Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the Contact Us page.

Help the Government of Canada organize its website!

Complete an anonymous 5-minute questionnaire. Start now.

News Release

Canada Signs Global Treaty to Reduce Mercury Emissions

OTTAWA, Ont. – October 10, 2013 – The Government of Canada today signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global agreement to reduce mercury emissions and releases to the environment. The Convention is a legally-binding treaty negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its primary objective is to protect human health and the environment from human sources of emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

“Signing this treaty reinforces Canada’s commitment to protecting the Arctic ecosystem, the health of our indigenous peoples, Northerners and the global population,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council. “The Government of Canada actively participated in all five intergovernmental sessions to negotiate a strong treaty to reduce major sources of global mercury emissions that present risks to Canadians and their environment.”

“I am very proud that, because of the federal government's support, a representative of the Inuit Circumpolar Council was part of the Canadian delegation and played an important role in these negotiations in raising northern Indigenous Peoples' health as a serious issue,” said the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

As an Arctic country, Canada is one of the main beneficiaries of this agreement. While Canada has reduced its own mercury emissions by over 90% in the last forty years, more must be done to protect the health of Canadians and their environment. Over 95% of the mercury deposited in Canada from human activity comes from foreign sources.

The Convention addresses all aspects of the life-cycle of mercury, including providing controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted. The pace of mercury reductions will depend on a number of factors, including which countries ratify the treaty, how many ratify (50 required for entry into force) and what actions the Parties to the treaty decide to take.

At their meeting in Sweden in May 2013, the Ministers of the Arctic Council welcomed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, noting the particular vulnerabilities of Arctic ecosystems and indigenous communities, and encouraged the treaty’s swift entry into force.

The Convention was opened to countries for signature during a Diplomatic Conference being held in Kumamoto, Japan, on October 10-11, 2013, and will remain open in New York until October 8, 2014.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Kennedy
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment
819-997-1441

Media Relations
Environment Canada
819-934-8008

Environment Canada’s Twitter page

Environment Canada’s Facebook page