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

8. Environmental Emergencies

Part 8 provides a "safety net" to fill the gap where no similar federal legislation exists. It provides new authorities to require emergency plans for substances once they have been declared toxic by the Ministers of Environment and Health. Environmental emergency plans for a toxic substance must cover prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Authority is also provided to issue guidelines and codes of practice and make regulations. 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.

8.1 Guidelines for Environmental Emergency Plans

As authorized by CEPA 1999 section 196, the final Implementation Guidelines for Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Section 199, Authorities for Requiring Environmental Emergency Plans were published on February 17, 2001. Developed in consultation with stakeholders, they describe how Environment Canada will use the environmental emergency planning provisions and include model notices and sample forms.

Environmental Emergency (E2) Plans

8.2 Risk Evaluation Framework

Not all toxic substances will need environmental emergency plans. Rather, the process to determine which substances require an environmental emergency plan involves the review of substance-specific data (e.g., the quantity in commerce or storage, toxicity and other hazardous properties of the substance, spill frequency, and severity) and whether the risks posed by an uncontrolled, unplanned, or accidental release of the substance are being adequately managed through other existing federal or provincial requirements. Alternative risk management techniques such as voluntary Environmental Performance Agreements will also be considered if appropriate.

Environment Canada is developing a Risk Evaluation Framework that identifies criteria to apply when evaluating toxic substances to determine whether or not an environmental emergency plan is required. Public consultations will take place in early 2002.

Work in 2000-01 continued on gathering data on the substances on the List of Toxic Substances, with a focus on the 28 substances that are reported to be most frequently spilled or released in emergency situations. Environment Canada has committed to gather data on 45 substances and conduct risk evaluations on 20 of them by 2001-02. Work on the remaining substances will be completed in 2002-03.

www.ec.gc.ca/ee-ue/main