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

7 Controlling Pollution and Managing Waste (Part 7)

Part 7 of CEPA 1999 provides the Minister of the Environment with additional authorities to deal with various substances that have the potential to harm the environment or human health.

7.1 Vehicle, Engine and Equipment Emissions

Canada has developed and will continue to develop a series of regulations to reduce smog-forming air pollutant emissions and GHG emissions from vehicles and engines in alignment with the standards of the U.S. EPA.

Currently, there are regulations in place to reduce emissions from passenger cars and light-duty trucks, heavy-duty vehicles, motorcycles, marine engines, recreational vehicles as well as construction and agricultural equipment, and small engines such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

Regulations Amending the Renewable Fuels Regulations

The Regulations Amending the Renewable Fuels Regulations were passed on June 30, 2011, and set a date of coming into force of July 1, 2011, for a requirement for 2% renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating distillate oil. This requirement provides further reductions in GHG emissions from the use of transportation fuels, in addition to the estimated reductions from the requirement in the Regulations for 5% renewable fuel in gasoline (in effect since December 15, 2010). The two regulatory requirements combined with provincial regulations will ensure a total volume of renewable fuel that will reduce annual GHG emissions by up to 4 megatonnes--about the equivalent of taking a million vehicles off the road.

Regulations Amending the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations

Proposed Regulations Amending the Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on December 3, 2011. The proposed amendments would enable the production, import and sale of diesel fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 1000 mg/kg for use in large vessels. The proposed amendments would enable the supply of lower sulphur fuel to ships operating in the joint Canada/U.S. Emission Control Area as adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 2010. The proposed amendments would also limit sulphur content in diesel fuel produced, imported into or sold in Canada for stationary compression-ignition engines. The requirements would come into force on June 1, 2014, and would align with U.S. EPA requirements already in place.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations

The Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on October 13, 2010. These regulations introduce GHG emission standards for new cars and light trucks beginning with the 2011 model year, in alignment with the U.S. national standards. The regulated standards become more stringent with each model year over the 2011 to 2016 model-year period and will generate progressively larger emission reductions. A Notice of Intent was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on October 16, 2010, stating the government's intention to continue working with the United States toward the development of tighter standards for light-duty vehicles of the 2017 and later model years. In May 2010, the governments of Canada and the United States each announced that they would regulate GHG emissions from on-road heavy-duty vehicles. The Minister of the Environment's announcement specified that Canada's regulations under CEPA 1999 would be aligned with those of the United States. Environment Canada released increasingly more detailed consultation documents on October 23, 2010, and August 8, 2011, to inform the development of these future regulations.

In 2011–2012, Environment Canada began implementation of the data reporting system to enable auto manufacturers to submit regulatory information electronically.

Air Pollutant Emissions Regulations

The Marine Spark-Ignition Engine, Vessel and Off-Road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on February 16, 2011. Under these standards, and for the first time in Canada, vehicles such as snowmobiles, personal watercraft, outboard motors and off-road motorcycles will be subject to regulations on smog-forming emissions. These emission standards will apply to most classes of vehicles and engines beginning with the 2012 model year.

On December 7, 2011, the Regulations Amending the Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emissions Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These amendments will result in further reductions of smog-forming emissions from the off-road diesel engine sector, which includes engines typically found in construction, farming, forestry and some mining machinery.

On October 29, 2011, Environment Canada published in the Canada Gazette, Part I proposed amendments to the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations. The proposed amendments were mainly intended to maintain alignment of Canadian standards and test procedures for on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems for engines used or intended to be used in heavy-duty vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 6350 kgwith those of the U.S. EPA. OBD systems are computer systems that monitor, through sensors, the malfunction of emission-related components to facilitate proper repair and maintain emission performance. The proposed amendments set requirements that will standardize and make it mandatory to monitor emission-related components for malfunction by the OBD system. The amendments also propose some administrative changes that will affect all vehicles covered by the current regulations.

Vehicle and Engine Compliance Program

The Department administers a program to verify compliance with regulations. To further realize the benefits of aligned emission standards, the Department works closely with the U.S. EPA.

Vehicles and engines subject to Canadian regulations must comply with emission standards to qualify for importation or interprovincial transport. Despite the best efforts of manufacturers, defects in the design, construction or functioning of a vehicle/engine that affects or could affect compliance with a prescribed standard can occur, given the complexity of vehicle/engine designs, the variety of parts and different component suppliers. Where defects do occur, CEPA 1999 provides a non-judicial mechanism through the notice of defect provisions for companies to take corrective action by issuing a notice of defect.

In 2011–2012, 120 emission tests were performed on various types of vehicles and engines. The program also reviewed 115 submissions for products unique to the Canadian market for the 2011 and 2012 model years. During this period, 46 notices of defect and other notifications were processed, affecting approximately 310 000 vehicles and engines.

Suspected non-compliance cases were transferred to the Enforcement Branch. See Chapter 10 for information on compliance and enforcement activities.

7.2 Disposal at Sea

The disposal of waste at sea within Canadian jurisdiction and by Canadian ships in Canadian jurisdiction and international waters requires a permit issued by Environment Canada. A permit for disposal at sea will be approved only if it is the environmentally preferable and practical option. CEPA 1999 provides additional controls on disposal at sea, including:

  • a prohibition on the export of a substance for disposal in an area of the sea under the jurisdiction of a foreign state or in its internal waters;
  • a list of six substances for which a disposal at sea permit can be obtained (Schedule 5 of CEPA 1999);
  • an assessment framework for reviewing permit applications based on the precautionary principle, which must be followed (Schedule 6 of CEPA 1999); and
  • a statutory obligation to monitor selected sites.

Through CEPA 1999 and the Disposal at Sea Regulations made under the Act, Canada implements its international obligations as a party to the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Protocol). In this regard, Canada and other Convention and Protocol parties have been supporting the continuation of a major project on the reduction of barriers to compliance with the treaty. Workshops, guidance and technical assistance are offered to countries to aid their acceding to the London Protocol or to coming into compliance with it. In 2011, Canada participated in a workshop for Baltic Sea countries aimed at promoting accession to the Protocol.

Canada has also been working actively with other Parties to develop options for creating a transparent, global regulatory mechanism for ocean fertilization and potentially for other forms of marine geo-engineering where there is potential to cause harm to the marine environment. Cooperation with other international bodies, including the Convention on Biological Diversity,that have also called for such global regulation is ongoing. For example, Canada hosted a working group meeting in June 2011 to further discuss these regulatory options.

Canada participates actively in the development of international guidances relevant to disposal at sea. Current projects include developing Action Levels (levels of concern) for fish waste; revising the dredged material assessment guidance; developing low-tech assessment guidance for dredged material; and revising guidance on assessment of CO2 streams for sub-seabed geological storage.

7.2.1 Disposal at Sea Permits

In 2011–2012, 99 permits were issued in Canada for the disposal of 4.64 million tonnes of waste and other matter (tables 10 and Table 1111), compared with 83 permits for the disposal of 3.78 million tonnes in 2010–2011. Most of the material permitted for disposal was dredged material that was removed from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. Also permitted was excavated native till (geological matter) that is disposed of at sea in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where on-land disposal options for clean fill are extremely limited. Fish-processing waste is also permitted in remote communities where there is no access to reuse-and-recycling opportunities.

Table 10: Disposal at sea quantities permitted (in tonnes) and permits issued in Canada from April 2011 to March 2012
MaterialQuantity permittedPermits issued
Dredged material3 671 850*52
Geological matter910 000*6
Fisheries waste58 58741
Organic matter
Total4 640 43799

* Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.


Table 11: Disposal at sea quantities permitted (in tonnes) and permits issued by region from April 2011 to March 2012
MaterialAtlanticQuebecPacific and YukonPrairie and Northern
Quantity permittedPermits issuedQuantity permittedPermits issuedQuantity permittedPermits issuedQuantity permittedPermits issued
Dredged material*1 125 15010249 600222 141 10019156 0001
Geological matter*0000910 000600
Fish waste57 48738110030000
Organic matter
Total1 182 63748250 700253 051 10025156 0001

* Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.

7.2.2 Disposal Site Monitoring Program

As required by CEPA 1999, representative disposal sites are monitored to verify that permit conditions were met, and that scientific assumptions made during the permit review and site selection process were correct and sufficient to protect the marine environment. By disposal site monitoring, Environment Canada is able to verify that the permitting of disposal is sustainable and that permit holders can have continued access to suitable sites. Where monitoring indicates a problem or where the site has reached its capacity over time, management action in the form of closing, moving or altering the site use can occur.

In 2011–2012, monitoring projects were completed on six disposal sites, involving fieldwork carried out in the summer of 2011 and follow-up analysis conducted on data collected in 2010. No management action was needed at the sites studied during the 2011–2012 period.

Atlantic Region conducted physical sediment analysis and benthic community structure studies at one disposal site. As well, analysis was completed on data collected in 2010. In Quebec Region, bathymetric surveys were conducted at two sites in the Magdalene Islands. At one of these sites, the suitability of the sediment for use in beach nourishment was assessed. Surveys were conducted at a new disposal site in Deception Bay to confirm the location of the disposed sediment, and monitoring was conducted at a fish waste disposal site to ensure that disposed material was not adversely impacting fish habitat.

In the Pacific and Yukon Region, monitoring work focused on characterizing a new disposal site proposed for a major project on the North Coast.

Further details can be found in the Compendium of Monitoring Activities at Ocean Disposal Sites, which is sent to permit holders and submitted to the International Maritime Organization annually.

7.3 Control of Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material and of Prescribed Non-hazardous Waste for Final Disposal

CEPA 1999 provides authority to make regulations governing the export, import and transit of waste (including both hazardous and non-hazardous waste) and hazardous recyclable materials. It also provides authority to establish criteria for refusing an export, import or transit permit, should the waste or hazardous recyclable material not be managed in a manner that will protect the environment and human health.

Canada implements its international obligations as a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention) and the Canada–United States Agreement on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) and the PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996.

In 2011, more than 2300 notices were processed for proposed imports, exports and transits of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials under the EIHWHRMR. The notices received covered 19 760 individual waste streams, which exhibited a range of hazardous properties such as being explosive, flammable, acutely toxic, corrosive, dangerously reactive and environmentally hazardous. Approximately 37 000 individual transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material were reported in movement documents received by Environment Canada.

More than 99% of imports and 97% of exports for both hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials occurred between Canada and the United States. Other regions involved in the movement of hazardous recyclable materials in notable quantities, for both imports and exports, included certain European countries, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. The United States is the only country that received shipments of hazardous waste destined for disposal.

The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material imported into Canada was 394 786 tonnes (t) in 2011. This represents an increase of 30 624 t or 8% over the total 2010 import quantity. Shipments destined for recycling totalled 243 491 t and represented about 62% of all imports in 2011. Used or spent batteries, used lubricating oils, metal-bearing waste, and used or spent liquors from metallurgical processes made up the majority of imports of hazardous recyclable material into Canada. Hazardous waste imports destined for disposal operations included solid wastes no longer suitable for metal recovery, industrial residues and environmentally hazardous substances.

The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials exported was 460 707 t in 2011. This represents an increase of 32 340 t or 8% from the 2010 figure. Shipments exported for recycling totalled 374 207 t and represented about 81% of all exports in 2011. Corrosive liquids, wood and wood-preserving chemicals, batteries, and waste oil/water mixtures made up the majority of exports of hazardous recyclable material. Hazardous waste exports destined for disposal included corrosive liquids, wastes containing cyanides, fluorine compounds and waste oil/water mixtures.

Imports of hazardous recyclable materials in 2011 were shipped to six provinces. Quebec and Ontario continued to receive the vast majority of these materials, with a smaller number of shipments imported into British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. For imports of hazardous waste for final disposal, most were destined to Quebec and Ontario. Smaller quantities were imported into British Columbia and Alberta. No imports of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material were received by Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, or any of the territories.

Exports of hazardous recyclable materials originated from eight provinces, with Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec accounting for nearly 80% of all shipments of these materials out of Canada. For exports of hazardous waste for final disposal, most originated from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. The bulk of these hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials were exported to authorized facilities located in the northeastern and central United States. No exports of hazardous waste or hazardous material were shipped from Prince Edward Island or any of the territories.

Tables 12 and 13 list the quantities imported and exported from 2002 to 2011.

Table 12: Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, imports, 2002–2011 (tonnes)
Recyclables193 318189 110200 097174 983164 903237 141262 337221 778217 663243 491
Total imports423 067417 368416 136476 416408 839497 890532 727490 169364 162394 786


Table 13: Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, exports, 2002–2011 (tonnes)
Recyclables238 597205 356187 986226 380374 024358 896365 468315 631357 627374 207
Total exports340 261321 294308 357327 746474 538460 497482 680420 865428 367460 707

Please note that data are revised periodically as new information becomes available. Therefore, information presented here may differ from what was previously published in other reports.

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