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ARCHIVED - Implementation Guidelines for Part 8 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 – Environmental Emergency Plans

1.0 Introduction

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) aims to achieve "the highest level of environmental quality for all Canadians," as stated in the Act's preamble. CEPA 1999 subsection 2(a.1) also requires the Government of Canada to "take preventive and remedial measures to protect, enhance and restore the environment."

Part 8 of CEPA 1999 on environmental emergencies (sections 193 to 205) provides various powers to address the prevention of, preparedness for, response to or recovery from environmental emergencies caused by uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental releases of toxic or other hazardous substances. In investigating various measures to increase the safety and security of Canadians in the event of an environmental emergency, the Government of Canada has identified sections 200 and 199 of Part 8 as important tools. These sections allow theGovernment of Canada to require environmental emergency plans for toxic or other hazardous substances. The primary objective for requiring environmental emergency planning under sections 200 and 199 is to ensure that appropriate risk management measures are adopted and implemented for potential risks associated with the manufacture, storage and use of toxic and other hazardous substances in Canada.

Section 200 is the regulation-making authority of Part 8, which allows the federal government to establish a list of substances that, if they enter the environment as a result of an environmental emergency: a) have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity; b) constitute or may constitute a danger to the environment on which human life depends; or c) constitute or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health. The Environmental Emergency Regulations contain such a list of substances. Under these Regulations, an environmental emergency plan would be required of any person who owns or has the charge, management or control of any of these substances at or above specified threshold quantities, in containers also exceeding the specified quantities.

Section 199 gives the Minister authority to require the preparation and implementation of environmental emergency plans for substances listed on Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (the List of Toxic Substances) or for substances that the Ministers of the Environment and Health have recommended the Governor in Council add to Schedule 1.

These Guidelines describe how Environment Canada intends to administer sections 200 and 199.

These Guidelines address only sections 200 and 199 - Authorities for Requiring Environmental Emergency Plans.

Provisions of CEPA 1999 have been reproduced for convenience of reference only and have no official sanction.

For the purposes of this document, the term provincial legislation shall refer to provincial, territorial and aboriginal legislation.

It is important to note that these Guidelines are intended to provide contextual information on Part 8 of the Act and on the Environmental Emergency Regulations. They are not aimed at replacing either of these instruments. Regulatees should refer to the Act and the Regulations to ensure that they comply with the law. For further information with respect to these Guidelines, the Regulations or the section 199 requirements, please refer to Environment Canada's Environmental Emergencies website as well as the section 200 Frequently Asked Questions, also available on the site.

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