Environment Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
Departmental Website Component:
Section IV of the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priorities


3. Description of Environment Canada’s Activities Supporting FSDS Themes I, II and II


Theme I: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality


Goal 2: Air Pollution – Minimize the threats to air quality so that the air Canadians breathe is clean and supports healthy ecosystems
Target 2.1: Air Pollutants – Reduce air pollutants in order to maintain or improve air quality across the country and achieve the emission targets which are currently under development in consultations with provinces and stakeholders
 
FSDS Implementation Strategies Further Details on This Implementation Strategy Alignment with the 2011–2012 Program Activity Architecture (PAA)
2.1.1
National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) tracking through the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). (EC)
National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) information will be collected from industrial and other facilities on releases, disposals and transfers for recycling of pollutants of concern by June 1.

This information will be used to support the development and status reporting for FSDS indicators on releases of substances of concern. In particular, NPRI data will be used in the development and tracking of any emissions targets developed in consultations with provinces and territories.

Performance expectations:
NPRI information will be collected by June 1 and will be published based on the timelines shown below.
  • Preliminary facility-reported information will be published on the NPRI website within 2 months of June 1.
  • Reviewed (quality-controlled) facility-reported information will be published within 6 months of June 1 (December).
  • Comprehensive emissions data (which include facility-reported data and additional area source calculations) will be published within 10 months of June 1 (April).
Drawn from existing Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) indicator:
  • Percentage of facilities that report emissions to the National Pollutant Release Inventory and that provide fully compliant reports in their initial response within mandated time frames.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.2
Undertake scientific research and reporting in support of regulatory and other programs delivered, including data analysis, inventory development, monitoring, modeling and assessment of the effectiveness of efforts as well as research on options, costs and benefits including economic and social and technology assessments. (EC, NRCan, HC, TC)
Comprehensive air emissions data on sources of key air pollutants in Canada will be published as part of the NPRI by April. Furthermore, data inputs for air quality models will be prepared to support research on options, costs and benefits, including economic, social and technology assessments. This information will be used by decision-makers to develop targets for regulatory action on air pollution.

This information will be used to support the development and status reporting for FSDS indicators on releases of substances of concern.

Timely, authoritative atmospheric science, science advice and assessment, including science, advice and assessment of the effectiveness of measures aimed at addressing air pollution, is delivered to support federal air pollutant regulatory decision making and program delivery.

Performance expectations:
  • Publication of comprehensive air emissions data on sources of key air pollutants in Canada, as part of NPRI, by April 2011.
  • Satisfaction of government decision-makers with the timeliness, credibility and relevance of technology advice and assessment as measured through user group evaluation questionnaires and consultations. PMF Target: 80% by 2014.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.3
Communicate outdoor air pollution health risks to Canadians through the Air Quality Health Index: Continue development of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and support implementation into additional census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The AQHI provides current and forecast air quality information and advice on health risks in order to assist Canadians in making decisions on how to reduce their level of exposure. (HC, EC)
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is available through Environment Canada’s website and media partners such as the Weather Network.

The strategy to focus on CMAs remains, as does the flexibility to accommodate requirements of those provinces (and CMAs) that have not implemented the AQHI.

Performance expectations:
Drawn from existing PMF indicator: 
Percentages of
  • the targeted sensitive population; and
  • the general population within selected regions receiving information on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) who report that they recall seeing or hearing AQHI information.
Program Activity 2.1: Weather and Environmental Services for Canadians
2.1.4
Develop and provide atmospheric science assessments related to air quality. (EC)
Timely, authoritative atmospheric science advice and assessment is delivered to support federal air pollutant regulatory decision making and program delivery.

Performance expectations:
  • There will be a qualitative assessment of the satisfaction of government decision-makers with the timeliness, credibility and relevance of atmospheric science advice and assessment related to air quality.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air

Program Activity 2.1: Weather and Environmental Services for Canadians
2.1.5
Continue to implement air pollutant emission regulations for various classes of on-road and off-road compression-ignition engines and small spark-ignition engines and fuels. (EC)
Implementation involves an ongoing program to ensure compliance with the various vehicle and engine air pollutant emission regulations, including the administration of reporting requirements established under the regulations (e.g. end of model-year reporting for certain classes of on-road vehicles, defect reporting); an emissions-testing verification program; and provision of technical guidance to Canadian companies regarding compliance requirements. Visit this website for more information.

Performance expectations:
  • The various classes of vehicles and engines that are covered by current regulations are tested for compliance with emissions standards: at a minimum, 6 light-duty on-road vehicles (e.g. cars and light trucks), 8 in-use vehicles, 7 motorcycles and scooters, and 35 small spark-ignition engines (e.g. lawnmowers, chainsaws).
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.6
Target regulations on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in some consumer and commercial products, and air pollutants for most transportation (on-road vehicles and engines, off-road compression ignition engines and off-road small-spark ignition engines), including implementation of the regulatory and control measures. (EC)
Information on the implementation and compliance promotion of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations, which were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, in 2009, is available on the CEPA Environmental Registry.

For regulation of air pollutants from most land transportation (excluding locomotives), see 2.1.5 above. Environment Canada regulates benzene, a VOC, in gasoline, limiting the concentration to 1.5% per volume (for more information, visit this website).

Performance expectations:
  • For regulation of air pollutants from most land transportation (excluding locomotives), see 2.1.5 above.
  • Conduct compliance promotion activities to increase stakeholder awareness of both the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Automotive Refinishing Products Regulations and the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Architectural Coatings Regulations.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.7
Continue cooperation with the United States on sustainable transportation and fuel quality. (EC)
Canada and the United States have agreed to work together under the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement to reduce transportation emissions by
  • harmonizing national vehicle and engine standards for emissions of smog-forming pollutants;
  • optimizing vehicle and engine emissions‑testing activities, taking advantage of unique testing capabilities, and sharing emissions test data where appropriate to facilitate regulatory administration activities in both countries; and
  • sharing information and discussing strategies and approaches on greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles.
Performance expectations:
Canada will continue aligning its regulations with those of the U.S. for vehicle, engines and fuels. For 2011-12, the following regulations will be aligned with U.S. EPA regulations:
  • Off-road compression-ignition engine emission regulations;
  • On-road vehicle and engine emissions regulations, requirement for an on-board diagnostics system for heavy-duty engines;
  • Implementation of marine spark-ignition engine and off-road recreational vehicles (MERV) emissions regulations;
  • Renewable fuels regulations, requiring 2% renewable content in diesel and heating oil; and
  • Joint compliance testing of vehicles and engines with the U.S. EPA, such as testing under cold weather conditions.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.8
Continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to develop and implement a coherent approach to managing air quality, including national ambient air quality standards and national industrial emissions requirements for key pollutants. (EC, HC)
The activity will be implemented through the development and implementation of a new air quality management system in collaboration with the provinces, territories and Health Canada. The system will require air pollutant emission reductions from industrial sources and include the development of Canadian ambient air quality standards for particulate matter and ozone. Air quality management and reporting will be done through the establishment of local air zones and regional airsheds.

This activity contributes to achieving Target 2.1 by establishing industrial emission requirements that will set a base level of environmental performance for the major industrial sectors and by setting Canadian ambient air quality standards for particulate matter and ozone. The status and the improvements of the air quality will be monitored through regular reporting for the local air zones and the regional airsheds in the future.

Performance expectations:
  • Finalization of industrial emission requirements for up to 13 industrial sectors and 3 cross-sectoral equipment types.
  • Finalization of ambient air quality standards for particulate matter and ozone and associated triggers.
  • Delineation of 6 regional airsheds.
  • Development of a guidance document for local air zones delineation.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.9
Work through the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulation to develop harmonized global technical regulations for vehicles and engines to ensure that stringent emission standards will be applied around the world. (EC)
EC will coordinate with Transport Canada and brief other participants. EC will participate in related working groups such as the Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE). For more information, visit this website.

As light- and heavy-duty vehicles accounted for 3940 KT of carbon monoxide in Canada in 2008, this will significantly contribute to the reduction of air pollutants.

Performance expectations:
  • Environment Canada will participate in meetings of the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations as appropriate in order to assist in the development of stringent emission standards world-wide.  Global Technical Regulations (GTRs) have been adopted, such as emissions limits and test procedures for some classes of vehicles and engines. EC will work to implement its international regulatory obligations as part of our regulatory agenda.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.10
Develop new regulations to reduce emissions of air pollutants from marine engines and recreational vehicles, on- and off-road diesel engines and off-road large spark ignition engines. (EC)
New regulations for emissions from marine engines and recreational vehicles (MERV), off-road diesel engines, and off-road large-spark engines was released in 2010 and is aligned with United States standards. Regulations covering on-road diesel engines were published in 2003 (visit this website for more information).

As transportation sources are responsible for 56% of air contaminant emissions excluding particulates, this will help improve air quality across the country.

Performance expectations:
  • Final MERV regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette in 2011.
  • Final on-road diesel engines regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette in 2012.
  • EC will begin developing large spark-ignition engines regulations.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.13
Continue to work with the United States and France to implement a designated Emission Control Area for North American coastal areas, under the auspices of the IMO, by 2012. (TC, EC)
Within the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), which covers the majority of waters surrounding Canada and the United States and the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, ships must significantly reduce their air pollutant emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), particulate matter (PM), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Canada’s health and environment will greatly benefit from the emissions reductions the ECA standards will provide.

EC with Transport Canada (TC) is developing regulations to implement Canada's portion of the ECA. EC will revise its sulphur standards in the  Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to implement the ECA in accordance with the IMO requirement and in alignment with U.S. regulatory actions.

For more information, visit this website.

As marine transportation accounted for 81 KT of SOx in Canada in 2008, this will significantly contribute to the reduction of air pollutants.

Performance expectations:
  • The ECA standards will enter into effect on August 1, 2012.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.15
Continue to support a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Railway Association of Canada that ensures the rail industry continues to improve emission performance during the 2006–2010 period. (EC, TC)
The MOU with the Railway Association of Canada expires in December 2010. Air pollutant regulations being developed under the Railway Safety Act by Transport Canada are expected to take effect in 2011. Visit this website for more information.

In 2008, rail transportation accounted for 9% of transportation nitrogen oxide air pollutant emissions. Transport Canada’s and EC’s activities in this area will contribute to the reduction of air pollutants.

Performance expectations:
  • Transport Canada is the lead regulator for rail emissions. Environment Canada will support Transport Canada as appropriate.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.22.2
Programs focused on supplying financial aid and developing capacity to reduce GHGs and smog-forming pollutants through adoption of emission-reducing technologies and practices: Implement a national Vehicle Scrappage Program to encourage Canadians to retire their old high-polluting vehicles (models 1995 or earlier) and to choose more sustainable transportation options. (EC)

The National Vehicle Scrappage Program offers rewards—such as free transit passes, car-sharing memberships, $300 cash and rebates on the purchase of cleaner vehicles—to Canadians who retire their older, highly polluting personal vehicles. The program is mainly delivered though Summerhill Impact, a not-for-profit organization with a network of local agents that deliver the program in each province and develop partnerships with incentive providers, vehicle recyclers, and call centres. For further information, please visit EC’s website.

The National Vehicle Scrappage Program primarily aims to reduce air pollutants by removing older vehicles from the road. Its secondary goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting sustainable transportation alternatives, and to prevent the release of harmful substances to the environment by ensuring responsible vehicle recycling. The program directly contributes to the achievement of Target 2.1: Air Pollutants.

Performance expectations:

  • The program ends on March 31, 2011, and will wrap up its activities during the first four months of 2011–2012. A total of around 140 000 vehicles will have been retired by the end of the program, leading to a reduction 5000 tonnes of smog-forming emissions.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.31
Work with the U.S to reduce transboundary emissions under the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement. (EC, HC)
This activity will be implemented through continued work under the Canada–United States Air Quality Agreement (1991) and its three Annexes committing to work on 1) acid rain; 2) scientific and technical activities and economic research; and 3) ozone. Consideration is being given to adding a fourth annex covering particulate matter (PM). The Canada–United States Air Quality Committee is responsible for administering work under the Agreement. It publishes a joint progress report every two years. Visit this website for more information. In addition, EC will continue to conduct coordinated science activities under Sub-committee 2 of the Canada–United States Air Quality Agreement.

This activity contributes to achieving Target 2.1: Reducing Air Pollutants by contributing to the reduction of transboundary air pollution.

Performance expectations:
For 2011–2012, these include:
  • Meeting regular commitments under the Canada–United States Air Quality Agreement that focus on reducing emissions of acid rain and smog forming pollutants;
  • Participating in the annual meetings of the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Committee, and making progress in advancing discussions on a particulate matter  annex to the Air Quality Agreement;
  • Participating in annual meetings of the Air Quality Committee and in further discussions or negotiations, where appropriate, to support ongoing bilateral collaboration on the reduction of transboundary air pollution; and
  • Conducting a qualitative assessment of the satisfaction of government decision-makers with the timeliness, credibility and relevance of atmospheric science advice and assessment related to air quality.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.32
Submit air pollutant inventories to meet international reporting requirements using National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) to the UN Economic Commission for Europe to meet the reporting obligations of the Protocols ratified under the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution). (EC)
Canada’s domestic and international obligations (UNECE, Canada–United States Air Quality Agreement, etc.) will be met via the collection submission of data on emissions on key air pollutants from industrial facilities and/or comprehensive emissions data (which includes facility-reported data and additional area source calculations).

The NPRI data is a key mechanism for allowing Canada to track progress against the various reporting obligations and demonstrate compliance with stated obligations.

Performance expectations:
  • The timelines for submission of data to meet the various reporting obligations varies. A key deadline is the annual deadline of February 15 for submitting emissions data for key pollutants to the UNECE. The collection of this data is done through the NPRI process.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.35
Participate in negotiations for revisions of the Gothenburg Protocol to Reduce Ozone, Acidification and Eutrophication under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. (EC, HC)
This activity will be implemented through participation in the negotiations to amend the multi-pollutant, multi-effect Gothenburg Protocol under LRTAP. This includes attending the negotiating sessions, consulting with other governmental departments and other stakeholders on Canada’s positions, and developing Canada’s positions and commitments under the amended Protocol. This activity contributes to achieving Target 2.1 that relates to reducing air pollutants by setting emission limits for four pollutants: sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia. Furthermore, negotiations have been launched to revise and update the Protocol and establish new 2020 commitments.

Performance expectations:
  • Advancing Canada’s positions on amendments to the Gothenburg Protocol under UNECE-CLRTAP by participating on the 48th and 49th Working Group on Strategies and Review, the 29th meeting of the Executive Body, and any other necessary expert or working groups, while preserving the flexibility to permit Canada to ratify the Protocol in the future.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.36
Develop Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations for managing end-of-life ozone depleting substances and their halocarbon alternatives. (EC)
The proposed extended producer responsibility regulations would establish stewardship programs, including collection, storage, recycling and destruction measures for end-of-life ozone-depleting substances and HFCs used in refrigeration and cooling sectors. Consultations will further inform the development of the proposed regulations.

Performance expectations:
  • Proposed regulations are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in 2011.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.37
Continue development of a North American proposal to phase-down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol and develop complimentary domestic regulations. (EC)
HFCs are very potent greenhouses gases (GHG), which were initially introduced as a replacement for certain ozone-depleting substances. In collaboration with the United States and Mexico, Canada introduced a revised North American Proposal in April 2010 to add HFCs to the Montreal Protocol. The proposal would establish targets to reduce HFC consumption and production for both developing and developed countries. This is an approach that has a track record of success in eliminating similar substances used in the same sectors as HFCs. It is expected that this approach would contribute to preventing significant emissions, thus minimizing negative impacts on the climate. This proposal was considered at the meeting of the Open-ended Working Group to the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in June 2010 and at the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) in November 2010.

It is estimated that the cumulative benefits of the HFC phasedown amounts to reductions of 3100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMT of CO2 equivalent) through 2020, and around 88 000 MMT of CO2 equivalent through 2050.

Performance expectations:
  • Canada, in collaboration with the United States and Mexico, will further refine their proposal in 2011.
  • Canada will continue to participate in negotiation meetings with our partners, the United States and Mexico.
  • EC will participate in outreach activities to promote the amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
  • Decision(s) and/or declarations adopted at relevant international fora contribute to advancing the objectives of the proposed amendment.
Program Activity 3.2: Climate Change and Clean Air
2.1.38
Deliver compliance promotion activities for key regulatory initiatives. (EC)
Compliance promotion relates to activities that are undertaken to increase the awareness and the understanding of new risk management instruments developed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Through these activities, information is provided regarding compliance requirements, the benefits of complying with the law, and the consequences of non-compliance.

The approach to compliance promotion is collaborative and coordinated across the Department’s programs and regions and with the Enforcement Branch of Environment Canada. It is achieved using various tools and approaches such as website postings, letters and emails, brochures, site visits, responses to inquiries and information sessions.

Performance expectations:
  • In collaboration with enforcement and risk management, an overarching compliance strategy for risk management instruments related to air pollutants will be developed prior to publication in the Canada Gazette, Part II, of the first instrument. At the same time, compliance promotion plan(s), for sectors affected by the instruments related to air pollutants will be initiated.
Program Activity 3.3: Compliance Promotion and Enforcement – Pollution