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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report for April 2014 to March 2015
3 Administration, Public Participation and Reporting
3.1 Federal, Provincial, Territorial Cooperation
Part 1 of CEPA 1999 requires the Ministers to establish the National Advisory Committee, composed of one representative for the federal Minister of the Environment and one for the federal Minister of Health, representatives from each province and territory, and not more than six representatives of Aboriginal governments from across Canada.
Part 1 also allows the Minister of the Environment to negotiate an agreement with a provincial or territorial government, or an Aboriginal people, with respect to the administration of the Act. It also allows for equivalency agreements, which allow the Governor in Council to suspend the application of federal regulations in a province or territory that has equivalent regulatory provisions. The intent of an equivalency agreement is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations.
National Advisory Committee
The National Advisory Committee provides a forum for provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments to advise the Ministers on certain actions being proposed under the Act, enables national cooperative action, and seeks to avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The committee is provided opportunities to advise and comment on initiatives under the Act.
To carry out its duties in 2014-2015, the CEPA National Advisory Committee (NAC) held two teleconference meetings, and the NAC Secretariat corresponded regularly with committee members regarding various initiatives implemented under CEPA 1999. These initiatives included opportunities to comment on and be informed of:
- various risk assessment activities under the CMP, including:
- the publication of 21 draft screening assessments which included over 1000 chemical substances and approximately 20 living organisms, and
- the publication of 14 final screening assessments which included over 160 chemical substances and 4 living organisms.
- notices of intent to apply SNAc provisions to various substances;
- National Pollutant Release Inventory Reporting Requirements;
- proposed regulations dealing with issues such as vehicle and engine emission limits, products containing mercury, air pollutant release limits, PCBs, chromium, fuels and storage tank systems;
- proposed codes of practice for addressing halocarbons, fine particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds; and
- proposed federal environmental quality guidelines.
Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem
Since 1971, Canada and Ontario have worked together through the Canada–Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. This agreement guides the efforts of Canada and Ontario in achieving a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Great Lakes Basin ecosystem for present and future generations, and is an important mechanism for implementing Canada’s obligations under the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012, which amended the Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
In 2014-2015, Canada and Ontario continued to collaborate on work to protect and restore the Great Lakes while finalizing negotiations on a new, expanded agreement. On December 18, 2014, the new Canada–Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health (COA) came into effect. This new COA focuses on a number of priorities that are important to the restoration and protection of Great Lakes water quality, and it is aligned to meet the commitments outlined in the Canada–U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol of 2012.
In recognition of the commitments related to Harmful Pollutants under the new COA, a draft report was completed summarizing past and current research, monitoring and risk management activities and achievements on chemicals identified as Tier I and Tier II under previous Canada–Ontario agreements. Results of this report may inform future nominations for Chemicals of Concern under the Harmful Pollutants Annex.
In addition, during 2014-2015, a range of chemical risk management initiatives were delivered under the CMP, as described elsewhere in this report, that supported implementation of the draft Harmful Pollutants Annex Goals under the new COA. These included continuing efforts towards the sound management of chemicals in the Great Lakes through the reduction of releases and the enhancement of knowledge to mitigate risk.
Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Quebec
Memoranda of Understanding and/or Administrative Agreements concerning the pulp and paper sector have been in place between Quebec and the Government of Canada since 1994. The parties currently cooperate through a Memorandum of Understanding for data collection that is in effect until March 2015, whereby Quebec continues to provide a single data-entry portal for regulatees for the following federal regulations:
- Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations made pursuant to CEPA 1999;
- Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations made pursuant to CEPA 1999; and
- Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act.
During this reporting period, reports produced by 42 pulp and paper facilities in Quebec were examined to verify that the facilities were in compliance with the applicable regulations.
Canada–Nova Scotia Equivalency Agreement
In June 2014, the Minister of the Environment entered into an equivalency agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia with regard to the federal Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation Electricity Regulations. The agreement indicates that the provincial GHG emissions cap on electricity producers would achieve the same or better effects than the federal regulation. In accordance with the five-year term limit in CEPA 1999, the agreement is set to terminate at the end of 2019.
Further to this agreement, the Governor in Council adopted an order suspending the application of the federal regulation in Nova Scotia. The final order was published in December 2014 and took effect in July 2015.
Information reported by the province under the Agreement is expected to be received each year starting in 2016. This information will be used to report on the administration of the agreement in the future.
Canada–Alberta Equivalency Agreement
As a result of the 1994 Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances, the following CEPA 1999 regulations, or parts thereof, do not apply in Alberta:
- Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations (all sections);
- Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations [4(1), 6(2), 6(3)(b), 7 and 9];
- Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations (all sections); and
- Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (all sections).
There are no longer any operating vinyl chloride plants or lead smelters in Alberta, and therefore there are no compliance issues to report under the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 or the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations.
Alberta Environment indicated that, in 2014-2015, there were no reported violations by the four pulp and paper mills regulated under the provincial pulp and paper regulations.
The 1969 Master Agreement on Apportionment
The Master Agreement on Apportionment (MAA), signed in 1969, is an intergovernmental agreement related to water management between Canada and the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The MAA governs the apportionment and protection of interprovincial waters. The Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB) is an interjurisdictional body established under the MAA. The PPWB is accountable to the Parties for administrating the MAA and reporting to the parties on the achievement of objectives established under the MAA.
In 2014-2015, the governments began negotiations to revise the MAA by adding amendments to the Agreement itself, Schedule C and an additional Schedule on Transboundary Aquifers as Schedule F. Schedule F will set out the principles for cooperative management of interprovincial groundwater resources shared by Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and it will include consideration of issues related to both groundwater quantity and quality. Schedule F is anticipated to be finalized in 2016.
Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreements
Federal, provincial and territorial laws require, in most cases, notification of the same environmental emergency or environmental occurrence, such as an oil or chemical spill. To reduce duplication of effort, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada entered into environmental occurrences notification agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
These notification agreements are supported by the Release and Environmental Emergency Notification Regulations under CEPA 1999 and the Deposit out of the Normal Course of Events Notification Regulations under the Fisheries Act.
The purpose of the notification agreements is to establish a streamlined notification system for persons required to notify federal and provincial/territorial governments of an environmental emergency or environmental occurrence. Under these notification agreements, 24-hour authorities operating for the provinces and territories receive notifications of environmental emergencies or environmental occurrences, on behalf of Environment Canada, and transfer this information to the Department.
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada continued to work with provincial and territorial counterparts to implement the notification agreements. This work included the establishment of management committees and the development of standard operating procedures for the collection and processing of notifications of environmental occurrences. Further, Environment Canada initiated discussions with the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Yukon to review the notification agreements with a view to renewing them for another five years.
3.2 Public Participation
CEPA Environmental Registry
Part 2 of CEPA 1999 provides for the establishment of an environmental registry, whistleblower protection, and the right of an individual to request an investigation and pursue court action.
The CEPA Environmental Registry was launched on Environment Canada’s website when the Act came into force on March 31, 2000. Since that time, ongoing efforts have been made to increase the Registry’s reliability and ease of use. The Registry encompasses thousands of CEPA-related documents and references. It has become a primary source of environmental information for the public and private sectors, both nationally and internationally, and has been used as a source of information in university and college curricula.
From April 2014 to March 2015, the CEPA Registry website had 238 167 visits, making it the third-largest area visited on the Environment Canada website, after Weather and Ice. There were approximately 250 public enquiries made concerning CEPA 1999 in the last fiscal year. These requests were related to information on various substances, regulations, permits and enforcement.
During 2014-2015, there were 49 opportunities posted on the Environmental Registry for stakeholders and the public to consult.
Public consultations are available on the CEPA Registry.
The CMP Stakeholder Advisory Council met twice in 2014-2015. The purpose of the council is to get stakeholder input on the implementation of the CMP, and to foster dialogue on issues pertaining to the CMP between stakeholders and government, and among different stakeholder groups. Issues may include risk assessment, risk management, risk communications, monitoring, research, indicators of success, chemical policy and other cross-cutting integrated activities. Some examples of topics that were discussed in 2014-2015 include alternatives assessment; findings of the DSL IU; update on work carried out under the Regulatory Cooperation Council and under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management; and the CMP Stakeholder Engagement and Public Outreach Framework.
The CMP Science Committee held its second meeting in Ottawa on November 4-5, 2014. The Science Committee ensures a strong science foundation to CMP by providing external, scientific expertise to Health Canada and Environment Canada on scientific issues. The terms of reference for the committee were endorsed at the meeting, and members were asked to provide input on best practices in screening assessment reports under the CMP. Members engaged in constructive discussions as they continued developing the committee’s scientific input for the Government of Canada. Next steps were also identified for formulating the committee report.
Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse
Part 4 of CEPA 1999 provides the authority for the establishment of a national pollution prevention information clearinghouse to facilitate the collection, exchange and distribution of information regarding pollution prevention.
The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (CPPIC) is a public website that provides Canadians with links to over 1 400 resources containing comprehensive information and tools from Canada and around the world to strengthen their capacity to prevent pollution. In 2014-2015, 105 new records were added to the clearinghouse. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of the new records are Canadian, and 11% are bilingual. Fifty percent (50%) of new records are applicable to manufacturing sectors, while another 23% are applicable to private households. Overall, CPPIC records were viewed just over 54 000 times in 2014-2015, a 23% increase over the previous year’s views.
State of the Environment Reporting
The Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program provides data and information to track Canada’s performance on key environmental sustainability issues including climate changes and air quality, water quality and availability, and protecting nature. It conveys the state of Canada’s environment in a straightforward and transparent manner. CESI is used to inform citizens and Parliamentarians about current environmental status and trends, and provide policy makers and researchers with comprehensive, unbiased and authoritative information about key environmental issues. The indicators are also the prime vehicle used to measure and report on the progress towards the goals and targets of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, which provides a whole-of-government view of environmental priorities at the federal level, with goals, targets, and implementation strategies.
The indicators are designed to be relevant to the government’s policy priorities and to the public, useful and easily understood by decision makers and the public, and based on solid methodology that allows for comparison over time. CESI also ensures that the national, regional, local and international trends are readily accessible and presented through the use of graphics, explanatory text and interactive maps through which users can drill down for local data.
The indicators are prepared by Environment Canada with the support of other federal departments, including Health Canada, Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as relevant provincial and territorial counterparts. The high-quality data used to calculate indicators originate from a variety of sources, including surveys, measurement networks and other research initiatives that are expected to be maintained and updated for the foreseeable future. Through close collaboration with science and data experts across the federal government, CESI provides results and information on key issues including air quality, water quality, toxic substances and exposure to substances of concern.
The indicators are published on the CESI website, showing national and regional results along with the methodology explaining each indicator and links to related socio-economic issues and information.
In 2014-2015, the PBDEs in fish and sediments CESI indicators report was updated. Environmental concentrations were compared with Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines for fish and sediments.
National Pollutant Release Inventory
The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) is Canada’s legislated, publicly accessible national inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling. The NPRI includes information reported by industrial and other facilities that meet specified criteria and provides the main input to Canada’s comprehensive Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory (APEI). Over 7500 facilities, located in every province and territory, reported to the NPRI for 2013 (see Figure 5).
The NPRI supports the identification and management of risks to the environment and human health, including the development of policies and regulations on toxic substances and air quality. Public access to the NPRI through an online data search tool and downloadable datasets encourages industry to prevent and reduce pollutant releases, and improves public understanding about pollution and environmental performance in Canada.
Description of Figure 5
There are over 7500 facilities, located in every province and territory across Canada. The map identifies there location by the following industry sectors: oil and gas, manufacturing, electricity, mining and quarrying, water and wastewater treatment, and others.
NPRI data for 2013 was published in preliminary form in July 2014 and reviewed form in December 2014.
The NPRI reporting requirements for the 2014 and 2015 reporting years were published in the Canada Gazette in July 2014, outlining a number of modifications to NPRI requirements. For example, the substances 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethanol (also known as DEGME) and thallium (and its compounds) were added to the list of NPRI substances, and the reporting thresholds were reduced for acrylonitrile, BPA, hydrazine, isoprene, nonylphenol and its ethoxylates, quinolone, and toluene diisocyanates.
Environment Canada undertook a number of initiatives to respond to the needs of NPRI data users during 2014-2015. For example, the Department held consultations on proposed changes to NPRI reporting requirements and increased variety and improved accessibility of datasets to facilitate analysis by data users.
Air Pollutant Emission Inventory
In February 2014, Environment Canada updated and published the complete time series of emissions of air pollutants in Canada’s APEI, beginning with 1990 and including the latest data for 2013. The APEI includes data for 17 air pollutants, notably smog precursors and selected toxics. The APEI was developed using NPRI facility-reported data and emissions estimates from sources that are not reported to the NPRI (e.g., residential fuel combustion, vehicles, agriculture). The APEI is used to support the development of regulatory instruments (e.g., Base Level Industrial Emissions Requirements, vehicles regulations) and Environment Canada’s air quality forecasting. It facilitates the evaluation and tracking of policy effectiveness, informs the public, and supports multiple air-quality reporting requirements. A summary of the APEI is provided annually to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program
Environment Canada requires annual reporting of GHG emissions from facilities (mostly large industrial operations) through its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program (GHGRP). The GHGRP is part of Environment Canada’s ongoing effort to develop, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, a nationally consistent, mandatory GHG reporting system, in order to meet the GHG reporting needs of all jurisdictions and to minimize the reporting burden for industry and government.
Key objectives of the GHGRP are to provide Canadians with consistent information on facility-level GHG emissions, to support regulatory initiatives, and to validate industrial emission estimates presented in the National GHG Inventory. The data collected are also shared with provinces and territories.
In April 2014, the 2012 facility-reported data and related overview report were made publicly available as part of a broader departmental release of GHG information products, which also included the latest National GHG Inventory and updated CESI GHG indicators. Environment Canada also received 2013 emission information from 565 facilities, which were prepared for public release, set to occur in spring 2015. The facility-reported data is available through data tables, an online query tool and a downloadable file.
Other efforts during 2014-2015 included the publication of 2014 GHG reporting requirements in the Canada Gazette, Part I (data to be reported in June 2015) and initiating new data-sharing agreements with the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to share facility-level GHG information to support their information needs and policy development.
Single Window Reporting System
In 2014-2015, Environment Canada, in collaboration with various partners, continued to improve and expand its Single Window Reporting System for regulatory reporting of air emissions and pollutant releases. The system reduces burden on industry and supports the shared interest across jurisdictions of tracking and reporting progress on the reduction of GHG emissions and pollutant releases. Environment Canada’s NPRI and GHGRP (explained above), as well as the CMP and other initiatives and regulations related to CEPA 1999 provisions, are using the Single Window Reporting System for their environmental data collection efforts. This initiative will continue to grow as additional partners integrate their GHG and pollutants reporting requirements into the Single Window Reporting System.
Environmental Offenders Registry and Enforcement Notifications
The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations obtained under certain federal environmental laws including CEPA 1999. The Registry contains convictions obtained for offences committed since June 18, 2009--when the Environmental Enforcement Act received Royal Assent. This tool allows the media and the public to search for corporate convictions using the name for the corporation, its home province, the province where the offence occurred, or the legislation under which the conviction was obtained. Keywords can also be used to search the registry.
The Enforcement Notifications contain information about successful prosecutions across Canada under the Acts and Regulations administrated by Environment Canada or involving Environment Canada enforcement officers (including CEPA 1999).
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