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Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements

What Role Can Environmental Performance Agreements Play?

Due to their flexible nature, Environmental Performance Agreements can address a wide variety of environmental issues affecting human health and the environment, such as:

  • reducing the use and emission of selected pollutants, including substances deemed toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999);
  • advancing product stewardship;
  • conserving sensitive habitat; and
  • providing for remedial action where project monitoring indicates a need (e.g., after an environmental assessment) or where environmental effects monitoring associated with an ongoing operation shows a similar need.

It is important to note that Environmental Performance Agreements will not replace the regulatory framework. Rather, they represent an additional tool that Environment Canada can use to achieve its environmental protection mandate. Its selection as a risk management tool will depend on factors such as the nature of the risk being managed and the performance history of companies being considered for such an agreement.

Note too that in designing the mix of tools to be used in addressing an environmental issue, Environment Canada will take participation and performance in an agreement into account and will, to the extent possible, eliminate or minimize the impact on good performers of other tools addressing the same issue. As with past agreements, the wording of an agreement will allow each party to give notice and withdraw from the agreement, if necessary. Where a company is unwilling or unable to meet its obligations under an Environmental Performance Agreement, Environment Canada will consider alternative means, such as regulations or pollution prevention planning, to achieve its environmental objectives. To a large extent the choice of alternatives may be limited by other factors, especially whether the performance agreement is addressing a matter that cannot be regulated.