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Government of Canada’s Response to Fall 2012 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden – February 5, 2013 Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, issued the following statement on behalf of the Government of Canada in response to the tabling of the Fall 2012 report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD).

“The Government of Canada welcomes the Commissioner’s latest report and would like to thank Mr. Scott Vaughan for his dedication as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. His recommendations are important and we will ensure they are addressed.

“We are pleased that the Commissioner notes progress over the years in a number of key areas such as weather forecasting, safe drinking water, air quality, and greenhouse gas reductions. 

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the health and safety of Canadians and to protecting our environment. The latest and most comprehensive science informs the development of our environmental policies and programs. The Commissioner’s report is one tool that helps us identify specific areas for improvement.

“Our government is committed to developing Canada’s rich natural resources while strengthening environmental protections. In the Economic Action Plan 2012, our Responsible Resource Development initiative set out a comprehensive plan to accomplish many of the same objectives listed in the Commissioner’s report. We are developing regulatory and legislative actions to provide the necessary protections for Canadians and appreciate the Commissioner’s perspective in this regard.  

“Canada’s offshore resources are managed jointly with the provinces and we are committed to working with our partners in preventing and preparing for offshore environmental emergencies, including oil spills. Our environmental record in the Atlantic offshore is strong and our licensing requirements set the highest standards for protection of the environment and the responsibility of operators. While recognizing the primary role of the operators in spill response, we are reviewing the roles and responsibilities of our organizations in promoting a collaborative and efficient response in the event of a spill. We remain committed to providing scientific and technical advice to reduce the likelihood of emergencies.  

"The Government of Canada also recognizes the value of financial assurances as a tool to protect taxpayers and the environment. Based on the ‛polluter pays principle’, financial assurances ensure that operators bear the costs of their operations and not taxpayers. Work is also underway to address the financial assurances required of industry to ensure that we protect taxpayers and the environment.

“In the area of ecological conservation, we are proud of the concrete progress made in the area of marine protection. To date, we have established 12 sites, and are working to designate an additional 12. We are committed to protecting Canada’s marine heritage and preserving it as a living legacy for generations to come.

“This Government is making progress initiating meaningful actions to protect the environment. Whether it is water quality, greenhouse gas emission reductions, or world‑class monitoring in the oil sands, we have made progress in a consistent, systematic, and science-based manner.”

Minister Kent is attending the Arctic Environment Ministers Meeting in Sweden to advance environmental protection of the Arctic.

Government of Canada takes action in safeguarding the environment

For more information, please contact:

Rob Taylor
Office of the Minister of the Environment

Media Relations
Environment Canada

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