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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2000 to March 2001

1. Administration

Section 6 Part 1 of CEPA 1999 requires the Minister to establish a National Advisory Committee (NAC) composed of one representative of each of the federal Ministers of Environment and Health, representatives from each province and territory and six representatives of aboriginal governments drawn from across Canada.

The duties of the NAC include advising the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health on:

  • proposed regulations for toxic substances;
  • a cooperative, coordinated approach to the management of toxic substances; and
  • any other matter of mutual interest.

CEPA 1999 also requires the Ministers to consult NAC on many other CEPA-related initiatives. Part 1 also allows the federal government to enter into administrative agreements with provincial and territorial governments and contains new provisions to allow for administrative agreements with aboriginal governments as well as an aboriginal people. Furthermore, Part 1 includes provisions for equivalency agreements. These are arrangements where a regulation under CEPA 1999 no longer applies in a province, a territory, or an area under the jurisdiction of an aboriginal government that has equivalent requirements.

1.1 National Advisory Committee (NAC)

The CEPA NAC provides for a new direction in consultations under the Act with governments in Canada. For example, unlike under the previous CEPA, the Act now goes beyond consultation on regulations, and aboriginal governments are now represented. In fiscal year 2000-2001, the first year of CEPA's implementation, the NAC held telephone conferences on average once a month and held two face-to-face meetings. Some of the Federal initiatives brought to the NAC for discussion included:

  • Proposal to publish a notice of intent to recommend that ozone and its precursors be added to Schedule 1 under CEPA 1999;
  • The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) request to develop a linkage between the CEPA NAC and the Environmental Planning and Protection Committee (EPPC) of the CCME;
  • Proposed amendments to Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations and draft Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulation, in fulfillment of the obligation imposed on the Minister of Environment and Health to seek the NAC's advice under s.6(1) on regulations for toxic substances;
  • Implementation Strategy for Toxic Substances Management Policy for New Substances: Chemicals and Polymers;
  • Policy Framework on Environmental Performance Agreements;
  • Guidelines for the Implementation of the Pollution Prevention Planning Provisions of Part 4 of CEPA 1999;
  • Guidelines for the Implementation of CEPA 1999 Section 199, Authorities for Requiring Environmental Emergency Plans;
  • Status of CCME initiatives, including Canada-wide Standards;
  • Update on the Modernization of Federal PCB Regulations;
  • Biosafety Protocol and initiatives on biotechnology under CEPA 1999;
  • Guidelines for the Use of Information Gathering Authorities under Section 46 of CEPA 1999; and
  • Notice of Intent on Cleaner Vehicles, Engines and Fuels.

In addition to providing advice and input on matters such as those listed above, the NAC received continuous updates on the progress of other activities under the Act, such as assessments of substances to determine whether or not they are toxic; the proposed integration of an inventory of air contaminants with the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI); and the proposed approach to comply with the requirement in CEPA 1999 for the Ministers of Environment and Health to categorize the Domestic Substances List.

The National Advisory Committee under CEPA 1999 (NAC)

1.2 Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement

The Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, in force since September 1994, is a work-sharing arrangement covering certain provincial legislation and seven regulations under the original CEPA 1988 and CEPA 1999, namely those related to the pulp and paper sector, ozone-depleting substances, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Administrative Agreements

There were no prosecutions under CEPA 1999 during 2000-01:

  • Pulp and paper regulations - Only one of two mills is subject to pulp and paper regulations (the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations), and it was in compliance.
  • Ozone-depleting substances regulations - Environment Canada and the province are sharing inspection activities. Environment Canada conducted 26 inspections on the sale of small containers. No violations were detected in the 54 aerosol products that were analyzed. The province focused inspections on certification and recovery activities.
  • PCB regulations - Environment Canada conducted one inspection under the Chlorobiphenyls Regulations and eight inspections under the Storage of PCB Material Regulations. The province conducted 10 PCB storage site inspections. The province, which serves as the ‘single window' for reporting spills, received reports of 24 releases of electrical fluids that potentially contained PCBs. Officials confirmed that none of the spills contained PCBs over 50 parts per million and that the appropriate corrective actions, including cleanup, were taken.

1.3 Quebec Pulp and Paper Administrative Agreement

Since 1994, Administrative Agreements have been in place between the province of Quebec and the Canadian government concerning the pulp and paper sector. The second agreement expired on March 31, 2000. Since this time, Environment Canada has been negotiating a renewed agreement. It is expected that the third agreement will be completed by spring 2002.

The province provides a "single window" to collect data from the Quebec mills and gives this information to Environment Canada to employ its regulatory mechanisms. Each level of government retains full responsibility for verifying industry compliance with its respective regulatory requirements and conducting inspections and investigations.

In 2000-01, Environment Canada reviewed 946 monthly and quarterly reports from mills and municipalities (787 reports concerned the Fisheries Act, 159 reports concerned CEPA 1999), produced monthly reports on compliance, and discussed problematic mills with Quebec. Federal enforcement officers issued 16 warning letters and conducted five investigations of alleged violations of the Fisheries Act. No enforcement actions were taken under CEPA 1999.

1.4 Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement

In December 1994 an Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances in Alberta, came into effect. This agreement recognizes that provincial regulations are ‘equivalent' to CEPA 1999 regulations governing the pulp and paper sector, secondary lead smelter releases, and vinyl chloride releases. These CEPA 1999 regulations no longer apply in Alberta.

Equivalency Agreements

Under the agreement, the province shares compliance and inspection reports and other information with Environment Canada in order to meet reporting obligations. The implementation and administration of the equivalency agreement have been successful in eliminating duplication of legislative requirements. The regulated facilities continue to remain in compliance with their provincial operating licences for dioxin, furan, and vinyl chloride emissions. The regulated industries affected by this agreement include four kraft mills, one vinyl chloride plant, and one polyvinyl chloride plant. There are no secondary lead smelters currently operating in Alberta.

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