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Emergencies poster picture collage of various emergency situations

Environmental Emergencies

Program Mission

The Environmental Emergencies Program protects Canadians and their environment from the effects of environmental emergencies through the provision of science-based expert advice and regulations.

Environment Canada’s  Environmental Emergencies Program is composed of a regulatory and policy team in Gatineau, Québec and a preparedness and response team in Montreal, Québec. These teams coordinate with the Emergencies Science and Technology Section in Ottawa, Ontario, and the Enforcement Branch, the Meteorological Service of Canada and Canadian Wildlife Service staff across Canada, to provide science-based expert advice to prevent, prepare for and respond to the effects of 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.

Emergencies Program Mission and Guiding Principles 

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 emergency pollution incidents related to releases or spills of hazardous substances such as oils and chemicals.

Who to call when an environmental emergency occurs?

Depending on the nature, size and location of an emergency pollution incident, a wide variety of private and public sector organizations may play an important role in reducing the damage to life, property and the environment.

In most cases when such events occur, provincial, territorial and federal laws require that authorities be notified Who to Call in an Emergency .