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What is Environment Canada doing?

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

Environment Canada is taking important steps to help improve the state of wastewater management in Canada. Environment Canada’s vision is to ensure that, across the country, the release of wastewater effluents does not pose unacceptable risks to human and ecosystem health and fishery resources.

After consideration of comments received before and after the publication of the Proposed Notice, Environment Canada published in the Canada Gazette on December 4, 2004, a:


These instruments were developed following the recommendation made by the Ministers of Environment and Health on June 23, 2001 proposing the addition of several substances to the List of Toxic Substances, Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Environment Canada began to develop a Risk Management Strategy that would address the identified toxic substances. The proposed recommendation followed the publication of priority substance list assessment reports for inorganic chloramines, ammonia dissolved in water, textile mill effluents and nonylphenol and its ethoxylates.

With Provinces and Territories

Provinces and territories have jurisdictional responsibilities for natural resources which include water. They also have the legislative authority for municipalities and works of a local and private nature. Consequently, they exercise their legislative powers to control effluents released from municipal wastewater systems. Environment Canada recognizes the key role that provinces and territories play in the management of the wastewater sector and is working with these jurisdictions and other stakeholders through the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME). In November 2003, the CCME agreed to develop a Canada-wide Strategy for the management of municipal wastewater effluents. The Strategy is to be completed in 2008 and will include:

  1. a harmonized regulatory framework;
  2. coordinated science and research;
  3. an environmental risk management model.

See: CCME Initiative.

Environment Canada intends to implement the Canada-wide Strategy through federal regulations under the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.