Environment Canada appreciates the contribution of all participants to the 2004 planning session. The discussions and recommendations made by the Work Group will help Environment Canada enhance the development of its National Pollutant Release Inventory program to ensure that environmental objectives are achieved and the needs of Canadians are met.
This report reproduces in full the "Final Report of the National Pollutant Release Inventory Multistakeholder Work Group on Substances re Proceedings and Key Findings of the 2004 Planning Session (January 13, 2005)." It also includes, where appropriate, boxes containing Environment Canada’s response to the recommendations.
In 1991-92, a Multistakeholder Advisory Committee was created to advise on the foundations of the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) program, including recommendations for an initial list of substances, reporting criteria, and implementation of the NPRI. Since then, a comparable multistakeholder NPRI Work Group has served as a reference group, providing guidance on the strategic directions and ongoing evolution of the NPRI, including recommendations on such matters as:
- selection of substances to be subject to reporting;
- approaches to reporting on substances;
- user access to, and public dissemination of, reported data;
- approaches to broader stakeholder consultations on the NPRI and related issues; and
- the overall nature, design, and use of the NPRI, and its relationships to other sources of environmental information.
A formal, permanent process for modifying the NPRI was adopted in 2000. Consultation with stakeholders on proposed changes to the NPRI is fundamental to the process. On an annual basis, Environment Canada is to notify the public of proposed changes (drawing from nominations that can be submitted from any party) and establish an appropriate consultation process for input on those proposed changes.
Building on its work from the previous face-to-face meeting in Halifax on September 15-16, 2003, and on ad hoc teleconferences and subgroup activities in the intervening period, the Work Group met in Montreal on October 5-6, 2004, for a two-day session to address a number of specific proposals, obtain updated information relevant to the Work Group's mandate, and provide initial ideas and recommendations on a longer-term vision and work plan for the NPRI. Participants consisted of Work Group members or their designated alternates, plus a number of additional representatives from government, industry, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), primarily as observers and resource personnel offering additional perspectives for consideration by the Work Group. (See Appendix 1: Montreal Session Participants.)
The purpose of the October session in Montreal was to elicit input and recommendations from the NPRI Work Group members and other resource personnel and stakeholder representatives on proposals, issues, and potential work items that warrant attention over the immediate and medium terms. (See Appendix 2: Montreal Session Objectives and Agenda.)
More specifically, the session objectives were to:
- take stock of progress on development, implementation, and use of the NPRI;
- provide input and recommendations on proposed additions and amendments to NPRI-reportable substances and reporting criteria;
- identify and explore future issues, challenges, and opportunities facing the NPRI and how it is managed;
- share ideas on a longer-term vision and strategies for the NPRI;
- sketch out potential elements of a medium-term work plan and implications for follow-up; and
- agree on immediate next steps.
Session facilitators were engaged to guide and animate the discussion, take notes of key observations and conclusions, prepare this report, and incorporate any necessary changes or amendments based on feedback to the draft and the results of a planned NPRI Work Group teleconference following distribution of the draft report. Where there was apparent consensus, the general agreement of the NPRI Work Group with the applicable key points is noted. Conversely, where there was divergence of views, the different perspectives are noted, with no implied weighting of views. All views summarized in this report are to be taken into consideration in charting a course for the NPRI over the next year and beyond.
This report provides an overview of the proceedings and a summary of the principal observations and conclusions of the consultation meeting of the above-mentioned NPRI Work Group session, held in Montreal on October 5-6, 2004.
The findings set out in this report will be taken into consideration in the following ways:
- recommendations to the government on the potential inclusion of, amendment to, or deletion of reporting requirements for the various candidate substances examined;
- consideration of potential improvements that might be adopted to enhance the relevance, utility, fairness, and/or efficiency of NPRI requirements and procedures;
- structuring of a medium-term work plan on the NPRI, to guide the government's work agenda as well as the slate of issues to be addressed by the NPRI Work Group over the next few years; and
- identification of longer-term issues that warrant consideration.
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