code of practice is open for comment until June 6, 2016, and the government plans to publish the final code of practice by the end of 2016.

In addition to federal measures to address mercury in lamps, there are federal regulations aimed at other activities, which also reduce mercury emissions and releases. For example, federal regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector have an added benefit of reducing the mercury released into the atmosphere. Regulations on effluent from metal mines include limits on the release of mercury to water.

In March of this year, the government also published the first national evaluation of mercury in the Canadian environment, called the Canadian Mercury Science Assessment. During the period covered by the assessment, which was 1990 to 2010, Canadian emissions of mercury to the air decreased by 85%. Despite the decreases in Canadian emissions, however, ambient levels of mercury in the air in Canada have only decreased by 18% on average from 1995 to 2010. This is because over 95% of the mercury that results from human activity and gets deposited in Canada comes from foreign sources: approximately 40% from East Asia, 17% from the United States, 8% from Europe, and 6% from South Asia.

These foreign sources of mercury include emissions to air from industrial sources in other countries. They also include the use of mercury in small-scale gold mining, and in various products and processes, as well as from the disposal of wastes containing mercury and the re-emission of mercury from contaminated sites. While Canadian mercury emissions are expected to continue to decrease due to our ongoing efforts, global emissions are predicted to increase, in part due to the growth of coal-fired power plants in China and India.

In light of the impact of global activities, Canada continues to be a strong proponent of international action on mercury and the government is working toward ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from human-generated emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

Returning now to the bill being debated, this important initiative would also result in less mercury getting into the environment and will benefit the health of Canadians and the environment.

Bill C-238 deals with one source of mercury emissions, lamps. The bill would put an obligation on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to develop and implement a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. The bill would also require the minister to work in co-operation with partners and stakeholders in order to table a national strategy within two years of the act receiving royal assent by Parliament, or December 31, 2018, whichever is later. Every five years after the national strategy is initially tabled, the minister would report on the effectiveness of the national strategy.

This private member's bill complements the government's current actions on mercury. The national strategy that would be developed as a result of the bill would facilitate a harmonized approach, focusing on existing gaps to achieve environmental and sound management at end-of-life lamps containing mercury.

The bill envisages that the minister will seek the support of other governments across the country to develop and implement a national strategy. Responsibility for managing waste is shared among federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments.

The Government of Canada currently regulates international and interprovincial movements of hazardous waste, manages waste on federal lands, and has extensive authorities to regulate toxic substances and products that contain them. Provincial and territorial jurisdictions regulate waste management operations and facilities, and the end-of-life management of products. Municipal governments collect and manage waste for recycling and disposal.

The development and implementation of the national strategy will also require support and input from industry, environmental groups, municipalities and Indigenous groups. We will need to hear from these stakeholders about what should be included in the national strategy to help advance this important issue.

We look forward to hearing from all our partners and stakeholders as to what is needed to develop an effective national strategy. It should build on successful programs, such as the work done through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, and should address the gaps that exist. We already know what some of those gaps might be, such as a lack of public awareness on the importance of recycling these lamps as well diversion programs for northern and remote communities.

I am pleased to say that the government is supportive of this bill. We will encourage the committee to do a careful reading of its provisions to ensure that the national strategy does not duplicate efforts already under way and can focus on the gaps that may exist across the country.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for bringing the bill before the House. It will help to focus national attention on the issue. I am confident that when we all work together, we can make a significant difference in addressing the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2016 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was worried for a moment. I am sure it was a good question, too. We will have to find a way to get it on the record. Perhaps our friend can offer a speech on the bill.

New Democrats will be supporting Bill C-238. We think it would go some measure toward doing some important things for our environment, which Canadians are rightly concerned with. It is a deeply held belief and value by Canadians that as we go about our daily lives, feed our kids, light our homes, and go to work, we do not want to be doing harm.

At the heart of the legislation is a notion around a principle that is often not applied when we pass legislation and laws in this place. It is a notion, which has been long-standing, called the precautionary principle. It suggests that before we go out and bring a new product or chemical into the world, we should look at all the best available evidence to understand if there are any impacts or exposure to the environment that would bring risk to the environment or the health of Canadians.

Clearly around issues of mercury or any of the highly classified toxins, as we innovate and try to get that green economy, products that use less energy, that are less wasteful in a whole bunch of different ways, it is important to take the full life-cycle costs and the full understanding of what it is that we are buying, producing in our factories, and bringing in from overseas.

The bill would move us in that direction. However, there is a couple of concerns that we have but they are concerns that can be addressed as the bill moves through. One is around the element of education. We know that changing the way we recycle and use products is important, but a key element in that is that consumers have full knowledge and full participation in whatever program we are trying to initiate.

The bill is interesting in that the federal government does not really have jurisdiction to direct provinces, territories, and municipalities to do one thing or another with their waste streams. We can offer some guidance. We can have some encouragement. We can bring in laws that restrict the use of certain products.

However, in terms of recycling, in terms of the reusing of certain products, what the bill seeks to do is three things. One of them is set up a national strategy. We know, and we have been told, that Environment Canada is engaged in producing such a strategy. This would be encouragement for the department to get on with it.

It is not news that mercury and other toxins are highly lethal, not just to humans but to a lot of things that humans care about, like the planet, fish, birds, and all the rest of that. It is curious that we have gone so long, and there are have been some delays by previous governments in introducing legislation. My understanding is that as we have been exporting a lot of this harmful material south of the border into their recycling facilities, there is not a lot of enthusiasm to continue to have that stream going to the United States and other countries. It is a good principle that Canada takes care of its own garbage and pollution. This seems like a basic understanding and value that we would all share.

I suppose, as my friend from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour has said, this is the beginning of a conversation with provinces and territories. In my experience, they sometimes like to have that conversation in advance of legislation being brought forward, but it is a big task for a single member of Parliament to take on, to try to engage with all the provinces and territories. However, that is going to be vital. Oftentimes if our partners at the provincial and territorial level feel like an initiative is also their idea, they are much more enthusiastic about participating and going through the process. If they feel like it is Ottawa imposing an idea, that can have the opposite reaction.

It is curious, simply because when we have dealt with other issues from the government, it has had very long and strenuous consultation processes, sometimes to the point of frustration. John Manley used to talk about constipation through consultation. There can be a tendency within governments that when it is not sure how to proceed, it continues to consult and consult and never really does anything. Ottawa loves to study things.

I am encouraged that there is an initiative in here that says we should go forward and do something. There is maybe going to have to be some extra energy put toward the consultation side, particularly at the municipal level. For those of us in the House who have engaged in municipal government, they have very few resources, and by that I mean money, to deal with a lot of issues. Their budgets are often strained. They cannot, as the federal government does and the previous one did, run massive deficits. It is just not available to municipal governments.

One of the first questions I am going to get from councillors, town councillors, and mayors is, “How do we pay for this?” If this is going to end up on their bottom line, they want to be able to participate and do it right, but they also want to ensure they do not bear all the costs. That is a completely fair understanding of the situation.

We also see in the bill that there would be a report-back mechanism, and I believe it would be in two years. There would be an ability for us to have a sense of where the strategy is going and whether it is working. One of the things that I would encourage is that we would have some clear metrics designed, if they are not already in place in the legislation, so that reporting back is not anecdotal or subjective but is quite objective and fact-based. What is the level of mercury hitting the landfills right now? What is the expectation of the legislation in terms of reducing that pollution? Are we able to achieve those targets, and if we are off, why are we off? That accountability is important to Canadians because they have too often heard large ambitions from governments that are left relatively vague. When it comes time to see whether the thing worked, there is no way to actually hold government to account because the measures were never put in place.

My friend from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour talked about the need for environmental leadership, and we agree that for far too long, on the broader issue of the environment, the federal government has been absent or heavy on the rhetoric but very light on the action. Probably no issue underlines that fact more than the issue of climate change, where we have seen, in fact, a lot of leadership from the municipal, provincial, and territorial levels but an absence of that here in Parliament where it has been a frustrating 30-year process of trying to deal with the issue of climate change and carbon pollution into our atmosphere.

As my friend from the Liberal side noted earlier, some will come to this debate and say that it is only costs. This is a cost to consumers. It is going to be a cost to the economy. It is going to hurt the creation of jobs and only cost consumers and taxpayers. I would argue that this is an example where, if we look at the full cost of what is happening, there is a cost already being borne on municipalities and provinces, in trying to deal with these toxins, like mercury. There is a cost to consumers and Canadians directly through their health care.

I was just with a friend this past weekend, when I was back home in Smithers, who is dealing with mercury contamination issues, yet his exposure to them was never through his work. The doctors have looked back and realized that it was from playing with old discarded light bulbs, as many of us did as kids playing Star Wars and busting them up with no knowledge that we were being exposed to something like mercury, which can bioaccumulate. That means it can continue to stay in our systems decades after exposure. My friend is facing serious health consequences now. It may be through diet, which is also a concern, but it was actually just through exposure as a young person.

All this is to say that when addressing any issue and looking at any product, any chemical, any toxin, we look at the full life-cycle of the product from cradle to grave. We look at how we are taking care and being responsible consumers, and how it is when the government puts forward legislation it is seen through a lens that is clearly understood by Canadians and is accountable to Canadians.

This is not what this bill is, but I would greatly encourage the current government to apply the same principles it has in the legislation to things like climate change and reviewing industrial projects, such as mines and pipelines, so that we have a clear accounting for what that precautionary principle is and we have a clear accounting of what the true costs are of any government decision. It would not be some vague subjective notion but something that people could hold the government to account on.

If they are going to approve an oil pipeline like Kinder Morgan to Vancouver, what are the Liberals actually taking into account? This would not be some sort of subjective “we looked at climate change”, but what the actual contribution upstream and downstream is, and what the full life-cycle cost of any decision that we make is. Canadians make these decisions all the time. If they put funds into their kids' education program, they try to understand what the full costs and benefits are. As a government, we should run ourselves as a household, and as many families do, understand what the full cost of any activity or inactivity might be.

I thank my friend from Nova Scotia for his bill.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2016 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my colleague on the environment committee for bringing forward this initiative. I think he would admit that this legislation builds on our previous Conservative government's actions to control mercury within our environment in Canada.

A lot of Canadians do not realize that Canada does not mine mercury. Canada is arguably the richest country in the world when it comes to natural resources, but mining mercury is not one of those activities. Ninety-five per cent of all the mercury deposited in Canada comes from foreign sources, which is why our former Conservative government was active in negotiating the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international convention that essentially calls for tough measures to reduce mercury emissions. That was in 2013.

In November 2014, we followed that up with the products containing mercury regulations, which essentially prohibit the broad import and manufacture of products containing mercury, with limited exemptions. These regulations are expected to reduce by somewhere in the order of 21 tonnes the mercury that will be emitted into our environment between 2015 and 2032.

I appreciate the member's effort to build upon our previous government's work. This is important. The work we do at committee is not only about the environment but about sustainability, the long-term balancing of the environment with our economic objectives. We want to make sure that, as the Liberal government has said so often and as we used to say, the environment and the economy have to go hand in hand.

Some of the measures we are undertaking at the environment committee include a study, which we have now completed, on the Federal Sustainable Development Act. We are undertaking right now a study on conservation, which includes parkland and marine conservation areas. We are also undertaking a review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. All of these serve Canada's interests to make sure that, as we move forward, we continue to make our environment safer, cleaner, and healthier for Canadians to live in.

Bill C-238, a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, contains three elements. The first would establish national standards for the safe disposal of mercury-containing lamps. The second would establish guidelines regarding facilities for safe disposal of these lamps. The third would create a plan to promote public awareness of the importance of safe disposal of these kinds of lamps. Right now these lamps end up in our landfills, and the mercury leaches into our soil and our water sources. Virtually all Canadians would agree that is something we do not want to see happen.

This bill attempts to establish a strategy. I would ask the member why we need a national strategy. As our former Conservative government moved forward to address the presence of mercury within our environment, we acted. We did not simply establish strategies and talk shops where we prolonged any action on these measures, but we acted. We signed the Minamata Convention. We moved forward with regulations on mercury and mercury emissions. We do not need a formal strategy to get this done. The Liberal government has within its full power the ability to move forward with its own legislation and to move forward with its own regulations and policies that would build upon the work that our former Conservative government did in this area.

Some national strategies that have been presented are worthwhile, especially the ones addressing many of the health challenges still present in Canada. However a strategy is simply a call to develop a plan, whereas moving forward with action goes to the very substance of what we hope to achieve.

The bill would also require this strategy to be tabled in the House within two years and then reviewed every five years to make sure it is in keeping with new strategies for the disposal of mercury-containing lamps.

By the way, I am going to support this bill going to committee, because I want to continue to build on the work that the previous Conservative government achieved, to make sure we continue to clean up our environment of mercury contamination. However, the challenge is to make sure any initiative or strategy is cost efficient and does not impose additional undue tax burden on Canadian taxpayers or red tape that ties up businesses, provinces, and municipalities.

The member actually admitted in his opening comments that the provinces and municipalities are implicated in this strategy. Much of the work and cost in implementing this strategy would actually be done at the provincial and municipal levels, which is where these recycling and disposal facilities would be located. Conservatives, of course, are always concerned with what kinds of additional costs will be imposed on Canadians.

As a Conservative government, we were very proud of a record of having reduced Canada's tax burden to the lowest level in over 50 years, and Canadians welcomed that. They do not want to pay more taxes, but they understand that we want to keep our environment clean.

I looked at a few pieces of legislation similar to this one that have already been presented in the House and to which I had a chance to speak. Motion No. 45 required that all infrastructure projects at the municipal level that are over $500 million in value would have to go through a full climate change impact analysis to determine what the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emission implications would be for those projects.

The member who brought this private member's bill forward suggested that projects at the municipal level, chosen to meet the needs of municipalities and provinces, would actually be seen through a lens of climate change rather than for the purposes for which those projects were being built and planned. This would impose huge additional costs on our local governments, additional red tape, and delays, and it would discourage the municipalities from moving forward with critical infrastructure in their communities.

The same thing was true for Bill C-227, a private member's bill, which would place a requirement on contractors for projects within the federal realm. In other words, if a building contractor wanted to bid on a federal building project, the contractor would have to go through a community benefit analysis. On top of all the other red tape government has already imposed on those wishing to do business with government, it now wants an additional community benefit analysis, which again would add additional costs, more red tape, and increased costs of projects, because that would have to be built into the bid price.

On top of that, it would complicate the federal bidding process, by adding more and more red tape to the process, when in fact these projects should be bid based on best value for the taxpayers' dollar, or in other words, the best value for the best price. Therefore, Conservatives have a right to be skeptical about the bill before us. Is it going to be another example of Liberals' overreaching, adding additional cost to taxpayers?

In both of these cases, of course, as much as the motives behind these initiatives are laudable, the motion and this bill would actually pose additional regulatory burdens on Canadians, and that is my fear with this strategy. Quite frankly, the member could have moved forward with simply asking the government to move forward with regulations in consultation with the provinces and municipalities to provide the appropriate recycling and disposal policies across the country. For whatever reason, the member did not do that.

Hopefully, this matter will be fully discussed at committee. I will certainly be asking the member questions about costs, regulatory burdens, and exactly what this would mean for Canadian taxpayers. I look forward to the discussion, and I know the member and I are going to work very closely to make sure this is done in a way that is respectful of taxpayers and also addresses the very real concerns of mercury within our environment.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActPrivate Members' Business

May 30th, 2016 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

moved that Bill C-238, An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud and delighted to rise today to speak to Bill C-238, a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury act.

First I would like to thank my constituents of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for having faith in me to effect real change and to make their voices heard in Ottawa. It is an honour to come here and work hard on their behalf to create a better environment for Canadians.

My private member's bill calls upon our Minister of Environment and Climate Change to open a dialogue and work with our provinces and territories to develop a robust national strategy ensuring that lamps containing mercury are safely disposed of.

We know that mercury is toxic.

However, Canadians are dumping toxic mercury into landfills daily.

I am thankful to the members who have seconded my bill, and I am truly honoured by the kind words I have received from members across the country. I am also encouraged by their feedback and their eagerness to protect Canada's environment.

I am touched that the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands approached me early on to jointly second the bill. I commend her environmental leadership and passion to work across party lines for the greater good. This is not about individuals; it is about protecting Canada as a whole. Canadians expect us to work together and find solutions together.

Private members' bills are often deeply personal. In 2012, I represented the Burnside Industrial Park in Dartmouth. Burnside is home to hundreds of innovative businesses and manufacturers, and it is the largest industrial park in eastern Canada. We have world leaders in solar technology. We have businesses contributing to shipbuilding. We even have research happening daily on the development of a Tesla battery.

It was during this period that I toured Dan-x Recycling. Dan-x is located in my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour and is committed to ensuring that all mercury-bearing light bulbs are diverted from landfills and properly recycled. During my tour, I asked the normal questions that one would ask. I asked what the regulations are for end-of-life mercury light bulbs. I was shocked to hear that there were none. In light of the fact that there were no regulations, I began working within our municipality to, at the very least, divert the bulbs used in city-owned buildings. We had no enforcement measures to ensure that folks properly disposed of or recycled CFL bulbs. I was told that it had always been expected that with the introduction of CFL bulbs and the continued widespread commercial use of fluorescent bulbs that regulations would soon follow. This is the inspiration for Bill C-238.

The issue of keeping mercury out of our waterways and off our land matters to me as a parent. Like many folks, I want to leave this world a better place for our children and for future generations. That is why I immediately joined the municipal environment committee when I became a councillor for the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is why I am thrilled to now sit on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development with our federal government.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. It was true back then, and it is as true now. Remediation of land and water is costly, and when preventative measures can be taken, it makes the most sense.

I would like to thank our previous federal government and my colleagues from across the floor for taking measures to reduce the use of inefficient incandescent bulbs and helping Canadians embrace energy-efficient, compact fluorescent light bulbs and other lamp technology.

As with an ecosystem, even one small positive change often acts as a catalyst, setting off a chain reaction. For commercial purposes, fluorescent lamps have been popular for some time. However, CFL bulbs, as I mentioned, have gained in popularity since legislative changes to bulb efficiency standards were announced.

In 2014, a Statistics Canada report showed that three-quarters of total households reported using compact fluorescent lights. With so many Canadians using efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, we must ensure their safe disposal.

We warn consumers to step out of the room if a mercury bearing bulb breaks, but we do very little when Canadians dump these bulbs into our landfills every day.

Mercury is dangerous and toxic.

We are talking about an element that causes severe health problems, birth defects, and even death.

Commercial fluorescent bulbs alone contain 22 milligrams of mercury. Sources state that it takes only 0.5 milligrams of mercury to pollute 180 tonnes of water. One small CFL light bulb contains between 0.17 milligrams and 3.6 milligrams of mercury. It might not sound like a lot, but with more than three-quarters of Canadians using these bulbs, it really adds up.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment reported that waste lamps, whether broken or intact, contribute about 1,150 kilograms of mercury to landfills in Canada each year. That is 1,150 kilograms of mercury with the potential to poison our water and lands.

Mercury has the ability to undergo long range transport. That means that mercury deposited into a Halifax landfill could theoretically redeposit somewhere in northern Canada.

It is our responsibility to show real environmental leadership and protect Canadians whenever we can. We must take responsibility and protect future generations from this needless pollution. We can no longer pass the buck. We must work together and act now.

Solutions to this problem already exist.

As I mentioned, my private member's bill was inspired by an amazing and innovative facility in my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. It recycles every bit of a fluorescent lamp. These bulbs are made of glass, mercury, lead oxide, and phosphorous powder. This facility separates and reuses the glass in the production of new bulbs. The metal is melted down and reused by metal recycling facilities. It even processes and recycles the phosphorus powder that contains the toxic mercury.

Facilities like this exist across Canada. The member for Edmonton Strathcona has a facility in her riding that recycles these toxic mercury-bearing bulbs, as do the ridings of Brantford—Brant, Cambridge, Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, and Delta. These companies are focusing on a green economy, on clean technology. It is what we as a government have been talking about for the past six months. Investing in clean tech makes sense. Just look at these entrepreneurial ventures that have the ability to take this issue and turn it into something positive. We must encourage those with environmental and entrepreneurial spirit, like those who have established the facilities I have mentioned. My bill complements investment into the green economy. Bill C-238 has the potential to help grow this industry. We all know that when industry grows, so does the number of jobs.

Canadians are investing millions of dollars in the municipal landfills across the country. Whenever possible, we must divert recyclables from landfills. It makes dollars and it makes sense. These particular recyclables may be dangerous, but they are valuable when correct measures are taken. Light bulb recycling facilities, like the one in my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, employ Canadians while providing a valuable environmental service. That is what we mean by a “clean economy”.

As I mentioned, solutions to this problem exist. Many provinces may lack CFL end-of-life strategies, but others are showing true environmental leadership. The Province of British Columbia is a fine example of leading the way and showing that successful models do exist. Notably, British Columbia's LightRecycle outreach program has diverted over 12.5 million lighting products from B.C. landfills since 2010. Its statistics are outstanding and extremely encouraging. This model gives us a hint of what we can achieve across the country. With a national strategy, we are merely currently scratching the surface. In 2010, only around 10% of British Columbia's mercury lighting was safely disposed of through this program. However, in 2013, that number skyrocketed to 74%.

I am not here to tell the provinces and territories what to do and how to do it. Although this particular program and model is encouraging, it is important to note that Bill C-238 does not put demands on the provincial and territorial governments. Bill C-238 is the first step in ensuring that mercury-bearing light bulbs are diverted from our landfills.

Bill C-238 calls for a conversation. It is about creating a dialogue and encouraging our provincial and territorial governments to collaborate from coast to coast to coast.

Canada is transitioning towards a green economy, and I believe Bill C-238 complements our government's firm belief that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.

A problem like mercury in landfills from consumer waste takes real environmental leadership to solve. I believe a robust national strategy, with positive collaboration between our federal government and our provinces and territories, can ensure the safe disposal of mercury-bearing lamps. It is time to expect our provinces, municipalities, cities, and towns to make bold moves in the right direction.

We need to work together.

We need to work together with consistency across our country to protect Canadians from mercury.

I strongly believe that a national strategy for the safe disposal of mercury-bearing lamps is a bright idea and provides strong environmental leadership to protect our waterways and our land. This is a government that cares about the environment, but, more so, Canada is a country that deeply cares about the world we leave for future generations.

Together we can encourage our federal government to create an open dialogue with our provinces and territories to develop a strong national strategy for the safe disposal of mercury-bearing lamps. This is about fostering a discussion. As such, I look forward to continued feedback from members of the House.

I encourage all of my colleagues in this House to support Bill C-238. Why? Because we are all in this together. Every single one of our ridings across Canada is affected by this problem. With Bill C-238's federal environmental leadership, we can work together to leave this world a better place for future generations.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury ActRoutine Proceedings

February 25th, 2016 / 10:15 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-238, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to introduce my private member's bill, an act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe disposal of lamps containing mercury. I would like to thank the hon. member for Central Nova for being my seconder.

In my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, we have a one of a kind facility called Dan-X Recycling. Dan-X is a company that completely breaks down and recycles spent mercury-bearing light bulbs, creating value and reducing dangerous waste in our landfills. I am proud to have such a facility in Dartmouth—Cole Harbour recycling these light bulbs every day.

We tell consumers to step out of the room if they break if they break a CFL light bulb, to worry about mercury vapour in the air, but we do not protect our land and our waterways from toxic mercury by ensuring the safe disposal of these bulbs.

I believe that with a national strategy we can provide real, environmental leadership and protect our waterways, our lands, and our future. I hope the bill will receive support from all members of this House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)