The citizen submissions process allows individuals and non-governmental organizations to assert that a Party is failing to effectively enforce an environmental law. A submission may be sent to either National Secretariat. When a National Secretariat receives a submission it will provide a copy to the other National Secretariat.
Articles 14 and 15 of the Agreement outline the steps involved in the submissions process. The National Secretariats maintain a registry of submissions and also maintain files of these Submissions on Enforcement Matters.
Overview of Article 14 and 15
Under Article 14 of the Agreement, the Secretariats may consider in consultation with each other, a submission from any non-governmental organization or person asserting that a Party to the Agreement is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law.
Where either Secretariat determines that the Article 14(1) criteria are met, the submission shall then be forwarded to the Joint Submission Committee to determine whether the submission merits requesting a response from the Party named in the submission under Article 14(2).
In light of any response provided by that Party, the Joint Submission Committee may inform the Council that it considers preparation of factual record is warranted and provide its reasons.
In accordance with Article 15, a factual record shall be prepared at the request of a Party except in cases which paragraph 2 of Annex 41 applies. In this instance a factual record shall be prepared if the Council so agrees. The Council may then instruct the Secretariat of the Party which is not the subject of the complaint, to commission an expert in environmental matters (chosen from a roster established by the Parties) to prepare a factual record on the submission. The Council shall make the factual record public at the request of either Party.
Registry of Submissions on Enforcement Matters
The National Secretariats have established a registry to provide information so that any interested organization or person, as well as the Joint Public Advisory Committee, may follow the status of any given submission during the submission process envisaged under Articles 14 and 15 of the Agreement. Subject to the confidentiality provisions of the Agreement the registry includes the following information unless decided otherwise by the Council:
- a list of all the submissions including:
- the name of the Submitter and the name of the Party addressed in each submission;
- a summary of the matter addressed in the submission that initiated the process, including a brief description of the asserted failure(s) to effectively enforce environmental law;
- the name and citation of the environmental law in question;
- a summary of the response provided by the Party, if any;
- a summary of the notifications to the Submitter:
- a given submission does not meet the criteria set forth in Article 14(1) of the Agreement;
- a response is requested from the Party concerned;
- the Joint Submissions Committee has determined that no response from the Party concerned is merited;
- the Council or a Party has instructed the Secretariat not to prepare a factual record;
- the final factual record has been provided to the Council;
- the Council or a Party has decided not to make the factual record available to the public;
- the Council's or a Party’s decision on the preparation of a factual record; and
- a Party’s decision regarding whether the factual record will be made publicly available.
Files on the Submissions on Enforcement Matters
The Secretariat maintains a file on each submission. Subject to the availability of a computer version of a given document, such files are accessible on this site through the Registry of Submissions. Subject to confidentiality provisions of the Agreement and of the Guidelines, each file contains:
- the submission and supporting information, including any documentary evidence on which the submission may be based;
- any response by a Party, developed under Article 14(2) of the Agreement;
- any notifications made to the Submitter by the Secretariat; and
- the final factual record, where the Council or a Party has decided to make it publicly available pursuant to Article 15(7) of the Agreement and, any other information considered by the Secretariat under Article 15(4) of the Agreement.
According to Article 14(1)(g) of the Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (CCAEC), submissions filed pursuant to the CCAEC by a person or an organization residing or established in the territory of Canada cannot also be submitted pursuant to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). So far, all submissions concerning Canada have been filed pursuant to the NAAEC. Please follow the link below for more information on submissions filed against Canada under the NAAEC.
- Registry and Public Files of Canadian Submissions filed under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)
- Date modified: