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

8. Environmental Emergencies

The Act provides authorities to require environmental emergency (E2) plans for substances once they have been declared toxic by the Ministers of Environment and Health. It further provides the authority to establish regulations respecting emergency prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery for the uncontrolled, unplanned, or accidental releases of a substance that has been identified as posing potential harm to the environment or human health. E2 plans must cover prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Part 8 also provides authority to issue guidelines and codes of practice. In addition, it 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 Environmental Emergency Plans

In 2001-02, the E2 Planning Risk Evaluation Framework was finalized. This framework was designed to identify which substances currently on the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999) or assessed as toxic and recommended for addition to the List require E2 plans. Environment Canada met its 2001-02 commitments by using the framework to evaluate 24 substances. It was determined that 16 of those substances will require E2 plans. In addition, supplementary data gathering on the balance of the toxic substances on Schedule 1 was carried out. This involved collecting information on toxicity and other potentially hazardous properties, spill frequency and severity, and quantity in Canadian commerce, and assessing whether other existing federal and provincial requirements adequately managed the risks posed by an uncontrolled, unplanned, or accidental release of the substances.

8.2 Environmental Emergency Regulations

Following the events of September 11, 2001, threat assessments conducted in Canada and the United States concluded that hazardous materials and the facilities that manufacture or store them, potentially pose a significant risk to the environment or human health. As part of the federal government's overall response to security issues, Environment Canada began developing environmental emergency regulations under section 200 of CEPA 1999 to reduce the risk of releases of toxic and other hazardous substances resulting from accidents or deliberate acts. The proposed regulations will require any person who owns or manages certain substances to notify the Minister on their location and quantity and to prepare and implement E2 plans. Key deliverables in 2001-02 included:

  • multistakeholder consultation in December 2001 and ongoing communication with a consultation group of approximately 80 organizations and individuals;
  • agreement on a candidate list of 174 hazardous substances and accompanying thresholds which, if exceeded at an individual facility, would require an E2 plan;
  • Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS)
    • - A RIAS demonstrates that the proposed regulation is preferred over other policy tools, describes the consultations that have taken place and explains the strategy to ensure compliance and enforcement;
  • regulatory drafting instructions; and
  • revisions to a data-gathering template and the E2 Planning Risk Evaluation Framework.

Regulations