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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2003 to March 2004

1. Administration

CEPA 1999 requires the Minister of the Environment to establish a National Advisory Committee composed of one representative for each of the federal Ministers of Environment and Health, representatives from each province and territory and not more than six representatives of Aboriginal governments drawn from across Canada.

The Committee advises the Ministers on actions taken under the Act, 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 offers to consult.

1.1 National Advisory Committee

To carry out its duties in 2003-04, the Committee held two face- to-face meetings and five conference calls. Some of the federal initiatives brought to the Committee for discussion included:

  • development of management options for addressing the environmental risk posed by used crankcase oils;
  • public response to the proposed Notice on pollution prevention plans for ammonia and inorganic chloramines released through municipal wastewater effluents;
  • risk management instrument for road salts;
  • broad policy issues associated with waste management;
  • future direction of the Working Group on Air Quality Objectives and Guidelines;
  • risk management of ethylene oxide used in the sterilization sector; and
  • toxics management strategy for base metals smelting and refining sector.

The Committee's involvement varies with the nature of the issue and relative priority for each jurisdiction. For example, in the case of the used crankcase oils, strong engagement and specific input from the Committee encouraged Environment Canada to consider recognizing existing provincial and territorial programs rather than taking action under CEPA 1999. Comments and advice received from the Committee were also instrumental in shaping the final CEPA instrument for managing ammonia dissolved in water, inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluents.

The Committee also received continuous updates and comments on the progress of other activities under the Act, including:

  • CEPA 1999 five-year Parliamentary Review;
  • Federal Agenda to Reduce Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Products;
  • initiatives under the Federal Agenda on Vehicles, Engines and Fuels;
  • federal hazardous waste regulatory initiatives as well as federal regulations on polychlorinated biphenyls;
  • Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations;
  • Regulations Amending the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992;
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998;
  • New Substances Notification Regulations;
  • development of regulations to control releases of hexavalent chromium compounds from chromium electroplating, chromium anodizing or reverse etching operations; and
  • the proposal to repeal the existing Registration of Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Lands and Aboriginal Lands Regulations and replace them with an improved regulation, developed under Part 9 of CEPA 1999.

The National Advisory Committee under CEPA 1999 (NAC)

1.2 Administrative Agreements

The Act allows the federal government to enter into administrative agreements with provincial and territorial governments as well as Aboriginal governments. The agreements usually cover activities such as inspections, enforcement, monitoring and reporting, with each jurisdiction retaining its legal authorities.

Administrative Agreements

1.2.1 Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement

The Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement, in force since September 1994, is a work-sharing arrangement covering certain provincial legislation and seven CEPA 1999 regulations, which include two regulations related to the pulp and paper sector, two regulations on ozone-depleting substances and three on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). No prosecutions under these regulations were undertaken in 2003-04. In this reporting period,

  • provincial authorities received reports of 30 releases of electrical fluids that could have contained PCBs -- the province concluded that corrective actions were taken, including the immediate cleanup of the spills, and that none of the spills contained PCBs at levels over 50 parts per million;
  • Saskatchewan Environment continued to promote the use of the TIP line for environmental offences in 2003-04 -- a total of nine tips were forwarded to Environment Canada for follow-up action;
  • the one mill subject to the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations was found to be in compliance;
  • Environment Canada conducted 26 field inspections under theOzone-depleting Substances Regulations, which included analyzing 16 aerosol products for ozone-depleting substances -- no violations were detected; and
  • Environment Canada conducted three inspections under theStorage of PCB Material Regulations, and no violations were detected.

1.2.2 Canada-Quebec Pulp and Paper Administrative Agreement

The third Canada-Quebec Pulp and Paper Administrative Agreement came into effect on September 16, 2003. The Agreement is retroactive to April 1, 2000, and will terminate March 31, 2005. The Agreement identifies Quebec as the principal contact for receiving data from the pulp and paper sector and information required pursuant to the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations, the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations made under CEPA 1999 and the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made under the Fisheries Act.

The Agreement describes the procedures for cooperation between Quebec and Canada regarding the implementation in Quebec of the federal regulations identified in the Agreement. The Agreement is managed by a joint committee, which is made up of three representatives appointed by Quebec and three by Canada. The Quebec government provides the Secretariat responsibilities.

The Committee met four times in 2003-04. Discussions focused on information exchange concerning the respective compliance records of mills in Quebec. No particular or significant problems were identified with respect to compliance with the requirements of the two regulations taken under CEPA 1999. In terms of improvements, modifications to procedures concerning data transmission between both parties were suggested, which led to a revised information exchange mechanism to be completed during the year 2004-05. Discussions were also initiated to define the terms and conditions for a future agreement.

Administrative Agreement Between the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada Regarding the Implementation in Quebec of the Federal Regulations Pertaining to the Pulp and Paper Sector

1.3 Equivalency Agreements

The Act allows the Government of Canada to enter into Equivalency Agreements where provincial or territorial environmental legislation has provisions that are equivalent to the CEPA 1999 provisions. The purpose of these agreements is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations where equivalent regulatory standards (as determined by measurement and testing procedures and penalties and enforcement programs) and similar provision for citizens to request investigations are available in provincial or territorial environmental legislation. The federal government, however, has the responsibility to report annually to Parliament on the administration of Equivalency Agreements.

1.3.1 Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement

In December 1994, an 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 no longer apply in Alberta:

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations (all sections);
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chips Regulations (Sections 4(1), 6(2), 6(3)(b), 7 and 9);
  • Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations (all sections); and
  • Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations (all sections).

In 2003-04, all four pulp and paper mills complied with the chlorinated dioxins and furans emission limits set out in the regulations. One of the two vinyl chloride plants had one emission incident in 2003-04. It is still under investigation by Alberta Environment, and an enforcement response is pending. Currently, there are no lead smelters in Alberta and therefore no compliance issues to address or report under the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations. Environment Canada also began the process of renegotiating the Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement.

Equivalency Agreements

1.4 Related Federal/Provincial/ Territorial Agreements

1.4.1 Canada-wide Standards

Developed under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Harmonization Accord and Sub-agreement on Environmental Standards, Canada-wide Standards (CWSs) are designed to provide a high level of environmental quality and consistency in environmental management across the country. While the standards are developed by the Council, the Minister of the Environment uses section 9 of CEPA 1999, related to administrative agreements, to enter into federal commitments to meet the CWSs.

Priority substances for CWSs include mercury, dioxins and furans, benzene, particulate matter, ground-level ozone and petroleum hydrocarbons in soil. There are now 12 CWSs in place addressing these six substances from the perspective of various sectors. The Ministers have committed to being accountable to the public and each other by developing implementation plans to achieve the targets set out in the standards. Benzene

Phase II of the Benzene CWS calls for existing facilities addressed under Phase I to further reduce benzene emissions by 6 kilotonnes from the 30% reduction target and for this reduction to be realized by 2010. Data from the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network show that the Phase II target had almost been reached in 2001, which was well ahead of schedule. In 2003-04, Environment Canada continued to monitor urban areas where ambient concentrations of benzene were found to have decreased by 65% between 1990 and 2002, with a small increase from 2002 to 2003 (the first increase since 1997). Dioxin and Furans

The proposed CWS for Conical Waste Combustion of Municipal Waste was published on January 24, 2004 (see Appendix A). Unique to Newfoundland and Labrador, the burning of municipal waste in conical waste combustors results in an estimated annual release of 27% of the national total of dioxin and furan emissions to the atmosphere. As of June 30, 2003, there were 41 conical waste combustors still operating in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Because emission controls are not a feasible option for reducing releases of dioxins and furans from conical waste combustors, the standard proposes to phase out the operation of conical waste combustors in Newfoundland and Labrador by 2008 and prevent the operation of new conical waste combustors anywhere in Canada. The phase-out strategy will also result in reduced mercury emissions from these combustors.

In 2003-04, Environment Canada

  • participated in the review of the CWS for Dioxins and Furans from Coastal Power Boilers Burning Salt-laden Wood;
  • provided technical advice for the review of the CWS for Dioxins and Furans from Iron Sintering Plants and the development of advice for a pollution prevention strategy;
  • led the review of the CWS for Dioxins and Furans from Steel Manufacturing Electric Arc Furnaces and the development of advice for a pollution prevention strategy;
  • promoted sound management practices aimed at minimizing the formation and release of dioxins and furans through the CEPA 1999 Environmental Codes of Practice for Integrated Steel Mills;
  • identified 17 federal non-hazardous waste incinerators that remain in operation, each burning less than 26 tonnes per year -- more data are being collected to evaluate the best management approaches and alternative methods of disposal; and
  • started amending the Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations to ensure harmonization with the Waste Incineration CWS for Dioxins and Furans. Mercury

The deadlines to reach the targets set out in the CWSs for Mercury from Dental Amalgam Waste, Emissions from Base Metal Smelting and Incineration and Mercury-Containing Lamps are 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, respectively.

In 2003-04, Environment Canada

  • held consultations with federal departments that own/operate incinerators to initiate pollution prevention protocols to prevent the incineration of mercury and mercury-containing devices -- Environmental Performance Agreements with federal departments that own/operate non-hazardous units are planned;
  • developed a manual for federal facility management of mercury-containing products, including lamps, outlining appropriate inventory and stewardship practices; and
  • implemented a project in partnership with the Niagara Region to encourage mercury-containing lamp stewardship and recycling at the municipal level. Particulate Matter and Ozone

In 2003-04, Environment Canada

  • updated the current environmental and health science data relevant to conducting a review of the existing Standards in 2005;
  • co-chaired the Intergovernmental Working Group on Residential Wood Combustion and two multistakeholder technical subcommittees to develop a model regulation for residential woodburning appliances, model municipal by-laws and an education program;
  • released the 2003 Progress Report on Particulate Matter and Ozone, which highlights progress made on the federal government's commitments in the Interim Plan 2001, such as the regulatory requirements for cleaner emissions from the use of vehicles, fuels and small engines, the installation of more air quality monitoring stations and the tracking of more smog pollutants;
  • released the Federal Agenda on the Reduction of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Products (Notice g1-13813_n3.pdf); and
  • continued to enhance capabilities and knowledge in the area of chemical and physical characterization of particulate matter emissions and particle precursor emissions from mobile sources. This knowledge and information are used to support emissions inventory development and ambient air quality modelling activities. These air quality modelling activities are one tool used to evaluate the potential effects of policy or program choices. In some instances, our results have found that emissions of particulate precursors (gases emitted at the source that contribute to particulate formation in the atmosphere) can be higher than direct particulate emissions from the source.

In 2003-04, Health Canada

  • developed and provided health effects updates for the health risk assessments supporting Canada-wide Standards for Particulate Matter and Ozone; and
  • provided presentations on the health effects of particulate matter and ozone to a number of sector- and industry- specific fora in support of the Canada-wide Standards in general and for multipollutant emission reduction strategies and sector-specific initiatives.

In 2003-04, Health Canada and Environment Canada participated in the Joint Action Implementation Coordinating Committee to finalize the deliverables for the Joint Initial Actions agreed to by Ministers, including multipollutant emission reduction strategies for a number of major industrial sectors (electric power generation, iron and steel, base metals smelting, pulp and paper, lumber and allied wood products and concrete batch mix and asphalt mix plants) in Canada and guidance documents that elaborate on information, methodologies, criteria and procedures related to reporting on achievement under the CWS. Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Information obtained from federal departments during the 2003- 04 reporting period indicates that the CWS was applied during either the assessment or remediation at approximately 50% of the sites with petroleum hydrocarbon contamination. In 2003-04, Environment Canada produced:

  • the federal implementation plan, effective April 1, 2003;
  • the Federal User Guide, a workshop based on the user guide, and web-based training (still in progress); and
  • the proposal to repeal the existing Registration of Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Lands and Aboriginal Lands Regulations and replace them with an improved regulation, developed under Part 9 of CEPA 1999 - the proposed regulation is designed to prevent releases of petroleum hydrocarbons to the soil, water and subsurface environment.

During the reporting period, Environment Canada participated with the Canadian Association for Environment Analytical Laboratories to validate the CWS Tier 1 reference analytical method. As well, a CEPA 1999 guideline was being considered as a mechanism to address other federal house activities (i.e. Crown corporations and federal works and undertakings).

1.4.2 National Air Pollution Surveillance Program

In the 2003-04 reporting period, Environment Canada finalized the Agreement Respecting the National Air Pollution Surveillance Program Memorandum of Understanding with provincial and territorial governments, with the exception of Nunavut. The program (see Section 3.1.1 for results) has been in existence since 1969 and has operated without a formal agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to define the roles and responsibilities of the program participants and essentially enshrines the successful and collaborative operating arrangements that have evolved over the past three decades.

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