Brisette Lucas, Vice-President, Government Relations & Policy
2011 was a very interesting and busy year for government relations, and 2012 promises more of the same. Because EFC believes it is just as important to be reminded about what has happened in the past as it is to know what is happening in the months to come we have assembled a quick overview of the political and regulatory landscape of 2011, as well as a look ahead at some of the issues that will affect our members in 2012.
2011 – In Review
The Government Relations Committee made of up EFC members was engaged in a number of key initiatives focused on intellectual property, energy efficiency regulations and trade issues.
In May, the Conservatives won a decisive majority government in an election that saw the Liberal and Bloc Quebecois leaders defeated and the New Democratic Party take the seat as the official opposition. The federal political landscape radically changed overnight.
In the fall Canada headed into an historic provincial election season. Residents in Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territories elected members of their respective legislative assemblies. The newly elected leader in Newfoundland made history as that province’s first ever woman elected premier.
2011 Regulatory Landscape
The electronics industry saw dramatic regulatory change as well. On June 20th companies became subject to Health Canada’s Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), which gave government expanded powers in the realm of unsafe products. Under the CCPSA, there are strict prohibitions related to the manufacture, importation, sale or advertisement of consumer products deemed to pose an unreasonable danger to the health or safety of Canadians.
On October 12th Natural Resources Canada published Amendment 11, regulating a wide range of products from dry type transformers to digital television adaptors. Amendment 11 increased the stringency and/or scope of existing minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for seven already regulated products and introduced new MEPS and associated reporting and compliance requirements for five products.
Amendment 12 followed on November 9th, delaying the effective date for the minimum energy efficiency performance standard for general service incandescent lamps (light bulbs) by two years. The standards for 100 and 75 watt light bulbs will apply as of January 1, 2014 and for 60 and 40 watt light bulbs on December 31, 2014.
2012 – A Look Ahead
2012 will be a little quieter with only Nunavut scheduled for an election. The election in Quebec is not scheduled until 2013, but many analysts are predicting a 2012 race. Although Ontario’s next election is scheduled for 2015, since the Liberals have a minority government that election can theoretically happen at any time. On the federal level Conservatives will continue their majority rule, the New Democratic Party will pick their official opposition leader in March, and the Liberals will be gearing up to their eventual leadership race in 2013.
2012 Regulatory Landscape
2012 will be a busy year with respect to regulation. Pursuant to the British Columbia Recycling Regulation under the Environmental Management Act, every producer of major household appliances that wishes to sell, offer for sale or distribute their products in British Columbia must operate, or be a member of, an approved plan concerning the end-of-life management of their products as of July.
Quebec will also begin enforcement of their regulation respecting the recovery and reclamation of products by enterprises in July, depending on the sub-category of electronic products involved. Any company subject to the regulation must develop a recovery and reclamation program unless it is a member of an organization that will do so on their behalf.
Federally, Natural Resources Canada will likely complete their proposed energy efficiency amendments and publish Amendment 13, part of which affects air conditioners, commercial refrigerators, and general service fluorescent lamps.
Environment Canada will continue to gather information for the Chemicals Management Plan pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and debate regarding American involvement and funding of Canadian environmental advocacy groups and potential amendments to the Environment Assessment Act may be reignited.
On the intellectual property front, Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, will likely pass pending Senate approval. The regulations to the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will likely become affective after the final rounds of public consultation, with possible changes to Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
Trade talks will continue to dominate the federal agenda, with Canada and the European Union negotiating a path forward for a new trade agreement. EFC will continue to advocate for a permanent exemption from the “Buy American” clause that was recently included in American Jobs Act, as it runs counter to the goals of the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and could ultimately disrupt the free flow of goods within North America and create inefficient and more expensive submarkets.
EFC will participate in stakeholder consultation regarding the joint agreement of the Canada/US Perimeter Security and Competitiveness Agreement, including the action plans of the Beyond the Border Working Group and the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).
Importance of Effective Advocacy
In this rapidly changing regulatory landscape it is imperative that members are aware of the changes that affect their companies. Whether it is energy efficiency regulations, extended producer responsibility, trade issues, intellectual property, or upcoming elections, EFC will continue to keep members informed and advocate for positions beneficial to our industry.
If a member of your organization is interested in participating in the EFC Government Relations Committee, please contact Brisette Lucas.
Brisette Lucas is responsible for government relations and policy, ensuring that EFC members can effectively address regulatory issues. Brisette can be reached at email@example.com or 905-602-6214.