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Addressing environmental emergencies

Target 6.5: Managing threats to ecosystems – Reduce the frequency and consequences of environmental emergencies that affect Canada.

Since 2003, Canada has administered the Environmental Emergencies Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. These regulations seek to reduce the frequency and consequences of uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental releases of hazardous substances into the environment. Under this Act, companies undertake proper environmental emergency planning to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from an environmental emergency. Amendments introduced in 2011 enhance the existing protection by adding 41 substances to the regulations that are flammable or otherwise hazardous, and strengthening the requirements of regulatees to inform the public of the measures that they will take and what the public should do in the event of an environmental emergency.

In 2011, Canada also implemented legislation and entered into agreements with some provinces and territories to improve Canada's overall level of emergency preparedness. The Environmental Emergencies Notification System maintains a 24-hour alerting system for the public and polluters to report spills to provincial and federal authorities. This enhances coordination between authorities and aids in oversight of the response.

For additional information on the implementation strategies that support this target, please consult the following websites: Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

Progress towards Target 6.5: environmental emergencies

Options for an indicator that tracks environmental emergencies are being assessed and will be reported on at a later date.

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