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Articles about quality, environmental and safety compliance issues.

The carbon market is making an impressive entrance in North America. Ontario announced this week that the province will join the Quebec and California carbon market. Quebec and California aligned their emissions regulations in 2014 to create a joint carbon market, the largest in North America and the only one in the world operated at the subnational level. The current Quebec and California harmonized provincial and state regulations apply to more than 80 large companies and concern over 400 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions (source available here) and this will grow with the addition of Ontario. The next couple of years will see Ontario bring its emissions regulations into mutual alignment in order to join this developing market, while other states and provinces consider following suit.

California’s and Quebec’s cap-and-trade system can be summed up as a market where participants buy and sell permits to emit carbon, called “emissions allowances.” One emissions allowance equals one metric tonne (kt) of carbon (CO2) released into the atmosphere. Every company producing more than 25,000 kt CO2 must possess enough allowances to match its emissions. Most companies are issued emissions allowances free of charge by the government, but only up to a certain emissions amount – called the emissions limit or “cap.” If a company wants to emit CO2 beyond the cap, the company must purchase the necessary emissions allowances at auction. Conversely, companies who have reduced their emissions to a level below the cap may sell their excess allowances at auction. Every year the cap lowers between 1% and 2%, thus reducing the supply of free allowances and possibly increasing the auction price.

One of the most appealing aspects of the California-Quebec joint cap-and-trade system is its potential to add other government jurisdictions, thus expanding the carbon market. Developed as part of the Western Climate Initiative, the system was envisioned as connecting multiple states and provinces. Emission allowance interchangeability is the link between jurisdictions. Although California and Quebec have very different economies and distinct carbon reduction goals, emissions allowances at auction are fully interchangeable. An emission allowance from Quebec equals one from California, and vice versa. Quebec and California hope that, in this way, businesses and governments will benefit from an emissions framework tailored to their region but part of a larger, more competitive carbon market.

This expansion and cohesion is made possible through harmonized regulatory systems. California’s cap-and-trade system was implemented under the aegis of Assembly Bill 32: Global Warming Solutions Act, passed in 2006 (Act available here). The Quebec National Assembly passed a similar bill in 2009 with Bill 42: An Act to Amend the Environment Quality Act and Other Legislative Provisions in Relation to Climate Change (Act available here). Regulations allowing linkage with other jurisdictions followed in 2011 with the California Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Market-Based Compliance Mechanisms Regulation and the Quebec Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances, and were finalized in 2012 with Quebec’s Regulation respecting the delegation of management of certain parts of a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances.

In the coming years, Ontario is expected to pass similar legislation. Environmentalists and businesses alike will have their eye on this developing regulatory framework. The results of continuing joint auction will also affect Ontario’s regulatory choices. At present, the carbon market is bearish but respectable. The second joint auction in February 2015 resulted in all emissions allowances being sold, yet only a mere dime above the price floor. How the entry of Ontario affects the auctions will likely influence whether or not other jurisdictions join. If Ontario smoothly joins the established market, cap-and-trade may have the potential to expand across North America.

A recent report by the Ecofiscal Commission, available here, lauded the joint cap-and-trade model. The report argued that the model is a flexible market mechanism that can be successfully adopted by other governments. The report has academic and political clout – the Ecofiscal Commission’s advisory board features one former Prime Minister and three former provincial Premiers. So, it is unsurprising that the report has already had a political impact. Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, tweeted here that “Quebec’s leadership on climate change is recognized & celebrated.” This comment came just days before Ontario signed on to cap-and-trade.

The hoped-for result of the cap-and-trade system is a price on carbon that encourages environmental innovation, does not overly penalize heavy emitters, creates new business opportunities and brings in revenue for the government. Whether cap-and-trade can accomplish all this remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the debut of the carbon market has been impressive. Less than two years old, it already encompasses California, one of the largest economies in the world. California and Quebec have been able to overcome differences of language, legal systems, economic profiles, and geography to form a promising level of regulatory cohesion. For the rest, the market will be the test.


Technology has taken yet another giant leap as a tried and proven process auditing tool has emerged from its specialized niche and has become available to all industries that desire to improve their production standards.

What is the VDA 6.3?

VDA is the acronym that represents the Verband der deutschen Automobilindustrie, the German automobile industry’s trade association. In Germany, the VDA is well-respected for its success and contribution to the economy and is quite influential in the business sector. It assists automobile manufacturers as well as their suppliers by developing quality standards and methods of production.

The Quality Management Centre, a division within the VDA, has assisted in the development of the VDA 6.3, a process auditing system that provides standards and tools for evaluating the infrastructure of German automobile manufacturing. This step alone was a tremendous improvement to the automotive industry at large, but as an added benefit to the industrial world, the VDA 6.3 can be utilized by manufacturing companies of any sort as well as by their suppliers.  All corporations can now benefit from the protocols that the VDA 6.3 provides.  It outlines the audit process and establishes protocols for the evaluation of the desired outcomes.  Each standard that is examined receives a grade which indicates not only whether the expectations were or were not met, but also which areas still have room for improvement.

How Can Corporations Learn to Use the VDA?

The Quality Management Centre of the VDA offers training modules for company delegates who wish to become certified in the use of the VDA 6.3 process auditing tool.  The first phase of the training (Module A) is a basic overview of the process audit procedure which gives purpose, set-up and evaluation system used by the VDA 6.3. This module also helps corporations learn to adapt the contents of the VDA 6.3 to their particular processes.  It serves as an entry-level qualification for those who wish to continue with the process audit certification program.

After completing the second phase of the training (Module BII), company delegates are certified to conduct process audits of their own organizations.  However, if they wish to audit their suppliers as well, they will need to complete the third phase of training:  Module C. The entire training process is a six-day procedure.  While a company can perform its own internal audits after the first two phases of the training, completion of all three training modules is beneficial to a company which wishes to hold its suppliers to a uniform standard. This will help to ensure that incoming materials will not hinder compliance in the production phase.

An Overview of VDA 6.3 Process Auditing

You can get an overview of the way the VDA 6.3 process auditor can help your organization conduct internal audits to optimize meeting your company’s goals at the following links.  To sample the basic process auditing app, visit the Nimonik web site and view one of the auditing checklists.

Begin by selecting the correct grouping that best describes your company’s goals.  Examples of groupings include product development (design), production, or customer service (among others). Once the correct grouping is chosen, the app will reveal various standards for evaluation. If you wish to use the free, downloadable template, click on the “Start Audit” icon and follow the instructions given. Other free, downloadable templates are available as well.  A list of free VDA 6.3 process audit templates can be accessed at the Nimonik site.

If your company would like more information about using the VDA 6.3 process auditing app for conducting internal audits or for auditing both existing and potential suppliers, you are welcome to contact a customer service representative of the Nimonik company at 1-888-608-7511.  You can also make contact via the web at info@nimonik.com. Representatives will be happy to answer your questions about the VDA 6.3 and get you started on the path to using the latest technology to optimize your company’s production system.


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Nimonik has been working hard with ECO Canada to build a new training course for those interested in environmental law in Canada. We are pleased to announce the course is now available : Navigating Canadian Environmental Law.

This online, on-demand course gives you and your team practical tools to understand and apply environmental regulations, and stay up-to-date when these regulations change.

Course details:
• Cost: $495, $371.25 for EPs and EPts (Save 25%)
• Time: 15-20 hrs
• Online, flexible learning. You choose the pace and order for 7 topics.
• Final exam to seal in your knowledge

You’re responsible. You want to know everything you and your team need to know about Canadian environmental regulations. Get started today!

See the course
Buy now


Environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues are foremost in the minds of more and more corporations today as protocols continually change and intensify, not only at home but abroad as well.  How can you and your management team stay on top of the rigors of satisfying legal demands and creating a safe work environment?  Is there an innovative way to ensure that your company is aware of new EHS legislation and that it tracks the steps it has taken towards compliance? Is there a cost-effective way to simplify this tedious process and facilitate implementation?

There is.  Recent technological development in EHS auditing apps is making the arduous tasks of tracking new legislation, performing inspections, taking corrective action and issuing reports easier than ever before.  While some companies may feel it is difficult to justify the purchase of EHS software, a closer look at the huge benefits derived from new auditing apps will allow them to see that investing in these new programs will actually save the company a substantial amount of money in the long-run! This auditing technology can save man-power as well as help the company avoid costly fines for non-compliance issues. Let’s compare just two of the leading apps:  Nimonik and eCompliance.

Some Key Features of Nimonik and eCompliance
Feature eCompliance Nimonik
Core Service Offering Training and Certification Audit Tools and EHS Legal Information Management with incident and training modules.
Platform Access via mobile apps and website Access via web and award winning iPad and Android Apps.
Training Web-based or in person.  The AuditTool training course is $75.00. Free personal training is included in all plans. Technicians are standing by via phone and on the web for added assistance and
Cost Administrators: $225.00 monthly

Managers:  $20-50 monthly, depending on the level of use

Prices are published online (You can download the pricing guide here) or call for a customized, flexible plan based strictly on services desired. Pay only for what your company needs.
Customer service Assistance by phone, email and web help You can speak to a customer service representative by phone. You can also receive tech. support online.
Access to EHS legal databases and updates None The app contains over 200 regulatory compliance protocols from over 65 countries around the world. The app provides legal updates as well, and it assigns a colleague to review items and leave and timestamp to ensure that the legislation has been noted by a member of the team.

The features listed above just begin to scratch the surface of the many useful functions of the EHS auditing apps. With ever-changing technology, auditing EHS compliance is becoming less and less stressful, and apps like Nimonik and eCompliance are making the job easier and more cost-efficient than ever.  However, choosing the app that is right for your company may be a bit overwhelming, since there are so many good programs to consider.

If you would like assistance as you consider the specific needs of your company and search for the app that would best serve you in function as well as in cost, you can request a free PDF guide that will walk you through choosing the right EHS software. Simply contact us at info@nimonik.com or 1-888-608-7511. Our team of experts will be happy to help.


Last year, in 2014 the Government of Yukon, following the example set by the Canadian Federal Government, amended its main environmental statute, The Environment Act  (“the Act”) to simplify and reduce regulatory uncertainty and duplication.   Two main changes were made to the Act: Firstly, specific modifications were made to the permitting scheme for activities affecting the environment.  Secondly, wide-ranging changes were made affecting the management of hazardous substances, recycling programs and waste management within the territory.

The first round of changes, published in the spring of 2014, affected the permitting scheme, as found under the Act.  This permitting scheme must be adhered to when proponents wish to undertake activities regulated by the Environment Act or those regulations enacted under it.  For example, a prohibition is placed on activities that result in the release of chlorofluorocarbons into the environment. In order to do so despite the prohibition, proponents must apply for and successfully obtain a permit as found under the Ozone Depleting Substances and Other Halocarbons Regulation (YOIC.2000/127).  The permitting scheme for various types of activities may be found within the Act and its Regulations.

The main objectives of the new permitting scheme is to, firstly, eliminate fees for permit applications; secondly, to extend the duration of a permit from 3 to 10 years, subject to certain exceptions; finally, amendments were made to formalize the review process for permit applications.  The main regulations affected by this new permitting scheme include the:

The second round of changes announced in the fall of 2014 were made with the objectives to: reduce the impact of hazardous substances on the environment, advance sustainable development principles, and to strengthen certain legislative procedures.  Parts nine and eleven of the Act which previously regulated hazardous substances have been repealed and replaced. They have been modified to change the prohibitions on hazardous substances, describe the procedure which must be followed when a contaminant is released into the environment and to define the inspection and enforcement tools which government officials will have at their disposal when inspecting suspected contaminated sites.

To advance sustainable development principles, section 109 of the Environment Act is repealed and replaced in order to allow for a new, industry-led recycling program. Finally, part seven, regarding solid management plans, was repealed and replaced to strengthen legislative procedures such that the Minister of Environment is given more authority to mandate solid waste management plans at the facility level.

This shift in perspective when regulating activities and projects affecting the environment follows a national trend toward providing simplification and reduced regulatory uncertainty.  This trend is sure to continue with a Federal Senate bill  making its’ way through the  law-making process and is due to radically alter the environmental assessment process in Yukon.  Those engaged in activities affecting in the environment should remain vigilant in ensuring that their operations stay compliant with evolving legal requirements.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq and Minister of Industry James Moore jointly announced a major legislative change that will affect all Canadian businesses. With a slowing economy due to retail closures and lower oil prices, the Government of Canada has decided to take action.

According to the Globe and Mail, Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, is warning Canadians to brace for subpar economic growth in the first quarter, but the Bank of Canada Governor has his “fingers crossed” about the rest of the year.

To offset the potential subpar economic growth, the Canadian Government has proposed a legislative change that will abolish nearly all environmental regulations, zoning restrictions, contaminated site restrictions and many safety regulations.

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the official opposition and NDP, and Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, both endorsed this initiative as an important measure to move Canada forwards.

James Moore, Minister of Industry, explained “Companies will now be able to expand and cut costs through the direct disposal of hazardous materials and other waste into their local sewer system or water system. With reduced government burden and no compliance inspections, companies can focus on creating jobs and producing products.”

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act will be shorted to a single section, “Make an effort to keep nature clean.” and the Canada Labour Code will simply state, “Try to not kill or maim your workers.” According to government officials, this radical simplification of government regulation will free entrepreneurs to be creative in their workplaces and create new jobs.

Industry and professional environmental consultants were moderately surprised by the announcement today. Some have called for more consultation on major regulatory reforms, but others have applauded the government’s decisive move to boost the Canadian economy. Jonathan Brun, from Nimonik.com, a compliance solution tool based in Montréal, added “Happy April Fools!”


Protective Equipment

Becoming a health and safety inspector or general EHS Manager can be a rewarding career. Knowing that lives are dependent upon safe labor conditions in the workplace and safe conditions for the public in the marketplace makes your input a profitable venture. In addition, the salary that can be earned is attractive and well worth pursuing. Understanding the duties and qualifications of a health and safety professional is the first step in moving towards employment in the EHS compliance field.

The Duties of a Health and Safety Professional

The overall goal of a health and safety professional is to ensure that the workplace is free of hazards that could jeopardize the well-being of both workers and the general public. These specialists examine the equipment, floor surfaces, ventilation systems, lighting conditions, protective clothing, sanitation procedures, working processes and any other aspect of the job site that can pose a potential threat to health and safety. They identify hazards and collect samples of potentially harmful materials that may be present. The EHS person has the responsibility of knowing the legal codes and protocols that govern the welfare of the workplace and keeping up with changes.

In addition, the EHS professional become involved in developing measures to protect the health of the workers and minimize damage to the environment.  They also must investigate on-the-job accidents to determine the cause, conduct root cause analysis and propose a plan for avoiding the same problem in the future. Inspectors and managers often serve as speakers to provide safety training for work crews. These responsibilities may take the person into manufacturing plants, office settings, hospitals, mining sites or a host of other work environments.  Moving around the plant is most definitely a part of the typical work day.

The Qualifications of a Health and Safety Professional

Although qualifications may vary from region to region, most employers would prefer that their EHS experts hold a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or environment; however, many people with an associate’s degree (or no degree at all) may find work with a certificate authenticating the completion of a training program.  Upon graduation from the bachelor’s program, EHS experts often receive much of their training on the job with little prior work experience. Certification in specialized areas is available if desired. In addition, various organizations may provide update training from time to time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for example, offers both 10-hour and 30-hour classes to keep inspectors and managers current on new regulations and procedures relating to the workplace. The profession is largely a “learn as you go” situation.  The various work venues determine the extent of the training and updates needed as the career progresses.

In addition to the training qualifications, there are a number of personal characteristics that an EHS professional should possess since the profession carries with it unique demands. Perhaps the most important characteristic needed in the inspection field is stamina, both physical and emotional. It probably goes without saying that many business owners and managers do not welcome the inspection and EHS management process with open arms! Sometimes the process itself initiates a defensive reaction, and relationships between the compliance and management can be strained. Good interpersonal communication skills on the part of the EHS manager can help alleviate much of the stress. Problem-solving skills, record-keeping skills, attention to detail and the ability to learn to use various pieces of technology are also key characteristics.

Further, the EHS professional is required to keep up with ever-changing regulations and procedures, which can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process. Fortunately, today’s technology has made that particular requirement as easy as the push of a button! Certain mobile applications (such as the Nimonik auditing app) contain a data bank of protocols for environmental, health and safety specs around the world. A professional with access to such an app will be way ahead of the game and will be spared hours of personal research.

Employment Statistics

Figures released as late as 2012 indicate that the health and safety inspection job market is expected to grow by approximately 7% in the next decade.  An average rate of compensation for EHS Manager is around $30.00 per hour, which translates to approximately $66,700.00 per year for full-time work.  Most inspection jobs are full-time positions, and work may include weekends and holidays when emergencies arise which demand on-the-spot investigation. In all, a career in health and safety inspection is easily attainable, profitable, and helpful to the security of the work force as a whole.

 


March 25, 2015MONTREAL, QuebecBoston and Montreal-Based Companies Announce Worldwide Expansion With New Partnership Agreement

February 12, 2015 – Montreal, Canada based Nimonik and Boston, MA, U.S.A. based The Isosceles Group announce a partnership that will expand award winning environmental, health, and safety regulatory compliance software worldwide.

Nimonik, a company known for its award-winning regulatory compliance software for iPhone, iPad, Android, and web platforms has partnered with The Isosceles Group, a leader in publishing content on environmental, health, and safety laws in over 65 countries for the past fifteen years. Content traditionally delivered in Word and Excel documents will now be made available through the NimonikApp web platform and the Nimonik Audit app for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Richard DiNitto, president of The Isosceles Group says:

“Nimonik has developed the perfect platform to ensure that these protocols, critical tools for EHS managers, can be accessed and used easily, efficiently, and consistently. Our goal has always been to make compliance a bit easier—to take the frustrations out of the process. We looked at a number of applications, but Nimonik’s application is sophisticated enough to handle the depth of information we provide and user-friendly enough to ensure that it becomes a valuable resource. Together, we’ll be able to provide our clients with relevant information at their fingertips. That is the driving force of our collaboration, and we are thrilled to be working with this award-winning company.”

Audit protocols are available for most countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. These detailed regulatory compliance checklists break down each regulatory requirement into a series of questions to help EHS managers audit their compliance efforts. In-depth reference information, including links to the legislation and other supporting documentation, is accessible directly from the application. This ensures that EHS managers have everything they need to better understand the regulatory requirements.

Since only three companies currently offer a global solution for EHS legal information updates, this partnership meets a crucial need. By June 2015, an overview of the regulatory requirements for all 65 countries will be available on the NimonikApp.com website along with the audit protocols, regulatory updates and access to the original legislation.

The Nimonik – Isosceles Group app is are nearly 50% less expensive than the current market offerings, helping businesses reduce costs.

The president of Nimonik, Jonathan Brun, goes on to explain:

“The Isosceles Group has outstanding regulatory content and a strong relationship with American multinational corporations. Bringing their content into the 21st century, by making it available on a modern website, an award winning iPad app and on Android will further cement their leadership position. We look forward to working with their team of experts to help companies reduce their compliance costs.”

As business becomes increasingly international, the need for an easy and cost effective platform for regulatory compliance information is more important than ever.

For more Information please contact:

Alysa Scanzano
ascanzano@nimonik.com
1-888-608-7511


SI Safety Inspection Live was recently bought by Biovia – Accelrys and they are retiring it. If you are a laboratory who does regular audits and inspections against ANSI, ANAB or other standards, Nimonik is the solution for you. We work with universities, clinics, hospitals and even the ANSI assessment group to help you inspect and audit more efficiently.

Starting for as little as $9 per month, we can get you inspecting your labs in a flash. Contact us at info@nimonik.com to discuss your requirements.


For one reason or another, railroad safety is horrible in the United States and Canada. As statistics found here point out, North America has over 5 times more accidents per 1,000 km of track than our European counterparts.

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A recent New York Times article went into detail on the subject and clearly stated:

“The only significant [U.S.] government intrusion into the railroads’ self-regulation of the nation’s 70,000 to 100,000 railroad bridges is a requirement that the companies inspect them each year. But the Federal Railroad Administration, which employed only 76 track inspectors as of last year, does not routinely review the inspection reports and allows each railroad to decide for itself whether or not to make repairs.”

The NYT article also points out that despite the Lac Megantic train explosion, that killed 47 people, new regulations have not been brought into force in Canada. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading national newspaper even had a full page advertisement for better rail safety along with an article outlining Canadian National’s (CN) spike in accidents in 2014. CN gives every possible excuse, from random statistical anomaly to higher loads due to oil tanks. What CN or the other North American rail companies do not do, is accept responsibility for their remarkably poor safety record and failing infrastructure.

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Both the Canadian and United States government need to take quick, rapid and meaningful actions to force the rail companies to invest in their tracks and improve safety procedures. If Germany and France can manage far more trains, with higher population densities and less than one fifth the accidents we have, then we can too. Tracks and trains need much more frequent inspections by government and by rail companies, there really is no other solution. Will it take another disaster like Lac Megantic for the powers that be to take action on railroad safety in North America?