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

4. Pollution Prevention

Part 4 provides new provisions, notably the new authorities to require any person to prepare and implement a pollution prevention plan to avoid or minimize pollution and to reduce the overall risk to the environment or overall health. The Minister may also require pollution prevention plans from Canadian sources of international air and water pollution for substances not on the List of Toxic Substances, with the approval of the Governor in Council and if the government responsible for the area in which the pollution source is located cannot or will not take action. Section 62 requires the Minister to develop guidelines setting out the conditions under which these pollution prevention plans are appropriate.

Part 4 also provides new authorities to:

  • develop and publish model pollution prevention plans;
  • establish a national pollution prevention information clearinghouse to facilitate the collection, exchange, and distribution of information about pollution prevention; and
  • create an awards program to recognize significant achievements in the area of pollution prevention.

4.1 Model Plans and Guidelines

In order to begin using CEPA's pollution prevention tools, Environment Canada undertook a number of necessary, preparatory steps in 2000-01. As required by CEPA 1999, the Minister published the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Pollution Prevention Planning Provisions of Part 4 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 on February 17, 2001. The Guidelines explain how Environment Canada will use the pollution prevention planning provisions of CEPA 1999 and include templates for both the notices and sample forms.

Pollution Prevention (P2) Plans

The department also published companion documents to assist industry and organizations in understanding pollution prevention planning:

  • Pollution Prevention Planning Handbook - provides detailed direction for facilities, both small and large, on how to develop and implement pollution prevention plans, and includes a model plan.
  • Frequently Asked Questions - helps organizations understand their planning obligations under CEPA 1999, describing in a question and answer format how pollution prevention planning will be administered and what affected parties must do.

4.2 Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse

The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse, authorized under CEPA 1999 section 63, is a comprehensive Internet tool that links Canadians with the information they need to practise or support pollution prevention. The clearinghouse provides access to a variety of pollution prevention documents, such as technical reports, guides, regulations, training materials, and success stories. The website has been enhanced to reflect the growing interest in pollution prevention, with new sections on CEPA 1999, funding, and planning. It now includes over 1200 pollution prevention references classified under 40 different industrial sectors.

4.3 Pollution Prevention Awards

The Pollution Prevention Awards, presented by the CCME, recognize organizations that have shown leadership and innovation in pollution prevention - the use of processes, practices, materials, products, or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste at the source. Seven awards were presented in 2000, and a new award category (Pollution Prevention - Greenhouse Gases) was developed this year.

2000 Pollution Prevention Awards under the CCME

Hydro One Remote Communities Inc. - Overall Efforts for a Small Business (less than 50 employees)
Working with remote communities that rely on diesel power generation, the company explores and implements renewable energy technologies. Four wind turbines and two run-of-the-river hydroelectric facilities have been installed in four communities to help offset the use of diesel fuel.

Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd. - Co-winner of Overall Efforts for a Medium-sized Business (51 to 500 employees)
Over a four-year period (1994-1997), the company installed five innovative technical changes to improve the quality of its wastewater to achieve 100% non-toxic effluent and reduce biochemical oxygen demand by 75% in October 2000.

Dow Chemical - Western Canada Operations - Overall Efforts for a Large Business (more than 500 employees)
From 1995 to 1999, the company phased out the use of liquid chlorine and eliminated the chlorofluorocarbon refrigeration systems. Dow has also developed a Pollution Prevention Policy that will reduce air and water emissions of priority chemicals by 75% by 2005.

Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association - Overall Efforts for an Institution, Organization, or Group
The Association was an integral force in bringing government and industry partners together and initiating and maintaining the Canadian Automotive Manufacturing Pollution Prevention Project. Overall, reductions and/or elimination of pollutants amount to more than 350 000 tonnes of pollutants and waste. Member companies have saved approximately $11 million using the pollution prevention approach.

Irving Oil, Refining Division - Pollution Prevention Innovations
As the first oil refinery in Atlantic Canada to produce low-sulphur gasoline for use by consumers, Irving Oil leads its industry by providing this product two years ahead of legislative requirements.

Conoco Canada Ltd. - Greenhouse Gases and Co-winner of Overall Efforts for a Medium-sized Business
Conoco implemented an air emission reduction program at its Peco Plant, near Edson, Alberta, resulting in a 95% reduction in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane).The payback period for the project was less than two months, and over $1 million in natural gas is recovered annually.

4.4 Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics (ARET)

Complementary to CEPA 1999 pollution prevention tools is the ARET program. It is a voluntary, non-regulatory program that targets 117 toxic substances, including the virtual elimination of 30 that persist in the environment and may accumulate in living organisms. Industry action plans, which outline how they will achieve their commitments, are publicly available. Each year, participants monitor their emissions and report their results. Results in 1999 show that 300 facilities from industry and government reduced total toxic substance emissions to the environment by 27 130 tonnes - 70% lower than base year levels. The report will be published shortly.

Environment Canada, working in partnership with industry, nongovernmental organizations, and other government departments, began developing a new voluntary program to succeed ARET. It will build on ARET by maintaining the pollution prevention challenge to industry and adding the enhanced rigor and accountability required by the department's Policy Framework on Environmental Performance Agreements.

4.5 Promoting Pollution Prevention

There are numerous programs across the country that are designed to promote pollution prevention, educate and enable citizens, and provide tools to industry to voluntarily reduce their impacts on the environment. Examples of projects undertaken by Environment Canada's Regional Offices in 2000-01 include the following:

  • Printing and Graphics Industry - CleanPrint Canada helps printing and graphics firms, associations, and governments to reduce or eliminate the use, generation, or release of toxic substances and other substances of concern. Environment Canada is a leader and funding participant in various regional organizations within CleanPrint Canada. In Ontario, over 1249 tonnes of toxic substances and other environmental contaminants have been reduced or eliminated from the waste stream over the past five years. In 2000-01, 400 tonnes of volatile organic compound emissions were eliminated, and 65 300 kilograms of waste ink and 13 600 kilograms of developer and fixer were recycled and reused
  • Health Care Facilities - A new website shows health care staff how to reduce the environmental impact of their facilities. Healthcare EnviroNet was launched at a series of training workshops in Ontario in the winter of 2000. Healthcare EnviroNet was established with support from the Ontario Region and is developed and maintained by the Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention in consultation and partnership with health care and non-government organizations
  • Construction Industry - The Prairie and Northern Region is working with the road-building and heavy construction industry in Alberta to help reduce the use of toxic substances and encourage pollution prevention practices in their normal business operations. This will be accomplished through the development of comprehensive pollution prevention materials, as well as a series of sector training courses offered through the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association
  • Enviroclub - Twenty small and medium-sized manufacturing companies from the Quebec Region participated in Enviroclub, a program aimed at promoting leadership in pollution prevention and eco-efficiency. Participants were offered four workshops on topics related to pollution prevention and environmental management as a means of increasing productivity and profitability. At the core of the program is the support of a consultant on the company's premises to implement a pollution prevention or eco-efficiency in-plant project or to help implement initial key elements of an environmental management system. Technical projects target the reduction of toxic chemicals, greenhouse gases, and other priority substances.
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