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

8 Environmental Emergencies (Part 8)

Part 8 of CEPA 1999 addresses the prevention of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from an uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental release of a substance into the environment that poses potential harm to the environment or to human health. Part 8 provides the authority for environmental emergency plans (E2 plans), regulations, guidelines and codes of practice. Part 8 also establishes a regime that makes the person who owns or controls the substance liable for restoring the damaged environment and for the costs and expenses incurred in responding to an environmental emergency.

The Environmental Emergency Regulations (E2 Regulations), created under Part 8 of CEPA 1999, require any person responsible for substances listed in the regulations to prepare and implement an E2 plan for their facility, if the total quantity of the substance on site, and the maximum capacity of the container storing the substance, are equal to or greater than the regulated threshold quantity for the substance. On December 8, 2011, Regulations Amending the Environmental Emergency Regulations came into force. These amendments include:

  • addition of 41 substances to Schedule 1 of the E2 Regulations, bringing the total number of regulated substances to 215;
  • addition of Part 3 to Schedule 1 of the E2 Regulations to include substances that are toxic to aquatic organisms, or are carcinogenic, persistent or bioaccumulative;
  • a new notice of closure or decommissioning of the facility or place is required;
  • an enhancement of the current E2 plan requirement to inform members of the public who may be adversely affected by an environmental emergency of the measures the regulatee will take and what the public should do;
  • exclusion of a substance that is subject to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 or the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, unless the substance is being loaded or unloaded at a facility; and
  • exceptions from the requirements of the E2 Regulations for the mining, farming and propane sectors.

Environment Canada's Environmental Emergencies website includes implementation guidelines for E2 plans, a common issues section and online notice filing. The website also provides public access to a database containing basic information about registered facilities (e.g., company names and addresses).

As of March 31, 2012, approximately 4200 facilities had filed Notices Regarding the Identification of Substance and Place under the E2 Regulations. Of these facilities, approximately 2000 were required to prepare E2 plans. The seven most commonly used substances were propane, anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, gasoline, pentane, butane and hydrochloric acid.

In 2011–2012, regional activities associated with the implementation of the E2 Regulations included hosting substance-specific workshops and site visits for the regulated community covering prevention, preparedness and response aspects for propane, liquefied natural gas and ammonia. Other themed workshops addressed E2 plan content and exercise design.

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