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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report for April 2013 to March 2014

3 Administration, Public Participation and Reporting

  1. 3.1 Federal, Provincial, Territorial Cooperation
  2. 3.2 Public Participation
  3. 3.3 Reporting

3.1 Federal, Provincial, Territorial Cooperation

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 also 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 the application of federal regulations in a province or territory that has equivalent regulatory provisions.

National Advisory Committee

The National Advisory Committee provides a forum for provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments to advise the Ministers on certain actions being proposed under the Act, enables national cooperative action, and seeks to avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The committee is provided opportunities to advise and comment on initiatives under the Act.

To carry out its duties in 2013–2014, the CEPA National Advisory Committee (NAC) held two teleconference meetings, and the NAC Secretariat corresponded regularly with committee members regarding various federal initiatives implemented under CEPA 1999. These initiatives included:

  • updates on the implementation of Canada’s CMP, including various risk assessment and risk management activities of the CMP, including:
    • draft screening assessment reports for over 300 substances,
    • final assessment reports for over 60 substances,
    • final decisions on 533 substances that underwent a rapid screening,
    • order applying the SNAc provisions to 56 substances on the Domestic Substances List,
    • proposed order to add 40 petroleum and refinery gases under Stream 1 of the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach to Schedule 1,
    • final order adding PFOA and PFCA to Schedule 1,
    • proposal to amend the volatile organic compound definition on Schedule 1,
    • guidelines for MAPBAP acetate,
    • risk management instruments for PBDEs,
    • state of the science report of DEHA, and
    • notices with respect to certain selenium-containing substances and certain phthalate substances;
  • amendments to Schedule 3, the ECL, including the addition of the pesticide Endosulfan;
  • Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals in Canada;
  • notice of publication of the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations;
  • notice of publication of the reviewed 2011 and the 2012 National Pollutant Release Inventory Data;
  • opportunity to advise on proposed amendments to the Environmental Emergencies Regulations and the proposed multi-sector air pollutant regulations;
  • notice of intent to develop regulations to further limit smog-forming emissions from new cars and light trucks and to reduce the sulphur content of gasoline;
  • national targets for the Code of Practice for Environmental Management of Road Salts; and
  • notice of the publication of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5 and ozone.

Federal-Provincial/Territorial Agreements

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 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 an important mechanism for implementing Canada’s obligations under the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012, which amended the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

In 2013–2014, Canada and Ontario continued to collaborate on work to protect and restore the Great Lakes while continuing to negotiate a new, expanded agreement, entitled Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA). The new draft COA covers a broad range of issues of importance to the restoration and protection of Great Lakes water quality and is aligned to meeting the commitments articulated in the Canada–U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012.

In recognition of the commitments related to Harmful Pollutants under the new draft Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment have hired a consultant to summarize past and current research, monitoring and risk management activities and achievements on chemicals identified as Tier I and Tier II under previous Canada-Ontario agreements.

In addition, during 2013–2014, a range of chemical risk management initiatives were delivered under the CMP, as described elsewhere in this report, that supported implementation of the draft Harmful Pollutants Annex Goals under the new draft COA. These included continuing efforts towards the sound management of chemicals in the Great Lakes through the reduction of releases and the enhancement of knowledge to mitigate risk.

Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Quebec

Memoranda of Understanding and/or Administrative Agreements concerning the pulp and paper sector have been in place between Quebec and the Government of Canada since 1994. The parties currently cooperate through a Memorandum of Understanding for data collection that is in effect until March 2015, whereby Quebec continues to provide a single data-entry portal for regulatees for the following 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; and
  • Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act.

During this reporting period, 48 reports produced by pulp and paper facilities in Quebec were examined to verify that the facilities were in compliance with the applicable regulations.

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, including two regulations related to the pulp and paper sector, two regulations on ozone-depleting substances and two regulations on PCBs. There were no prosecutions under these regulations in Saskatchewan under this agreement in 2013–2014; however, there were two open investigations under the PCB Regulations, of which one is currently being prosecuted before the courts. There were also two written warnings issued under the PCB Regulations.

Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement

CEPA 1999 provides for the entering into equivalency agreements where provincial or territorial environmental legislation has provisions that are equivalent to the provisions of regulations made under the Act. The intent of an agreement is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations. As a result of the 1994 Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances, the following CEPA 1999 regulations, or parts thereof, do not apply 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 there are no compliance issues to report under the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 or the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations.

Alberta Environment indicated that, in 2013–2014, there were no reported violations by the four pulp and paper mills regulated under the pulp and paper regulations.

Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation in Atlantic Canada

The five-year Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation among the federal Minister of the Environment and the Ministers responsible for the environment in the four Atlantic provinces expired in June 2013. Efforts are proceeding to establish a new agreement between the parties to continue to cooperate and collaborate in preserving, protecting and enhancing the environment, which includes closer cooperation in fieldwork and capacity development (e.g., training and information sharing). During 2013–2014, a number of joint field operations were initiated, including a pan-Atlantic review of the scrap metal sector.

Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreements

Federal, provincial and territorial laws require, in most cases, notification of the same environmental emergency or environmental occurrence, such as an oil or chemical spill. To reduce duplication of effort, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada entered into environmental occurrences notification agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

These notification agreements are supported by the Release and Environmental Emergency Notification Regulations under CEPA 1999 and the Deposit out of the Normal Course of Events Notification Regulations under the Fisheries Act.

The purpose of the notification agreements is to establish a streamlined notification system for persons required to notify federal and provincial/territorial governments of an environmental emergency or environmental occurrence. Under these notification agreements, 24-hour authorities operating for the provinces and territories receive notifications of environmental emergencies or environmental occurrences, on behalf of Environment Canada, and transfer this information to the Department.

In 2013–2014, Environment Canada continued to work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to implement the notification agreements. This work included the establishment of management committees and the development of standard operating procedures for the collection and processing of notifications of environmental occurrences.

3.2 Public Participation

CEPA Environmental Registry

Part 2 of CEPA 1999 provides for the establishment of an environmental registry, whistleblower protection, and the right of an individual to request an investigation and pursue court action.

The CEPA Environmental Registry was launched on Environment Canada’s website when the Act came into force on March 31, 2000. Since that time, ongoing efforts have been made to increase the Registry’s reliability and ease of use. The Registry encompasses thousands of CEPA-related documents and references. It has become a primary source of environmental information for the public and private sectors, both nationally and internationally, and has been used as a source of information in university and college curricula.

From April 2013 to March 2014, over 240 requests for CEPA-related information were received in the Registry mailbox or Environment Canada’s general mailbox.

Public Consultations

During 2013–2014, there were 38 opportunities posted on the Environmental Registry for stakeholders and the public to consult.

CMP-related Consultations

In addition to public consultations on the various risk assessments and risk management measures outlined throughout Section 2, Environment Canada and Health Canada undertook other CMP-related consultations in 2013–2014, including:

  • proposed approach for a subset of substances prioritized during categorization
  • the proposed risk management instrument for 2-Butanone, oxime (butanone oxime) (August 2013)
  • the proposed risk management instrument for products containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) (September 2013)
  • the proposed risk management instrument for perfluorooctane sulfonate, its salts and certain other compounds (PFOS) – Examination of On-going Exemptions (January 2013)

CMP-related Committees

The CMP Stakeholder Advisory Council met twice in 2013–2014. The purpose of the council is to get stakeholder input on the implementation of the CMP, and to foster dialogue on issues pertaining to the CMP between stakeholders and government, and among different stakeholder groups. Issues may include risk assessment, risk management, risk communications, monitoring, research, indicators of success, chemical policy and other cross-cutting integrated activities. Some examples of topics that were discussed in 2013–2014 include publication of the Canadian Health Measures Survey; gathering information on chemicals in products; effectiveness of early stakeholder engagement for the Substance Grouping Initiative; and enhancing transparency in regulatory development.

The CMP Science Committee held its first meeting in Ottawa on February 18–19, 2014. The Science Committee ensures a strong science foundation to CMP by providing external, scientific expertise to Health Canada and Environment Canada on scientific issues. The meeting provided the ten committee members, selected for their expertise in core scientific areas, with the opportunity to deliberate on their first topic: “Capturing and communicating uncertainty.” Members also engaged in constructive discussions as they began developing the committee’s scientific input for the Government of Canada and identifying their next steps for formulating the Committee Report.

3.3 Reporting

Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse

Part 4 of CEPA 1999 provides the authority for the establishment of a national pollution prevention information clearinghouse to facilitate the collection, exchange and distribution of information regarding pollution prevention.

The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (CPPIC) is a public website that provides Canadians with links to over 1 500 resources containing comprehensive information and tools from Canada and around the world to strengthen their capacity to prevent pollution. In 2013–2014, 142 new records were added to the clearinghouse. Fifty-four percent (54%) of the new records are Canadian, and 6% are bilingual. Roughly forty percent of new records (44%) are applicable to manufacturing sectors, while another forty percent (38%) are applicable to private households. Overall, CPPIC records were viewed just over 44 000 times in 2013–2014, a 69% increase over the previous year’s views.

State of the Environment Reporting

The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides data and information to track Canada’s performance on key environmental sustainability issues including climate changes and air quality, water quality and availability, and protecting nature. The environmental sustainability indicators convey the state of Canada’s environment in a straightforward and transparent manner. They are used to inform citizens and members of Parliament about current environmental status and trends, and provide policy makers and researchers with comprehensive, unbiased and authoritative information about key environmental issues. The indicators are also the prime vehicle used to measure progress towards the goals and targets of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

The indicators are designed to be relevant to the government’s policy priorities: useful and easily understood by decision makers and the public and based on solid methodology that allows for comparison over time. CESI also ensures that the national, regional, local and international trends are readily accessible and presented through the use of graphics, explanatory text and interactive maps through which users can drill down for local data.

The indicators are prepared by Environment Canada with the support of other federal departments, including Health Canada, Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as relevant provincial and territorial counterparts. The high-quality data used to calculate indicators originate from a variety of sources, including surveys, measurement networks and other research initiatives that are expected to be maintained and updated for the foreseeable future.

The indicators are published on the CESI website, showing national and regional results along with the methodology explaining each indicator and links to related socio-economic issues and information. CESI provides results and information for more than 40 environmental indicators, including air quality, water quality, toxic substances and exposure to substances of concern.

National Pollutant Release Inventory

The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) is Canada’s legislated, publicly accessible national inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling. The NPRI includes information reported by industrial facilities that meet certain criteria and provides the main input to Canada’s comprehensive Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory (APEI). Over 7700 facilities, located in every province and territory, reported to the NPRI for 2012 (see Figure 2).

The NPRI supports the identification and management of risks to the environment and human health, including the development of policies and regulations on toxic substances and air quality. Public access to the NPRI through an online data search tool encourages industry to prevent and reduce pollutant releases, and improves public understanding about pollution and environmental performance in Canada.

Figure 2: Location of facilities that reported to the NPRI in 2012

Figure 2: Location of facilities that reported to the NPRI in 2012 (see long description below)

Description of Figure 2

This image shows the location of facilities that reported to the NPRI for 2012, with a breakdown by 6 main sectors: Oil and gas, manufacturing, electricity, mining and quarrying, water and wastewater and other. The map shows that most oil and gas facilities are located in Alberta. The Windsor-Quebec corridor has a lot of manufacturing facilities and the other sectors are scattered across the country.

NPRI data that was published in 2013–2014 includes the 2012 NPRI facility-reported data (published in preliminary form in July 2013 and reviewed form in February 2014) and the 2012 national air pollutant emissions data and trends for all sources (published in February 2014).

Environment Canada undertook a number of initiatives to respond to the needs of NPRI data users during 2013–2014. For example, the Department held consultations on proposed changes to NPRI reporting requirements, published and consulted on initial results of the first phase of the NPRI Substances Review, and hosted a workshop for data users.

Environment Canada updated Canada’s APEI with the latest data for 2012. The APEI includes data for 17 air pollutants, notably smog precursors and selected toxics. The APEI was developed using NPRI facility-reported data and emissions estimates from sources that are not reported to the NPRI (e.g., residential fuel combustion, vehicles, agriculture). The APEI is used to support the development of regulatory instruments (e.g., Base Level Industrial Emissions Requirements, vehicles regulations) and Environment Canada’s air quality forecasting. It facilitates the evaluation and tracking of policy effectiveness, informs the public and supports multiple air-quality reporting requirements. A summary of the APEI is provided annually to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program

Environment Canada requires annual reporting of GHG emissions from facilities (mostly large industrial operations) through its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program (GHGRP). The GHGRP is part of Environment Canada’s ongoing effort to develop, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, a single, domestic, mandatory GHG reporting system, in order to meet the GHG reporting needs of all jurisdictions and to minimize the reporting burden for industry and government.

Key objectives of the GHGRP are to provide Canadians with consistent information on facility-level GHG emissions, support regulatory initiatives, and validate industrial emission estimates presented in the National GHG Inventory. The data collected are also shared with provinces and territories.

In May 2013, the 2011 facility-reported data and related overview report were made publicly available as part of a broader departmental release of GHG information products, which also included the latest National GHG Inventory and updated CESI GHG indicators. Environment Canada received 2012 emission information from 549 facilities, which were prepared for public release, set to occur in spring 2014. The facility-reported data is available through data tables, an online query tool and a downloadable file.

Environment Canada also implemented a new data-sharing agreement with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to share facility-level GHG information to support their information needs and policy development.

Single Window Reporting Initiative

In 2013–2014, Environment Canada, in collaboration with various partners, continued to improve and expand its single window, online system for regulatory reporting of air emissions and pollutant releases. The system reduces burden on industry and supports the shared interest across jurisdictions of tracking and reporting progress on the reduction of GHG emissions and pollutant releases. Environment Canada’s NPRI and GHGRP (explained above), as well as the CMP and other initiatives and regulations related to CEPA 1999 provisions, are using the Single Window Reporting System for their environmental data collection efforts. This initiative will continue to grow as additional partners integrate their GHG and pollutants reporting requirements into the Single Window Reporting System.

Use of Monitoring and Surveillance to Measure Performance of Risk Management Activities

In 2013–2014, a substance-specific environmental multimedia fact sheet was published on perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in the Canadian environment. The fact sheet was used to report geographical and temporal analysis of PFOS concentrations in air, water, sediments, fish and bird eggs, and compared the levels with available Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines. The fact sheet also reported the status of concentrations in waste streams such as wastewater and landfill leachate. Certain information was used to report in relation to pollution prevention indicators.

Environmental Offenders Registry and Enforcement Notifications

The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations obtained under certain federal environmental laws including CEPA 1999. The registry contains convictions obtained for offences committed since June 18, 2009--when the Environmental Enforcement Act received Royal Assent. This tool allows the media and the public to search for corporate convictions using the name for the corporation, its home province, the province where the offence occurred, or the legislation under which the conviction was obtained. Keywords can also be used to search the registry.

The Enforcement Notifications contain information about successful prosecutions across Canada under the Acts and Regulations administrated by Environment Canada or involving Environment Canada enforcement officers (including CEPA 1999).

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