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ARCHIVED - CEPA 1999 Annual Report for April 2008 to March 2009

1. Administration (Part 1)

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 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. Part 1 also allows for equivalency agreements, which suspend federal regulations in a province or territory that has equivalent regulatory standards.

1.1 National Advisory Committee

The National Advisory Committee advises the Ministers on actions taken under CEPA 1999, enables national, cooperative action, and seeks to avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The Committee also serves as the single window into provincial and territorial governments, and representatives of Aboriginal governments on consultations and offers to consult.

To carry out its duties in 2008-2009, the National Advisory Committee participated in one face-to-face meeting, eight conference calls, and ongoing correspondence among members throughout the year. Federal initiatives brought to the Committee for discussion included

  • implementation of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan including risk assessment and risk management activities for Batches 1 through 9 of the Challenge;
  • the federal government's Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions;
  • development of motor vehicle fuel efficiency regulations for Canada, and the federal agenda on cleaner vehicles, engines and fuels;
  • status of the CEPA 1999 Parliamentary review; and
  • other risk management activities, such as developing, amending or repealing regulations; pollution prevention plans; guidelines and codes of practice; proposed options for managing risks to the environment and human health; and other issues related to CEPA 1999.

1.2 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, most recently renewed in June 2007, 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 the mechanism for meeting Canada's obligations under the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Agreement comprises 13 goals, 37 results and 183 specific commitments in four priority areas:

  • designated Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes Basin;
  • harmful pollutants;
  • lake and basin sustainability; and
  • coordination of monitoring, research and information.

The Areas of Concern Annex (Annex 1 of the Agreement) comprises two goals: Goal 1 is to complete priority actions for delisting four AOCs: (Nipigon Bay, Jackfish Bay, Wheatley Harbour and St. Lawrence River, Cornwall). In 2008-2009, remedial actions in the four Goal 1 AOCs neared completion with the main outstanding actions for delisting being upgrades to sewage treatment plants in the Nipigon and St. Lawrence areas. The objective of Goal 2 is to make significant progress toward Remedial Action Plan implementation, environmental recovery and restoration of beneficial uses in the remaining 11 AOCs. Work carried out included the cleanup of contaminated sediment, the establishment and advancement of contaminated sediment management strategies, and the delivery of habitat restoration strategies and projects to restore beneficial uses.

The Harmful Pollutants Annex (Annex 2 of the Agreement) addresses both past (legacy) and ongoing sources of pollution in the Great Lakes Basin. Annex 2 takes a substance and/or sector approach to reducing and preventing releases throughout the basin, and seeks to virtually eliminate persistent bioaccumulative toxic substances. Environment Canada's efforts under Annex 2 include actions undertaken by the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, which is a collaborative arrangement between Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to achieve progress towards the reduction of persistent toxic substances within the Great Lakes Basin. Environment Canada's efforts under Annex 2 also support the delivery of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan.

In 2008-2009, the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy Stakeholders Forum continued its work to reduce emissions and releases to the environment of Level 1 substances, including mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans, hexachlorobenzene and benzo(a)pyrene. Since the signing of the Strategy in 1997, 13 of the challenge goals established for Level 1 substances by Environment Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have been met. Significant progress has been made toward the remaining four challenge goals. Canada continues to make progress toward reaching the PCB challenge goals outlined in the Strategy, to monitor dioxins in the environment, to investigate dioxin data as available, and to look for reductions in uncontrolled combustion sources such as burn barrels. Canada conducted testing of certified wood stoves to evaluate emission factors and completed a Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Source Apportionment Modeling project. Canadian monitoring data indicate declining environmental concentrations of dioxins, furans, coplanar PCBs, benzo(a)pyrene and hexachlorobenze at Ontario sites.

Environment Canada worked to achieve commitments under Annex 3 of the 2007-2010 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem to restore beneficial uses in open lake waters through Lakewide Management Plan activities. Stakeholders continued to be actively engaged through participation in development and updating of Lakewide Management Plans. Work also continued toward a better understanding of the state and trends in the Great Lakes Ecosystem. Environment Canada worked with universities and other government agencies on many water and wildlife research projects. These included implementing cooperative binational monitoring programs in support of Lakewide Management Plans; drafting a suite of updated indicators for peer review at the 8th biennial State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference, which it hosted in collaboration with the United States Environmental Protection Agency; and drafting the State of the Great Lakes 2009 Highlights report.

Additionally, information on emerging contaminant monitoring and surveillance efforts in the Great Lakes was gathered through Canada's integrated multi-media approach to toxics monitoring under the Chemicals Management Plan. Canada continued to engage both federal and provincial partners in monitoring, surveillance and research on emerging harmful pollutants. Canadian monitoring data indicate declining environmental concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) at Ontario sites. Canadian monitoring data also provided a better understanding and insight into the basin-wide distribution of perfluorinated compounds. Canadian scientists continued to conduct research on the identification, prioritization and screening of chemicals in commerce that may be of concern for future assessment, monitoring and surveillance. As the understanding of the sources and the extent of the chemical problems increases, different approaches are used to address the problems, such as education.

1.3 Canada-Quebec Administrative Agreement

The governments of Canada and Quebec agreed to a five-year Administrative Agreement Between the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada Regarding the Implementation in Quebec of Federal Regulations Pertaining to the Pulp and Paper and Metal Mining Sectors, which came into force on April 1, 2007. Under the Agreement, the province acts as a "single window," collecting data from pulp and paper mills required by the provincial regulations and federal regulations under the Fisheries Act and CEPA 1999, and sending this data to Environment Canada. The relevant CEPA 1999 regulations are the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations and the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations. Both levels of government maintain full responsibility for conducting inspections and investigations, and for taking appropriate law enforcement measures to ensure that industry complies with their respective requirements.

In 2008-2009, Environment Canada examined more than 700 monthly reports from mills, and federal Enforcement Officers conducted inspections at 20 mills. In 2008-2009, the Agreement's Management Committee met twice, on July 17, 2008, and January 29, 2009.

1.4 Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement

The Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act has been in force since September 1994. It is a work-sharing arrangement covering certain provincial legislation and seven CEPA 1999 regulations, including two regulations related to the pulp and paper sector, two regulations on ozone-depleting substances and three regulations on PCBs.

No prosecutions under these regulations were undertaken in 2008-2009. Activities under the Agreement in 2008-2009 included

  • Provincial authorities relayed a total of nine spills of electrical fluids that could have contained PCBs. Corrective actions included the immediate cleanup of the spills, and proper disposal of PCBs and contaminated soils.
  • The only mill subject to the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations has been closed and no longer has a continual effluent discharge. Because of rain and runoff, in April, July and September 2008, the mill owners conducted discharges, which were found to be in compliance.
  • Environment Canada and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment did not conduct any on-site inspections under the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998; the Storage of PCB Material Regulations; or the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations.

1.5 Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement

In December 1994, the Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances in Alberta came into effect. As a result of the Agreement, the following CEPA 1999 regulations, or parts thereof, are no longer applicable in Alberta:

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations (all sections);
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations(sections 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 no compliance issues to report under the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations or the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations.

The Canada-Alberta Agreement is currently under review. Until its renewal, Environment Canada and Alberta Environment continue to work together in the spirit of the Agreement.

Alberta Environment indicated that there were no reported violations by the four pulp and paper mills regulated under the pulp and paper regulations in 2008-2009.

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