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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2002 to March 2003

4. Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention is a cornerstone of CEPA 1999. It represents a fundamental shift in how we address pollution in Canada. Simply put, pollution prevention is about avoiding the creation of pollution and waste, rather than trying to clean it up after the fact. By substituting raw materials with less toxic alternatives, changing the design or formulation of a product, or replacing older equipment with more efficient technology, a company can move towards pollution prevention and become more competitive and environmentally responsible.

4.1 Pollution Prevention Planning

The Act allows the Minister to require any person or class of persons to prepare and implement a pollution prevention (P2) plan to avoid or minimize pollution and wastes and to reduce the overall risk to the environment or human health. The Minister may also require pollution prevention plans from Canadian sources of international air and water pollution for substances not on the List of Toxic Substances, with the approval of the Governor in Council, and if the government responsible for the area in which the pollution source is located cannot or will not take action.

Key results on pollution prevention planning with respect to Schedule 1 CEPA-toxic substances in 2002-03 included:

4.2 Pollution Prevention Programs

4.2.1 Pollution Prevention Awards

The Act allows the Minister to establish programs that publicly recognize significant achievements in the area of pollution prevention. Environment Canada is participating in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Pollution Prevention Awards Program to recognize organizations that have shown leadership and innovation in adopting pollution prevention.

Seven Canadian organizations showing leadership in pollution prevention were honoured at the sixth annual CCME Pollution Prevention Awards held in Calgary, Alberta, on June 11, 2003. The Honourable Dr. Lorne Taylor, Minister of Environment, Alberta, presented each winner with a unique, specially designed plaque using natural and recycled materials.

  • Small Business Award -- Aurum Experience Ltd.of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, for its ecotourism inn, Aurum Lodge, providing quality accommodation with the least possible adverse
    effects on the environment.

  • Medium Business Award -- Informco Inc. of Scarborough, Ontario, for identifying pollution prevention opportunities and improving practices used in its commercial printing and lithographic processes.

  • Large Business Award -- Novopharm Ltd. of Toronto, Ontario, for eliminating the use of dichloromethane, a possible carcinogen, in its pharmaceutical tablet coating process operations.

  • Organization Award -- City of Toronto Works & Emergency Services Department, Water & Wastewater Services Division, Industrial Waste & Storm Water Quality Unit, for becoming the first municipality in Canada to incorporate pollution prevention requirements into a Sewer Use By-law and requiring industries to prepare a pollution prevention plan that addresses the quality of industrial discharges to a municipal sewer system.

  • Organization Award -- Labour Environmental Alliance Society of British Columbia, for its Cleaners, Toxins and the Ecosystem project, which showed the effectiveness of a labour-environmental cooperative approach in eliminating the use of cleaning products containing toxic chemicals.

  • Innovations Award -- Mountain Equipment Co-op, for its new Winnipeg retail facility, designed to be one of most sustainable commercial buildings in the world, by incorporating innovative techniques and technologies to reduce its impact on the natural environment.

  • Greenhouse Gases Reduction Award -- Alberta-Pacific Industries Inc. of Boyle, Alberta, and their Carbon Central Team, for finding solutions to challenge their greenhouse gas emissions, which will enable Alberta-Pacific’s pulp mill to become carbon neutral by 2006.

4.2.2 Extended Producer Responsibility and Stewardship

Extended producer responsibility is an environmental policy approach whereby a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of the product’s life cycle. Publications released in 2002-03 included:

  • Proceedings for the Second National Extended Producer Responsibility Workshop; and

  • Economic and Environmental Performance of Alberta’s Used Oil Program.

4.3 Promoting Pollution Prevention

There are a number of outreach programs across the country that are intended to educate Canadians about pollution prevention and enable them to implement pollution prevention practices in their everyday lives. The outreach activities also provide pollution prevention tools to help industries reduce their impacts on the environment.

In 2002-03, a series of fact sheets was developed for the Canadian public and for the private sector. Several fact sheets related to activities in the health sector were produced to encourage other institutions to implement pollution prevention practices:

  • Pollution Prevention in the Health Sector; and

  • Current Mercury Reduction Initiatives in Ontario Hospitals.

4.4 Regional Pollution Prevention Activities

Examples of projects undertaken by Environment Canada’s Regional Offices in 2002-03 include:

  • Chemical Use Surveys -- Environment Canada conducted chemical use surveys with several businesses in Halifax and St. John’s. The surveys resulted in recommended pollution prevention activities for chemical products of concern under CEPA 1999 and the National Pollutant Release Inventory’s 16 industrial sectors.

  • Lunenburg Pollution Prevention Project -- A Green Business Network was launched in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, as part of a larger Lunenburg Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Program. The objective of the larger program is to involve community residential and business sectors and educational institutions in developing plans and actions to reduce the discharge of hazardous materials and pollutants to the municipal sewage system.

    The Green Business Network, a partnership of Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour, Environment Canada, and the Lunenburg Board of Trade, promotes the specific environmental and economic benefits of adopting a pollution prevention approach to small and medium-sized businesses. A final draft of a pollution prevention workbook for Nova Scotia business has been developed for use in Lunenburg, as well as throughout Nova Scotia.

  • Corporate Smog Action Plan -- The plan became fully implemented at Ontario Region’s Downsview facility in 2002-03. Actions taken by staff in the summer of 2002 resulted in a reduction of approximately 3000 kilograms of air pollutants.

  • Business Water Quality Program -- In partnership with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Environment Canada continued the Business Water Quality Program into year two. Twenty nine businesses participated in the program in the first 18 months. Verified pollution prevention reductions to date include:

    • elimination of 5000 litres of nonylphenol ethoxylates per year;

    • elimination of 415 litres of ethylene glycol/chlorinated cleaning solvents per year;

    • elimination of 337 000 kilograms of phenolic resin filter paper per year;

    • reduction of 200 tonnes of paint sludge per year;

    • reduction of 110 000 cubic metres of water used per year;

    • reductions in biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, and
      phenols in wastewater effluents; and

    • reduction of 8800 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

  • Toronto Region Sustainability Program -- Environment Canada assisted 18 small to medium-sized enterprises in Toronto in reducing their environmental impact by implementing eco-efficiency improvements through pollution prevention planning. This project has realized an annual cost savings of $653 000 and a total capital investment of $775 000 for the participating businesses. Annual anticipated reductions include:

    • 342 tonnes of volatile organic compounds;

    • 2.5 tonnes of particulate matter;

    • 24 kilograms of metals;

    • 1.8 kilograms of toxic chemicals;

    • 910 tonnes of generic waste diversion (to recycling);

    • 8500 tonnes of water; and 7 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

  • Enviroclub -- This program is delivered through a partnership between Environment Canada, Export Development Canada, and the National Research Council. Based in Quebec, the program seeks to encourage small and mid-sized manufacturing firms to voluntarily reduce harmful emissions and reduce their reliance on natural resources while increasing their competitiveness. The initiative has two components: in-plant execution of viable pollution prevention projects and workshops to raise awareness. For the 18 participating firms, in-plant pollution prevention projects produced real environmental and economic benefits. Environmental results include the annual reduction of the following:

    • 400 kg of nonylphenol and its ethoxylates (NPE);

    • 4.3 tonnes of volatile organic compounds (VOC);

    • 35 tonnes of trichloroethylene (TCE);

    • 70 kg of 2-butoxyethanol;

    • 24 000 tonnes of greenhouse gases measured in carbon dioxide
      equivalents (equivalent to the average annual operation of 5000 cars);

    • 508 tonnes of hazardous wastes (including toxics such as organic
      sludge and solvents);

    • 1000 cubic metres of wood (equivalent to 10 000 trees);

    • 1300 litres of petroleum products;

    • 51 000 cubic metres of water; and

    • 355 000 cubic metres of natural gas.


The Enviroclub concept was also implemented as a pilot project in federal departments and agencies. The Enviroclub program in federal facilities was launched in May 2001 and ended successfully in September 2003. As a result of the project, eleven federal facilities modified their management practices or operations with a view to reducing the environmental impact of these, through the implementation of 14 pollution prevention projects.

Together, these P2 projects allowed the achievement of noticeable annual
environmental improvements. These included the following reductions:

- greenhouse gases: 17 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year;
- use of Varsol: 330 litres per year;
- methyl ethyl ketone (MEK): 75 litres per year;
- gasoline: 6400 litres per year;
- 2-butoxyethanol: 42 kilograms per year;
- nonylphenol ethoxylates: 9 kilograms per year;
- hazardous waste: 435 litres per year;
- mineral oil: 615 litres;
- hydrochloric acid: 205 litres per year.

  • Environment Canada helped develop theWaste Management Guide for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, a simple, easy-to-read guide for small- and medium-sized business managers that explains the principles of waste management for companies. This working guide and inventory of resources by province and territory equips business managers with the tools they need to assess and modify how they manage their waste, i.e., refuse and recyclable or reusable materials.

  • Environmental Management Systems -- Environment Canada’s Prairie and Northern Region continued to implement facility-level environmental management systems. Facility environmental management systems now exist for the M.J. Greenwood Centre in Edmonton, Stony Plain Upper Air Station, Prairie and Northern Region Wildlife Research Centre in Saskatoon, and the Eureka Weather Station. A generic environmental management system was developed for the contract upper air stations in the region as well. Environment Canada is responsible for providing information and support relating to environmental management systems and the overall departmental direction.

  • CleanPrint BC -- This program addresses environmental concerns relating to the BC printing industry and is delivered through a partnership between Environment Canada, Industry Canada, Greater Vancouver Regional District, City of Vancouver and the BC Printing and Imaging Association. The project’s specific objectives are to encourage printing operations to adopt Environmental Management Plans (EMP) and reduce volumes of toxics. Four facilities completed the EMP process this year, receiving CleanPrint BC accreditation and achieving significant environmental results. Estimated annual achievements at the four facilities include:

    • up to 99% reduction in the use of isopropyl alcohol from some operations;

    • reduced solvent use by more than 1000 litres;

    • up to 10% reduction in the use of ink at one facility;

    • reduced solid waste by more than 800 m3; and

    • close to $200 000 savings and earnings as a result of reduction
      and recycling activities.

  • Cleaners, Toxics and the Ecosystem Project -- With support from Environment Canada, the Vancouver Foundation, and VanCity, the Labour Environmental Alliance Society (LEAS) conducted this project to help the cleaning industry identify cleaning products containing toxic substances and substitute them with non-toxic alternatives. LEAS delivered nine workshops across British Columbia and provided follow-up assistance to institutional work sites. In total, 143 people participated in the workshops, with many of the participants representing large organizations, such as hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, hotels, and recreation centres.

    As a result of the project, it is estimated that more than 20 000 litres of cleaning products containing toxic chemicals have been eliminated from B.C. work sites annually. Many participating facilities have now implemented green purchasing policies. LEAS received a 2002 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Pollution Prevention Award for this work.

For more examples of regional initiatives, you may wish to look through the Pollution Prevention Progress Report at

4.5 International Actions

Environment Canada undertook projects in various developing countries to train refrigeration technicians and customs officers on practices and technologies to identify, control, and reduce consumption of ozone-depleting substances. Highlights include customs officers training workshops in Belize, Cuba, and Uruguay and refrigeration training workshops in Chile and Jamaica. Evaluations of these workshops by participants were very positive.

Environment Canada’s National Office of Pollution Prevention provided direction to the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States on how to reduce the exposure of North American ecosystems to mercury through the prevention and reduction of releases of mercury from anthropogenic sources to the environment. Canada continues to play a leading role in the development and implementation of the North American Regional Action Plan on Mercury. For more information, visit Environment Canada’s website at:

Environment Canada’s Atlantic, Quebec, and Ontario regions were involved in a three-year international assessment of the depositional, geological, geographical, and biological factors that control mercury distribution and ecological effects in aquatic ecosystems of northeastern North America. The Northeastern Ecosystem Research Cooperative Mercury Research Group is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and involves over 50 scientists from universities, federal, state, and provincial government agencies, and non-profit groups in Canada and the United States.

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