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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2005 to March 2006

1. Administration

The administrative duties set out in the preamble ofthe Act are binding on the Government of Canada andinclude general requirements to:

  • protect the environment, including its biological diversity;
  • apply the precautionary principle - i.e. where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation;
  • promote pollution prevention;
  • implement an ecosystem approach;
  • encourage public participation;
  • cooperate with other governments;
  • avoid duplicating other federal regulations; and
  • apply and enforce the Act fairly.

Part 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) contains the authorities that enablethe Minister to carry out the administrative dutiesthrough advisory committees such as the NationalAdvisory Committee and the implementation ofadministrative and equivalency agreements.

1.1 National Advisory Committee

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 requires the Minister of the Environment to establish aNational 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 consultations and offers to consult.

To carry out its duties in 2005-06, the National Advisory Committee participated in one face-to-face meeting, five conference calls, and ongoing correspondence among members throughout the year. Federal initiatives brought to the Committee for discussion included:

  • Risk management activities, such as developing, amending or repealing regulations, pollution prevention and environmental emergency plans, guidelines and codes of practice, proposed options for managing risk to the environment and human health, and issues related to a wide range of initiatives under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act.
  • Risk assessment activities, such as screening assessments, procedures for categorizing substances on the Domestic Substances List with the greatest potential of exposure to humans, and an integrated framework for the health-related components of the Domestic Substances List categorization when it is released for public comment and establishment of an information exchange procedure between federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments in Canada respecting substances that are prohibited or substantially restricted for environmental or health reasons under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
  • Other issues, including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 parliamentary five-year review and continued delivery on the federal agenda on cleaner vehicles, engines and fuels, were discussed.

The Committee's involvement varies with the nature of the issue and its relative priority for each jurisdiction. Shown below are two examples of how the Committee's advice helped to advance policy initiatives.

  • Used crankcase oil: Letters of intent were received from provincial and territorial governments informing the departments that the risks posed by used crankcase oil are being addressed through provincial and territorial programs, legislation and regulations.
  • Climate change: Multiple consultations on climate change were held throughout the year, including some on the 2005 Notice of Intent to regulate large final emitters.

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. These agreements usually cover activities such as inspections, enforcement, monitoring, and reporting, with each jurisdiction retaining its legal authorities.

1.2.1 Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement

The Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement, which came into force in September 1994, is a work-sharing arrangement covering certain provincial legislation and seven Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 regulations, including two regulations related to the pulp and paper sector, two regulations on ozone-depleting substances, and three regulations on polychlorinated biphenyls. There were no prosecutions under these regulations in 2005-06.

In this reporting period:

  • Provincial authorities relayed to Environment Canada reports of five releases of electrical fluids that could have contained polychlorinated biphenyls. It was concluded that corrective actions were taken, including the immediate clean-up of the spills and proper disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls and contaminated soils. Of these five reported releases, one contained pure polychlorinated biphenyls at levels exceeding the federal prescribed limit of 50 parts per million, and one contained polychlorinated biphenyls at levels exceeding the provincial prescribed limit of 5 parts per million.
  • Saskatchewan Environment continued to promote the use of the TIP line for environmental offences in 2005-06. A total of 822 TIP calls were received by Saskatchewan Environment over the year, of which 99 were related to environmental matters, including 5 involving the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
  • The only mill subject to the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations has been closed; continual effluent discharges are therefore no longer an issue. Due to rain and runoff, however, it was necessary for the mill to conduct a fall discharge in September 2006: it was found to be in compliance.
  • Environment Canada conducted five field inspections under theOzone-depleting Substances Regulations, 1998. No violations were detected.
  • Environment Canada conducted three field inspections under theStorage of PCB Material Regulations (40 facilities are regulated by these Regulations), and no violations were detected. Saskatchewan Environment conducted three inspections under the provincial PCB Storage Regulations.

1.3 Equivalency Agreements

The Act allows the Government of Canada to enter into Equivalency Agreements where provincial or territorialenvironmental legislation contains provisions that are equivalent to theCanadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 provisions. The purpose of these agreements is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations where equivalent regulatory standards (including similar measurement and testing procedures and penalties and enforcement programs) and similar provisions for citizens to request investigations are available in provincial or territorial environmental legislation.

The federal government 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 Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999regulations no longer apply 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).

Under the terms of the Agreement, the regulated industries in Alberta are not required to submit reports to Environment Canada. As a result, Alberta Environment identifies instances of non-compliance to Environment Canada. In 2005-06, all four pulp and paper mills complied with the chlorinated dioxins and furans emission limits set out in the regulations. There were two reports of non-compliance at one of the two vinyl chloride plants in Alberta. Alberta Environment investigated the incidents and found the company duly diligent. Currently, there are no lead smelters in Alberta, and therefore there are no compliance issues to be addressed or reported under the Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations.

1.4 Related Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agreements

1.4.1 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem

Under subsection 9(1), the Minister of the Environment may negotiate an agreement with a government with respect to the administration of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem is an important administrative mechanism through which the governments of Canada and Ontario plan and coordinate actions to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.

Pollution prevention is a key aspect of the annexes to the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem: Cleaning up the most severely degraded spots in the Great Lakes (Annex 1 - Areas of Concern); working toward virtual elimination of toxic substances on an ecosystem scale (Annex 2 - Harmful Pollutants); developing and implementing multistakeholder-endorsed plans to restore and protect each of the Great Lakes (Annex 3 - Lakewide Management); and coordinating monitoring, research and information (Annex 4 - Monitoring and Information Management). Pollution prevention actions taken in 2005-06 under Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem include the following:

  • Regulatory as well as voluntary measures by the public and industry have resulted in significant reductions in concentrations of harmful pollutants, including 89% for high-level polychlorinated biphenyls, 84% for mercury, 87% for dioxins/furans, 45% for benzo(a)pyrene, and 68% for hexachlorobenzene since 1988.
  • In April 2005, a guide titled Dental Wastes: Best Management Practices Guide for the Dental Community was published. The guide was aimed at informing members of the dental community on the proper management of hazardous wastes in order to minimize the release of toxic substances, especially mercury, to the environment.
  • As of July 1, 2005, more than 450 Canadian automobile recyclers participated in the Auto Switch-out Program (a voluntary, Canada-wide program to collect mercury-containing switch pellets from vehicles before they enter the waste stream) and close to 80,000 switches were collected.
  • A joint Canada-Ontario workshop on emerging substances,Identifying and Developing Strategies for Canada's and Ontario's Response to Emerging Substances in the Great Lakes Basin, was held in March 2006 in Toronto, Ontario. Approximately 100 federal and provincial representatives participated in the workshop to share knowledge regarding the research, assessment and management of emerging substances; identify challenges and data gaps; and discuss potential strategies and approaches that could inform future work under theCanada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.

1.4.2 Canada-wide Standards

Developed under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Harmonization Accord and Sub-agreement on Environmental Standards, Canada-wide Standards 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 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, the Minister of the Environment uses section 9 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, related to administrative agreements, to enter into federal commitments to meet the Canada-wide Standards.

Priority substances for Canada-wide Standards include mercury, dioxins and furans, benzene, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and petroleum hydrocarbons in soil. During the reporting period, there were 12 Canada-wide Standards in place addressing these six substances or groups of 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. More information on the status of the Canada-wide Standards can be found on the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Web site. Dioxins and Furans

In preparation for the 2006 review of the Canada-wide Standards for dioxins and furans, Environment Canada, along with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, conducted a scoping analysis for the review. This analysis examined the status of sectoral emissions, researched developments in alternative technologies, and assessed the feasibility of implementing any new technologies identified for controlling emissions from waste incineration, coastal pulp and paper boilers, iron sintering, and electric arc furnaces used in steel manufacturing. The outcome of this exercise was a recommendation that waste incineration was the only sector for which the Canada-wide Standards for dioxins and furans were in need of review. A Waste Incineration Working Group was formed to review the Canada-wide Standards starting in fiscal year 2006-07. In 2005-06, this group updated the inventory of incinerators owned, operated or managed by federal departments and agencies. Further, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment commissioned a report titled Dioxins and Furans Canada-wide Standards: Emission Inventory Update and Review of Technical Pollution Prevention Options. This report provides an update on the status of facilities in the incineration, coastal pulp and paper, iron sintering and electric arc furnace sectors with respect to achievement of their relevant Canada-wide Standards for dioxins and furans, and assesses the potential for the deployment of new control technologies or production processes. Mercury

Canada-wide Standards were endorsed for mercury emissions (base-metal smelting and waste incineration) in 2000 and for mercury-containing lamps and dental amalgam waste in 2001. Timelines for achieving the Canada-wide Standards targets are 2008 (base-metal smelting), 2003-06 (waste incineration), 2010 (mercury-containing lamps), 2005 (dental amalgam waste) and 2010 (coal-fired electric power generation plants).

For mercury-containing lamps, industry has voluntarily surpassed the target of a 70% reduction by 2005 (currently at 73.5%) and is expected to achieve the 80% reduction target by 2010. As a complementary activity to the Canada-wide Standards, Environment Canada is working with federal departments to encourage life cycle management of mercury-containing products, particularly fluorescent lamps. A guidance manual for federal facilities has been developed and promotion is under way.

For dental amalgam waste, which may be discharged to municipal wastewater systems, the primary tool for national implementation is the Memorandum of Understanding between Environment Canada and the Canadian Dental Association. Collaborative work was undertaken with the Canadian Dental Association and jurisdictions in 2004 and 2005 to promote attainment of the Canada-wide Standard by December 31, 2005. The evaluation of the outcomes of the Canada-wide Standards and the Memorandum of Understanding are ongoing and will be reported on in the 2006-07 Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report.

Through Environmental Technology Verification Canada, a new procedure was developed to test equipment that removes mercury from dental amalgam waste prior to its discharge to sewer systems. This Canadian method is equivalent to the ISO 11143 method currently available in Europe.

Since 1997, the Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement, under a licensing agreement with Environment Canada, has been delivering Canada's Environmental Technology Verification program. The Environmental Technology Verification program is a voluntary initiative that promotes the commercialization of new environmental technologies through independent third-party verification of the technology proponent's performance claims. These verifications assure clients and users of high technical credibility and performance standards.

As for waste incineration, Environment Canada is working with federal departments that own and/or operate non-hazardous waste incinerators to ensure achievement of the targets in the Canada-wide Standards. Efforts to reduce mercury emissions will be implemented through the adoption of the Mercury-containing Product Stewardship Manual for Federal Facilities. Information is currently being gathered on mercury emissions at federally owned hazardous waste incineration facilities. This includes verification of federally owned hazardous waste incinerators and the collection of information pertaining to mercury emissions.

For base-metal smelting, Environment Canada is working through the Base Metals Environmental Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group to monitor progress towards achievement of the standard. Work indicates that all facilities, with the exception of one, are meeting the Canada-wide Standards. In addition, on September 25, 2004, a Proposed Notice Requiring the Preparation and Implementation of Pollution Prevention Plans in respect to Specified Toxic Substances Released from Base Metals Smelters and Refineries and Zinc Plants was published. A draft Environmental Code of Practice for Base Metals Smelters and Refineries, dated June 2004, was also published. Both include the Canada-wide Standards for mercury emissions among the factors to consider. Work to finalize this Notice proceeded through 2005-06, as described in Section 4.1 of this report, and publication of the Final Notice, including reference to this Canada-wide Standard in Part I of the Canada Gazette, was expected for April 2006.

Along with the governments of the provincial and territorial jurisdictions, Environment Canada endorsed the Canada-wide Standards for mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in 2006. The Canada-wide Standards are set to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 45% relative to 2003. Particulate Matter and Ozone

Under the agreement on particulate matter and ozone, the federal government was responsible for developing an implementation plan which, among other things, would contribute to:

  • Reducing the transboundary flow of particulate matter and ozone and their precursor pollutants into Canada;
  • Reducing transportation-based emissions;
  • Reducing emissions from commercial and consumer products, including residential wood-burning appliances and solvent-containing products;
  • Continually improving and retaining keeping-clean-areas-clean strategies for federally owned lands and facilities;
  • Advancing health and environmental science, monitoring and outreach.

In 2005-06, Health Canada initiated the development of new assessments for particulate matter and ozone to meet the requirements of the Canada-wide Standards to review the numerical standards by 2010. The first draft of these assessments will be completed by June 2007, and the final assessments are scheduled for completion by March 2008. Environment Canada continued its work developing Environmental Codes of Practice for steel manufacturing facilities and finalizing the Pollution Prevention Planning Notice for the base metals smelting sector, as detailed in Section 4.1. These initiatives include a variety of measures addressing the control of emissions of particulate matter, ozone and their precursors from these sectors.

The Burn It Smart campaign has been used in different venues (e.g. workshops, expos, fairs, magazines) to educate Canadians on good wood burning practices. A Model Municipal By-Law to regulate wood burning appliances is under development with the contribution of a stakeholder group. Environment Canada collaborates with the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment in its wood heating emission reduction initiative. Petroleum Hydrocarbons

The Canada-wide Standard for petroleum hydrocarbons in soil is currently undergoing its first five-year review. Information regarding the implementation of the Canada-wide Standards continues to be collected in anticipation of the next requirement to report to Ministers in 2008. It is expected that there will have been an increase in the application of the Canada-wide Standards during the assessment or remediation of sites with petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, beyond the 50% estimated for 2003-04.

1.4.3 Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Wastewater Effluents

Environment Canada recognizes the key role that provinces and territories play in the management of wastewater and is working with these jurisdictions and other stakeholders through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. In November 2003, the the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment agreed to develop a Canada-wide Standard for the management of municipal wastewater effluents. The strategy, to be completed in 2007, will include:

  • a harmonized regulatory framework;
  • coordinated science and research; and
  • an environmental risk management model.

Environment Canada intends to develop a regulation under the Fisheries Act as its principal instrument to contribute to the implementation of the Canada-wide Standards. The applied in a fair, consistent and predictable manner and regulation will include national standards and be applied to ensure that the release of wastewater effluent poses in a harmonized regulatory framework with the provinces no unacceptable risks to human and ecosystem health or and territories. The desired outcomes are a set of standards fisheries resources.

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