This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Skip booklet index and go to page content

ARCHIVED - CEPA - Annual Report for the Period April 1993 to March 1994

CEPA Part V: International Air Pollution

CEPA Part V gives the Minister of the Environment authority to regulate domestic sources of pollution that create air pollution in other countries or violate international agreements or threaten to do either. The Minister can exercise this authority only if the provinces are unable or unwilling to control pollution sources. To date, such action has not been necessary.

The federal, provincial and territorial governments have signed a Comprehensive Air Quality Management Framework For Canada. The Framework establishes a cooperative mechanism to coordinate government action on air quality issues. Under the Framework, the federal government has agreed to ask the provinces and territories for advice when developing and negotiating international air quality commitments and agreements.

Sulphur Dioxide Protocol

Canada has exceeded the requirements set out in the first Sulphur Dioxide Protocol signed in 1985. In 1993, emissions totalled about 3.1 million tonnes. This level is more than 30 percent below the 4.6 million tonnes emitted in 1980. To achieve the protocol target, Canada relied heavily on coordinated action between the federal and provincial governments. Canadian standards now require major new emission sources to use advanced control technologies.

Negotiations continued on the Second Sulphur Dioxide Protocol to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution. Issues under discussion include Canada's proposal to allow nations to commit to regional, rather than national, sulphur dioxide caps, which will enable different ecosystems to be more appropriately protected from acidification.

NOx and VOC Protocols

Reducing the level of pollutants that cause ground-level ozone is one of Canada's key environmental objectives. To this end, in 1988 Canada signed and ratified an international protocol that calls for a reduction of Canadian NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions to 1987 levels by 1994. In addition, in 1991 Canada signed a protocol calling for a freeze in national VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions to 1988 levels by 1999. The federal government has also committed to reducing VOC emissions to 70 percent of 1988 levels by 1999 in selected emission management areas. To date, Canada has established measures to achieve the national targets and about 20 percent of the regional reduction target. These commitments are based on a domestic NOx/VOC Management Plan developed by federal, provincial and territorial governments.

The Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement

The Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement, in order to protect both countries from transboundary air pollution, has created a bi-national forum for verifying and reporting progress on air quality issues. The Agreement improves air quality monitoring, reporting, and research and development.

Canada has had marked success in fulfilling the obligations set out in the Agreement. Canadian sulphur dioxide emissions in 1993 were below the target of 3.2 million tonnes set out for the year 2000. Canada is progressing in efforts to harmonize the gathering and reporting of emissions data, and is working with the United States to develop programs to protect each country from air quality degradation due to pollution flowing across the border.

A second progress report on the Agreement will be published in the summer of 1994.

Date modified: