Environmental Emergencies

The Environmental Emergencies Program’s mission is to reduce the frequency and consequences of environmental emergencies involving the unplanned, uncontrolled or accidental release of hazardous substances such as oils or chemicals. A regulatory and policy team in Gatineau, Québec and a preparedness and response team in Montreal, Québec coordinate with the Emergencies Science and Technology Section in Ottawa, Ontario, the Meteorological Service of Canada and Canadian Wildlife Service staff across Canada, to prevent, prepare for and respond to environmental emergencies.

In delivering its responsibilities, the Program works in close partnership with other federal government departments, other levels of government, the private sector and international organizations.

What is an environmental emergency?

There are different types of environmental emergencies, such as natural events like forest fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or ice storms. There are also environmental emergencies caused by human activity, such as industrial or transportation related accidents that release hazardous substances, thereby endangering the environment and human health. Environmental Canada's Environmental Emergencies Program focuses efforts on pollution incidents related to releases or spills of oils and chemicals.

Who to call when an environmental emergency occurs?

Depending on the nature, size and location of an environmental emergency involving a hazardous substance, a wide variety of private and public sector organizations may play an important role in ensuring that damage to life, property and the environment is minimized.

In most cases when such events occur, provincial, territorial and federal laws require that they be notified. Who to call in an emergency.