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ARCHIVED - CEPA 1999 Combined Annual Reports for April 2006 to March 2007 and April 2007 to March 2008

1. Introduction

During the reporting years--April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007, and April 1, 2007, to March 31, 2008--the four activities of special interest under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) were as follows:

  1. the review by Parliament, between May 2006 and March 2008, of the Act and the Government's response to the report of the Committee of the House of Commons;
  2. the completion in September 2006 of the categorization of 23 000 substances in commercial use in the mid 1980s, in terms of potential risk to human health or to the environment;
  3. the establishment in December 2006 of the Chemicals Management Plan to deal with 4300 substances of concern; and
  4. the announcement in April 2007 of "Turning the Corner," an action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Information about the Parliamentary review of the Act and Turning the Corner is included in this introduction. The categorization process and the Chemicals Management Plan are addressed in chapter 2, section 2.5, which deals with Part 5 of the Act, Controlling Toxic Substances.

1.1 Parliamentary Review of the Act

The Act requires that a committee of the House of Commons, the Senate or both review the provisions and operation of the Act every five years and report to Parliament on any recommendations for changes to the Act or its administration.

In May 2006, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development and the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources began their review of CEPA 1999. Both committees began public hearings in May 2006.

In September 2006, Environment Canada and Health Canada released an issues paper to support the deliberations of both committees.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development released its report, The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 -- Five-year Review: Closing the Gaps, in April 2007. Generally, the Committee reaffirmed that CEPA 1999 is a strong, fundamentally sound piece of legislation. The Committee also called on the Government to act faster under the Act to protect the environment and the health of Canadians, and to make appropriate use of the full range of authorities in the Act. The Committee's report made specific recommendations under the broad categories of knowledge, consumer products, implementation, and compliance and enforcement.

In responding to the Committee's recommendations, the Government of Canada released a report, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Review: The Interim Government Response, in October 2007.

The Senate Committee presented its report, The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999, c.33) Rx: Strengthen and Apply Diligently, in March 2008. The Senate Committee highlighted the need for better implementation and enforcement of the Act.

1.2 Turning the Corner

On October 21, 2006, the Government of Canada published a Notice of Intent to develop and implement regulations and other measures to reduce air emissions, including measures under CEPA 1999. Measures were planned for transportation, industrial sectors, consumer and commercial products, and indoor air.

To provide a framework for these initiatives, on April 26, 2007 the Government announced "Turning the Corner," an action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. This plan was the cornerstone of the Government's broader efforts to address the challenges of climate change and air pollution. The actions under this plan were to be implemented under CEPA 1999.

Announced as part of the action plan in April 2007, the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions required reductions in greenhouse gases and air pollutants by the major emitting sectors--thermal electricity, oil and gas, and certain mining and manufacturing sectors. The targeted sectors accounted for about half of Canada's total emissions of both greenhouse gases and air pollutants.

In December 2007, the Government published a notice requiring industry to submit air emissions data to the Government of Canada. The targeted industrial sectors were electricity; oil and gas; pulp and paper; base metal and aluminum smelting; iron and steel; cement, lime and chemicals manufacturing; and some mining sectors. These industries were required to provide information by May 31, 2008, about their emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases for the year 2006.

On March 10, 2008, the Government announced additional details about how it planned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Accompanying documents included the Regulatory Framework for Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Canada's Offset System for Greenhouse Gases, Canada's Credit for Early Action Program, and Detailed Emissions and Economic Modelling. These four documents specified how emission reduction targets applied to each industry sector, how the offsets and trading systems worked, and how credits were to be provided to companies that took early actions to reduce their emissions. Companies were to be able to choose the most cost-effective way to meet their emission reduction targets from a range of options, including in-house reductions, contributions to a capped time-limited technology fund, domestic emissions trading and offsets, and access to the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism.

Bill C-33: An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 made changes to provide for effective regulations requiring renewable fuel content. Bill C-33 went through first reading in the House of Commons on December 3, 2007.