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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report for April 2012 to March 2013
3 Administration, Public Participation and Reporting
3.1 Federal, Provincial, Territorial Cooperation
Part 1 of the CEPA 1999 requires the ministers to establish the National Advisory Committee, composed of one representative for the federal Minister of the Environment and one for the federal Minister of Health, representatives from each province and territory, and not more than six representatives of Aboriginal governments from across Canada.
Part 1 also allows the Minister of the Environment to negotiate an agreement with a provincial or territorial government, or an Aboriginal people, with respect to the administration of the Act. It also allows for equivalency agreements, which suspend the application of federal regulations in a province or territory that has equivalent regulatory provisions.
National Advisory Committee
The National Advisory Committee provides a forum for provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments to advise the ministers on certain actions being proposed under the Act, enables national cooperative action, and seeks to avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The Committee serves as a single window on consultations and offers to consult related to initiatives under the Act with provincial and territorial governments and representatives of Aboriginal governments.
To carry out its duties in 2012–2013, the CEPA National Advisory Committee (NAC) held two teleconference meetings, and the NAC Secretariat corresponded regularly with committee members regarding various federal initiatives implemented under CEPA 1999. These initiatives included:
- updates on the implementation of Canada’s CMP, including various risk assessment and risk management activities of the CMP;
- preparation and implementation of P2 plans in respect of toxic substances;
- Federal Halocarbon Regulations;
- Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations;
- Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations;
- Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for PM2.5 and Ozone;
- updates on the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions and the Extraordinary Meetings of the three COPs;
- proposed Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations;
- publication of Codes of Practice and Environmental Performance Agreements for various substances;
- publication of the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-Fired Generation of Electricity Regulations;
- publication of the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012;
- 2012 draft agreement for the Refractory Ceramic Fibre Industry;
- Canada’s National Implementation Plan for obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; and
- publication of the 2012–2013 Canada Gazette notice for the National Pollutant Release Inventory.
Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem
Since 1971, Canada and Ontario have worked together through the Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. This agreement guides the efforts of Canada and Ontario in achieving a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Great Lakes Basin ecosystem for present and future generations, and is the principal mechanism for meeting Canada’s obligations under the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The 2007–2012 Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem comprised 13 goals, 37 results and 189 specific commitments in 4 priority areas:
- designated Areas of ConcernFootnote3 in the Great Lakes Basin;
- harmful pollutants;
- lake and basin sustainability; and
- coordination of monitoring, research and information.
Work under the Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem continued in 2012–2013 while negotiations to develop a new Canada–Ontario Agreement got underway.
Over 2012–2013, a range of chemical risk management initiatives were delivered under the CMP. These initiatives supported implementation of the Harmful Pollutants Annex Goals under the Canada–Ontario Agreement, such as continuing efforts towards the sound management of chemicals in the Great Lakes through the reduction of releases of chemicals and the enhancement of knowledge to further reduce releases and mitigate risk.
Through the Canada–Ontario Agreement extension process, Canada and Ontario committed to strengthen their combined effectiveness for spill prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. A consultant was retained to conduct a Great Lakes Spills Review to assess the current state of spill management in the Great Lakes Basin. The main result of the Spills Review was the collective identification of best practices and a commitment to strengthen joint spill prevention, preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
Canada–Quebec Administrative Agreement
Administrative agreements concerning the pulp and paper sector have been in place between Quebec and the Government of Canada since 1994. The fifth agreement expired on March 31, 2012. The parties have continued to cooperate through the development of a Memorandum of Understanding for data collection whereby Quebec will continue to provide a single data entry portal for regulatees for the following federal regulations:
- Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations made pursuant to CEPA 1999;
- Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations made pursuant to CEPA 1999; and
- Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act.
During this reporting period, 109 reports produced by pulp and paper facilities in Quebec were examined to verify that the facilities were in compliance with the applicable regulations.
Canada–Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement
The Canada–Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement, in force since September 1994, is a work-sharing arrangement covering certain provincial legislation and seven CEPA 1999 regulations, including two regulations related to the pulp and paper sector, two regulations on ozone-depleting substances and two regulations on PCBs. There were no prosecutions under these regulations in Saskatchewan under this agreement in 2012–2013; however, there were two Environmental Protection Compliance Orders issued by Environment Canada under the PCB Regulations.
Canada–Alberta Equivalency Agreement
CEPA 1999 provides for equivalency agreements where provincial or territorial environmental legislation has provisions that are equivalent to the CEPA 1999 provisions. The intent is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations.
Under the 1994 Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances, the following CEPA 1999 regulations, or parts thereof, do not apply in Alberta:
- Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations (all sections);
- Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations (4(1), 6(2), 6(3)(b), 7 and 9);
- Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations (all sections); and
- Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (all sections).
There are no longer any operating vinyl chloride plants or lead smelters in Alberta, and therefore no compliance issues to report under the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 or the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations.
Alberta Environment indicated that, in 2012–2013, there were no reported violations by the four pulp and paper mills regulated under the pulp and paper regulations.
Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation in Atlantic Canada
Efforts in 2012–2013 focused on implementing the Water and Environmental Enforcement Annex Work Plans under the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation signed in 2008 between the Minister of the Environment and the ministers of the environment of the four Atlantic provinces.
Through the Environmental Enforcement Annex Work Plan, federal and provincial environmental enforcement officers conducted joint fieldwork and inspections in the three Maritime provinces. In addition, federal-provincial collaboration focused on enhancing collective environmental enforcement capacity through joint training (fish kills, source development, etc.) and development of enforcement officers. Several priorities were also advanced under the Water Annex Work Plan.
Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreements
Federal, provincial and territorial laws require, in most cases, notification of the same environmental emergency or environmental occurrence, such as an oil or chemical spill. To reduce duplication of effort, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada entered into environmental occurrences notification agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
These notification agreements are supported by the Release and Environmental Emergency Notification Regulations under CEPA 1999 and the Deposit out of the Normal Course of Events Notification Regulations under the Fisheries Act.
The purpose of the notification agreements is to establish a streamlined notification system for persons required to notify federal and provincial/territorial governments of an environmental emergency or environmental occurrence. Under these notification agreements, 24-hour authorities operating for the provinces and territories receive notifications of environmental emergencies or environmental occurrences, on behalf of Environment Canada, and transfer this information to the Department.
In 2012–2013, Environment Canada continued to work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to implement the notification agreements. This work included the establishment of management committees and the development of standard operating procedures for the collection and processing of notifications of environmental occurrences.
3.2 Public Participation
CEPA Environmental Registry
Part 2 of CEPA 1999 provides for the establishment of an environmental registry, whistleblower protection, and the right of an individual to request an investigation and pursue court action.
The CEPA Environmental Registry was launched on Environment Canada’s website with the proclamation of CEPA 1999 on March 31, 2000. Since that time, ongoing efforts have been made to increase the Registry’s reliability and ease of use. The Registry encompasses thousands of CEPA-related documents and references. It has become a primary source of environmental information for the public and private sectors, both nationally and internationally, and has been used as a source of information in university and college curricula.
During 2012–2013, there were 31 opportunities posted on the Environmental Registry for stakeholders and the public to consult.
In addition to public consultations on the various risk assessments and risk management measures outlined throughout Section 2, Environment Canada and Health Canada undertook other CMP-related consultations in 2012–2013, including:
- Groupings Initiative – Aromatic Azo- and Benzidine-Based Substances – Draft Technical Background Document (July 2012) subject to a 60-day public comment period.
- In May 2012, a new initiative to increase the transparency of the New Substances Program by publishing summaries of environmental and human health risk assessment reports for new substances that are chemicals or polymers together with a pilot phase on three substances was subject to a public comment period.
The CMP Stakeholder Advisory Council met twice in 2012–2013 (June 21 and November 22). The purpose of the Council is to get stakeholder input on the implementation of the CMP, and to foster dialogue on issues pertaining to the CMP between stakeholders and government, and among different stakeholder groups. Issues may include risk assessment, risk management, risk communications, monitoring, research, indicators of success, chemical policy and other cross-cutting integrated activities across the CMP. Some examples of topics for discussion in 2012–2013 include publication of the Canadian Health Measures Survey; gathering information on chemicals in products; effectiveness of early stakeholder engagement for the Substance Grouping Initiative; and enhancing transparency in regulatory development. During this reporting period, a call for nominations for the CMP Science Committee was implemented.
Environment Canada published Preliminary Risk Management documents for 60-day comment periods for:
- Certain Petroleum and Refinery Gases and Heavy Fuel Oils (April 2012)
- Tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA) (November 2012)
- Methylium, [4-(dimethylamino)phenyl]bis[4-(ethylamino)-3-methylphenyl]-, acetate (July 2012)
The departments also hosted stakeholder consultation activities on a variety of other topics, including revisions to the Proposed Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations (January 21–March 22, 2013).
Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse
Part 4 of CEPA 1999 provides the authority for the establishment of a national pollution prevention information clearinghouse to facilitate the collection, exchange and distribution of information regarding pollution prevention.
The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (CPPIC) is a public website that provides Canadians with links to over 2 000 resources containing comprehensive information and tools from Canada and around the world to strengthen their capacity to prevent pollution. In 2012–2013, 180 new records were added to the clearinghouse. Fifty-one percent (51%) of the new records are Canadian and 17% are bilingual, both significant increases over 2011–2012 numbers. Roughly forty percent of new records (42%) are applicable to manufacturing sectors, while nearly a quarter of all new records (24%) are applicable to private households. Overall, CPPIC records were viewed nearly 26 000 times in 2012–2013.
State of the Environment Reporting
Environmental indicators convey the state of Canada’s environment in a straightforward and transparent manner. The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) are a system of national environmental indicators that inform citizens and Parliamentarians about current environmental status and trends and provide policy makers and researchers with comprehensive, unbiased and authoritative information about key environmental issues. The indicators systematically measure progress towards the goals and targets of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.
The indicators are designed to be relevant to the government’s policy priorities: useful and easily understood by decision makers and the public and based on solid methodology that allows for comparison over time. CESI also ensures that the national, regional, local and international trends are readily accessible and presented through the use of graphics, explanatory text and interactive maps through which users can drill down for local data. The high-quality data used to calculate indicators originate from a variety of sources, including surveys, measurement networks and other research initiatives that are expected to be maintained and updated for the foreseeable future.
The indicators are prepared by Environment Canada with the support of other federal departments, including Health Canada, Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as relevant provincial and territorial counterparts.
The indicators are published on the CESI website showing national and regional results, along with the methodology explaining each indicator and links to related socio-economic issues and information. CESI provides results and information for more than 40 environmental indicators, including GHG emissions, air quality, water quality and protected areas.
National Pollutant Release Inventory
The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) is Canada’s legislated, publicly accessible national inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling. The NPRI includes information reported by industrial facilities that meet certain criteria. It also includes emission estimates for a number of key air pollutants from other sources such as motor vehicles, residential heating, forest fires and agriculture. Approximately 8000 facilities, located in every province and territory, reported to the NPRI for 2011 (see Figure 2).
The NPRI supports the identification and management of risks to the environment and human health, including the development of policies and regulations on toxic substances and air quality. Public access to the NPRI encourages industry to prevent and reduce pollutant releases and improves public understanding about pollution and environmental performance in Canada. The NPRI facility data is also used to meet annual international obligations as part of the Air Pollutant Emission Summaries that are provided to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
Figure 2: Location of facilities that reported to the NPRI in 2011
In 2011, an air pollutant emissions inventory including smog precursors and selected toxics was developed using NPRI facility-reported data and emissions estimates for sources not required to report (e.g., residential fuel combustion, vehicles). The air pollutant emissions inventory is used to support policy development (e.g., Base Level Industrial Emissions requirements, vehicles regulations), policy effectiveness evaluation and tracking, domestic and international reporting requirements, public information, and Environment Canada’s air quality forecasting.
NPRI data that was published in 2012–2013 includes the 2011 NPRI facility-reported data (published in preliminary form in November 2012) and the 2011 national air pollutant emissions data and trends for all sources (published in February 2013).
Environment Canada continued a number of initiatives to improve the quality of NPRI data during 2012–2013. The Department published a number of documents describing the results of these efforts, for example the NPRI Data Quality Management Framework, the Highlights of the NPRI Sector Analysis Study, and a description of the Annual NPRI Quality Control Process.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program
Environment Canada requires annual reporting of GHG emissions from facilities (mostly large industrial operations) through its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program (GHGRP). The GHGRP is part of Environment Canada’s ongoing effort to develop, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, a single, domestic, mandatory GHG reporting system, in order to meet the GHG reporting needs of all jurisdictions and to minimize the reporting burden for industry and government.
The main objectives of the GHGRP are to provide Canadians with information on facility-level GHG emissions, support the development of regulations, support provincial and territorial requirements for GHG emissions information, and validate estimates presented in the National GHG Inventory. The data are reported by facilities to Environment Canada through the Single Window Reporting system (see below).
The 2010 facility-reported data and related overview report were made publicly available in April 2012 as part of a broader departmental release of GHG information products, which also included the latest National GHG Inventory and updated CESI GHG indicators. Environment Canada received 2011 emission information from 539 facilities, which were prepared for public release, set to occur in spring 2013. The facility-reported data is available through data tables, an online query tool and a downloadable file.
Environment Canada also implemented data sharing agreements with several provinces to share facility-level GHG information to support their information needs and policy development.
Single Window Reporting Initiative
In 2012–2013, Environment Canada, in collaboration with various partners, continued to improve and expand its single window, online system for regulatory reporting of air emissions and pollutant releases. The system reduces burden on industry and supports the shared interest across jurisdictions of tracking and reporting progress on the reduction of GHG emissions and pollutant releases. Environment Canada’s NPRI and GHGRP (explained above), as well as the CMP and other initiatives and regulations related to CEPA 1999 provisions, are using the Single Window Reporting System for their environmental data collection efforts. This initiative will continue to grow as additional partners integrate their GHG and pollutants reporting requirements into the Single Window Reporting System.
Use of Monitoring and Surveillance to Measure Performance of Risk Management Activities
In 2012–2013, a substance-specific environmental multimedia fact sheet was published on PBDEs (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in the Canadian Environment). The fact sheet was used to report geographical and temporal analysis of PBDE concentrations in air, water, sediments, fish and bird eggs, and compared the levels to available Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines. The fact sheet also reported the status of concentrations in waste streams such as wastewater and landfill leachate. Certain information was used to report in relation to pollution prevention indicators.
Environmental Offenders Registry and Enforcement Notifications
The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations obtained under certain federal environmental laws including CEPA 1999. The registry contains convictions obtained for offences committed since June 18, 2009--when the Environmental Enforcement Act received Royal Assent. This tool allows the media and the public to search for corporate convictions using the name for the corporation, its home province, the province where the offence occurred, or the legislation under which the conviction was obtained. Keywords can also be used to search the registry.
The Enforcement Notifications contain information about successful prosecutions across Canada under the Acts and Regulations administrated by Environment Canada or involving Environment Canada enforcement officers (including CEPA 1999).
- Footnote 3
An Area of Concern (AOC) is a location that has experienced environmental degradation. Under Annex 2 of the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, 42 AOCs were identified and 1 more (Erie, Pennsylvania) was added later. Currently there are 9 AOCs in Canada, 25 AOCs in the United States, and 5 additional AOCs shared by both countries.
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