The purpose of this publication is to provide information on the Hazardous Materials
Regulation. The information contained in this brochure does not replace the legal texts.
Copies of the Hazardous Materials Regulation may be purchased from
Les Publications du Québec.
Definition of a hazardous material
Paragraph 21 of section 1 of the Environment Quality Act defines a hazardous material
"... a material which, by reason of its properties, is a hazard to health or to
the environment and which, within the meaning of a regulation under this Act, is
explosive, gaseous, flammable, poisonous, radioactive, corrosive, oxidizing or leachable
or is designated as a hazardous material, and any object classed by regulation as a
1. Properties which Characterize a Hazardous Material
The properties which characterize a hazardous material are defined in section 3 of the
Regulation. Although certain definitions are different, they are compatible with those
established by the classification set out in the Transportation of Hazardous Substances
Regulations and the Controlled Products Regulations in particular. Thus, the
signaletic card and coding used by the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information
System, which appear, for example, on containers of hazardous material, constitute a
source of information which facilitates classification while decreasing possible recourse
to chemical analysis.
2. Materials Classed as Hazardous Materials
The Hazardous Materials Regulation sets out a list of materials or objects which,
whatever their properties, are classed as hazardous materials. These are:
- a contaminated empty container;
- a gas cylinder or aerosol container containing a hazardous material;
- a material or object containing three per cent or more of oil or grease by weight;
- a material or object containing more than 1,500 mg/kilogram of total organic halogens;
- a material containing polychloride biphenyls (PCBs) or contaminated by PCBs;
- a material or object contaminated on its surface by hazardous material.
3. Materials Not Defined as Hazardous Materials
Certain hazardous materials were already subject to regulation, policies or directives
before the adoption of the Hazardous Materials Regulation. Thus, in cases where the
existing framework has proven adequate, these materials have been excluded from the
concept of hazardous material. These are:
- contaminated soil (however, soil having more than 50 mg of PCBs per kilogram of soil may
not be placed in final deposit);
- demolition materials (except for materials classified as hazardous);
- scrap metal (except for materials classified as hazardous);
- fabrics, except absorbent fabrics used during hazardous material recovery operations;
- biomedical waste;
- waste from pulp and paper mills;
- pesticides governed by the Pesticides Act;
- spray formulations and rinsings (pesticides);
- wastewater (except wastewater from pipeless rinsing baths used for surface treatment
- mine tailings;
- materials from dredging operations;
- collected snow;
- certain radioactive materials; bituminous concrete, asphalt shingles, plastic, rubber
- sludge from a septic tank or from a municipal water treatment plant;
- residue from an underground access manhole, from a street catch basin or from a car-wash sump;
- manure and liquid manure;
- treated wood;
- material from the shredding of automobile hulks (fluff);
- smoke detectors;
- ash from an incineration facility governed by the Regulation respecting the landfilling and incineration of residual materials.
1. The Main Regulatory Provisions Applicable to All Hazardous
- Prohibition on the release of a hazardous material into the environment (sect. 8);
- Measures to be taken in case of accidental spills (sect. 9);
- Measures to be taken in case of cessation of activities or dismantling of buildings
- Prohibition on the use of oil to settle dust (sect. 14).
When hazardous material is accidentally spilled (see section 9), the person in charge must at a minimum, recover the spillage and remove all contaminated material not cleaned up or processed on-site from the affected area. Note that the limit values shown in Schedules I and II of the Land Protection and Rehabilitation Regulation do not apply to removal and cleanup operations of this type, whose goal is to return the affected area to its initial state, i.e. prior to the spill.
All other provisions set out in the Regulation apply only to residual
hazardous materials, those discarded, used, spent, outdated, or that appear on
the list set out in section 6.
2. Use of Residual Hazardous Materials for Energy Generation
The use of residual hazardous materials for energy generation purposes is subject, for
anyone who takes possession for this purpose, to obtaining a permit
under section 70.9 of the Environment Quality Act. As well, if these residual hazardous
materials are toxic within the meaning of the Hazardous Materials Regulation, any
installation or operation of equipment aimed at using them for energy generation purposes
shall first be submitted to environmental assessment procedures.
A business which plans to use for energy generation purposes the residual hazardous
material which it has produced in the course of its activities shall obtain an
authorization certificate in accordance with section 22 of the Environment Quality Act.
- Residual Hazardous Materials Other than Used Oils
Residual hazardous materials other than used oils may be used for energy generation
purposes only in an industrial establishment and only if the hazardous materials meet
certain standards set out in Schedule 5 of the Regulation. A test program is then required
to assess each plan to use residual hazardous materials for energy generation purposes and
determine appropriate operating conditions.
Under the Hazardous Materials Regulation use of used oils for energy generation
purposes is permitted provided the combustion equipment has a capacity of at least three
megawatts and the oils comply with the standards set out in Schedule 6. However,
industrial establishments and greenhouses already authorized to use used oils for energy
generation purposes before the Regulation comes into effect, and whose combustion
equipment has a capacity of less than three megawatts, may continue to do so on condition
that it is the same equipment and the oils comply with the standards of Schedule 6.
As well, to take into account the situation of the isolated communities and businesses
often not served by a used oil collection service, the reuse of used oils for energy
purposes in combustion equipment whose power is less than three megawatts is allowed in a
territory not linked by public road to the general highway network of Québec. The
standards of Schedule 6 of the Regulation shall be complied with in such case.
3. Storage of Residual Hazardous Materials
The storage standards are divided into three main sections:
- general provisions;
- provisions relating to certain storage methods;
- provisions relating to the protection of a storage site.
All these standards target both the producers of residual hazardous materials and
holders of permits engaged in an activity mentioned in section 70.9 of the Environment
Quality Act. It should be recalled that in virtue of section 70.8 of the Act, on-site
storage of residual hazardous materials by the producer of the material may not exceed a
period of 12 months unless an extension of the storage period has been authorized by the
Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and
the Fight against Climate Change.
Finally, a certain flexibility has been provided for in order to encourage recycling or
reuse of residual hazardous materials.
These standards relate to the characteristics of containers, their compatibility with
the hazardous materials stored, labelling, requirements relating to buildings, equipment,
shelters and storage areas. They are applicable when the quantity stored exceeds 100
These are provisions applicable to the storage of residual hazardous materials in a
container, reservoir or cargo tank as well as those applicable to heap storage.
These standards apply when the quantity stored exceeds 1,000 kilograms.
- Provisions Relating to the Protection of a Storage Site
The protection standards for storage sites include certain general protection standards
applicable to both the producer and the permit holder when the quantity of stored material
exceeds 1,000 kilograms. Exemptions are however provided for certain types of institutions
such as teaching establishments and laboratories. (section 81).
The provisions relating to protection of storage sites also include more specific
standards for intrusion detection systems, fire detection systems and automatic fire
extinction systems. The applicable provisions vary according to the categories and the
quantities of the hazardous materials stored (sect. 84 to 92).
4. Final Disposal of Residual Hazardous
The Hazardous Materials Regulation specifies the standards relating to the management
of final disposal sites for residual hazardous materials as well as rules applicable at
the time such a site is closed and after the closing. The operator is moreover obliged to
produce a closing statement attesting compliance of the site with environmental standards.
5. The Register and Annual Management Report
A register shall be kept by anyone who has in his possession:
- more than 100 kilograms of hazardous materials or objects containing PCBs or
contaminated by PCBs;
- liquids or solids containing PCBs which total more than one kilogram of PCBs.
As well, those working in the industrial sector and certain public services specified
in Schedule 3 of the Regulation shall keep a register when the various categories of
residual hazardous materials produced or used over the quarter, exceeding 100 kilograms
(including PCBs), total more than 1,000 kilograms.
This obligation to keep a register does not apply to hazardous materials that are
reused into an industrial process located on the production site within 120 days following
their production. This exemption also applies to contaminated empty containers, gas
cylinders, aerosol containers, materials containing 3% or more of oil or grease, and
surface contaminated materials or objects that are reused or recycled within 12 months.
The required information shall be entered in the register ten days after the end of
each quarter at the latest. The
register shall be kept at the site of production or use for no less than two years from
the end of each quarter.
The Hazardous Materials Regulation specifies that an annual management report shall be
produced only for residual hazardous materials for which a register was kept for at least
one quarter. However, not all those who have prepared a register have to produce an annual
management report. The Regulation specifies that the annual management report shall be
- the person who has in his possession materials or objects containing PCBs or
contaminated by PCBs;
- the person who carries on an activity in a sector mentioned in Schedule 8 for each
category of residual hazardous materials whose quantity exceeds 1,000 kg or in respect of
each category of residual hazardous materials where the quantity of the categories entered
in the register exceeds 5,000 kilograms.
The information required in the annual management report is more detailed than that
required for the register. However, the obligation to keep an annual management report
applies to a more restricted number of businesses, i.e. the most important.
6. Extension of Storage Period
Section 70.8 of the Environment Quality Act sets at 12 months the maximum storage
period for a residual hazardous material for which a register must be kept (sect. 70.6)
unless the person storing it has obtained authorization for extension of the storage
period from the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.
The application for extension of the storage period shall be accompanied by a
management plan for the hazardous material involved and information including the grounds
for the application, the storage extension period applied for, the physicochemical
characterization of the residual hazardous material in question, and a description of the
research projects carried out or envisaged. A characterization of the soil and underground
waters situated on the periphery of the storage site shall also be prepared to permit an
7. Activities Requiring the Obtaining of a Permit
(Section 70.9 of the Environment Quality Act)
A permit must be held by every person who:
- operates a site for the elimination of hazardous materials for his own purposes or for
another person, or offers a hazardous materials elimination service;
- operates for commercial purposes a treatment process for residual hazardous materials;
- stores any residual hazardous materials after having taken possession thereof for that
- uses for energy generation purposes any residual hazardous materials after having taken
possession thereof for that purpose;
- transports residual hazardous materials to a disposal site.
Except for certain uses of used oil for energy generation purposes, permit holders
shall deposit a guarantee and hold a public liability insurance policy for an amount
varying according to the scope of the project. In addition, fees are set out for issuing,
renewing or amending a permit.
Permits issued shall be valid for a maximum period of five years, and inalienable
without written authorization from the minister.
However, the obligation to hold a permit does not apply to the following activities:
- the operation of a treatment process for commercial purposes for the recycling or reuse
of contaminated empty containers, gas cylinders or aerosol containers or any contaminated
material or object;
- the operation of a simple treatment process (crushing, sifting or sorting) under certain
- the storage of residual hazardous materials generally for home use in quantities less
than 40,000 kilograms.
- The Register and Annual Report by the Permit Holder
The permit holder shall also keep a register of residual hazardous materials consigned
to him or which he has received, produced or used in his activity. Moreover, he shall
submit an annual report to the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change on the hazardous
materials entered in the register. We should point out that there are two types of
registers and annual reports for permit holders depending on whether the facilities are
stationary or mobile.
As well, we should point out that a more concise annual report is required for the
transport of hazardous materials to a disposal site.
The information shall be entered into the register no later than the tenth day
following the end of each quarter.
The register shall be kept at the site of the activity or, in the case of mobile
facilities, at the head office of the permit holder for at least two years. This document
may be demanded during an inspection.
The Annual Report for the previous calendar year shall be submitted to the
Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change no later than April 1.
8. Transport of Hazardous Materials
The Hazardous Materials Regulation makes it obligatory to obtain a permit to transport
residual hazardous materials to a disposal site. The carrier shall hold liability
insurance of at least one million dollars covering all commercial vehicles and deposit a
guarantee of 100,000 dollars to obtain a permit for the transport of hazardous materials
destined for disposal.