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A National Pollutant Release Inventory for Canada: The Final Report of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (December 1992)

APPENDIX 3: THE NATIONAL POLLUTANT RELEASE INVENTORY CONSULTATION TERMS OF REFERENCE

INTRODUCTION

Release inventories are a valuable source of information for setting priorities for pollution reduction programs, tracking progress for voluntary, or regulated release reductions, forecasting release trends, and for estimating releases from proposed facilities. In order to provide a more comprehensive list of major releases, the federal government's Green Plan contains the following commitment:

"To develop a better understanding of the nature and quantity of toxic substances being released in Canada, the Government will develop a national database for hazardous pollutants being released from industrial and transportation sources. The reporting requirements for industry will be established by 1992, with the first reports scheduled for public release no later than 1994."

As part of its activities to set up such a data base, to be called the, National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), Environment Canada is undertaking the consultation process described in these terms of reference. The process is scheduled to last from November 1991 to December 1992. Ongoing contact with Environment Canada will be maintained through the Director of the Regulatory Affairs and Program Integration Branch and her staff, who are responsible for the NPRI.

THE OBJECTIVES OF THE CONSULTATION PROCESS

The objectives of the consultation process are to obtain recommendations from stakeholders on:

  1. The design, implementation and operation of a publicly accessible National Pollutant Release Inventory.

  2. How to provide a more complete picture of the sources and magnitude of pollutant and other releases to the environment in Canada by combining the information from the NPRI with information compiled in 'a variety of inventories, either existing or underdevelopment.

  3. Any further consultation that might be required for the completion or implementation of the NPRI as well as its relationship to other release inventories.

THE CONSULTATION PROCESS

The consultation process consists of the following elements:

Information mailings on the progress of the NPRI and the consultation process will be sent regularly to all interested stakeholders.

The Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (MSAC) whose main task will be to prepare the recommendations of the NPRI consultation to the Director of the Regulatory Affairs and Program Integration of Environment Canada. MSAC will prepare draft recommendations on the NPRI for feedback from stakeholders. In the light of these comments, MSAC will finalize the recommendations.

Work groups composed of stakeholder and Environment Canada representatives will be formed as needed to deal with specific technical issues.

A trial run to test the NPRI reporting format in the field and Environment Canada's data-handling system will take place in September 1992.

Regional Information sessions on the draft recommendations prepared by the MSAC will beheld prior to the workshop.

The submission of written briefs to the NPRI secretariat by those who so desire. Stakeholders with specific technical or policy concerns are encouraged to submit briefs.

The report of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee containing the final recommendations on the design of the NPRI and other matters relating to releases inventories which will result from the consultation process. In addition, a report on the consultation process will be prepared by the consultation facilitator.

PARTICIPATION

Participation in the consultation is open to all interested stakeholders, that is, groups that have an interest in the issues under discussion, will be affected by the NPRI, and/or can contribute to the elaboration of the NPRI. Groups and organizations fitting this description include, but are not limited to those from the business sector; the voluntary sector (health and environmental groups); labour; and governments (federal and provincial, and other levels as required).

RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARTICIPANTS

Participants in the consultation process will be expected to make every effort to ensure that the views they express during the consultation reflect those of their particular constituency of interest, not just their personal viewpoints or those of their organization. It is also expected that they will communicate the fact of their participation and the positions they will be taking on various issues to interested members of their respective constituencies. The one exception to this particular rule is the submission of briefs, which are meant to enable the expression of specific points of view.

Recognizing the time necessary for participants to get feedback from their constituencies, Environment Canada and the consultation facilitator will endeavour to provide discussion materials well in advance of meetings (generally three weeks ahead).

It is recognized that, because of financial and/or organizational constraints, not all participants have the means to communicate regularly with all members of their constituency. Environment Canada and the consultation facilitator will assist participants facing such constraints to develop appropriate means of communication with their constituency.

THE MANDATE OF THE MULTI-STAKEHOLDER ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The MSAC is responsible for preparing the recommendations to Environment Canada on the NPRI that result from the consultation process. In doing so, it will consider the opinions and concerns expressed by stakeholders at regional information sessions and through briefs and letters.

More specifically, the mandate of the MSAC is to:

  • Identify and describe issues related to the objectives of the consultation process (see above), that are of concern to stakeholders and governments.
  • Advise and assist in the development of the background information and analysis necessary for dealing with these issues, as well as on the establishment of work groups which may be required.
  • Discuss proposals prepared by Environment Canada, by work groups or-by stakeholders with a view to:
    • identifying the areas of agreement;
    • resolving disagreements; and
    • identifying the differing views on any remaining areas of disagreement among stakeholders and governments.
  • Prepare a final report that will contain the recommendations on matters where consensus has been achieved, explanations of any disagreements that persist among stakeholders, and the description of any additional issues that need to be resolved.
  • Advise and assist the consultation facilitator in ensuring that the consultation process meets the needs and expectations of the stakeholders, and that it is run in a cost-effective manner.
  • Review the final report of the consultation process.
  • Provide a communications link between participants in the consultation process and their constituency.

The membership of the Advisory Committee has been drawn from industry, government (federal and provincial), and non-government organizations (health, environment, labour). Each of these three sectors has been allocated a maximum of eight seats on the MASC. The Director of the Regulatory Affairs and Program Integration Branch of Environment Canada as well as the staff of the NPRI consultation secretariat will also attend MSAC meetings. Interested stakeholders who are not members may attend MSAC meetings as observers. MSAC meetings will be conducted by the consultation facilitator.

WORK GROUPS

Work groups composed of stakeholder and government representatives will be formed as appropriate to deal with specific technical issues requiring in-depth discussion. The MSAC will be consulted as to the need for and the membership of such groups.

THE ROLE OF THE FACILITATOR

The consultation will be facilitated by an independent facilitator, Raymond Vles of Pat Delbridge Associates. He is responsible for all matters related to the consultation process: the organization and facilitation of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee, the preparation of agendas, and the management of the consultation process so that its objectives are attained.

The facilitator also serves as a point of contact for any persons or organizations, participant or nonparticipant, who have concerns or questions about the consultation process.

THE REPORT OF THE CONSULTATION PROCESS

A report on the consultation process will be prepared by the facilitator for the end of 1992. The report will describe the consultation process, and present the issues raised during the consultation. The Multistakeholder Advisory Committee will review the report before it is finalized. The report will be a public document.

EXPENSES

Limited funds will be made available by Environment Canada to cover travel, accommodation and other reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for those participants from the voluntary sector who require financial assistance to participate in the consultation.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Please contact:
Raymond Vles
Pat Delbridge Associates
(514) 495-7980

Gordon Pope
Special Advisor
Environment Canada
(819) 953-1654

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