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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report for April 2011 to March 2012

Executive Summary

This Annual Report provides an overview of the results achieved under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012.

In 2011–2012, Environment Canada consulted with the National Advisory Committee on various CEPA 1999 regulatory initiatives and reported on actions under three administrative agreements and one equivalency agreement. Under the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation in Atlantic Canada, Environment Canada worked with provincial counterparts to implement work plans that support CEPA 1999.

The CEPA Environmental Registry continued to provide public access to all CEPA-related initiatives. There were 38 public consultation opportunities published on the Registry in the reporting period.

Results were achieved under 13 environmental quality monitoring initiatives, such as the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network, the Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network, the Northern Contaminants Program, and greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring. In 2011–2012, Environment Canada and Health Canada scientists published hundreds of articles, reports and papers. Much of this research is conducted in Canada and abroad in collaboration with other governments, academic institutions and industry. This report provides examples of research activities related to air quality, water, wildlife and soil, and human health.

In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, three environmental quality guidelines, two for water and another for soil; seven guidelines under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), including five for water, one for sediment and one for tissue; four drinking-water quality guideline documents; and one air quality guideline were finalized in the reporting period. As well, many other guidelines were being developed during 2011–2012.

On August 27, 2011, Environment Canada also published in the Canada Gazette, Part I the proposed Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations. These proposed Regulations would establish a performance standard for new coal-fired electricity units and units that have reached the end of their useful life.

Public reporting continued in 2011–2012 through the publication of Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators for air quality, water quality and GHG emissions; through the National Pollutant Release Inventory, which provides a publicly accessible inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling; and through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program.

In 2011–2012, draft or final assessment decisions were published for 661 existing substances or groups of substances, including 23 substances in the CMP Challenge program, 28 substances from the petroleum stream sector approach and 545 substances using the rapid screening approach under the CMP. Of the substances assessed, 8 were found or proposed to be found to meet the definition of toxic under CEPA 1999.

Various risk management measures were undertaken in 2011–2012. The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health proposed listing 8 substances or groups of substances in Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (the List of Toxic Substances), and the Governor-in-Council added 10 substances or groups of substances to Schedule 1 (some of which the ministers had proposed adding in the previous reporting year). Notices of intent to apply Significant New Activity Notices, which require new uses of a substance to be notified and assessed, were published for 65 existing substances, and final orders amending the Domestic Substances List to apply the Significant New Activity provisions were published for 10 substances. Environment Canada published 3 proposed regulations and 1 final regulation under Part 5 of CEPA 1999. These included the proposed Regulations Respecting Products Containing Certain Substances Listed in Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, which would prohibit, with some exceptions, the manufacture, import and sale of mercury-containing products.

During the reporting period, three pollution prevention planning notices were in progress, one was published, and five pollution prevention planning notices were active. Through Environmental Performance Agreements, a number of companies have reduced or are working toward reducing their production, use or release of specific pollutants.

The Canadian public and environment continued to be protected from the possible risks associated with the introduction of new substances to the Canadian market. Environment Canada and Health Canada conducted 509 assessments of new chemicals, polymers or living organisms. The Minister of the Environment issued 23 Significant New Activity Notices and 11 Ministerial Conditions to prevent risks.

Work on animate products of biotechnology continued in 2011–2012. The first screening assessment report for existing micro-organisms was published for public comment in the Canada Gazette. During 2011–2012, 29 notifications were received for new animate products of biotechnology. This represents a 69% increase over last year and continues an upward trend in the number of notifications over the past 5 years.

Under Part 7 of CEPA 1999, the government published proposed amendments to the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations and finalized Regulations Amending the Renewable Fuels Regulations. Under Environment Canada's emissions verification testing program, 120 tests were performed on various types of vehicles and engines. To ensure regulatees are aware of their requirements under these regulations, compliance promotion activities were undertaken nationally and regionally.

Also under Part 7, 99 permits were issued for the disposal at sea of 4.64 million tonnes (t) of waste and other matter. Most of this was dredged material that was removed from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. As required by CEPA 1999, monitoring projects were completed on six disposal sites in the reporting period.

Environment Canada continued to implement the government's international obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. In calendar year 2011, imports and exports of these materials were 394 786 t and 460 707 t, respectively.

Under the Environmental Emergency Regulations, approximately 4200 facilities had filed Notices of Identification of Substance and Place as of March 31, 2012; of those facilities, approximately 2000 were required to prepare environmental emergency plans.

Promoting compliance with and enforcing CEPA 1999's regulations continues to be a priority. In 2011–2012, the number of designated persons with enforcement powers under CEPA 1999 included 199 enforcement officers, 36 officers from the Environmental Emergencies Program and 180 CEPA analysts. All designated officers were trained on the new Environmental Enforcement Act. This report provides examples of the numerous compliance-promotion projects undertaken by regional offices to increase the awareness and understanding of the law and its regulations, such as collaboration with First Nations and workshops on individual CEPA 1999 regulations. Enforcement officers conducted more than 5800 inspections during the reporting period, and more than 80 investigations were in various stages of progress.

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