Brock Township hopes to clear up confusion on cannabis issues

Since Cannabis has become legal, the Township of Brock (like all municipalities) has struggled to figure out the best ways to mitigate the impacts of Cannabis Growth and Production sites.  We enacted an Interim Control Bylaw for two years so that we could study how best to do that.

We now have a bylaw in place that clearly lays out where new Cannabis Production and Processing facilities are permitted and the rules around operating in Brock.  We hope that existing operations will abide by the new bylaw as we cannot enforce the new rules on existing operations.  While this bylaw is very new, we are hopeful it creates a set of implementation rules that mitigate impacts while providing a boost to economic development.

What remains a point of frustration for residents and staff is that the Federal regulations that govern Cannabis in Canada do not provide us with adequate tools to investigate or enforce nuisance issues.  The most common of which is odour.  We have updated the “Cannabis in Brock” page of http://www.townshipofbrock.ca to make it easy for our residents to report an issue.

Below are some typical comments / complaints, along with the staff response to each.  We hope the information helps clarify the regulations around Cannabis odour issues.

The smell from (an address, street or location) is terrible. Who do I make a formal complaint to and how do I do that?
The Township doesn’t have any authority to investigate this type of issue or a by-law that we can enforce for odour.  We are struggling to help residents with a solution, but the Federal regulations do not provide us with a tool to do that.  We are encouraging all residents with concerns to email Health Canada and our Member of Parliament, Jamie Schmale.
Please go to our website at http://www.townshipofbrock.ca and enter “Cannabis in Brock” into the search bar in the middle of the page.  You should see a big red button that says “Report an Issue” with links to appropriate email addresses.  We encourage you to email each of the addresses provided.

Why can’t you do something — charge them with a violation or shut them down?
Unfortunately, the Township has no authority to investigate these types of complaints as we have no by-law that licensed or registered operations are in violation of.  The Federal Government has not given the Municipality the appropriate resources to help.
We do have a cannabis bylaw that you can access on our website that aims to mitigate impacts from this land use, but no odour by-law specifically.  This is because odour is subjective and there are no accepted standards to determine the level at which an odour becomes a nuisance.
You can find our Cannabis Production and Processing by-law at http://www.townshipofbrock.ca on the “Cannabis in Brock” page that is in place to help mitigate the impacts of Cannabis as a land use.  If you have specific questions about that by-law, please contact our Planner at extension 235.

So what do I do?  We can’t even go outside!  This is giving me headaches. Somebody has to be able to do something!
We hear your frustration and we wish we had a better set of tools too. This is why we encourage you to contact the federal government and your federal representative to help us lobby for better implementation, reporting and enforcement tools.  We hope that our collective voices will be heard.

How do you know if it is a legal operation or not?
Health Canada does not notify us of the locations of where they license operations. Unless there is a Brock Township by-law that they are violating, we do not have any authority to investigate a property.  Where an illegal activity is occurring, the Police are the appropriate enforcement agency.

Who can investigate odour complaints and when?
The Township cannot investigate odour complaints and does not have an odour by-law.  The reason that we don’t have an odour by-law is that odour is a subjective and no standards exist to determine the level at which an odour becomes a nuisance. Therefore, an enforceable by-law cannot be created.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”) has the authority to respond to odour concerns when there is a reason to believe that discharge into the environment could cause:
– harm to the natural environment or a person,
– loss of enjoyment of the normal use of property, or
– interferes with the normal conduct of business (Section 14 of the EPA)
– if a discharge released into the air from an industrial, commercial or other source exceeds a standard as set out in Ontario Regulation 419/05 – Local Air Quality
– using the Environmental Compliance Approval (“ECA”) which puts strict requirements on how facilities operate to protect the environment. Depending on the type of facility, the ECA may include specific requirements to control odour.
– the ministry inspects facilities that are required to have an ECA.
You can contact them by calling 1-800-565-4923 or going to the Contact Us section on the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks website through www.Ontario.ca

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