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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report for April 2014 to March 2015
2 Addressing Key Risks
- 2.1 Toxic Substances Harmful to Human Health or the Environment
- 2.2 Living Organisms
- 2.3 Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases
- 2.4 Water Quality
- 2.5 Waste
- 2.6 Environmental Emergencies
2.1 Toxic Substances Harmful to Human Health or the Environment
Parts 5 and 6 of CEPA 1999 include specific provisions for data collection, assessment and management for controlling toxic substances. Substances include both chemicals and living organisms (specific information on living organisms begins in section 2.2). For chemicals, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health are required to sort through, or “categorize,” the substances on the Domestic Substances List, an inventory of approximately 23 000 substances manufactured in, imported into or used in Canada on a commercial scale. The categorization process identified for more detailed assessment approximately 4 300 substances that:
- were suspected to be inherently toxic to humans or to the environment, and are persistent (take a very long time to break down) or bioaccumulative (collect in living organisms and end up in the food chain); or
- present the greatest potential for exposure to Canadians.
The Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is a program developed to protect Canadians and their environment from exposure to harmful chemicals and living organisms. At the core of the CMP is a commitment to address, by 2020, the 4300 substances of potential concern that were already in commerce in Canada when a pre-market notification requirement was introduced under CEPA. The CMP includes a number of activities for which the obligations or authorities are spread throughout CEPA 1999. The Chemical Substances website provides more information on activities related to the CMP.
Under the CMP, the government conducts pre-market assessments of health and environmental effects of approximately 500 substances that are new to Canada each year. The CMP also provides one of the world’s most comprehensive approaches to assessing risks from the substances that came into use before these new substance requirements were in place.
As of March 31, 2015, drafts of final decisions have been published for 2700 of those 4300 substances.
Monitoring, Research, Information Gathering and Risk Assessment Activities
Monitoring and surveillance activities are essential to identify and track levels and trends related to chemicals in the environment and human exposure to those chemicals.
In 2014-2015, a broad range of chemical monitoring activities were conducted in support of the CMP, the Northern Contaminants Program, the Freshwater Quality Monitoring Program, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the Great Lakes Herring Gull Contaminants Monitoring Program. These monitoring activities also supported Canada’s contribution to multilateral cooperation under the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, and helped Canada fulfill its obligations under the United Nations Environment Programme Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
The CMP Monitoring and Surveillance Program involves the collection of data on the concentration of chemical substances in environmental compartments at locations across Canada. Environmental compartments include surface water, sediment, air, aquatic biota and wildlife. Wastewater system influent, effluent and biosolids are also monitored at select locations representing a range of input and treatment system types.
Through the program many priority substances have been measured to provide environmental data for risk assessment and risk management decision making. Priority substances include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), organophosphate and non-PBDE halogenated flame retardants, phthalates, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), substituted diphenyl amines (SDPAs), perfluorinated compounds (including PFOS and PFCAs), siloxanes, triclosan, bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol ethoxilates (NP/NPEs), short chain chlorinated paraffins and metals. The collection of data on these substances will establish baseline information and ultimately allow for the analysis of temporal trends--a key element of measuring the performance of risk management activities.
Under the CMP, Environment Canada provided water quality monitoring information to support risk assessments for chemicals used for new flame retardants, and in hair products, cosmetics, deodorants, plasticizers, soap disinfectants and common additives in floor waxes and polishes. In addition, Environment Canada conducted monitoring for in-use pesticides, including neonicotinoids, as well as legacy chemicals that were banned or phased out in selected waters, to inform risk assessment and risk management actions.
Health Canada monitoring activities continued to focus on human exposure to contaminants, including national baseline measurement of organic and inorganic chemicals in household dust under the Canadian House Dust Study; VOCs in drinking water to support national estimates in Canada; and national estimates of VOCs in indoor air of Canadian residences as part of the National Indoor Air Survey project.
As well, flame retardants in human milk and serum and exposure to several other chemicals, including phthalates and BPA, were measured in mothers and infants (Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals; MIREC). In 2014-2015, seven journal articles were published on results of BPA, phthalates, triclosan, perfluorinated chemicals, and phenols under MIREC thus far.
Health Canada launched the fourth cycle (2014-2015) of the Canadian Health Measures Survey in January 2014 and sample collection is ongoing. Its sample size, number of sites and the chemicals measured mirror those of Cycle 3.
Health Canada initiated 13 two-year monitoring and surveillance studies at the start of 2014-2015 under the following broad themes: targeted population studies, biomonitoring supportive research, and targeted environmental monitoring studies.
During 2014-2015, seven human biomonitoring and health projects were completed under the Northern Contaminants Program. Health Canada partners with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada on the human health component of the NCP, which addresses concerns about human exposure to elevated levels of contaminants in wildlife species important to the traditional diets of northern Aboriginal peoples.
In addition to data collection and reporting on a range of chemicals, monitoring efforts in 2014-2015 also included upgrades to monitoring technologies and establishing new sampling techniques and methodologies to detect trace contaminants in the environment.
More information about monitoring activities is available online.
Environment Canada and Health Canada conduct a wide range of research under the authority of CEPA 1999. Among other purposes, this research is designed to fill data gaps in risk assessments; evaluate the impact of toxic substances and other substances of concern on the environment and human health; determine the extent of ecological and human health exposure to contaminants; provide specialized sampling and analytical techniques for monitoring and for enforcement; and develop novel methods to investigate toxicity and mechanisms of action of chemicals in order to support the use of new scientific approaches as lines of evidence in risk assessments. In addition, Health Canada undertakes research to support the development of regulations, guidelines and air quality objectives with the goal of reducing population exposures to pollutants and improving human health.
During 2014-2015, research was carried out by both departments under a number of programs, including the CMP, the Northern Contaminants Program, the Strategic Technology Applications of Genomics in the Environment Program and the Great Lakes Action Plan.
During 2014-2015, research projects were initiated on a number of subjects, including exposure and toxicity of CMP priority chemicals, such as flame retardants, benzotriazoles and benzothiazoles, antioxidants, hindered phenols, phthalates, inorganics and nanomaterials.
Research also continued on the atmospheric degradation of priority chemicals (i.e., flame retardants); atmospheric mercury in the Arctic; levels of metals and emerging organic pollutants in polar bears; endocrine-disrupting compounds including hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); antimicrobials (triclosan) in biosolids and accumulation in terrestrial biota; BPA and other halogenated phenolic compounds (HPCs), and flame retardants such as organophosphate esters; emerging metabolites of CMP priority pollutants in humans and wildlife; the occurrence, fate and effects of PAHs and polycyclic aromatic compounds in birds, mammals and amphibians; toxicity, uptake and accumulation of metallic substances including rare earth elements and platinum group elements in native plants and invertebrates; toxicity and accumulation of hindered phenols and substituted phenylamines; organophosphate esters and phthalates in house dust; effects and toxicity of chemical mixtures; and effects of chemicals on endocrine systems.
Under the CMP, Environment Canada scientists published 31 research papers and Health Canada scientists published 55 research papers related to these projects in 2014-2015.
In addition, Health Canada has initiated a series of case studies on the application of new integrated testing strategies that are more efficient and less expensive in human health risk assessment in order to evaluate the relevance and reliability of resulting genomics and high-throughput screening data compared with outputs from traditional toxicity testing methods. These new testing strategies are being developed for use in the evaluation of data-poor chemicals.
Information Gathering and Risk Assessment Activities
New Substances Risk Assessment
Substances that are not on the Domestic Substances List are considered to be new to Canada. New substances may not be manufactured in or imported into Canada unless the Minister of the Environment has been notified with certain prescribed information and the period for assessing the information has expired. New substances include living organisms, and reporting on living organisms is included in section 2.2 of this report.
In 2014-2015, 542 new substance notifications were received pursuant to sections 81 and 106 of the Act and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms). Some of these are related to nanomaterials and substances that have the potential to be manufactured in the nanoscale.
For new substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, 45 notifications for chemical/polymer substances and 1 notification for living organisms were received and assessed in 2014-2015.
Since September 2001, substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act have been subject to the new substances provisions in CEPA 1999. Substances that were in products that were regulated under the Food and Drugs Act and that were in Canadian commerce between January 1, 1987, and September 13, 2001, were placed on an administrative list, called the In Commerce List. In 2014-2015, 9 nominations to the Revised “In Commerce List” (R-ICL) were received, and 7 substances were added. The list is available on the Health Canada website. Also in 2014-2015, more than 1000 substances underwent prioritization, thereby identifying which substances require further consideration.
Chemicals Management Plan
Under the CMP, Environment Canada and Health Canada continued to complete the ecological and human health assessments for the remaining high-priority substances of the first phase of the CMP under the Challenge and the Petroleum Sector Stream Approach. They also continued data collection and assessment work as part of the second phase of the CMP under the Substance Groupings Initiative and the Rapid Screening Approach.
Through the Challenge program of the CMP, the Ministers committed to addressing the 200 highest-priority substances. These 200 substances were divided into 12 smaller groups or “batches” that were addressed sequentially. Each batch of substances in the Challenge progressed through various information gathering, screening assessment, risk management, and compliance promotion and enforcement (where appropriate) stages. To date, 190 assessments have been completed, and 43 of these substances have been found to meet one or more of the criteria in section 64Footnote1 of CEPA 1999. During the 2014-2015 period, risk assessment and risk management work was ongoing to complete the last batch for this initiative. The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health published final screening assessments for Trisiloxane, octamethyl–CAS Registry Number 107-51-7 (MDM) and for Trisiloxane, 1,1,1,5,5,5-hexamethyl-3,3-bis[(trimethylsilyl)oxy]–CAS Registry Number 3555-47-3 (M4Q), and 2 substances in Batch 12. Details of these assessments are listed in Table 1.
The Petroleum Sector Stream Approach
The Petroleum Sector Stream Approach under the CMP includes approximately 160 substances identified as priorities for action through the categorization process and that were set aside to be addressed in a sectoral approach. A large portion of high-priority petroleum substances are used or manufactured during petroleum refining or bitumen/heavy crude oil upgrading activities. Data collection, risk assessment and, where appropriate, risk management are continuing on the substances that are part of this initiative.
During 2014-2015, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health published the draft screening assessment reports for 15 substances, including natural gas condensates, liquefied petroleum gases, heavy fuel oils and petrolatum and waxes. In addition, the Ministers published the final screening assessment reports for seven substances including Fuel Oil No. 2, Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6 and residual fuel oil, as well as aviation fuels. Details of these assessments are listed in Table 1.
The Substance Groupings Initiative
One of the current key initiatives under the CMP is the Substance Groupings Initiative. This was launched on October 8, 2011, and includes 500 substances in the following 9 groups:
- aromatic azo- and benzidine-based substances
- boron-containing substances
- certain internationally classified substances with potential for exposure to individuals in Canada
- certain organic flame retardants
- cobalt-containing substances
- methylenediphenyl diisocyanates and diamines
- selenium-containing substances
- substituted diphenylamines
During 2014-2015, the Minister of Health and the Minister of the Environment published draft Screening Assessment Reports for the remaining 107 aromatic azo- and benzidine-based substances, 50 cobalt, 7 methylenediphenyl diisocyanates and diamine (MDIs/MDAs), and 6 internationally classified substances. Of these 170 assessed substances, 55 are being proposed to meet one of more of the criteria in section 64 of CEPA 1999.
In addition, both Ministers published the final screening assessment reports for 42 benzidine-based dyes and 6 diarylide yellow pigments, none of which have been deemed harmful to human health and the environment. Details of these assessments are listed in Table 1.
The Domestic Substances List Inventory Update
The Domestic Substances List (DSL) was first compiled in the early 1990s to identify substances that were in commerce in Canada between 1984 and 1986. At the time of compilation, basic information such as substance quantities, uses and industry sectors involved were collected. The information available for many substances on the DSL may no longer represent current commercial activity in Canada. The Government of Canada recognizes the benefits of maintaining an up-to-date inventory of substances in commerce. Work to update information on substances on the DSL, undertaken under the CMP, is addressed in phases. Each update does not include all substances on the DSL. Instead, subsets of substances were surveyed, in Phase 1 in 2009 and in Phase 2 in 2012, based on priorities identified through the CMP.
Information received during the second phase of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update (DSL IU) has been used to inform priority setting for the next phase of the CMP, help align with international initiatives applicable to the Canadian context, support subsequent risk assessment and risk management activities where appropriate, continue to help improve supply chain awareness, support the development of the next phase of the IU, and inform the Rapid Screening and Polymer Approaches.
In June 2014, the government hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop to discuss early thinking and next steps for the inventory update. The development of the third phase of the inventory update is under way and will be based on lessons learned and successes, as well as stakeholder feedback from the second phase.
In an effort to increase public awareness and to facilitate access to information on manufactured and/or imported substances in Canada, a non-confidential summary of information received from the second phase of the DSL IU was published in December 2014.
The Rapid Screening Approach
The rapid screening approach is utilized for substances of lower concern. This approach uses a series of qualitative and quantitative steps to efficiently evaluate the likelihood that a substance may cause harm, given conservative estimates of exposure. At each step in the rapid screening process, any substance that appears to present a potential for harm will be identified as requiring further assessment. For those substances that pass through all steps of the rapid screening without being identified as requiring further assessment, the government will conclude that the substances do not require any further action.
In February 2015, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health published the draft screening assessment reports for 612 substances and for 275 polymers of low concern.
Canada–U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council
In February 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper launched the Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) to facilitate collaboration in aligning the two countries’ regulatory systems, where appropriate, and enhancing economic competitiveness, while maintaining high levels of protection for health and the environment. The first phase of the RCC launched 29 initiatives across many departments and agencies. One initiative led by Environment Canada, Health Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will share information and develop joint approaches on the regulatory aspects of nanomaterials, including terminology and nomenclature, as well as risk assessment and management.
The second phase of work under the Canada–U.S. RCC was launched in August 2014 with the publication of the Joint Forward Plan (PDF document, 665 KB), which outlines new areas of regulatory alignment.
Specific objectives under the Joint Forward Plan include two initiatives related to chemicals. One initiative will pursue common approaches on regulatory reporting requirements for new uses of chemicals (Significant New Activity provisions in Canada and Significant New Use Rules in the United States). The expected outcomes of this work include an increased level of predictability and understanding of the development and design of Significant New Activities and Significant New Use Rules; consistent and effective approaches to compliance promotion; and increased collaboration on the sharing of information throughout the supply chain. A second initiative involves the identification of areas for closer collaboration in assessment. The expected outcomes of this work include the identification and analysis of opportunities and impediments to increase collaboration on risk assessment for joint priorities; an increased level of predictability and understanding of risk assessment approaches across the two jurisdictions; and increased collaboration and longer-term increased alignment on risk assessments.
Nanomaterials on the Domestic Substances List
Nanoscale forms of substances listed on the DSL are considered to be existing nanomaterials and generally have not been considered in risk assessments conducted under CEPA 1999. The Government of Canada wants to ensure that nanomaterials currently in commerce in Canada are addressed, as some may require further action to determine if they pose any potential risks to the environment or to human health. In March 2015, Environment Canada and Health Canada published a proposed approach to address nanoscale substances on the DSL. The proposed approach consists of three phases similar to other activities under the CMP:
- establishment of a list of existing nanomaterials in Canada;
- prioritization of existing nanomaterials for action; and
- action on substances identified for further work.
The proposed approach was open for a 60-day public comment period and comments received from stakeholders will be used to finalize the approach and inform decision making.
Summary of Screening Assessment Progress
Screening assessments are conducted to determine whether substances meet or are capable of meeting any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA 1999. The results of the screening assessments are published in draft form on the Chemical Substances website, and the Ministers of the Environment and of Health publish a notice in the Canada Gazette, Part I to indicate that the draft assessments are available for comment. Interested parties can submit written comments during a 60-day public comment period. After taking into consideration comments received, the Ministers publish final assessment reports.
Table 1 lists the 2014-2015 assessment conclusions and proposed measures for 1235 existing substances (note that information on assessments of living organisms is included in section 2.2 of this report).
Health Canada also continued to accept and review submissions for new substances used in products regulated by the Food and Drugs Act in order to determine their potential impacts from release to the environment. Health Canada also continued its Food and Drugs Act re-evaluation of food additives and food packaging materials and assessment of food contaminants.
Work also continued on the re-evaluation of previously approved pesticides according to legislated timelines and requirements under the Pest Control Products Act, as well as on continuing to monitor health and environmental incidents related to pesticides, analyzing trends and sales data, and taking regulatory action as needed.
Risk Management Activities
Along with the results of the screening assessment, the Ministers must publish in the Canada Gazette their final recommendation to the Governor in Council by choosing one of the following three “measures”: adding the substance to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (the List of Toxic Substances), adding it to the Priority Substances List for further assessment, or proposing no further action in respect of the substance.
Ministers may recommend the addition of a substance to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 to the Governor in Council if a screening assessment shows that a substance meets one or more of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA 1999. The Governor in Council may then approve an order specifying its addition to Schedule 1. The decision to recommend adding a substance to Schedule 1 obliges the Ministers to develop a “regulation or instrument respecting preventive or control actions” within specific time periods. During 2014-2015, no orders were proposed and no substances were added to Schedule 1.
|Substances (and Number of Substances)||Meet s. 64 Criteria||Proposed Measure||Draft NoticeTable notea||Final NoticeTable notea|
|Aviation fuels (3 substances)||No||NFA||April 13, 2013||April 12, 2014|
|Fuel Oil No. 4, Fuel Oil No. 6 and Residual Fuel Oil (3 substances)||No||NFA||April 13, 2013||April 12, 2014|
|Azo metal complexes and other substances (6 substances)||No||NFA||May 17, 2014||–|
|Ethanol, 2-[(2-aminoethyl)amino]- (AEEA)|
(internationally classified grouping)
|No||NFA||July 19, 2014||–|
(internationally classified grouping)
|Yes||NFA||July 19, 2014||–|
|Cresols and mixed cresols|
(internationally classified grouping – 4 substances)
|No||NFA||July 19, 2014||–|
|Aromatic amines (16 substances)||No||NFA||July 26, 2014||–|
|Azo basic dyes (33 substances)||No||NFA||July 26, 2014||–|
|Methylenediphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) substance grouping (5 substances)||Yes||Add to Schedule 1||August 16, 2014||–|
|Methylenediphenyl diamine (MDA) substance grouping (2 substances)||No||NFA||August 16, 2014||-|
|Heavy fuel oils (7 substances)||No||NFA||September 6, 2014||–|
|Acetone||No||NFA||July 6, 2013||September 13, 2014|
|Propene||No||NFA||July 6, 2013||September 13, 2014|
|Biphenyl||No||NFA||July 6, 2013||September 13, 2014|
|Natural gas condensates (3 substances)||Yes||Add to Schedule 1||October 11, 2014||–|
|Liquefied petroleum gases (2 substances)||Yes||Add to Schedule 1||October 11, 2014||–|
|Diarylide yellow pigments (6 substances)||No||NFA||June 15, 2013||October 11, 2014|
|Azo acid dyes (52 substances)||No||NFA||October 25, 2014|
|Benzidine-based dyes and related substances (42 substances)||No||NFA||June 15, 2013||November 29, 2014|
|Cobalt and cobalt-containing substances (50 substances)||Yes||Add to Schedule 1||December 6, 2014||–|
|Certain substances on the Domestic Substances List used primarily as pharmaceuticals (28 substances)||No||NFA||March 22, 2014||February 21, 2015|
|Fuel Oil No. 2||Yes||Add to Schedule 1||June 1, 2013||February 21, 2015|
|Rapid screening of polymers from Phase Two of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update (275 substances)||No||NFA||February 28, 2015||–|
|Rapid screening of substances from Phase Two of the Domestic Substances List Inventory Update (612 substances)||No||NFA||February 28, 2015||–|
|Petrolatum and waxes (3 substances)||No||NFA||March 7, 2015||–|
|Batch 12 (2 substances reassessed: MDM and M4Q)||No||NFA||March 29, 2014||March 28, 2015|
The CMP uses a wide range of risk management instruments, including regulations, pollution prevention plans, environmental performance agreements, permits, substance lists, guidelines, codes of practice and significant new activity notification provisions. These instruments can address any aspect of the substance’s life cycle, from the research and development stage through manufacture, use, storage, transport and ultimate disposal or recycling.
In addition to implementing existing risk management instruments during the reporting period, the CMP published six final risk management instruments to address seven toxic substances or groups of substances.
In general, when a draft risk assessment proposes a conclusion that the substance is “toxic” under CEPA 1999, the CMP develops and publishes a risk management scope at the same time as the draft assessment report. Risk management scopes are used as discussion documents to engage stakeholders on potential risk management actions. A scope briefly describes the health or environmental concern, the activities potentially impacted and the type of risk management actions being considered. In 2014-2015, scopes were published for the following substances:
- methylenediphenyl diisocyanates and diamines (MDI/MDA) (substance grouping)
- ethyl carbamate (internationally classified substance grouping)
- cobalt and cobalt-containing substances (substance grouping)
- liquefied petroleum gases (Stream 4 petroleum and refinery gases) (Petroleum Sector Stream Approach)
- natural gas condensates (Petroleum Sector Stream Approach)
Similar to the risk management scopes, when the final screening assessment report concludes that a substance is “toxic” under CEPA 1999, a risk management approach document is developed and published at the same time as the final risk assessment report. The risk management approach document provides a more detailed description of the risk management being considered. It builds on the risk management considerations outlined in the risk management scope and considers new information received during the above-mentioned 60-day comment period. The release of a risk management approach document is followed by a 60-day public comment period, providing additional opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the proposed risk management actions. In 2014-2015, a risk management approach was published for Fuel Oil No. 2 (petroleum sector stream approach).
On April 23, 2014, Environment Canada published the Regulations Amending the PCB Regulations and Repealing the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations. The amendments address the practical challenges of identifying and removing from service certain electrical equipment containing PCBs by extending their end-of-use timelines to 2025. They also repeal the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations, which are no longer required. The PCB Regulations include limits on how long PCBs can remain in use and in storage, and require their destruction. At the end of 2014, there were 148 tonnes of PCBs still in use and 54 tonnes of PCBs in storage. Since 2008, 3217 tonnes of PCBs have been destroyed.
In 2014-2015, work continued to advance a risk management instrument on 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol (DEGME).
On April 23, 2014, Environment Canada published the Regulations Amending the 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The Amendments addressed the administrative issues raised since the Regulations were initially published.
On November 19, 2014, Environment Canada and Health Canada published the Products Containing Mercury Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The Regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury or any of its compounds, with some exemptions for essential products that have no technically or economically viable alternatives (e.g., certain medical and research applications, and dental amalgam). The Regulations will come into force on November 8, 2015.
On April 23, 2014, amendments to Schedule 2 of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act established a new prohibition on products that are made, in whole or in part, of polyurethane foam that contains Tris (2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP) and that are intended for a child under three years of age. TCEP was evaluated in Batch 5 of the Challenge Initiative of the CMP. The final publication concerning TCEP in the Canada Gazette, Part II can be viewed online.
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada published the Notice of Intent to Regulate HFCs in the Canada Gazette, Part I for public comment. The Notice indicated that Environment Canada was proceeding with the development of regulatory measures that would apply to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in bulk and to manufactured products containing HFCs. Stakeholder consultations are on-going.
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada pre-published proposed Ozone-depleting Substance and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations (ODSHAR) in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 75-day public comment period. The new Regulations will repeal and replace the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998 and continue to serve as a means to implementing Canada’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. As part of these new proposed Regulations, Environment Canada is proposing to introduce a permitting and reporting system to monitor quantities of HFCs that are imported, manufactured and exported.
Government Operations and Federal and Aboriginal Lands
Part 9 of CEPA 1999 provides the authority to make regulations, objectives, guidelines and codes of practice that apply to departments, boards and agencies of the Government of Canada, federal works and undertakings, federal land, Aboriginal land, persons on that land and other persons insofar as their activities involve that land, and Crown corporations.
The Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations seek to reduce the risk of contaminating soil and groundwater as a result of spills and leaks of petroleum products and allied petroleum products from storage tank systems. The Regulations also establish technical standards for the design and installation of storage tank systems as well as a registry.
In 2014-2015, there were 1 035 new storage tank identifications submitted to Environment Canada through the Federal Identification Registry of Storage Tank Systems (FIRSTS). To date, 1 497 users have identified approximately 18 000 storage tanks to Environment Canada through the FIRSTSdatabase for a total volume capacity of 2.7 billion litres of petroleum and allied petroleum products.
Pollution Prevention Planning Notices
The provisions within Part 4 of CEPA 1999 allow the Minister of the Environment to issue a “notice” to require designated persons to prepare, implement and report on pollution prevention (P2) plans for toxic substances. P2 Planning Notices provide the flexibility for industry to determine the best methods within their processes and activities to meet the risk management objective within the Notice. Further information on P2 planning is available online.
Active Pollution Prevention Planning Notices
During 2014-2015, there were five active P2 Planning Notices covering inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluent; polyurethane and other foam sector (except polystyrene)--toluene diisocyanates; cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl (siloxane D4) in industrial effluents; BPA; and synthetic rubber manufacturing--isoprene.
Polyurethane and other foam sector (except polystyrene)--toluene diisocyanates
In September 2014, Environment Canada published a performance report summarizing the information that has been reported by facilities for the second year of the implementation of the P2 notice.
Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates in products
In December 2014, Environment Canada published a final evaluation report summarizing the results that have been reported by the facilities subject to the P2 notice.
Environmental Performance Agreements
An Environmental Performance Agreement is negotiated around the key principles and design criteria outlined in Environment Canada’s Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements.
Active agreements include the Environmental Performance Agreement on production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons in Canada with E.I. DuPont Canada Company, the Environmental Performance Agreement respecting PFCAs and their precursors in perfluorinated products sold in Canada, the Refractory Ceramic Fibre Environmental Performance Agreement, and the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting Bisphenol A in Paper Recycling Mill Effluents.
Environmental Performance Agreement with the Vinyl Council of Canada and Participating Companies (with Vinyl Compounding Facilities)
Environment Canada, the Vinyl Council of Canada (an operating council of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association), and participating companies (with vinyl compounding facilities) entered into a new Environmental Performance Agreement 2015-2020 Respecting the Use of Tin Stabilizers in the Vinyl Industry. This agreement was signed on March 17, 2015, and it is available online. The objective of the agreement is to prevent the release of tin stabilizers into the environment through the full implementation of the Guideline for the Environmental Management of Tin Stabilizers in Canada, by all vinyl compounding facilities using tin stabilizers in Canada.
This new agreement replaces a former five-year agreement with the vinyl industry that was in place from 2008 to 2013. A Performance Summary Report, summarizing the results achieved under the former agreement was published in July 2014. During the time the former agreement was in effect, site verifications were conducted at each of the participating 33 facilities, all of which had fully implemented the guideline by the end of the agreement.
Environmental Quality Guidelines
Environmental quality guidelines provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment. They may be developed nationally through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) as Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CEQGs) or federally as Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs). Table 2 lists the CEQGs that are being developed nationally through the CCME in 2014-2015. During the same period, Environment Canada developed draft FEQGs for various CMP substances (Table 3).
|Environmental Compartment||In Progress|
Codes of Practice
The provisions within Part 3 of CEPA 1999 allow the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health to publish codes of practice. Codes of practice are voluntary instruments that identify recommended procedures and practices or environmental controls relating to works, undertakings and activities, including any subsequent monitoring activities with an objective of limiting releases of the substance(s) in question. These set out official national standards that companies and organizations should follow. Further information on codes of practice is available online.
On June 28, 2014, Health Canada published a Code of Practice for 2-Butanone, oxime (Butanone oxime) Associated with the Interior Application of Consumer Alkyd Paint and Coating Products in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The objective of the code of practice is to help reduce inhalation exposure to butanone oxime by the general public during and immediately following interior application of consumer alkyd paint and coating products.
The Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts, published in 2004, is designed to help municipalities and other road authorities to better manage their use of road salts in a way that reduces impacts on the environment while maintaining road safety. Environment Canada issued Performance Indicators and National Targets for the Code in December 2014. These indicators will allow better measurement of the implementation of best practices by the road authorities reporting under the Code.
On April 14, 2014, Environment Canada published a discussion document for a 60-day comment period, proposing a Code of Practice for the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds Emissions from the Use of Cutback and Emulsified Asphalt. The intent of the Code is to provide guidance to the asphalt sector regarding actions that can contribute to the reduction of VOC emissions in order to reduce health and environmental concerns in Canada while maintaining road safety.
A Code of Practice for the Management of Tetrabutyltin in Canada was published on November 5, 2011, for the purpose of managing potential releases of tetrabutyltin into the environment. During March 2013, for the purpose of confirming that the Code of Practice was being implemented, Environment Canada officials conducted a site visit to the only facility to which the Code of Practice applied. A Progress Report concerning this verification was published in May 2014, and it was concluded that the facility can be considered as having fully implemented all of the procedures and practices in the Code of Practice.
Significant New Activity Requirements
A Significant New Activity (SNAc) requirement can be applied to a substance so that any major changes in the way it is used are reported to the government. This ensures that departmental experts can evaluate whether a substance poses a new or increased risk to human health or the environment, and determine if risk management should be considered as a result of the new use.
In 2014-2015, no notices of intent to apply the SNAc provisions of CEPA 1999 or final orders were published.
Of the approximately 500 notifications for new substances that were assessed under CEPA 1999 in 2014-2015, the Minister issued 2 SNAc notices (Table 4) on new chemicals and polymers. Five SNAcs that had previously been in place for existing substances on the DSL were rescinded based on new information received (Table 5).
|Substance||Publication DateTable noteb|
|Poly[oxy(methyl-1,2-ethanediyl)], α, α’, α’’-1,2,3-propanetriyltris[ω-(oxiranylmethoxy)-, CAS Registry No. 37237-76-||September 24, 2014|
|9-decenamide, N, N-dimethyl-, CAS Registry No. 1356964-77-6||March 19, 2015|
|Substance||Publication DateTable notec|
|2-Naphthalenecarboxamide, N-(5-chloro-2,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-3-hydroxy- (CAS RN 92-72-8)||July 30, 2014|
|2-Naphthalenecarboxamide, N-(4-chloro-2-methylphenyl)-3-hydroxy- (CAS RN 92-76-2)||July 30, 2014|
|2-Naphthalenecarboxamide, N-(5-chloro-2-methylphenyl)-3-hydroxy- (CAS RN 135-63-7)||July 30, 2014|
|Butanamide, 2-[[3,3'-dichloro-4'-[[1-[[(2-chlorophenyl)amino]carbonyl]-2-oxopropyl]azo][1,1'-biphenyl]-4-yl]azo]-N-(2,4-dimethylphenyl)-3-oxo- (CAS RN 78952-70-2)||December 17, 2014|
|2H-Tetrazolium, 3,3'-(3,3'-dimethoxy[1,1' -biphenyl]-4,4'-diyl)bis[2,5-diphenyl-, dichloride (CAS RN 1871-22-3)||March 11, 2014|
Environment Canada and Health Canada are conducting a review of all SNAc notices and orders in force. Since publication of the first order in 2001, policies and practices have evolved, particularly with respect to the nature and scope of significant new activities, as well as the wording used to identify “significant new activities”. The review is being undertaken to ensure that everything is in step with current policies, including the Policy on the Use of Significant New Activity Provisions of CEPA 1999 (published in December 2013). SNAc notices and orders will be reviewed between 2014 and 2017 in groups of similar chemistry (e.g., nanomaterials) or common elements (e.g., notices and orders with consumer product references). SNAc review groups include:
- aromatic azo- and benzidine-based substances;
- new and existing substances with consumer product wording;
- high hazard substances, not in commerce substances; and
- remaining new and existing substances.
As a result of the review, SNAc notices or orders may be rescinded, amended or left unchanged. More information on the SNAc review is available online.
Conditions and Prohibitions on New Substances
Following notification, when the assessment of a new substance identifies a risk to human health or the environment, CEPA 1999 empowers the Minister of the Environment to intervene prior to or during the earliest stages of its introduction into Canada. In this case, there are three actions that may be taken. The Minister may:
- permit the manufacture or import of the substance subject to specified conditions; or
- prohibit the manufacture or import of the substance; or
- request additional information considered necessary for the purpose of assessment. The notifier shall not manufacture or import the substance until supplementary information or test results have been submitted and assessed.
If the Minister suspects that a SNAc in relation to the substance may result in the substance’s becoming “toxic,” a SNAc notice may be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for the substance. Please refer to the previous section for information on SNAc notices issued in 2014-2015.
Of 542 notifications received in 2014-2015, the Minister issued 5 Ministerial Conditions (Table 6), and no prohibitions.
|Substance||Publication DateTable noted|
|Oxirane, 2-methyl-, polymer with oxirane, mono-C11-14-alkyl ethers, branched, sulfates, sodium salts, CAS Registry No. 78355-51-8 (No. 17754)||April 19, 2014|
|Androsta-5, 16-dien-3-ol, 17-(3-pyridinyl)-, acetate (ester), (3β)-, CAS Registry No. 154229-18-2 (No. EAU-740)||July 12, 2014|
|Oxirane, 2-methyl-, polymer with oxirane, mono(hydrogen sulfate), alkyl ethers, sodium salts (No. 17718)||August 30, 2014|
|Cobalt bromide (CoBr2), CAS Registry No. 7789-43-7 (No. 17736) Amines, N,N,N’-trimethyl-N’-alkyltrimethylenedi, reaction products with sodium chloroacetate (No. 17160)||October 25, 2014|
|Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), α-[2-[tetrahydro-1 (2H)-pyrimidinyl) alkyl]-ω-hydroxy-, N-tallow alkyl derivs., di-Me sulfate-quaternized (No. 17799)||November 22, 2014|
Export Control List
Under Schedule 3 of CEPA 1999, the Export Control List (ECL) includes substances whose export from Canada is controlled because their use in Canada is prohibited or restricted, or because Canada has agreed, through an international agreement, such as the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention), to control their international trade and requires notification or consent of the country of destination before export. CEPA 1999 requires exporters to submit prior notice of export with respect to substances on the ECL. In 2014-2015, 89 export notices were submitted to the Minister of the Environment. Certain exports of substances on the ECL require an export permit. In 2014-2015, two permits were issued by the Minister of the Environment.
On January 28, 2015, the Ministers of the Environment and of Health published an order amending the ECL to move from one part of the ECL to another, two substances or groups of substances that have been added to the Rotterdam Convention.
|Substance or Group of Substances||Description|
|Azinphos-methyl (CAS 86-50-0)||Moved to Part 1 of the Export Control List (from Part 3)|
Perfluorooctane sulfonates, perfluorooctane sulfonamides and perfluorooctane sulfonyles, including:
|Moved to Part 2 of the Export Control List (from Part 3)|
2.2 Living Organisms
Products of biotechnology that are living organisms are regulated for health and safety purposes by a variety of federal departments and agencies across the government. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is an important regulator of crop plants and micro-organisms used in animal feeds, fertilizers and veterinary biologics. CEPA 1999 sets the federal standard for assessment and risk management of new and existing living organisms. Other Canadian legislation meeting this standard is listed in Schedule 4 of CEPA 1999. Living organisms imported or manufactured for a use regulated under one of those acts are exempted from the New Substances provisions in CEPA 1999. Living organisms manufactured or imported for a use not covered by existing federal legislation, are regulated under CEPA 1999. These include naturally occurring and genetically modified organisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and higher organisms) used for various environmental, industrial and commercial purposes.
CEPA 1999 established an assessment process for living organisms that are new animate products of biotechnology, which mirrors provisions in Part 5 of CEPA 1999 respecting new substances that are chemicals or polymers. In addition, paragraph 74(b) of the Act requires that all living organisms on the DSL (about 68 existing micro-organisms) undergo a screening assessment to determine whether the living organism is toxic or capable of becoming toxic.
Monitoring, Research and Risk Assessment Activities
Government research on living organisms focuses on determining hazardous characteristics and the pathogenicity potential of various biotechnology microbes in order to support screening assessments. The research is coordinated jointly with regulators at Health Canada and Environment Canada, and focuses mainly on micro-organisms on the CEPA 1999 DSL.
As the timeline for completing screening assessments of CEPA 1999 DSL micro-organisms was accelerated to March 2016 (originally set for March 2020), 2014-2015 research continued to focus on supporting the efficient screening assessment of these micro-organisms. This was done through application of rapid genomic methods for confirming micro-organism identity; by conducting organism-specific testing for determining potential pathogenicity characteristics; and by conducting exposure assays for toxicity assessment. Data summary reports were completed on several organisms, including fungi/yeast (Aspergillus, Saccharomyces, Candida) and bacteria (Bacillus, Delftia, Pseudomonas, Chaetomium and Sphingobium). Most of these results have already been incorporated in screening assessment reports as supporting data.
In addition, research continued on a number of subjects, including assessing the exposure effects of a mixture of micro-organisms (consortium) used for bioremediation of oil-contaminated soil and water, and detection of all microbial species within it; characterization of cleaning products that use micro-organisms as their active ingredients; animal models to identify opportunistic pathogens; and cell-based immunology/toxicology methods to reduce animal usage.
Risk Assessment of New Animate Products of Biotechnology
During 2014-2015, approximately 50 notifications were received and of those, 10 were accepted and assessed pursuant to the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms) for new animate products of biotechnology. The remaining notifications are still within the various stages of the assessment process. Environment Canada supported notifiers by providing advice on completing their notification dossiers.
Risk Assessment of Existing Animate Products of Biotechnology
Environment Canada and Health Canada jointly perform the screening assessment of micro-organisms listed on the DSL. In 2014-2015, draft screening assessments for 19 micro-organisms were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 60-day public comment period. The final screening assessment for four micro-organisms was also published in the Canada Gazette, Part I (see Table 8). Work continues on the remaining screening assessments for several other DSL micro-organisms of high and medium priority.
The Technical Expert Group, composed of independent scientific experts from academia, industry, public advocacy groups and other federal government departments, continued providing advice on the process and validating the scientific basis of screening assessments and their conclusions.
|Substances (and Number of Substances)||Meet s. 64 Criteria||Proposed Measure||Draft NoticeTable notee||Final NoticeTable note e|
|Aspergillus awamori and Aspergillus brasiliensis of Priority A (2 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||June 14, 2014||–|
|Enterobacter aerogenes of Priority A (1 micro-organism)||No||NFA||June 14, 2014||–|
|Pseudomonas stutzeri of Priority A (1 micro-organism)||No||NFA||July 19, 2014||January 24, 2015|
|DSL Bacillus licheniformis/ subtilis group of Priority A and B (11 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||January 28, 2015||–|
|Escherichia hermannii of Priority A (1 micro-organism)||No||NFA||January 28, 2015||–|
|Paenibacillus polymyxa of Priority B (3 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||January 24, 2015||–|
|Pseudomonas fluorescens||No||NFATable note f||December 7, 2013||February 14, 2015|
|Micro-organisms in Lot 2 of Priority C (2 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||December 7, 2013||February 14, 2015|
Risk Management Activities
Significant New Activity Requirements
In 2014-2015, a notice of intent to apply the SNAc provisions was published for one existing living organism (Table 9).
|Assessment||Substances or Number of Substances||Notice of IntentTable noteg||Final OrderTable noteg|
|Pseudomonas fluorescens||1 substance||February 14, 2015||Pending|
In 2014-2015, no new living organisms were subjected to a SNAc Notice. No new living organisms were subjected to Ministerial Conditions or Ministerial Prohibition.
2.3 Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases
Air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) originate from numerous domestic sources, such as industry and transportation, as well as transboundary transport of air pollution from other countries.
Monitoring, Research and Risk Assessment Activities
Monitoring and reporting activities are important for identifying and tracking levels and trends related to air pollutants that impact both the environment and human health.
In Canada, atmospheric monitoring is carried out through partnerships and/or collaborations between the provincial, territorial and federal governments. Due to the fact that atmospheric issues such as intercontinental transport of air pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer are global concerns and in many instances require global solutions, partnerships and collaboration with international organizations and agencies are essential.
Ambient (outdoor) air quality monitoring provides the foundation for air quality management in Canada, including the evaluation of progress relative to the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (see below), for health research, for validation of numerical air quality prediction models, for evaluating the benefits of control measures and for assessments of the impact of air pollution on Canadians and the environment.
In 2014-2015, ambient air quality monitoring continued under the National Air Pollution Surveillance and the Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring networks.
The Canadian Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Program includes observations of carbon dioxide and other GHGs from 15 long-term measurement sites across Canada (see Figure 2).
Description of Figure 2
Canada's GHG monitoring is part of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Program. Environment Canada's Long Term Greenhouse Gas sites are located in: Alert, Inuvik, Churchill, Behohoko, Lac Labiche, Estevan Pt., Abbotsford, Esther, Bratts Lake, East Trout Lake, Chibougamau, Fraserdale, CARE Egbert, Toronto, Sable Island.
Environment Canada makes its atmospheric monitoring data available to the public on national (e.g., Government of Canada Open Data Portal) and international (e.g., World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Data Centre for GHGs) databases.
More information about monitoring activities is available online.
Air quality research efforts help quantify priority air pollutants and determine trends, improve and validate air quality predictions both in the near term and into the future within the national and global context, as well as enhance understanding of the impacts of air pollutant sources on Canadians and the environment.
Environment Canada scientists published more than 150 research papers related to air pollutants and GHGs in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Environmental research topics included satellite measurements of emissions; development and validation of high-resolution air quality forecasting models; the carbon cycle in the Earth system; and engine or traffic emissions (furthering understanding of sources and impacts).
Ongoing research by Environment Canada continued on a wide range of air pollution and GHG topics, including development of a better method to model dry deposition of atmospheric particles; characterization and measurement of atmospheric aerosols; GHG sources and sinks; transport and deposition of ammonia and mercury; understanding and predicting air quality at high resolution in airsheds of particular interest from an environmental perspective (e.g., urban); conducting on-board measurements of exhaust emissions from vessels carrying cargo to northern communities; understanding the impact of specific emissions sources on air quality; renewable fuels operation in cold temperature; and non-criteria exhaust emissions from new engine technologies.
Environment Canada scientists also led or contributed to the development and publication of the Environment Canada and Health Canada Canadian Smog Science Assessment, the World Meteorological Organization global assessment of global precipitation chemistry and deposition, and the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Environment Programme Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.
Health Canada conducts research and assesses the health risks of indoor and outdoor air pollutants. Departmental scientists published more than 40 air pollution research papers in 2014-2015. Several new research projects were initiated by Health Canada in 2014-2015 on topics including susceptibility to air pollution among the elderly; development of allergies in children; the relationship between short-term exposure to air pollutants and hospitalizations/mortalities due to cardiovascular diseases (e.g., stroke); and the effect of air pollution on metabolic functions related to neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
Ongoing research by Health Canada continued on a wide range of air pollution topics, including health impacts of short- and long-term exposure to air pollutants from a variety of sources; the effectiveness of the Air Quality Health Index in small towns and rural areas; levels of semi-volatile organic compounds indoors in residences; and infiltration of air pollutants into residences and schools.
Research studies also supported the development of air pollution information tools; the Air Quality Health Index; Canada’s platform for air quality forecasts; the Air Health Indicator, which tracks air quality and health trends over time; and the Air Quality Benefits Assessment Tool, which is used to quantify and monetize air pollution health impacts for standard testing, regulatory impact assessments and other purposes. Research continued in support of Health Canada’s program to reduce the exposure of Canadians to radon.
Risk Management Activities
The Air Quality Management System (AQMS), implemented by federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers in 2012, supports a comprehensive approach to reducing air pollution in Canada. Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards are the driver for air quality management under AQMS. Environment Canada and Health Canada have established standards for fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone, two pollutants of major concern to human health and the major components of smog. Government officials worked on standards for sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in 2014-2015.
In 2014-2015, Canada continued to take a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce GHG emissions.
Environment Canada has implemented six vehicle and engine regulations and nine fuel regulations under CEPA 1999.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations
In October 2014, Environment Canada published the Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations for model year 2017 and beyond. These regulations build on the previous regulations for 2011-2016 model years and are aligned with U.S. regulations. In addition, the Department published a Notice of Intent to develop more stringent standards to further reduce GHG emissions from post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles and engines. These would build on the existing Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine GHG Emission Regulations for 2014-2018 model years.
Air Pollutant Emissions Regulations
The first air pollutant emission regulations for vehicles and engines were published under CEPA 1999 in 2003. The On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations were aligned with U.S. standards and applied to a variety of vehicles, including passenger cars, vans, pick-up trucks, buses and motorcycles. Since then, Environment Canada has published regulations covering many classes of vehicles and engines in the off-road sector, such as tractors, small marine engines, recreational vehicles, chainsaws and lawnmowers. These regulations are periodically amended to introduce more stringent standards and to align with the U.S.
Environment Canada has nine fuels-related regulations, containing various standards such as requirements for renewable content of fuels; limits on lead, benzene and sulphur in gasoline and on sulphur in diesel fuel; prohibitions on the import and export of contaminated fuels; and limits on the rate of gasoline dispensed into vehicles to reduce emissions of VOCs during refueling. These regulations are also periodically updated.
More information on Environment Canada’s vehicle, engine and fuel regulations is available online.
Regulatory Administration of the Transportation Regulations
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada processed almost 650 Canada-unique submissions, over 900 importation declarations, and over 260 annual and end-of-model-year reports. Additionally, the Department received reports of emissions defects covering over 520 000 vehicles and engines.
Additionally, the Department responds to inquiries from regulatees and prospective regulatees. During 2014-2015, Environment Canada responded to over 1400 inquiries regarding these regulations.
Environment Canada also conducts testing on vehicles and engines to verify compliance with the regulations. In 2014-2015, the Department conducted 84 rounds of testing.
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada continued to take a phased-in approach to implement the air pollutant emission requirements for industrial sources. The proposed Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on June 7, 2014. They set emissions limits for industrial boilers and heaters, stationary spark-ignition engines, and kilns used in cement manufacturing facilities. In addition, Environment Canada published, on June 14, 2014, the Draft Code of Practice to Reduce Emissions of Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) from the Primary Aluminum Sector, and the Draft Code of Practice to Reduce Fugitive Emissions of Total Particulate Matter and Volatile Organic Compounds from the Iron, Steel and Ilmenite Sector.
In 2014-2015, one P2 Planning Notice relating to air pollution continued to be active, covering base metal smelters and refineries, and zinc plants. Information about the notice and performance results is available online.
The Environmental Performance Agreement with Rio Tinto Alcan concerning air emissions of PAHs ended in December 2014. A final public report will be published by Environment Canada by the end of the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Information about the agreement and updates is available online.
Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
The Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines summarize the health risks posed by specific indoor pollutants, based on a review of the best scientific information available at the time of the assessment. They summarize the known health effects, detail the indoor sources and provide a recommended exposure level below which health effects are unlikely to occur. When it is not feasible to establish a numeric guideline, guidance documents are developed. Both guideline and guidance documents provide recommendations on strategies to reduce exposure to pollutants.
In 2014-2015, the Minister of Health published a proposed residential indoor air quality guideline for nitrogen dioxide in the Canada Gazette, Part I on January 17, 2015.
2.4 Water Quality
Water quality is affected in many ways, including by nature's own patterns. The water quality of rivers and lakes changes with the seasons and geographic areas, even when there is no pollution present. It is also affected by human development, including disposal of human wastes, animal wastes and chemical substances into the environment.
Water quality is a shared responsibility with provinces and territories. The federal government addresses water quality under various statutes including the Fisheries Act. Work on water quality under CEPA 1999 includes scientific research, monitoring and leadership on the development of guidelines for water quality.
The influence and relationship between international legal instruments and Canadian water standards
Since June 2012, Canada has officially recognized the right to access safe drinking water and sanitation as being an implicit human right under the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, under the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, the recent UN Resolution on the Law on Transboundary Aquifers, and numerous regional and bilateral agreements on water quality and quantity management. This newly recognized human right is binding on Canada as a member party to that covenant. The international standard established under the World Health Organization (WHO) for minimum quality and access to safe drinking water and sanitation was adopted many years ago by the WHO based on Canadian standards.
Canadian water quality standards and norms are and will be increasingly influenced and driven by international and regional legal instruments.
Monitoring, Research and Risk Assessment Activities
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada’s Fresh Water Quality Monitoring program implemented the risk-based approach in conjunction with statistical power analyses to better evaluate the risks of contaminants and human activities in Canadian watersheds. The approach is being used to optimize monitoring locations and adjust monitoring frequencies relative to the environmental risks and to inform on changes in environmental condition. Environment Canada, in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, published monitoring data demonstrating the results of the provincial ban on cosmetic use of pesticides.
In addition to data collection and reporting on a wide range of environmental issues, monitoring efforts in 2014-2015 included continued upgrades to monitoring technologies and improved data reporting and database infrastructure.
In 2014-2015, Health Canada completed research to develop new or improved methods for measuring disinfection by-products of emerging concern in drinking water (cyanogen bromide, haloacetamides, N-nitrosodimethylamine and nitrosamines and cyanogen chloride). This work improves analytical capability and relevance in view of future drinking water disinfection by-products surveys. Work was completed and published on a 2013-2014 analysis of disinfection by-products from source waters containing nano-silver, and results were used to inform the World Health Organization Water Quality and Health Joint Expert Meeting. Participation continues on the VOCs in tap water component to Canada Health Measures Survey Cycle 4, and further method development was initiated for ground water testing of contaminants potentially associated with shale gas production, including VOC and semivolatile (SVOC) aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs and alkylphenols.
More information about monitoring activities is available online.
Both Health Canada and Environment Canada continued their water quality research activities. Health Canada conducts research on drinking water quality in support of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Environment Canada’s research included method development for analytes in wastewater treatment plant influent and effluent; assessing the environmental fate of azo benzidine compounds and their transformation products; investigating organophosphorus flame retardants in a variety of environmental compartments; biotoxins identification in algal blooms in the St. Lawrence River; analytical methods development for the identification of degradation products from pharmaceuticals in surface waters; multiple biological impacts of municipal effluents on wild fish in the St. Lawrence River; and assessing bioaccumulation and toxicity of dysprosium and palladium under varying water quality parameters.
Two new tools are also being developed to support data accessibility for inorganic compounds identified as priorities for the CMP between 2016 and 2020, including databases and worksheets for risk assessment groups. The first database is in the process of being adapted for use in the appropriate regulatory areas.
Risk Management Activities
In addition to the activities listed below, risk management actions included in section 2.1 on toxic substances also contribute to the overall improvement of water quality.
Drinking Water Quality Guidelines
Health Canada works in collaboration with the provinces and territories to develop the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Qualityand their technical documents. Priorities for developing guidelines are also established in consultation with the provinces and territories and are based on a WHO and national perspectives.
Health-based guideline values are developed for drinking water contaminants that are found or expected to be found in drinking water supplies across Canada at levels that could lead to adverse health effects.
Guidance documents are also developed in relation to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Qualityto provide general operational or management guidance related to specific drinking water issues (such as boil-water advisories) or to make risk assessment information available when a guideline is not deemed necessary (such as potassium from water softeners).
The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality are used by all provinces and territories as a basis to establish their own regulatory requirements regarding the quality of drinking water in their jurisdictions.
Table 10 lists the guidelines that were completed or in progress in 2014-2015.
|Finalized – Publication Pending||In Progress|
Waste generally refers to any material, non-hazardous or hazardous, that has no further use, and which is managed at recycling, processing or disposal sites or facilities.
In Canada, the responsibility for managing and reducing waste is shared among the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Municipal governments are responsible for collecting and managing waste from homes for recycling, composting and disposal, while provincial and territorial authorities are responsible for the approval, licensing and monitoring of waste management operations.
For its part, Environment Canada exercises responsibilities with respect to international and interprovincial movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material and disposal at sea.
Monitoring, Research and Risk Assessment Activities
Disposal at Sea Site Monitoring Program
As required by CEPA 1999, representative disposal at sea sites are monitored to verify that permit conditions are met, and that scientific assumptions made during the permit review and site selection process are correct and sufficient to protect the marine environment. By monitoring disposal sites, Environment Canada is able to verify that the permitting of disposal is sustainable and that permit holders can have continued access to suitable sites. Where monitoring indicates a problem or where the site has reached its capacity over time, management action in the form of closing, moving or altering the site use can occur.
In 2014-2015, monitoring projects were completed at 11 ocean disposal sites nationally (or 13% of actively used sites).
Environment Canada’s Pacific and Yukon Region undertook monitoring at the Sand Heads disposal site in British Columbia in June 2014. Sediment sampling and analysis was carried out to look at the physical, chemical and biological conditions at the site. Results are being processed and analyzed. Two disposal at sea sites, Brown Passage and Coast Island, were monitored in October 2014, Brown Passage and Coast Island using sediment profile imaging technology to look at biological activity at the sites. In addition, surficial sediment samples were collected for analysis for trace metals, PAHs, PCBs, particle size, moisture, total organic nutrients and total organic carbon. Analysis of the surficial sediment chemistry is ongoing but the sediment profile image analysis is complete and shows that at the Coast Island site there is evidence of high faunal activity and further data analysis is required. At the Brown Passage site, results indicate the site is successfully recolonized by benthic invertebrates and that benthic community health is similar to ambient stations throughout the survey area.
The final results will support Environment Canada in disposal site management and will contribute to a better understanding of the potential effects related to disposal activities both at the disposal sites and adjacent areas.
Environment Canada’s Quebec Region conducted hydro-acoustic surveys at four disposal at sea sites in the Madeleine Islands, Quebec: Depot D and Depot E, which are both situated in the Grande-Entrée sector, and L’Île-d’Entrée and Pointe-Basse, two frequently used sites. The hydro-acoustic survey at Depot D allowed Environment Canada to confirm that the site has remained very stable since its closure in 2002, that erosion of material off the site was relatively slow and that the sediments that had been disposed of at the site remained in place. The survey results from Depot E and at the Pointe-Basse site will be used to determine if the disposal activities were carried out in accordance with the conditions of the disposal at sea permits issued, in particular with respect to the location of disposal and the quantities disposed. Finally, the survey done at L’Île-d’Entrée allowed Environment Canada to determine the capacity of the disposal site and confirmed that this site has capacity to receive additional dredged material for another five years.
In 2014-2015, monitoring in the Quebec Region confirmed that no remedial management actions were needed at any of the sites monitored.
Environment Canada’s Atlantic Region conducted monitoring at four disposal sites in 2014-2015. This included a post-disposal bathymetric survey at a dredged material disposal site in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, a post-disposal multi-beam sonar survey at the Bull Arm fabrication facility dredged material disposal site in Newfoundland and Labrador, a remote sensing survey of the dredged material disposal site and surrounding area in Tabusintac Bay, New Brunswick, and chemical characterization of surficial sediments at the Black Point dredge material disposal site in Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick.
The post-disposal surveys were conducted primarily for compliance purposes, with results demonstrating consistency with permit requirements. The remote sensing survey was a collaborative effort led by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to monitor changes in submerged aquatic vegetation in Tabusintac Bay with a focus on the dredge and disposal area. The chemical characterization at Black Point, which included analyses for PCBs, PAHs, metals, particle size and total organic carbon, was conducted to better understand long-term environmental monitoring needs at one of the largest and most frequently used disposal sites in Eastern Canada.
Risk Management Activities
In addition to the activities listed below, risk management actions described in section 2.1 on toxic substances also contribute to the overall improvement of waste management.
Controlling the Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material
CEPA 1999 provides authority to make regulations governing the export, import and transit of waste (including both hazardous and prescribed non-hazardous waste) and hazardous recyclable materials. It also provides authority to establish criteria for refusing an export, import or transit permit, should the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material not be managed in a manner that will protect the environment and human health.
Canada implements its international obligations as a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Decision on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations, and the Canada–United States Agreement on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) and the PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996.
In 2014,Footnote 2 Environment Canada processed more than 2 300 notices for proposed imports, exports and transits of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials under the EIHWHRMR. The notices received covered 20 338 waste streams, which exhibited a range of hazardous properties such as being flammable, acutely toxic, oxidizing, corrosive, dangerously reactive and environmentally hazardous. Approximately 39 500 individual transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material were reported in movement documents received by Environment Canada.
Almost all imports (99.8%) and exports (97.5%) of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials occurred between Canada and the United States. The hazardous recyclable materials that were not exported to the United States went to Belgium, Germany, Mexico and Republic of Korea.
The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material imported into Canada was 380 362 tonnes (t) in 2014. This represents a decrease of 57 000 t or 13% less than the total 2013 import quantity. Shipments destined for recycling totalled 221 354 t and represented about 58% of all imports in 2014. Hazardous recyclable material imported into Canada in greater quantities were batteries filled with acid, waste liquors from the pickling of metals, hydraulic fluids that contain metals, and wastes having metals or metal carbonyl as constituents. Hazardous wastes imported in greater quantities included wastes having metals or metal carbonyl as constituents, waste containing halogenated organic solvents, and wastes that contain or are contaminated with cyanides.
The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials exported was 531 209 t in 2014. This represents an increase of approximately 15 000 t or 3% from the 2013 figure. Shipments exported for recycling totalled 436 608 t and represented about 82% of all exports in 2014. Spent sulphuric acid, by-product from aluminum smelter, treated cork and wood wastes, wastes from oil/water or hydrocarbon/water mixtures, and lead-acid batteries made up the majority of hazardous recyclable material exported abroad for recycling. Hazardous wastes exported in greater quantities included waste from oil/water or hydrocarbon/water mixtures, waste acidic or basic solutions, spent sulphuric acid and corrosive liquid acid.
Imports of hazardous recyclable materials in 2014 were shipped to five provinces: New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Except for New Brunswick, all of these provinces also received waste for final disposal.
Exports of hazardous recyclable materials in 2014 originated from eight provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Exports of hazardous wastes for final disposal also originated from these same provinces, except for Saskatchewan.
Tables 11 and 12 list the quantities imported and exported from 2005 to 2014.
|Recyclables||174 983||164 903||237 141||262 337||221 778||217 663||243 491||243 434||245 110||221 354|
|Total imports||476 416||408 839||497 890||532 727||490 169||364 162||394 786||345 230||435 951||380 362|
|Recyclables||226 380||374 024||358 896||365 468||315 631||357 627||374 207||413 614||422 388||436 608|
|Total exports||327 746||474 538||460 497||482 680||420 865||428 367||460 707||505 461||516 174||531 209|
Please note that data are revised periodically as new information becomes available. Therefore, information presented here may differ from information published in other reports.
Disposal at Sea
Under CEPA 1999, most types of disposal of waste at sea in areas of the sea within Canadian jurisdiction and by Canadian ships in Canadian jurisdiction and in international waters requires a permit issued by Environment Canada.
The CEPA 1999 disposal at sea rules implement the London Convention and the Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter. A permit for disposal at sea will generally be issued only if it is the environmentally preferable and practical option. CEPA 1999 provides additional controls on disposal at sea, including:
- a prohibition on the export of a substance for disposal in an area of the sea under the jurisdiction of a foreign state or in its internal waters;
- a list of six substances for which a disposal at sea permit can be obtained (Schedule 5 of CEPA 1999);
- an assessment framework for reviewing permit applications based on the precautionary principle, which must be followed (Schedule 6 of CEPA 1999); and
- a statutory obligation to monitor selected sites.
Further information on disposal at sea is available online.
Canada and other parties to the London Convention and Protocol have been working to reduce barriers to compliance with the treaty. Workshops, guidance and technical assistance are offered to countries to aid their acceding to the London Protocol or to coming into compliance with it. In 2014, Canada was elected to the Compliance Group, a small sub-group of the London Protocol, which is responsible for encouraging and supporting compliance and ratification of the treaty. A correspondence group led by Canada and Germany is also looking at what is preventing countries from ratifying and what strategies could be used to address those issues.
Canada participates actively in the development of international guidance relevant to disposal at sea. Current projects include developing guidance on action levels for organic waste disposal, a low-tech compliance monitoring document, as well as continuing work on best practices for disposal related to offshore mining wastes. A desktop review of the data supporting the continued ban of the disposal of radioactive waste at sea began in November 2014.
In 2013, an amendment to the London Protocol was adopted to further regulate ocean fertilization and create the ability to address other forms of marine geo-engineering in the future, where there is potential to cause harm to the marine environment. Canada is continuing to look at ratifying the amendment to ensure domestic consistency with the London Protocol within the next few years.
Disposal at Sea Permits
In 2014-2015, 90 permits were issued in Canada for the disposal of 7 million tonnes of waste and other matter (tables 13 and table14), compared with 84 permits for the disposal of 5.8 million tonnes in 2013-2014. Most of the material permitted for disposal was dredged material that was removed from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. Also permitted was excavated native till (geological matter) that is disposed of at sea in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where on-land disposal options for clean fill are extremely limited. Fish-processing waste is also permitted in remote communities where there is no access to reuse-and-recycling opportunities.
|Material||Quantity Permitted||Permits Issued|
5 401 500Table noteh
1 508 000Table noteh
6 979 395
|Material||Atlantic: Quantity Permitted||Atlantic: Permits Issued||Quebec: Quantity Permitted||Quebec: Permits Issued||Prairie and Northern: Quantity Permitted||Prairie and Northern: Permits Issued||Pacific and Yukon: Quantity Permitted||Pacific and Yukon: Permits Issued|
|Dredged materialTable notei|
1 350 700
3 913 000
|Geological matterTable notei|
1 183 000
1 744 445
5 096 000
As demonstrated in figures 3 and 4 below, the number of permits issued has been consistent over the last 10 years, while the quantities permitted have increased, which may be due to infrastructure spending in support of ports and port infrastructure, and new major projects with marine terminal project elements.
Long description of Figure 3
See Table 14 for details.
Long description of Figure 4
See Table 13 for details.
2.6 Environmental Emergencies
Part 8 of CEPA 1999 addresses the prevention of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental releases into the environment of substances that pose potential or immediate harm to the environment or danger to human life or health.
Part 8 provides the authority, among other things, for making regulations, guidelines and codes of practice. Part 8 also establishes a regime that makes the person who owns or has the charge, management or control of such a substance liable for restoring the damaged environment and for the costs and expenses incurred in responding to an environmental emergency.
The Environmental Emergency Regulations (referred to as the E2 Regulations) are made under Part 8 of CEPA 1999. The Regulationsrequire any person responsible for quantities, as specified in the Regulations, for substances listed in the Regulations, located at a place in Canada, to notify the Minister of the Environment in respect of those quantities and to prepare, document, implement, exercise and update an environmental emergency plan (E2 plan) for the place where the substance is located, if the maximum expected quantity of the substance or the maximum capacity of the largest container for the substance is equal to or greater than the regulated threshold quantity for the substance.
The Environmental Emergencies website includes implementation guidelines for E2 plans, a common issues section and online notice filing. The website also provides public access to a database containing basic information about persons or places (e.g., company names and addresses) that are subject to the Regulations.
As of March 31, 2015, approximately 4700 regulatees had filed Notices Regarding the Identification of Substance and Place under the E2 Regulations. Of these regulatees, approximately 3000 were required to prepare E2 plans. The 7 most commonly identified substances are propane, anhydrous ammonia, butane, pentane, gasoline, hydrochloric acid and chlorine.
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada regional activities associated with the implementation of the E2 Regulations included hosting workshops, conducting site visits and delivering presentations for the regulated community, covering prevention, preparedness, and response and recovery aspects for propane, tetrachloroethylene and ammonia, among other substances. Joint inspections were conducted in preparation for the Pan American Games that took place in Toronto, Ontario, during the summer of 2015. Other themed workshops addressed E2 Regulations requirements, E2 plan content and exercise design.
Environment Canada conducted public consultations in 2014-2015 in preparation for potential regulatory amendments to the E2 Regulations. At the end of the 30-day consultation period, Environment Canada had received 700 individual comments through the online feedback form as well as 40 written submissions on a number of potential amendments related to improving the protection of the environment and human health, improving the clarity and effectiveness of the E2 Regulations, and harmonizing the E2 Regulations with existing laws and regulations. Several parties participated in the consultation process, including current regulatees; potential regulatees; representatives from other federal departments; provincial, territorial and municipal governments; industry and their associations; Aboriginal communities; and citizens. The comments received helped to identify areas needing more clarification and areas of concern for interested and affected parties.
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