Help the Government of Canada organize its website!

Complete an anonymous 5-minute questionnaire. Start now.

Planning for a Sustainable Future:
A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada

Sustainable Development Office
Environment Canada

October 2010


Annex 2: Theme II
Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

3. Goal: Water Quality
Protect and enhance the quality of water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems.

3.1 Target: Fresh Water Quality
Complete federal actions to restore beneficial uses in Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes by 2020.
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes (3.1.1 to 3.1.10)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.1.1 Fund external work through Grants and Contribution Agreements to coordinate Remedial Action Plans related to the remediation and restoration of beneficial uses in Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes Basin and through the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (GLSF) which provides technical and financial support to projects to clean up and restore AOCs. (EC)
  • 3.1.2 Fund external work through Grants and Contribution Agreements to implement Lakewide Management Plans related to the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. (EC)
  • 3.1.3 Establish important cooperative partnerships between the federal and provincial governments and engage appropriate private, public (including local governments and agencies), Aboriginal communities and stakeholder participation in order to achieve the vision of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Great Lakes ecosystem. (EC)
  • 3.1.4 Promote voluntary approaches where appropriate to achieve results beyond compliance to attain Great Lakes water quality targets with respect to toxics, critical pollutant reduction, municipal wastewater sources, etc. (EC)
  • 3.1.5 Advance clean-up of historic radioactive wastes in the Port Hope area, which has been identified as an Area of Concern by the International Joint Commission. (NRCan)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.1.6 Release reports regularly on: State of the Great Lakes environmental indicators, the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, the status of Remedial Action Plans for AOCs in the Great Lakes, and updates for Lakewide Management Plans. (EC)
  • 3.1.7 Coordinate with the United States scientific research and monitoring activities in the Great Lakes through the binational Co-operative Science and Monitoring Initiative. (EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.1.8 Manage/deliver Great Lakes results internally, within the Department, through the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Initiative. (EC)
  • 3.1.9 Manage/deliver Great Lakes results federally-provincially, between the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. (EC, NRCan)
  • 3.1.10 Manage/deliver Great Lakes results binationally, between Canada and the United States through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). (EC)

3.2 Target: Fresh Water Quality (continued)
Contribute to the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes by developing and gaining binational acceptance of objectives and strategies for the management of nutrients in the Great Lakes by 2015.
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Management of Nutrients in the Great Lakes (3.1.1 to 3.1.10)

Refer to the appropriate implementation strategies outlined under Target 3.1: Fresh Water Quality – Canadian Areas of Concern.

3.3 Target: Fresh Water Quality (continued)
Complete federal actions to reduce pollutants and restore beneficial uses in hot spots in the St. Lawrence River by 2016.
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for the St. Lawrence River (3.3.1 to 3.3.6)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.3.1 Fund external work through Grants and Contribution Agreements so that communities can restore beneficial uses and improve environmental quality in their locality along the St. Lawrence. (EC)
  • 3.3.2 Establish important cooperative partnerships between the federal and provincial governments and engage the appropriate public and stakeholder participation in order to achieve the vision of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable St. Lawrence River ecosystem. (EC)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.3.3 Release reports regularly on the State of the St. Lawrence and factsheets on environmental indicators. (EC)
  • 3.3.4 Conduct and coordinate research, prediction and monitoring activities in the St. Lawrence with other federal and provincial Departments and with local communities. (EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.3.5 Manage/deliver St. Lawrence results internally, within the Department, through the St. Lawrence Ecosystem Initiative. (EC)
  • 3.3.6 Manage/deliver St. Lawrence results federally-provincially, between the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec. (EC)

3.4 Target: Fresh Water Quality (continued)
Reduce nutrient inputs into Lake Simcoe by 2012.
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Lake Simcoe (3.4.1 to 3.4.3)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.4.1 Manage/deliver Great Lakes results binationally, between Canada and the United States through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). (EC)
  • 3.4.2 Provide financial and technical support through the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund (LSCUF) to implement priority projects aimed at reducing phosphorus inputs, restoring fish and wildlife populations, and enhancing research and monitoring capacity that are essential to making progress in relation to the restoration of the Lake Simcoe Basin watershed. (EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.4.3 Ongoing action to limit phosphates in laundry and dishwasher detergents. (EC)

3.5 Target: Fresh Water Quality (continued)
By 2012, through strategic collaborations and by increasing scientific knowledge, contribute to the establishment of targets to reduce nutrients in Lake Winnipeg and its basin to support the sustainability of the lake.
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Lake Winnipeg (3.5.1 to 3.5.6)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.5.1 Provide financial and technical support, through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund, to projects having concrete, demonstrable results to reduce pollutants and, in particular, nutrient loads, throughout the Lake Winnipeg Basin. (EC)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.5.2 Conduct science activities required to understand the relationship between the ecology and nutrient cycling within Lake Winnipeg, and the sources and transport mechanisms for nutrients, in order to help inform the development of nutrient objectives and performance indicators for Lake Winnipeg. (EC)
  • 3.5.3 Conduct monitoring activities for Lake Winnipeg and its sub-watersheds in order to help inform the development of nutrient objectives and performance indicators for Lake Winnipeg. (EC)
  • 3.5.4 Develop a single window web information portal to promote and enable data sharing and analysis with partners and other networks, in order to support research on Lake Winnipeg. (EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.5.5 The Lake Winnipeg Basin Management Office will coordinate and manage the activities of the Lake Winnipeg initiative, work with existing water governance bodies, explore the need for an overarching basin mechanism to cooperatively develop a basin-wide strategy, and provide a forum for communication. (EC)
  • 3.5.6 Work with the Province of Manitoba to establish a Canada-Manitoba Agreement to provide for a long-term collaborative and coordinated approach between the two governments to ensure the sustainability and health of the Lake Winnipeg Basin. (EC)

3.6 Target: Fresh Water Quality (continued)
Achieve a value between 81–100 on each of the Water Quality and Soil Quality Agri-Environmental Performance Indices by March 31, 2030.
(Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food)

Implementation Strategies for Water and Soil Quality Agri-Environmental Indices (3.6.1 to 3.6.6)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.6.1 Provide a systematic approach to farmers, through federal/provincial partnerships, to assess priority environmental risks and address them by developing effective plans to mitigate these risks and/or implement suitable preventative on-farm actions. (AAFC)
  • 3.6.2 Increase the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices at farm and landscape levels. (AAFC)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.6.3 Conduct targeted research to increase knowledge of water resources relative to agriculture; establish networks of scientists engaged in addressing water resource issues in a broader, integrated context (environmental standards, microbial source tracking and interdepartmental government efforts). (AAFC)
  • 3.6.4 Assess and report on the collective environmental and economic impact of the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices by farmers on the Canadian landscape through the National Agri-Environmental Health Analysis and Reporting Program (NAHARP). (AAFC)
  • 3.6.5 Increase the understanding of the effectiveness of beneficial management practices (BMP) in an agricultural watershed setting, and improve the understanding of the long-term relationships between BMPs and related agricultural land use activities, both environmental and economic, through Watershed Evaluation of Beneficial Management Practices (WEBs). (AAFC)
  • 3.6.6 Identify opportunities to work within the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) to develop nutrient management approaches from non-point agricultural sources. (EC)

3.7 Target: Fresh Water Quality (continued)
Reduce risks associated with wastewater effluent by 2020 in collaboration with provinces and territories.
(Note: risk reduction for wastewater effluents relates both to freshwater and marine).
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Wastewater Effluent (3.7.1 to 3.7.3)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.7.1 Work collaboratively with provinces to conduct and disseminate research on wastewater effluent. (EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.7.2 Implement the federal aspects of the CCME strategy for the management of municipal wastewater effluent in Canada through effluent regulations under the Fisheries Act and through agreements with provinces and territories by 2012. Work with the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador to complete policy analysis and research for minimum performance standards for wastewater effluent for the far north. (EC)
  • 3.7.3 Ensure compliance with performance standards for higher risk wastewater effluents by 2020. (EC)

3.8 Target: Marine Water Quality
Reduce the risks to Canadians and impacts on the marine environment posed by pollution from land-based activities.
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Pollution from Land-based Activities (3.8.1 to 3.8.13)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.8.1 Fund external work through Grants and Contribution Agreements so that communities can restore beneficial uses and improve environmental quality in their locality along the St. Lawrence. (EC)

Leading by Example

  • 3.8.2 Implement programs to prevent pollution and respond to environmental incidences, including spills. (TC)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.8.3 Provide advice on garbage, ballast water, sewage and other marine pollution to support Canadian positions in international commitments. (TC, EC)
  • 3.8.4 Collect required data to support International Maritime Organization, the United Nations Environmental Programme and other domestic and international organizations. (TC, EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.8.5 Ensure compliance with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, and its regulations that set controls for ships to manage ballast water and marine pollution as well as the controls on ships’ discharges set out under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act. (TC)
  • 3.8.6 Implement a national regime for preparedness and response to maritime hazardous and noxious substances incidences. (TC)
  • 3.8.7 Monitor and regulate discharges from marine vessels into the marine environment through inspections and the detection of oil discharges using the National Aerial Surveillance Program which may result in investigations and enforcement actions. (TC)
  • 3.8.8 Monitor and regulate Canada’s Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response regime to ensure private industry maintains the required capacity to respond to oil spills caused by marine transportation. (TC)
  • 3.8.9 Advance positions that can influence global rules and practices on dumping waste at sea and other marine pollution matters. (EC, TC)
    3.8.10 Manage research and development, develop partnerships, support and/or conduct technology development (emerging and forward-looking) to improve pollution prevention technologies and manage risks for marine transportation. (TC)
  • 3.8.11 Advance Canadian positions on reducing and managing global marine pollution from ships. (TC)
  • 3.8.12 Support the adoption by Canada of Marine Environmental Protection Committee (International Maritime Organization) requirements where applicable. (TC)
  • 3.8.13 Ensure that 90% of CEPA 1999 disposal at sea permits are issued within 120 days. (EC)

3.9 Target: Marine Water Quality (continued)
Prevent marine pollution from uncontrolled dumping at sea. Ensure that permitted disposal at sea is sustainable such that 85% of disposal site monitoring events do not identify the need for site management action (such as site closure).
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Uncontrolled Dumping at Sea (3.8.1 to 3.8.13)

Refer to the appropriate implementation strategies outlined under Target 3.8: Marine Water Quality – Pollution from Land-based Activities.

3.10 Target: Drinking Water Quality
Increase the percentage of First Nation communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings by 2013.2
(Minister of Health and Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Implementation Strategies for the Percentage of First Nation Communities with Acceptable Water and Wastewater Facility Risk Ratings (3.10.1 to 3.10.11)

Leading by Example

  • 3.10.1 Undertake a National Assessment of First Nation communities to assess the current status and associated risk for all existing communal water and wastewater systems and analyze various options for community serviceability. (INAC)
  • 3.10.2 Update “Guidance for providing safe drinking water in areas of federal jurisdiction.” (HC)

Enabling Capacity

  • 3.10.3 Work with First Nation communities to increase the frequency of testing drinking water quality. (HC)
  • 3.10.4 Ensure that training is available for all operators and that a regime is in place so that all water systems have oversight of a certified operator. (INAC)
  • 3.10.5 Enhance and expand the number of qualified waste and wastewater system operators in First Nation communities:
    • 3.10.5.1 Enhance the Circuit Rider Training Program. (INAC)
    • 3.10.5.2 Increase the number of Circuit Rider trainers and operators. (INAC)
  • 3.10.6 Continue to enhance capacity to monitor drinking water quality in First Nation communities to protect public health:
    • 3.10.6.1 Support all First Nation communities in ensuring access to a trained Community-Based Water Monitor (CBWM) or Environmental Health Officer (EHO). (HC)
    • 3.10.6.2 Support all First Nations communities in monitoring drinking water quality as per the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ). (HC)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.10.7 Develop up to five guidelines and guidance on water quality (i.e., drinking water, recreational water and water re-use) in collaboration with provinces/territories, supported by technical documents, as a basis for their regulatory requirements. (HC)
  • 3.10.8 Continue to provide First Nations with communications products to enhance public awareness and knowledge as well as increase the confidence of First Nations residents about the safety of their drinking water supply. (HC)
  • 3.10.9 Develop and continuously update technical guidance protocols, such as the Protocol for Safe Drinking Water in First Nations Communities and the Protocol for Wastewater Treatment and Disposal in First Nations Communities. (INAC, EC)
  • 3.10.10 Support provinces and territories and internationally by sharing and disseminating scientific risk assessments on drinking water contaminants. (HC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.10.11 Develop appropriate regulatory framework and legislation for safe drinking water and wastewater treatment in First Nation communities. (INAC)

3.11 Target: Drinking Water Quality (continued)
Help protect the health of Canadians by developing health-based water guidelines.
(Minister of Health)

Implementation Strategies for Health-based Water Guidelines (3.10.1 to 3.10.11)

Refer to the appropriate implementation strategies outlined under Target 3.10: Drinking Water Quality – Percentage of First Nation Communities with Acceptable Water and Wastewater Facility Risk Ratings.

3.12 Target: Chemicals Management
Reduce risks to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by harmful substances as a result of decreased environmental concentrations and human exposure to such substances.
(Minister of the Environment and Minister of Health)

Implementation Strategies for Chemicals Management (3.12.1 to 3.12.8)

Leading by Example

  • 3.12.1 Federal custodians plan and undertake assessment and remediation/risk management activities at contaminated sites for which they are responsible in order to reduce human health and ecological risks at higher priority sites. (EC)
  • 3.12.2 Guidance and program policies developed by the program secretariat and the expert support departments are used by federal custodians in the program implementation activities. (EC)
  • 3.12.3 In 2010-11, site assessments will be undertaken on an estimated 1500 projects by 15 federal custodians in total while an estimated 500 remediation/risk management projects will be implemented by 17 custodians in total. (EC)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 3.12.4 Assess 100% of existing commercial substances as identified under the Chemicals Management Plan for risks to human health and/or the environment (100% of total of 4300 by 2020). (EC, HC)
  • 3.12.5 Assess 100% of new substances, for which Environment Canada has been notified by industry of their intended manufacture or import, to determine if they are suspected of being toxic within the timelines in the regulation or established services standards. (EC, HC)
  • 3.12.6 The Northern Contaminants Program will continue monitoring contaminant levels in wildlife and people in the Canadian North. (INAC)

Demanding Performance

  • 3.12.7 Ensure at least one risk management measure is in place within the legally mandated timeframes for 100% of substances added to the List of Toxic Substances within. (EC,HC)
  • 3.12.8 Deliver compliance promotion activities for new instruments developed under CEPA 1999. (EC)

4. Goal: Water Availability
Enhance information to ensure that Canadians can manage and use water resources in a manner consistent with the sustainability of the resource.

4.1 Target: Water Resource Management and Use
Promote the conservation and wise use of water to affect a 30 per cent reduction or increased efficiency in water use in various sectors by 2025 (based on 2009 water use levels).
(Minister of the Environment)

Implementation Strategies for Water Resource Management and Use (4.1.1 to 4.1.12)

Enabling Capacity

  • 4.1.1 Provide non-financial support for a partnership consortium that will implement a water labeling and certification program to Canadians. (EC)
  • 4.1.2 Enhance and expand effective partnerships that enable the voluntary and regulatory means of managing the demand for water towards its sustainability. (EC)
  • 4.1.3 Diversify the western Canadian economy by making strategic investments in the commercialization and adoption of water technologies through the Western Diversification Program. (WD)

Advancing Knowledge and Communications

  • 4.1.4 Improve knowledge of water, its nature, extent, availability, sector use and best management practices such as Integrated Watershed Management to Canadians. (EC, NRCan)
  • 4.1.5 Provide web and print based information on the science and knowledge of water to Canadians in a comprehensive and timely manner to enable responsible decision. (EC, NRCan)
  • 4.1.6 Continue work on collection of hydrometric data through the Water Survey of Canada. (EC, HC)
  • 4.1.7 Conduct research and modeling with respect to water use and management particularly in the design and implementation of integrated decision systems such as Integrated Watershed Management. (EC)
  • 4.1.8 Conduct surveys on water use such as the Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey (EC) and the CESI Industrial Water Use Survey, Survey of Drinking Water Plants and Agriculture Water Use Survey. (Stats Can, EC)
  • 4.1.9 Continue the development and implementation of Water Availability Indicators. (HC, EC, NRCan)
  • 4.1.10 Complete 15 assessments for Canada’s 30 key regional aquifers and produce a national groundwater inventory to help Canadians better understand and manage underground water resources. (NRCan)
  • 4.1.11 Conduct hydrological and hydraulic studies in support of key environmental projects/programs of federal interest (e.g. oil sands). (EC)

Demanding Performance

  • 4.1.12 Develop appropriate tools to ensure federal leadership in water efficiency in the Federal House. (EC)

2 Drinking water on reserve remains a primary focus of INAC’s current Key Performance Indicators mapping pilot, and targets will be revised based on the pilot's recommendations.