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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for the Period April 1996 to March 1997

CEPA Part II: Toxic Substances

Part II of the Act provides the legislative and regulatory authority to reduce the risks posed by new and existing substances in Canada, and to implement some of the international agreements to which Canada is a party. Part II contains provisions that determine which of these substances should be evaluated, authority to evaluate them and provisions to implement control measures applicable to any aspect of the life cycle for any assessed as toxic under the Act. In addition, efforts under this Part influence Canadian contributions to international initiatives of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) that relate to the assessment and management of toxic chemicals.

In addition, Part II contains authorities to regulate the import and export of hazardous wastes as well as the composition of fuels.

New Substances Program

Domestic Substances List (DSL)

The Domestic Substances List is an inventory of more than 23,000 substances manufactured in, or imported into, Canada on a commercial scale between 1984 and 1986. It was published in May 1994 in the Canada Gazette Part II. In 1996-97 seven amendments to the List were published in Canada Gazette Part II, adding 387 substances.

The List is the sole basis for determining whether a substance is new to Canada and also whether substances require notification or assessment before they are manufactured or imported into the country. Substances on this List are exempt from new substances notification, as they are considered to be in use in Canada. However, existing substances that could cause adverse environmental or health effects can be assessed to determine whether or not they are toxic or capable of becoming toxic as defined under the Act. Following a revision of the eligibility criteria for the incorporation of living organisms on the List, 23 biochemicals and 22 micro-organisms have been added.

Non-Domestic Substances List (NDSL)

There are over 43,000 substances on the Non-Domestic Substances List that are known to be commercially available elsewhere in the world but not in Canada. When these substances are manufactured or imported to Canada for the first time, less detailed information is required than for a substance that is new. The initial List appeared in the Canada Gazette Part I on January 26, 1991. A revision was published in the Canada Gazette Part I on January 6, 1996, and added 1,723 substances to the non-confidential portion as well as 65 substances to the confidential portion. A second revision was published in Canada Gazette Part I on August 24, 1996 and added a further 711 substances.

Progress on New Substances Notification Regulations

Notification and assessment are required before new substances can be manufactured in or imported into Canada. The New Substances Notification Regulations prescribe the information required from manufacturers and importers.

Chemicals and Polymers

These regulations came into effect July 1, 1994 and require manufacturers and importers to supply specified information, including:

  • Chemical identity;
  • Toxicological and environmental effects data;
  • Manufacturing, processing and use data; and
  • The volumes proposed for manufacture and import.

The Government of Canada may require additional information or testing, may impose controls, or ban the manufacture or import of the substance if it suspects it is toxic. Reviews were completed on 750 transitional substances and 500 new substances during 1996-97. These reviews resulted in six substances having various controls imposed on them.

Biotechnology Products

An amendment to the New Substances Notification Regulations was published in the Canada Gazette Part I on August 17, 1996 and in Canada Gazette Part II on March 5, 1997 with an implementation date of September 1, 1997. This amendment requires manufacturers and importers of biotechnology products to supply prescribed information for the purposes of an environmental and human health assessment. In addition, the amendment, along with the regulations under four Agriculture and Agri-Food Acts, firmly establishes the legal basis for regulating biotechnology products. As a consequence, all biotechnology products in Canada will be assessed for toxicity, prior to release into the environment.

Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)

This program is designed to support the requirements of the New Substances Notification Regulations. Accordingly, laboratory practices and procedures followed in the development of test data are consistent with the OECD: Principles of Good Laboratory Practice and Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, respectively.

Major activities in 1996-1997 included the continuation of consultation with testing facilities on an interim inspection program, release of a list of service and testing suppliers, and the re-inspection of two laboratories. OECD activities included:

  • The second expert group meeting on revision of thePrinciples;
  • Participation in two working groups and two meetings of the OECD Panel;
  • Training of four inspectors at an OECD course on the inspection of computerized laboratory systems; and
  • Participation in an OECD accession workshop in South Korea.

The provision of information on data quality to scientific evaluators was explored, and will continue as a major thrust during the coming year.

Toxic Substances Management Policy (TSMP)

The federal government's policy was announced in Parliament on June 2, 1995. The policy provides a science-based framework for the management of toxic substances. The key management objectives in the policy are:

  • Virtual elimination from the environment of toxic substances that are persistent and bioaccumulative and are present in the environment due to human activity such as manufacturing, use or waste disposal (Track 1); and
  • Management of other toxic substances and substances of concern throughout their life cycle to prevent or minimize their release into the environment (Track 2).

The policy provides directional guidance in selecting management objectives for those substances declared to be toxic. Draft scientific justifications for 13 Track 1 substances have been published and their availability for public comment was announced in the Canada Gazette Part 1 on March 22, 1997. The following candidate substances have been identified for management under Track 1:

Aldrin; Endrin; PCBs; Chlordane; Heptachlor; PCD-dioxins; Chlorinated paraffins; Hexachlorobenzene; PCD-furans; DDT; Mirex; Toxaphene; and Dieldrin

Under the 1994 Canada-Ontario Agreement, the Ontario Region is working to achieve virtual elimination of 13 persistent, bioaccumulative toxic substances in the Great Lakes. These are almost identical to those proposed above. Profiles, identifying the 10 major contributing sources to the Great Lakes, have been up-dated. The Region is promoting preventive action that will achieve a 90% reduction of the 13 priority substances by the year 2000. A similar program exists in the Quebec Region and targets cleanup of toxic contamination in the St. Lawrence River.

Priority Substances Assessment Program

CEPA requires the establishment of the Priority Substances List (PSL) containing those substances which merit immediate investigation and assessment. Substances on this list are assessed to determine whether or not they are toxic or capable of becoming toxic, as defined under CEPA. A substance on the PSL is examined to determine if it is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity, or concentration, or under conditions:

  • Having or that may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment;
  • Constituting or that may constitute a danger to the environment on which human life depends; or
  • Constituting or that may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.

Environment Canada manages the program, while Health Canada has the responsibility for providing human health risk assessments.

Progress on Priority Substances List 1 (PSL 1)

Of the 44 substances on the first Priority Substances Lists (PSL 1), Environment Canada and Health Canada assessed that 25 were toxic or capable of becoming toxic. Fourteen groups of stakeholders called Issue Tables have been established to determine control options (Activities chart - below). Three Issue Tables (dry cleaning, solvent degreasing and benzidine/3,3'-dichlorobenzidine) have completed their reports, and the recommendations were accepted by the Minister. Work is underway to implement the recommendations (through regulations, and environmental performance agreements). Three Issue Tables (refractory ceramic fibers, steel manufacturing and electric power generation) completed their reports and the recommendations will be submitted to Ministers. The remaining eight Issue Tables are still underway and are expected to complete their reports during 1997-98.

A revised draft report summarizing the issue of chlorinated wastewater effluents, from identification and assessment, through consultation, conclusions and recommendations, was prepared and presented to the FPAC members in 1996. It was proposed that each jurisdiction issue a letter of intent outlining plans for reducing and/or eliminating the use of chlorine as a wastewater disinfectant. This letter should be finalized in the summer of 1997.

Research continues to fill gaps in knowledge of PSL1 substances. For instance, there are few data on environmental levels of chlorinated paraffins in Canada. The National Water Research Institute has initiated a survey of their occurrence in the vicinity of major cities in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River basin. Water, sediments, sewage and sewage plant effluent and sludge, fish and Beluga whale samples are being analyzed. Preliminary results of the sewage samples and natural waters yielded no detectable chlorinated paraffins. Analysis of sludge samples and biological material will continue in 1997-98. The Institute also continued its work on the determination of aniline, benzidine and 3,3'-dichlorobenzidine in the environment downstream from dye manufacturing plants in Ontario and Quebec. All three substances were detected in the influent of an Ontario sewage treatment plant. Their concentrations varied markedly with season. However, the substances were not detected in the final effluent of the sewage treatment plants, indicating that they are removed during the treatment process. No benzidines were detected in sewage flowing into plants in Quebec.

PSL 1 Toxic Substances : 1995-1996 Activities

1-Substances for Which Issue Tables have been Established

  • Substances SOPs (94/95 and continuing)
    Benzidine/3,3'-dichlorobenzidine (5,3)*
    Refractory Ceramic Fibres (23)
    Chlorinated Paraffins (8)

  • Substances SOPs (95/96 and continuing)
    1,2-dichloroethane (2)
    Dichloromethane (11)
    Ethylhexyl phthalate (14)
    Hexachlorobenzene (16)

  • Sector SOPs (94/95 and continuing)
    Dry Cleaning (24)*
    Solvent Degreasing (24, 25)*
    Wood Preservation (10, 12, 16, 17, 18, 22)

  • Sector SOPs (95/96 and continuing)
    Iron and Steel (4, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22)
    Metal Finishing (17, 19, 21)
    Base Metal Smelting (18, 19, 21)
    Electric Power Generation (17, 18, 19, 20, 21)


  • Dealt with through CEPA FPAC
    Chlorinated Wastewater Effluents (9)

* Completed and submitted to Minister
SOP = Strategic Options Process

PSL 1 Toxic Substances

  1. 1,1,1-trichloroethane*
  2. 1,2-dichloroethane
  3. 3,3'-dichlorobenzidine
  4. Benzene
  5. Benzidine
  6. bis(chloroethyl) ether*
  7. bis(chloromethyl) methyl ether*
  8. Chlorinated paraffins
  9. Chlorinated wastewater effluents
  10. Creosote impregnated wastes
  11. Dichloromethane
  12. Dioxins*
  13. Effluents from pulp & paper mills using bleach*
  14. Ethylhexyl phthalate
  15. Furans*
  16. Hexachlorobenzene
  17. Hexavalent chromium compounds
  18. Inorganic arsenic compounds
  19. Inorganic cadmium compounds
  20. Inorganic fluorides
  21. Oxidic, sulphidic, soluble inorganic nickel compounds
  22. PAHs
  23. Refractory ceramic fibres
  24. Tetrachloroethylene
  25. Trichloroethylene

* Already regulated

Progress on Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) Regulations

Ozone-depleting substances were not on the PSL because they were assessed as toxic on the basis of international assessments. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signed in September 1987, is designed to prevent a global environmental and health problem from reaching the crisis stage. Canada subsequently has put regulations in place enabling us to meet our commitments under this treaty. Canada has met its commitments for halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as well as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Consumption of methyl bromide has been frozen and will be reduced by 25 percent in 1998 (except for quarantine and pre-shipment applications and for feedstock use). Canada froze consumption of HCFCs beginning January 1, 1996 at the agreed level. Total consumption of HCFCs will be reduced by 35 percent in 2004; 65 percent in 2010; 90 percent in 2015; and will be eliminated in 2020.

Strenghtening of Canada's Ozone Layer Protection Program

During 1995, consultations recommended improvements that could be made to the national ozone protection program. Regulations implementing some of the recommendations are expected during 1997. An environmental code of practice for the reduction of CFC and HCFC emissions from refrigeration and air conditioning systems was updated in 1996 to reflect new technical developments and practices and to include other refrigerants such as HCFCs. A code of practice on the management of halons, for halon owners and users, provides guidance on managing halon stocks that takes into consideration the environmental concerns of the ozone layer. Nearly 75,000 service technicians have taken a course on the proper handling, recovery and recycling of CFC refrigerants since its inception.

Priority Substances List 2 (PSL 2)

Priority Substances List 2

  • Acetaldehyde
  • Acrolein
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Aluminum chloride, aluminum nitrate, aluminum sulphate
  • Ammonia in the aquatic environment
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Butylbenzylphthalate (BBP)
  • Carbon disulfide
  • Chloramines
  • Chloroform
  • N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF)
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD)
  • 2-Methoxy ethanol, 2-Ethoxy ethanol, 2-Butoxy ethanol
  • N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)
  • Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates (NPE)
  • Phenol
  • Releases from primary and secondary copper smelters and copper refineries
  • Releases from primary and secondary zinc smelters and zinc refineries
  • Releases of radio nuclides from nuclear facilities (impacts on non-human species)
  • Respirable particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microns
  • Road salts
  • Textile mill effluents

The second PSL of 25 substances (PSL 2) was published in the Canada Gazette Part I on December 16, 1995. Environmental and human health risk assessments are underway by Environment Canada and Health Canada, respectively. A guidance manual, Guidance 97, to provide evaluators with a consistent approach for assessing the environmental risks of PSL2 substances was published in March 1997. A second policy and process document outlining the steps in assessment is expected to be published in late 1997.

Environmental Resource Groups of technical experts from academia, government, non-government organizations and industry are being solicited to participate in the environmental assessment process. In addition, liaison groups are being kept up to date on the assessment activities for their specific substance of interest. Environment Canada has completed the problem formulations (scope of the assessment and key knowledge gaps) for most of the 25 substances. An extensive literature review is underway and voluntary notices have been sent to industry seeking use and release information on PSL2 substances.

The National Water Research Institute developed methods for determining nonylphenol ethoxylates and their metabolites in sewage effluents and sludge. A survey of their occurrence in natural waters and textile mill, pulp mill, and municipal sewage treatment plant effluents all showed measurable quantities. After treatment effluents from most sewage plants still have detectable levels. Levels of metabolites in the sludge was three to four times higher than in the corresponding raw sewage and treated effluents. Sewage plants receiving textile wastes have higher concentrations in their raw sewage.

Data Collection

Sections 15 through 18 allow the federal government to collect information, conduct investigations to support the assessment of existing substances, and to support the development of management options for substances considered toxic. Three notices and surveys were issued to obtain information on commercial trade and use patterns for HCFCs and HFCs, di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, and 21 substances and classes of substances listed on PSL2. Under section 17, companies submitted 22 responses.

National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)

The Inventory is a national, publicly accessible database of pollutants released to the Canadian environment from industrial sources. The first annual Inventory was published in March 1995 reporting on the 1993 releases and transfers in wastes of NPRI-listed pollutants from over 1,400 facilities located across Canada. The report for 1994 was made available in the fall of 1996. The 1995 summary will include facilities that release large quantities at low concentrations and is scheduled to be published in the fall of 1997. These reports will also be available on the Internet. Information required for the 1996 reporting year is similar to that required for 1995. All regional offices collected and validated the data submitted by facilities within their respective areas prior to that information being included in the report. Regions also responded to enquiries from the public and media and gave training sessions. Public consultations are planned during the coming year respecting proposed changes to the Inventory. NPRI reports are available on the Internet at

Disclosing Information

In 1996-97, Environment Canada received 51 requests under the Access to Information Act for information related to CEPA. Requests were made on the following subjects:

  • Canada wide ban on landfilling of PCB wastes;
  • Compliance with CEPA agreements;
  • Contamination of the Pacific Coast;
  • Environmental Choice program;
  • Export of PCB Wastes - PCB Interim order;
  • Hamilton area environmental conditions;
  • Illegal dumping of chemicals and waste products;
  • Raising of the sunken ship, Irving Whale;
  • Leaking underground storage tanks;
  • Accidental releases of emissions at the Swan Hills hazardous waste management facility;
  • Underground storage of PCB wastes; and
  • Environmental compliance.

Information was released, in whole or in part, for 19 requests. The information did not exist for 15 requests. Ten requests were abandoned and one request was treated informally. One request could not be processed, as the applicant was not a Canadian citizen. Five requests are still being processed.

Informal requests were also received for DSL Reports.

Environmental Compliance Requests

Twenty-eight of the above-mentioned requests concerned the environmental compliance status of facilities. Compliance with respect to all Acts administered by Environment Canada, were included in the search. Information did not exist for 14 requests; documents were located in seven requests. The remaining seven requests were abandoned by the applicants, treated informally or we were unable to process.

Confidentiality Requests

Three companies requested confidential status of information submitted to the 1995 National Pollutant Release Inventory. These companies were asked to support their claim for confidentiality using the criteria under the Access to Information Act. After verification, the information of all three companies was released.

Under the New Substances Notification Regulations, the claims for confidential identity of 95 were accepted and published on the DSL according to the Masked Names Regulations.

Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention has become the federal government’s preferred strategy for protecting the environment and pollution prevention is enshrined as a guiding principle within the renewed CEPA. Implementation of the Federal Pollution Prevention Strategy continues while CCME released A Strategy to Fulfill the CCME Commitment to Pollution Prevention in May 1996. The CCME has identified pollution prevention as the strategy of choice for protecting the environment and improving economic competitiveness. It also ensures that the governments of Canada work together to ensure that barriers and disincentives to pollution prevention are removed and to provide opportunities to promote pollution prevention.

In Ontario Region a series of Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with key industries to stimulate pollution prevention. Accomplishments thus far include:

  • Printing and Graphics - first progress report, 18 participating companies have reduced the use of priority toxics by approximately 11.5 tonnes, a pollution prevention planning framework, a facility reporting protocol, a training and technical assistance program,
  • Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association - the fourth progress report, over 6,700 tonnes of priority toxics have been reduced or eliminated in Ford, Chrysler and GM facilities in Ontario;
  • Auto Parts Manufacturing Association - second progress report, six participating companies have reduced the use of priority toxics by about three tonnes;
  • Metal Finishing - 17 participating companies reduced the use of priority toxics by 258 tonnes; and
  • Medical Services Sector - extended to include more than mercury reduction, training provided to 85 hospitals.

The Canadian Clean Technology Centre has helped develop and deliver training on pollution prevention practices in several industry sectors including: metal finishing, auto parts, printing and graphic arts, and the food and beverage industries. In addition, the Centre actively supported the development of protocols and procedures for environmental technology verification, life cycle analyses and ISO 14000 certification for Canadian industry. Technology for the recovery of phenols from aqueous industrial wastes, minimization of oily bilge water and recovery of proteins from fish processing wastes were evaluated and technology demonstrated for the recovery of caustic cleaning and sanitizing solutions used in the dairy and brewing industries.

The Pacific and Yukon Region continued to work closely with specific industrial sectors in the Fraser Basin. The Region completed pollution prevention guidelines for numerous industries including: dry bulk terminals, asphalt preparation, automobile recycling, fruits and vegetables and golf courses. Each guideline contains technical information to enable companies to plan pollution prevention and minimize waste.

In the Quebec Region, between 1988 and 1995 the St. Lawrence Action Plan reported a 96% reduction in toxics released in the effluent of 50 industrial plants. In 1996, 56 new industries were added to the list for reducing toxic releases. As well, 11 persistent bioaccumulative substances have been identified for virtual elimination. In addition:

  • A new response strategy for the restoration of contaminated marine sites was successfully applied in the Port of Montreal; and
  • Several pollution prevention projects, including a closed loop system, were initiated with a chlor-alkali plant and the pulp and paper and metal casting industries.

A simplified audit process that allows small and medium-sized enterprises to self diagnose their process operations has been developed. This was demonstrated at a roofing tar specialty plant and the results indicated an overall improvement in productivity and environmental performance. In the Atlantic Region the focus was on awareness, training and evaluation for small to medium-sized enterprises. In addition:

  • Nova Scotia launched its Pollution Prevention Strategy;
  • The Halifax Regional Municipality started its Pollution Prevention Program; and
  • Based on regional work, UNEP published its "Guide to Environmental Management of Industrial Estates".

Participants of the Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics Program have significantly decreased their emission of toxic substances into the environment. The program is voluntary and non-regulatory and targets 117 toxic substances. Results to date indicate that 278 facilities have participated and reduced toxic emissions by approximately 17,500 tonnes. A second progress report, Environmental Leaders 2, was released in 1997.

Related Research

Health Canada continues to develop screening methods for determining both the endocrine disrupting as well as reproductive and developmental effects of priority contaminants. A battery of in vitro screening methods have been used to evaluate the endocrine disruption potential of an array of priority environment contaminants and studies have been completed that evaluated the effects of a number of toxic substances on male reproductive physiology.

Studies have been initiated to determine the effects of mixtures of toxic substances on reproductive development. A pilot study to determine the exposure of subjects from the general population living in Toronto to 29 priority substances through air, water and food was undertaken. Also completed was a pilot study on exposure from a variety of sources to a number of PSL2 compounds. A follow-up survey was initiated.

Health Canada has completed studies on the systemic effects of benzothiophene and acridine, candidates for any future PSL. In addition, the development of a gene-expression technique to assess tumour promotion was studied. A mouse gene mutation assay was used to evaluate the mutagenic potential of a number of environmental contaminants, including dinitropyrene. Studies have also been carried out on the mutagenicity of methylcyclo pentadienyl menganese tricarbonyl (MMT) and its combustion products. The use of molecular biology was used to quantify human and environmental exposure to microbial biotechnology products. Physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling, a research tool that can minimize uncertainties in extrapolations and risk assessments, was applied to benzo(a)pyrene, a PSL1 chemical. Research continues on the biochemical mechanism of toxicity of priority contaminants, and on the development and application of biomarkers for hepatic, renal and pulmonary effects.

The National Hydrology Research Institute continues to concentrate its analytical expertise on the fate and transport of toxic substances in aquatic ecosystems. This includes development of a mechanism for the removal of amines and other contaminants in gas condensates by natural wetlands. Also analyzed were the degradation products that result from broad-spectrum photolysis and ultra-violet irradiation of contaminants. Other projects investigated the fate and distribution of agricultural chemicals in prairie surface and ground waters, their atmospheric transport and deposition, and the role of organisms in the containment and reduction of contaminants in groundwaters. Stable radioactive isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur are being used to find how pulp mill effluents are incorporated into food webs. The development and application of these methods can help improve the understanding of the pathways through which contaminants accumulate.

The National Water Research Institute continued its program for the management and remediation of groundwater contaminated by toxic substances. Pilot-scale studies were initiated on a technique to remove petroleum from contaminated groundwater using humic acids (acids derived from composting). Research continued on the application of vitamin B-12 to remove solvents from contaminated groundwater. The occurrence of the gasoline additive, MMT, in the environment was investigated. This included air samples in underground car parks, highway junctions, gasoline stations, roadside dirt, storm runoff, water and sediments near production plants on the St. Clair and St. Lawrence Rivers. A portable unit consisting of a ceramic head metering pump and a solid trap has been developed for air sampling in the field. Trialkyl and triaryl phosphates, which are used as flame retardant plasticizers, fire retardant hydaulic fluids, lubricants, adhesives and coatings, were searched for in aquatic environments. They are found in sediments and fish because of their chemical properties, which are similar to PCBs. In fact, they appear to be ubiquitous in aquatic environments. Sewage, sewage effluent and natural water samples from Ontario and Quebec have been analyzed for 20 of these substances.

In B.C., the Pacific and Yukon Region assessed for the presence of some PSL1 and PSL2 substances in the atmosphere, water, sediment, and biota in the Fraser River Basin. A concerted effort has also been made to assess the impacts of pulp mill effluents on the aquatic ecosystem in the basin. This assessment is supported by a research program which is evaluating impacts of altered fish liver enzyme levels, wildlife reproduction and bottom-dweller community structure. The toxicity of selected chlorophenols on young white sturgeon is also being investigated. A pilot survey was conducted in partnership with U.S. Geological Survey on the presence of 166 contaminants, including PSL1 and PSL2 substances, in groundwaters of the Abbotsford Aquifer near the U.S. border. Also a comprehensive inventory of trace air contaminants for British Columbia was complied which, for the first time, covered atmospheric releases of over a thousand trace air contaminants from industrial, mobile and area sources. The substances, organized under 30 chemical groupings, include persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, and substances on the National Pollutant Release Inventory. As well, the inventory contains information on total particulate and inhalable particulate emissions. In addition, destruction and conversion of CFCs by chemical means was investigated. Using various combinations of catalytic substrates and temperatures, results showed that chemical conversion works for CFCs but not for halons.

In Quebec a lot of work has been completed on hazardous air pollutants. In order to determine regional priorities a monitoring program for PSL substances and others already considered toxic was conducted on the metallurgical industry. Also, under a cooperative arrangement with industry, ambient concentrations of hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds in greater Montreal were measured. This program was expanded this year to include more industrial associations and the province. A preliminary inventory of hazardous air pollutants has been produced and will be finalized next year.

In the Atlantic Region, an ecological risk assessment of PCB contamination at Five Island Lake, Nova Scotia was completed. Further field assessment has focused on possible PCB impacts on mink, river otter and raccoons that will be completed in 1997-98. A study of contaminants in white suckers near a landfill in Sackville, Nova Scotia was conducted to determine the potential for bioaccumulation of contaminants, including mercury, in fish. Few persistent organic and inorganic contaminants were detected; those that were detected, including mercury, were not significant. A study to assess heavy metal concentrations in four species of fish in the Richibucto, New Brunswick watershed was conducted. The remediation of the Muggah Creek Watershed, the largest hazardous waste site in Canada containing the Sydney Tar Ponds, coke ovens, a municipal dump and 38 sewage outlets, was revitalized and will be carried out over three phases and take at least 10 years to complete. The ecological risk assessment of textile mill effluents in Atlantic Canada was initiated. Three years of mussel contaminant monitoring data, 1993 to 1995, were compiled and released. These reports provide summaries of toxic contaminant concentrations measured in mussels from the five Canadian/U.S. jurisdictions bordering the Gulf of Maine. They identify the spatial distribution of toxic contaminants throughout the Gulf; measure physiological effects on mussels, and interpret the data in the context of environmental health and guidelines for human consumption. A human health risk assessment of the exposures of the Pictou Landing First Nation associated with Boat Harbour, Nova Scotia was conducted. Finally, an aquatic food chain model, used in the assessment, identified a potential problem beyond 2005 associated with regular consumption of fish from Boat Harbour.

Hazardous Wastes

Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations (EIHWR)

During 1996-97, 1,408 notices for proposed exports of hazardous wastes, 4,914 notices for imports and 500 notices for shipments in transit through Canada were processed. During the same period, 33,500 manifests were received for the tracking of shipments approved under the above-noted notices. A new computerized tracking system, which includes a new client-server system, and integrated voice response was put into full operation. In support of compliance and enforcement for these regulations, a 24-hour hazardous waste response line for Canada Customs exists in all regions of Canada. The Pacific and Yukon Region initiated two investigations in B.C. and one in Yukon of alleged violations of the regulations, but these investigations are not complete and no charges have been laid.

To satisfy the requirements of Section 45 of CEPA, after receiving a notice for proposed imports, exports and transits of hazardous wastes, the names of the Canadian importer, exporter, or notifier as well as the name and origin or destination of the waste in question must be published. This information is published semi-annually in the newsletter RESILOG, which is available on the Internet at

Basel Convention

The purpose of this international Convention is to manage the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. It also supports the continued application of bilateral and multilateral agreements that promote environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes. The third meeting of the Parties to the Convention, in 1995, resulted in the call for an amendment to the agreement. This would result in an immediate ban on the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries for final disposal as well as the phase out of exports for recycling from developed to developing countries by December 31, 1997. A number of technical meetings was subsequently held to better define which materials the amendment would cover. Canada indicated that it would be unable to consider ratification of the amendment until the completion of this work, which will be presented for consideration at the Fourth Conference of Parties, scheduled for October 1997.


A number of initiatives was undertaken in 1996-97 that will result in regulations concerning fuels. Regulations are now in place restricting lead in gasoline and sulphur in diesel fuels. A regulation restricting benzene in gasoline will be completed in 1997. A working group following up on the CCME Cleaner Vehicles and Fuels Task Force Report will soon recommend appropriate levels of sulphur in gasoline. In addition, fuel standards may be modified as PSL2 assessments are completed.

Modifications to the fuels provisions in the renewed CEPA will result in improved regulatory powers. These include the use of formulas, which will give flexibility in meeting a fuel standard and permit a range of specifications. Fuels could have specifications that would allow them to be compatible with new engine technology. A National Fuels Mark could be created and like a trademark, could be used to control the quality of fuels that are involved in both inter-provincial and international trade.

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