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Completed Agreements

Canadian Chemical Producers' Association

Purpose of the MOU
Signatories (Period in effect)
- Management of Toxic Substances: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Purpose of the MOU

The objective of the 2001 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was to reduce the release of chemical substances through voluntary, non-regulatory action under CCPA Responsible Care® by encouraging and publicly recognizing progress on the part of the CCPA and its member companies. The 2001 MOU established, as an initial action, an annex on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with measurable targets. It also included provisions to add additional commitments, annexes, and signatories to the agreement.

Signatories (Period in effect)

Between Environment Canada, Health Canada, Industry Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Alberta Environment, and the CCPA. Partners to the agreement include Pollution Probe, STOP, and members of the CCPA National Advisory Panel (April 2001 to December 31, 2005).

A steering group to advise on and review activities includes Pollution Probe, STOP, Toxics Watch and members of the CCPA National Advisory Panel in addition to representatives of the signatory organisations.


The VOCannex to the 2001 CCPA MOU set a target of a 25% reduction in VOC emissions by 2002, based on a 1997 base year, focusing action on the 25 companies that had the largest VOC emissions. The target was for these companies to release 11 845 tonnes of VOCs or less by 2002.

What are VOCs?

VOCs are substances that evaporate quickly to the atmosphere. Most VOCs result from gasoline combustion and the evaporation of liquid fuels and solvents. VOCs, along with nitrous oxides, are primary precursors to the formation of ground-level ozone, which, when mixed with fine airborne particles in the presence of sunlight, forms smog. Harmful effects that have been attributed to smog include hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses. VOCs as a group have been declared toxic under CEPA 1999 because of their role in the formation of smog.


The CCPA member companies reduced their VOC emissions to 11 818 tonnes in 2002, meeting the 25% target.

CCPA Reductions in VOCs
 Targets: Annual total emissions of VOCs (tonnes)Actual total emissions of VOCs(tonnes)Actual percentage (tonnes) of VOCs reduced from the 1997 base year
1997 (base year)


15 794

11 845
11 818
25 (3 976)

The MOU also provides for action on other substances of concern to parties to the agreement. Excluding smog precursors, of the 71 substances, categories of substances or mixtures listed on Schedule 1 of CEPA as of March 2005, CCPA members reported emissions of 47 substances in 2004. Current members' total emissions of these Schedule 1 substances in 2004 were 871 tonnes. Overall, all members' emissions of CEPA 1999 Toxic substances have declined by 75 percent since 1992.

Emissions of CEPA 1999Toxic Substances from CCPA Member Operations

The 2001 MOU established the Environmental Protection Steering Group (EPSG), co-chaired by the CCPA President and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Canada's Environmental Stewardship Branch, which provided a forum for management to discuss, identify, and act on issues and chemicals of concern. The group includes Pollution Probe, STOP, Toxics Watch and members of the CCPA National Advisory Panel in addition to representatives of the signatory organisations.

Further information on results under this MOU, as well as continuing progress, is available by visiting the CCPA's website, entering the "Library" section, and following the links under "Reports" to "Reducing Emissions".


The 2001 MOU with the CCPA was the first Environment Canada voluntary agreement to meet the requirements of the department's Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements. It was designed to contribute to Canada's long-term prosperity by encouraging companies to implement pollution prevention measures and management practices that are environmentally sound and promote the health of people and ecosystems as well as build mutual trust among industry, government, and environmental non-governmental organizations.

Alberta and Ontario, where the majority of Canada's chemical production takes place, are signatories to this MOU.

Non-governmental organizations, specifically Pollution Probe and STOP, as well as members of the CCPA's National Advisory Panel, were active partners in the negotiation of this MOU.

VOCs were added to the List of Toxic Substances on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) in July 2003. Further information about the management of VOCs is described in the federal agenda for VOCs.

Responsible Care® is a longstanding initiative of the CCPA, and a commitment to it is a prerequisite for companies joining the CCPA. All CCPA member companies became participants in this MOU upon its implementation in April 2001, since this MOU is an initiative of Responsible Care®.

What is Responsible Care®?

The Responsible Care® initiative, developed in Canada and launched in 1985, has served as a model for chemical industries around the world to address public concerns about the manufacture, distribution, and use of chemicals. Since the adoption of Agenda 21 at the Rio Earth Summit in 1991, 52 countries have adopted Responsible Care® and tailored it to their operations.

The CCPA'sResponsible Care® ethic

"The theme Responsible Care: A Total Commitment signifies commitment to responsible management of the total life cycle of our products and operations, from the very beginning in the laboratory, to the very end at ultimate disposal or destruction. It signifies the commitment of our full membership and partners without exception and implies a broad commitment by our employees. The codes apply to Canadian company operations inside and outside Canada. Companies are also expected to work with customers, transporters, distributors and other parties in the application of these codes to their operations. Every activity developed by the association for its membership is within the aims of the ethic and guiding principles."

Taken from The Ethic and Codes of Practice of Responsible Care® (published by the CCPA in 2000).

Please visit the Responsible Care® website for more information.

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