A Model for Other Countries
by Ron Fisher —
A brief history of the Canadian Auto Recyclers’ Environmental Code.
As the Canadian Auto Recyclers’ Environmental Code (CAREC) gains acceptance across Canada, it is important to pause and reflect on its history, to acknowledge the early pioneers, and to understand the elements behind its acceptance and success.
The process to develop CAREC started over twenty years ago when Neil James of Ralph’s Auto Supply was chair of B-CAR, the BC Auto Recyclers Division of the Automotive Retailers Association (ARA). James was frustrated that no municipal or provincial official could explain the regulatory requirements for processing an end-of-life vehicle. B-CAR took this issue to Environment Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Environment. With the financial assistance of these regulatory agencies, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the B.C. Ministry of Transport, and B-CAR, the first Environmental Code of Practice (CoP) was developed in 1995 by Dr. Hamdy El Rayes. The industry was trained on how to implement the CoP in 1996 during a three-day marathon training course offered in six locations across the province.
The first CoP was a good document. However, it had the following limitations:
- It was difficult to understand because best management practices were interspersed with the legal requirements;
- It was impossible to implement because the forms were too complex; and,
- It was not supported by the majority of automotive recyclers that were not B-CAR members.
A Needed Demonstration
In 1997, Neil James met Colin McKean. McKean had worked for the B.C. Ministry of Environment for 20 years; one of his last tasks in the Ministry had concerned the implementation of pollution prevention projects for industrial sites. Also in 1997, the Automotive Recyclers Environmental Association (AREA) was formed, with a mission to have all B-CAR members, as well as all non-B-CAR recyclers, implement the CoP. AREA and McKean worked together to make changes to the CoP. With some funding from B-CAR and government agencies, the CoP was tested and refined to a point where it formed the basis of the national Environmental Code that we use today.
The Code of Practice has come a long way since its start over 20 years ago.
James lobbied almost every city, municipality, and regional district in British Columbia to make adoption of the CoP a prerequisite to obtain an automotive recycling licence in their jurisdictions. Finally, the City of Abbotsford adopted the CoP in 2000, passing a bylaw that required the eleven automotive dismantlers within city limits to be certified to the CoP. As the CoP was phased in over three years in Abbotsford, it became clear to all observers that legitimate automotive recyclers would have no problem meeting the CoP. It also became clear that “fly by night” automotive recyclers would not meet the CoP, and they were shut down by Abbotsford bylaw officers.
It became clear to all observers that legitimate automotive recyclers would have no problem meeting the CoP.
The successful implementation of the AREA CoP in Abbotsford allowed the industry to demonstrate to the B.C. government that a regulation similar to the Abbotsford bylaw would be good for the industry. After several years of lobbying by B-CAR and AREA, the B.C. Ministry of Environment enacted the Vehicle Dismantling and Recycling Industry Environmental Planning Regulation. This regulation required all automotive dismantlers and recyclers in the province to have an Environmental Management Plan (EMP). The AREA CoP was easily modified to meet the new legal requirements for an EMP. AREA now has 180 members in B.C., covering every region of the province.
The next breakthrough was in 2008. Environment Canada established the requirement that recyclers accepting Retire Your Ride (RYR) vehicles be inspected to a national CoP. The British Columbia CoP was modified by the Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) so that it could be used by the RYR program, and inspections could be done in every province. The key to the success of Environment Canada’s program was that it provided funding for training as well as on-site inspections. Now, more than 400 automotive recyclers across Canada have been certified to the CoP, and the approach has been embraced by ARC, Environment Canada, vehicle manufacturers, and automotive dismantlers across the country. Increasingly, this Canadian solution is being viewed globally as very progressive and as a model for other countries to follow.
The key to the success of the program was that it provided funding for training as well as on-site inspections.
The Code of Practice has come a long way since its start over 20 years ago. The primary reason that the CoP has been successful is that it has been accepted and supported by the automotive recycling industry. Without the ongoing support of the industry, the first CoP envisioned by Neil James in the early 1990s would never have been developed or implemented.
In addition to being the director of operations for Quality Recycled Parts BC (qrpbc.com), Ron Fisher is the owner of Fisher Resolution (fisherresolution.com), a company specializing in mediation and workplace conflict issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Collision Quarterly.