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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2001 to March 2002

1. Administration

1.1 National Advisory Committee (NAC)

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) requires the Minister of Environment to establish a National Advisory Committee (NAC) composed of one representative for each of the federal Ministers of Environment and Health, representatives from each province and territory, and six representatives of Aboriginal governments drawn from across Canada.

Established for the purpose of enabling national, cooperative action and avoiding duplication in regulatory activity among governments, the duties of the NAC include:

  • advising the Ministers of Environment and Health on proposed regulations for substances declared toxic;
  • advising the Minister of the Environment on a cooperative, coordinated, intergovernmental approach for the management of toxic substances;
  • advising the Minister of the Environment on proposed regulations regarding environmental emergencies;
  • advising the Minister of the Environment on any other environmental matters that are of mutual interest to the Government of Canada and provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments; and
  • enabling a full and open sharing of information between the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments on all matters related to the protection of the environment and the management of toxic substances.

In addition to the duties listed above, the NAC serves as the single window into provincial and territorial governments and representatives of Aboriginal governments on offers to consult on objectives, guidelines, and codes of practice.

To carry out its duties in 2001-02, the NAC held two face-to-face meetings, four conference calls, and one workshop. Some of the federal initiatives brought to the NAC for discussion included:

  • the recommended addition of four substances in municipal wastewater effluent (ammonia dissolved in water, nonylphenol and its ethoxylates, textile mill effluents, and inorganic chloramines) to the List of Toxic Substances under CEPA 1999 and the development of risk management options for these substances as they relate to municipal wastewater effluent;
  • the proposed Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations;
  • the recommended addition of road salts to the List of Toxic Substances and the evaluation, selection, and development of management instruments to reduce the negative impacts of road salts on the environment;
  • development of Environmental Emergencies Regulations, including the Risk Evaluation Framework and draft Data Gathering Guidelines that would guide regulation development;
  • revision to the National Emission Guidelines for Thermal Electric Power Generation; and
  • regulations for on-road vehicle and engine emissions.

The character, extent, and result of NAC involvement in such matters vary with the nature of the issue and relative priority for each jurisdiction. In the case of the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations, strong engagement and specific input from the NAC resulted in changes to the regulatory text to allow for the use of other wastewater treatment systems that are equal or better in performance to activated carbon. Advice from the NAC also resulted in clarity regarding the use of third-party contracting and, in general, ensured that the federal regulations would complement existing provincial and territorial regulations. On the issues of municipal wastewater effluent and road salts, the NAC established working groups to assist Environment Canada in the development of risk management options.

In addition to providing advice and comments on the issues noted above, the NAC held a workshop in conjunction with the Environmental Planning and Protection Committee under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) to explore the links between these two fora.

The NAC also received continuous updates on the progress of other activities under the Act, including the development of proposed amendments to the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) regulations, the proposed Sulphur in Diesel Fuel Regulations, the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), and the categorization and screening of the Domestic Substances List (DSL).

The National Advisory Committee under CEPA 1999 (NAC)

1.2 Administrative Agreements

The Act allows the federal government to enter into administrative agreements with provincial and territorial governments and contains provisions to allow for administrative agreements with Aboriginal governments as well as an Aboriginal people.

Administrative Agreements

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 related to the pulp and paper sector, ozone-depleting substances, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The agreement commits both governments to share information relating to the administration of their respective legislation to assist them in meeting statutory reporting obligations, on releases that violate the requirements of their respective legislation, and on enforcement activities including inspections and investigations.

There were no prosecutions under the regulations in 2001-02. Key results under the agreement in 2001-02 included:

  • Training - Environment Canada trained five provincial spill dispatch operators, who were subsequently designated as CEPA 1999 enforcement officers for the purpose of CEPA 1999 spill reporting requirements. Environment Canada assisted the province with spill training for 26 provincial staff on the requirements under the administrative agreement.
  • Pulp and paper regulations - Only one of two mills in the province is subject to the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations. Environment Canada and the province conducted a joint field inspection in March 2002. Inspections of these data showed compliance with the regulations. Pulp and paper mills in Saskatchewan do not use products listed in the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations. In March 2002, Environment Canada and the province conducted a joint field inspection to confirm that no products listed in the regulations were being used.
  • Ozone-depleting substances regulations - Environment Canada conducted 27 field inspections and 5 document inspections under these regulations in 2001-02, which included analyzing 29 aerosol products for ozone-depleting substances. No violations were detected. The province did not carry out any inspections in 2001-02.
  • PCB regulations - Environment Canada conducted seven inspections under the Chlorobiphenyls Regulations and eight inspections under the Storage of PCB Material Regulations. Since Environment Canada conducted some PCB inspections at the potash mines, the province did not conduct any inspections in 2001-02. Provincial authorities received reports of 21 releases of electrical fluids that could potentially contain PCBs. It was confirmed that none of the spills contained PCBs at levels over 50 parts per million (ppm). The province concluded that corrective actions were taken, including the immediate cleanup of the spills.

Canada-Quebec Pulp and Paper Administrative Agreement

Since 1994, Administrative Agreements have been in place between the province of Quebec and the Canadian government concerning the pulp and paper sector. The second agreement expired on March 31, 2000. Since that time, Environment Canada has been negotiating a renewed agreement.

The province provides a "single window" to collect data from the Quebec mills and gives this information to Environment Canada to apply its regulations. Each level of government retains full responsibility for verifying industry compliance with its respective regulatory requirements and for conducting inspections and investigations.

In 2001-02, Environment Canada studied 876 monthly or quarterly reports presented by manufacturing plants or municipalities (745 reports concerned the Fisheries Act, 131 reports concerned CEPA 1999). Environment Canada also produced monthly reports on compliance, and discussed problematic mills with Quebec. Federal enforcement officers conducted inspections at 3 plants, issued 13 warnings (11 under the Fisheries Act and 2 under CEPA 1999), and led 3 investigations on alleged infractions of the Fisheries Act.

Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes

In spring 2002, Environment Canada, together with seven other federal departments and three provincial ministries, signed the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. The agreement sets out environmental priorities and specific goals and actions for the enhancement and preservation of the Basin's ecosystem. Four annexes to the agreement focus on environmental priorities that will benefit from federal-provincial cooperation and coordinated action, including the cleanup of the remaining Areas of Concern within the basin, the implementation of a series of binational lakewide management plans to address problems unique to each Great Lake, the virtual elimination and significant reduction of harmful pollutants within the basin, and improved monitoring and information management.

Related Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agreements

Canada-wide Standards

Developed under the CCME Harmonization Accord, Canada-wide Standards represent political and accountable commitments by environment ministers (except Quebec) to address environmental protection and health risk issues. The Minister's authority to sign these agreements is found under section 9 of CEPA 1999; however, the agreements represent cooperation towards a common goal, rather than a delegation of authority under CEPA 1999. Many federal actions to achieve these commitments will be taken under CEPA 1999. New standards signed during 2001-02 include:

  • Benzene (Phase II) - This standard, endorsed by CCME in September 2001, calls for a further 6-kilotonne reduction in national emissions to be achieved by 2010.
  • Dioxins and Furans from Waste Incineration and Coastal Pulp and Paper Boilers - The standard, endorsed on May 1, 2001, will lead to a combined emission reduction of at least 80% from these two sources by 2006. Environment Canada worked on its implementation plan for federal incinerators, which will outline key actions to meet the standards for dioxins and furans, and mercury.
  • Dioxins and Furans from Iron Sintering Plants and Steel Making Electric Arc Furnaces - These proposed Canada-Wide Standards (CWSs) were presented to CCME in September 2001. Environment Canada published the agreements on February 2, 2002, for a 60-day comment period. On a related area, in April 2001, a Multistakeholder Smelters Emissions Testing network was formed. Its mandate is to measure and characterize dioxins and furans and to share information on the emissions, testing, formation, prevention, and control of dioxins and furans from the base metals smelting sector. Seven of the eleven participating facilities have conducted emissions sampling for dioxins and furans, and the remaining facilities have committed to testing by the end of 2002.
  • Mercury-containing Lamps - This standard, endorsed in September 2001, will reduce the mercury content of lamps by 80% by 2010, thereby lowering emissions from manufacturing, land-filling, incineration, and lamp breakage (currently 40 kilograms/year). An implementation plan is under development, and there are discussions within the federal government under the Federal Buildings Initiative.
  • Mercury in Dental Amalgams - This standard, endorsed in September 2001, calls for a 95% reduction in environmental releases of dental amalgam waste by 2005. To implement the standard, Environment Canada and the Canadian Dental Association, which represents all dentists in Canada, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March 2002. Environment Canada also secured commitments from other levels of government, educational institutions, and professional associations in the Ontario Region to develop a training tool. This tool will help familiarize new and practising dentists, dental hygienists, and assistants on proper waste management of hazardous dental wastes, including waste dental amalgam. A first draft of the training tool is expected in December 2002. In the Atlantic Region, a project testing the feasibility of installing ISO-certified dental amalgam separators in provincial dental clinics was undertaken together with the province of Prince Edward Island. The project also identified opportunities for mercury reduction and developed an information fact sheet for dentists.
  • Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Soil - This standard, endorsed in May 2001, provides consistent methods for the assessment and management of sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. A workshop was given in May 2001. A draft national analytical reference method for petroleum hydrocarbons in soil was published and work is underway on a multilaboratory study to validate the reference method.

Ministers have committed to being accountable to the public and each other by developing implementation plans to achieve the standards. Actions taken in 2001-02 on existing standards included the following:

  • Benzene (Phase 1) - The standard called for a 30% reduction in emissions by 2000. In December 2001, a national summary of the Annual Progress Report was published. Based on reported data it is estimated that benzene emissions in Canada decreased by 39% between 1995 and 1999.
  • Mercury Emissions from Base Metal Smelting and Incineration - These standards, signed in June 2000, will reduce emissions from the base metal smelting sector by 800 kilograms/year by 2008 and from incinerators by over 70% by 2006. Existing smelters are expected to make a determined effort to meet this standard by 2008, coinciding with implementation of the federal Strategic Options Report. New facilities are required to achieve compliance immediately upon full-scale operation. A Base Metals Smelting Environmental Advisory Group, established in March 2002, will monitor progress towards achieving the standard for the base metal smelting sector.
  • Particulate Matter (PM) and Ozone - The standards, signed in 2000, set ambient targets for particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and ozone to be achieved by 2010. In April 2001, the federal government released its Interim Plan 2001 on Particulate Matter and Ozone. It sets out a series of actions aimed at emission sources with the greatest negative impact on air quality, including transboundary pollution and the transportation and industrial sectors. Multi-pollutant Emission Reduction Analysis Foundation reports are being prepared for six sectors: iron and steel, base metal smelting, pulp and paper, lumber and allied wood, asphalt batch-mix, and concrete batch-mix. Two consultation workshops on the fossil fuel electric power generation (EPG) sector were held in January 2001, and November 2001. A Clean Air Workbook for the EPG sector, prepared under the guidance of multi-stakeholder peer groups, was the basis for discussion at the November workshop. In January 2002, Environment Canada initiated stakeholder consultations on proposed revisions to the National Emission Guidelines for Thermal Electric Power Generation - New Sources.

The updated guidelines will reflect current best-available technology. Environment Canada initiated consultations on a Federal Agenda for Reducing Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from Consumer and Commercial Products.

New Source Emission Guidelines for Thermal Electricity Generation

1.3 Equivalency Agreements

The Act allows the use of equivalency agreements where, by Order in Council, a regulation under CEPA 1999 is declared to no longer apply in a province, a territory, or an area under the jurisdiction of an Aboriginal government that has equivalent requirements.

Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement

In December 1994, an Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances in Alberta came into effect. This agreement recognizes that several provincial regulations are "equivalent" to CEPA 1999 regulations. Thus, the CEPA 1999 regulations governing the pulp and paper sector, secondary lead smelter releases, and vinyl chloride releases no longer apply in Alberta. The regulated industries affected by this agreement include four kraft mills, one vinyl chloride plant, and one polyvinyl chloride plant. There are no secondary lead smelters currently operating in Alberta.

Under the agreement, the province shares inspection and compliance reports and other information with Environment Canada in order to meet federal reporting obligations. Alberta Environment reported that there were no violations of their regulations in 2001-02. All four kraft mills complied with their dioxin/furan effluent limit requirements, and there were no exceedances of vinyl chloride monomer emissions at the two regulated plants.

Equivalency Agreements

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