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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for the Period of April 1997 to March 1998

Report on Administrative Agreements

Administrative Agreements are work arrangements between the federal, provincial and territorial governments to streamline their efforts in administering regulations. These agreements usually cover activities in the areas of inspection, enforcement, monitoring and reporting. Under an administrative agreement the federal and provincial government each retain their legal powers.

Environment Canada currently has administrative agreements with Saskatchewan, Quebec, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. In 1997-98, negotiations took place for administrative agreements with Ontario regarding the pulp and paper industry and with British Columbia for the renewal of the Pulp and Paper Agreement, which expired March 31, 1996. These agreements would cover certain regulations under both CEPA and the Fisheries Act.

Canada - Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

This Agreement was signed and entered into force on September 15, 1994. The agreement covers the following CEPA Regulations:

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations;
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations;
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Products Regulations;
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations;
  • Chlorobiphenyls Regulations;
  • Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations; and
  • Storage of PCB Material Regulations.

The agreement commits both governments to share information relating to the administration of their respective legislation, to assist them in meeting statutory reporting obligations on releases that violate the requirements of their respective legislation and on enforcement activities including inspections and investigations.

1997-98 Activities

Training

Two provincial pulp and paper inspectors received training for federal inspections under Environment Canada’s Basic Inspector’s Course.

Releases

Saskatchewan legislation requires immediate reporting of releases or spills of substances regulated by the province. Some substances, such as PCBs, which are regulated under CEPA, are also regulated by the province. In accordance with efforts under the Canada-Saskatchewan CEPA Administrative Agreement to avoid duplication of activities, the provincial spill team receives all reports related to unauthorized releases or spills, and then notifies Environment Canada of releases of substances that fall under the federal Act. The Saskatchewan Department of Environment and Resource Management (SERM) provides Environment Canada with an annual report on spills in the province. Since the signing of the agreement in 1994, there is improved federal-provincial coordination related to reporting of spills and release.

Provincial authorities received reports of 25 releases from electrical equipment that had the potential of containing PCBs. Only one was subsequently confirmed to contain PCBs. After examining the facts in this situation, the province concluded that the corrective actions taken, which included as a standard procedure the immediate cleanup of such spills, were appropriate and no further action by either government was required.

Compliance Promotion and Compliance Verification

Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations

There are two large pulp and paper mills in Saskatchewan. One is a state-of-the-art zero liquid discharge and, since it produces no liquid effluent, the facility is not subject to the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations. The other mill is subject to the CEPA regulations, and the SERM has incorporated into the mill’s permit the requirements of the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations. A joint Environment Canada-SERM inspection of the mill in March 1998 showed compliance with the requirements of the CEPA regulations. This was fruitful as it allowed both governments to simultaneously determine whether or not there was compliance with their respective requirements.

Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations

Pulp and paper mills in Saskatchewan do not use products listed in these regulations. Consequently, no inspection activities occurred under the CEPA Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations.

Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations

These CEPA regulations control manufacture, import, consumption and export of ozone-depleting substances. There is no manufacturing of ozone-depleting substances in Saskatchewan. In 1997-98, Environment Canada conducted inspections of a refrigerant distributor and three automotive facilities who distribute or use ozone-depleting substances. Theses facilities were found to be in compliance with the federal regulations.

Ozone-Depleting Substances Products Regulations

The CEPA regulations prohibit the sale of small containers of ozone-depleting substances. The provincial regulations also cover the sale of small containers as well as certification of refrigeration technicians and requirements for recovery. As there is potential for duplication of effort related to the prohibition of the sale of containers, Environment Canada has focused its effort on sale of small containers and Saskatchewan has focused on certification and recovery activities. Federal inspectors conducted six inspections relating to small containers of ozone-depleting substances in 1997-98. No violations were found.

Chlorobiphenyl Regulations and Storage of PCB Material Regulations

The CEPA Chlorobiphenyls (PCB) Regulations deal with in-use equipment containing PCBs. The Storage of PCB Material Regulations require storage of PCB materials that are in excess of specified quantities, and also require that PCB containing equipment that is not in use for six months or more be stored in accordance with the regulatory requirements. Environment Canada conducted eight inspections under the Chlorobiphenyls Regulations of in-use equipment containing PCBs in 1997-98. In the course of these inspections, CEPA inspectors identified equipment that had not been used for more than six months and that was required to be stored in accordance with the Storage of PCB Material Regulations. In these cases, letters setting out the minor violations involved were issued and the site re-inspected to confirm appropriate action had been taken.

In addition, Environment Canada conducted 20 inspections under the CEPA Storage of PCB Material Regulations, 13 of which took place at federal storage sites and seven at private sector sites. Of the 20 sites inspected, CEPA inspectors found seven sites to be out of compliance. Again, letters setting out the minor violations were issued. Follow-up on these letters confirmed that the facilities were brought into compliance. Saskatchewan was informed of all Environment Canada inspection activities at non-federal sites.

Environment Canada maintains the inventory of in-use PCB containing equipment in Saskatchewan, and also maintains the inventory of stored PCB-containing equipment and other materials and waste containing PCBs.

Canada - Northwest Territories Framework Agreement for Environmental Cooperation in the Northwest Territories.

This is a general framework agreement which was signed on November 15, 1996 and which focuses on maintenance and improvement of current levels of environmental protection through co-operative efforts. It includes the following areas of cooperation:

  • development of, and adherence to, policies, guidelines and standards;
  • development of, and compliance with, legislation and regulations; and
  • response to environmental emergencies in cooperation with all responsible agencies.

The two governments intend to implement cooperative activities through annexes to the framework agreement. However, in 1997-98, Environment Canada and the Northwest Territories did not negotiate any annexes, due to on-going discussions related to the Canada-wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization, under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Agreement between the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada in the Context of the Application in Quebec of Federal Pulp and Paper Mill Regulations

This agreement focuses on regulations made under two different pieces of federal legislation, namely the Fisheries Act and CEPA, and federal-provincial interaction in their implementation. The purpose of the agreement, which was signed on December 16, 1997 and expires on March 31, 2000, is to provide a one-window approach for the administration of the various federal and Quebec regulations relating to the pulp and paper industry. The CEPA regulations are those that are relevant in the context of this report, and they are the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations and Pulp and Paper Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations. Seven pulp and paper mills in Quebec are covered under these two regulations. Quebec carries out inspections under the authority of its provincial regulations, and provides Environment Canada with any data that is relevant to the federal regulations. Environment Canada identifies any non-compliance issues relating to the federal regulations, and as it retains authority in the agreement to deal with violations, it determine what interventions is necessary. Environment Canada discusses with Quebec what actions the province may be taking under its regulations which may also result in the mills coming into compliance with the federal regulations.

Canada-Yukon Environmental Protection Accord

The Canada-Yukon Environmental Protection Agreement was signed on May 16, 1995. Activities during 1997-98 under the agreement related to the enabling authority in section 7(3) of part I of CEPA, under which the Minister of Environment "may sponsor or assist in any research, studies or planning and development by any government, institution or person in relation to the quality of the environment or the control or abatement of environmental pollution."

Activities included:

  • Environment Canada participated on advisory committees to the Government of Yukon for the development of standards for solid waste management and air emissions;
  • information exchange through Environment Canada’s NEMISIS electronic system to track enforcement activities;
  • Environment Canada offered training to Yukon officials on sampling procedures; and
  • Environment Canada and Yukon officials cooperated in carrying out, evaluating and reporting on a mock spill exercise to test preparedness of government agencies to deal with an environmental emergency. An effective state-of-preparedness for such emergencies is directly related to maintaining environmental quality and the control of environmental pollution.
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