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ARCHIVED - CEPA 1999 Annual Report for April 2009 to March 2010


1 Administration (Part 1)

Part 1 of 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 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 federal regulations in a province or territory that has equivalent regulatory provisions.

1.1 National Advisory Committee

The National Advisory Committee advises the ministers on certain actions taken under the Act, enables national cooperative action, and seeks to avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The Committee serves as a single window in working with provincial and territorial governments and representatives of Aboriginal governments on consultations and offers to consult.

To carry out its duties in 2009–2010, the National Advisory Committee participated in six conference calls and ongoing correspondence among members throughout the year. Federal initiatives brought to the Committee for discussion included:

  • implementation of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, including risk assessment and risk management activities for batches 4 to 12 of the Challenge under the Chemicals Management Plan;
  • development of federal carbon dioxide (CO2) emission regulations for new cars and light trucks;
  • an update on the Environmental Emergencies Program initiatives;
  • the Federal Court decision regarding the reporting of mine wastes and 2009 National Pollutant Release Inventory requirements;
  • international meetings in which Canada participated; and
  • risk management activities, such as developing, amending or repealing regulations; pollution prevention plans; guidelines and codes of practice; proposed options for managing risks to the environment and human health; and other issues related to CEPA 1999.

1.2 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, most recently renewed in March 2010, 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 mechanism for meeting Canada’s obligations under the Canada–U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The 2007–2011 Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem comprises 13 goals, 37 results and 183 specific commitments in four priority areas:

  • designated Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes Basin;
  • harmful pollutants;
  • lake and basin sustainability; and
  • coordination of monitoring, research and information.

The AOC Annex (Annex 1) comprises two goals, described below.

The first goal is to complete priority actions for delisting four Canadian AOCs (Nipigon Bay, Jackfish Bay, Wheatley Harbour and St. Lawrence River, Cornwall). In 2009–2010, all of the priority remedial actions in these AOCs were either completed or funding commitments were made toward their completion. Following the International Joint Commission’s review of the Wheatley Harbour Remedial Action Plan Stage 3 Report, final preparations were made for delisting this AOC. Federal and provincial infrastructure funding commitments will see the wastewater treatment plant upgrades in the Nipigon Bay and St. Lawrence AOCs completed by 2011. In the Jackfish Bay AOC, studies were completed that will form the basis of a determination as to whether Jackfish Bay can be designated as an Area in Recovery (an area where all required remedial actions have been taken, but time is needed for the ecosystem to recover).

The second goal is to make significant progress toward Remedial Action Planimplementation, environmental recovery, and restoration of beneficial uses in the remaining 11 Canadian AOCs. Work carried out in 2009–2010 included the implementation of contaminated sediment management strategies in the Niagara River (Lyons Creek East site) and Bay of Quinte AOCs; the advancement of contaminated site investigations and assessments in the Thunder Bay, St. Marys River and St. Clair River AOCs; the completion of the contaminated sediment remediation design for the Peninsula Harbour AOC; improvements to municipal wastewater infrastructure such as the City of Niagara Falls’ high-rate treatment pilot facility; and scientific assessments such as the examination of fish health in AOCs, which revealed that there have been substantial reductions in the incidence of fish tumours in all AOCs.

The Harmful Pollutants Annex (Annex 2) addresses both past (legacy) and ongoing sources of pollution in the Great Lakes Basin. Annex 2 takes a substance and/or sector approach to reducing and preventing releases throughout the basin, with a goal to virtually eliminate persistent bioaccumulative toxic substances. Environment Canada’s efforts under Annex 2 also support the delivery of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. Efforts include actions undertaken by the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, a public-private collaborative arrangement between Environment Canada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and stakeholders to reduce emissions and releases to the environment of designated Level 1 substances, including mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans, hexachlorobenzene and benzo(a)pyrene.

Since signing the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy in 1997, 13 of the Challenge goals established for Level 1 substances by Environment Canada and the U.S. EPA have been met. Significant progress has been made toward the remaining four Challenge goals.

In 2009–2010, Canada made progress toward reaching the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy’s PCB challenge goals, primarily through implementation of the new Canadian PCB Regulations(SOR/2008-273, September 5, 2008). Canada continued to monitor levels of dioxins in the environment, maintained a dioxin release inventory, collaborated with the United States to reduce uncontrolled combustion sources such as burn barrels, and launched a modelling study to better understand the transboundary impacts associated with dioxin and furan releases from North American and global sources. Canada has also made available its report on the testing of newer EPA-certified wood stoves, which confirmed that these have lower benzo(a)pyrene emission factors than predicted.

With financial contributions from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and support from Health Canada, Environment Canada continued and expanded its outreach activities for the citizens of Thunder Bay on the safe disposal of unused and expired pharmaceutical products. The report from this outreach pilot concludes that educational campaigns and outreach efforts, especially the promotion of “Medicine Cabinet Clean Up Month,” increased proper disposal of pharmaceuticals in Thunder Bay. Furthermore, support and resources continued to be offered to other communities along the north shore of Lake Superior. This pilot project supports Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan and Canada’s commitments under the Lake Superior Binational Program.

Progress was also made on the development of a Canadian framework to identify and prioritize substances of emerging concern in the Great Lakes. This framework will inform the development and implementation of a binational mechanism to address these new threats. Finally, the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy released its December 2008 Status Report, which summarizes binational efforts to address Level 1 substances and provides an update on progress achieved to broaden the Strategy’s scope to encompass substances of emerging concern.

Environment Canada worked to achieve commitments, under Annex 3 of the Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem, to restore beneficial uses in open lake waters through Lakewide Management Plan activities. Stakeholders were actively engaged through participation in the development and updating of Lakewide Management Plans. Monitoring and surveillance work also continued toward a better understanding of the state of and trends in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Highlights include the following:

  • Ambient environmental quality monitoring programs were carried out in the Great Lakes and in the connecting channels (St. Clair–Detroit corridor and the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers).
  • Measurements of organic contaminants (including emerging chemicals) and trace metals were made in water, whole fish (top predators) and sediment, to assess progress toward specific goals in environmental improvement, identify problems and emerging issues, and support planning and decision making. Although long-term trends indicate declining concentrations of most contaminants, some chemicals continue to exceed water and sediment quality guidelines, as well as guidelines for the protection of piscivorous wildlife; and fish consumption advisories continue throughout the Great Lakes.

Under the binational Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative, the federal and provincial partner agencies (Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment) conducted intensive fieldwork and data collection on Lake Erie to determine the impact of mussels and algae on nearshore water quality in the eastern basin. This work was part of a larger binational collaborative monitoring effort to improve the coordination of monitoring in the Great Lakes. A five-year rotational cycle was adopted to focus on one lake per year, with Lake Erie selected for 2009. Additional work carried out on Lake Erie in 2009 included a bioavailable phosphorus study, a project to investigate the impact of nutrient influx and timing of algal bloom appearance, and a farm demonstration/tillage practice study to understand the contribution of nutrients to Lake Erie from different farming practices. As well, the Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan State of Nutrient Science Report was completed, as were draft phosphorus targets.

Through the Lake Huron–Georgian Bay Watershed--A Canadian Framework for Community Action, the federal and provincial partner agencies (Environment Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs), and local community leaders in Eastern Georgian Bay’s Littoral Biosphere Reserve, the Nottawasaga Valley and the North Bayfield Gullies addressed the growing threat of excess algae development in the nearshore zone. For example, preparation of a shoreline stewardship strategy was initiated in the Reserve, livestock exclusion fencing was built along the Nottawasaga River as part of the stewardship program, and a long-term plan to protect the sub-watershed is being developed for the North Bayfield Gullies region.

The Lake Ontario Binational Biodiversity Conservation Strategy was completed through Lakewide Management Plan support to the Nature Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Following the recommendations of the Canadian Action Plan to Address the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species, a binational Aquatic Invasive Species Complete Prevention Plan was developed as part of the Lake Superior Lakewide Management Plan.

1.3 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 fourth agreement expired on March 31, 2007. On June 13, 2009, the proposed Canada–Quebec Pulp and Paper and Metal Mining Sectors Administrative Agreement was published in Part I of the Canada Gazette. The parties have continued to cooperate in keeping with the spirit of the draft agreement.

The proposed agreement recognizes Quebec as the principal interlocutor for receiving, from the pulp and paper and metal mining sectors, most of the data and information required pursuant to the following four 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;
  • Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act; and
  • Metal Mining Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

Under the agreement, the province acts as a “single window” for the gathering of information from Quebec pulp and paper manufacturers, and forwards such information to Environment Canada for the purpose of enabling the Department to implement CEPA 1999 and the Fisheries Act, and their regulations. Both levels of government retain full responsibility for carrying out inspections and investigations, and for taking appropriate enforcement measures in order to ensure compliance with their respective requirements of industry.

During this reporting period, more than 80 reports produced by pulp and paper facilities in Quebec were examined against the two regulations pursuant to CEPA 1999. These administrative inspections verified that the facilities were in compliance with the applicable regulations. As well, Environment Canada presented compliance verification reports to Quebec. These presentations are made during meetings of the Management Committee established by the agreement. In 2009–2010, the Management Committee met once, on December 14, 2009.

1.4 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, which include two regulations related to the pulp and paper sector, two regulations on ozone-depleting substances, and three regulations on PCBs. Three PCB releases were reported to Environment Canada Emergencies under this agreement; none required an enforcement response. There were no prosecutions under these regulations in Saskatchewan under this agreement in 2009–2010.

1.5 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.

In December 1994, the Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances in Alberta came into effect. As a result of the Agreement, the following CEPA 1999 regulations, or parts thereof, are no longer applicable 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 or the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations.

The Canada–Alberta Agreement is currently under review. Until its renewal, Environment Canada and Alberta Environment continue to work together in the spirit of the agreement.

Alberta Environment indicated that, in 2009–2010, there were no reported violations by the four pulp and paper mills regulated under the pulp and paper regulations.

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