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7th Annual Report - 2001-2002

Executive Summary

Pollution prevention remains at the forefront in meeting the objectives of the federal government's priorities on clean air and water.

Progress in Pollution Prevention 2001-2002 showcases the federal government's achievements in incorporating pollution prevention into its own activities and those of its partners. This is the seventh annual report prepared by the federal Pollution Prevention Coordinating Committee. The report focuses on the progress made in the year ending March 31, 2002, against the goals stated in the Federal Pollution Prevention Strategy and Action Plan and demonstrates the federal government's leadership and commitment to pollution prevention.


The Progress in Pollution Prevention Report Gets Around!

Over 2500 copies of the 2000-2001 Progress in Pollution Prevention report were distributed last year. The copies were circulated to over 25 industry and non-government stakeholders and reached the desks of all federal Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers and all provincial and territorial Environment Ministers. The report is also made available in numerous university libraries and international institutions. Copies were made available at various environmental events and conferences, and 1800 people per month downloaded the report from the National Office of Pollution Prevention website.

Pollution Prevention - A Federal Strategy for Action sets priorities for action based on five target sectors: federal departments and agencies, other orders of government, the private sector, individual Canadians, and the international community. By directing efforts towards preventing pollution instead of managing pollution after it has been created, the federal strategy works towards the ultimate goal of sustainable development.

Changes to the Format of the Report

This year's report has been designed to more clearly show the linkages among pollution prevention, environmental management systems, and sustainability. Progress in Pollution Prevention 2001-2002 also features a sample checklist within Section 2D on "Progress with the Canadian Public" (p.44) that provides guidance in identifying pollution prevention opportunities within the household. The last section of the report has been revamped and is now a reflection on Canadian pollution prevention trends and future opportunities. A reader survey was also developed and can be found in the middle of this report.

This Year's Accomplishments

The purpose of pollution prevention is to focus on the long-term process improvements and best management practices that reduce or eliminate waste before it is generated. Based on this long-term reality, many federal departments have multi-year commitments to pollution prevention projects and programs. As a result, this report is dedicated to tracking the progress of new and ongoing pollution prevention projects and programs. The Government of Canada is advancing pollution prevention through improving and understanding the linkages among pollution prevention, environmental management systems, and sustainability; strengthening criteria for voluntary initiatives as a complement to regulation; expanding its network of partnerships with other orders of government; replicating successes and sharing lessons learned; and strengthening partnerships with other countries to advance pollution prevention. The federal government continues to work with the private sector on specific pollution prevention initiatives, to further demonstrate the economic value associated with waste minimization.

Progress within the Federal Government

Managing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 requirements for toxic substances remained a key focus. The development of a Pollution Prevention Planning course and certificate was also supported.

Federal departments demonstrated leadership by integrating pollution prevention in the operations of their own facilities. Prevention-based measures were taken in the following areas: waste reduction and management, water/energy conservation, vehicle fleet management, procurement, land management, training and awareness, and behaviour change. The Sustainable Development in Government Operations Coordinating Committee continued its collaborative efforts to strengthen departmental sustainability programs through facilitating the exchange of resources on best practices.

Photo: Parliament Buildings

Progress in Pollution Prevention 2001–2002 showcases the federal government's achievements in incorporating pollution prevention into its own activities and those of its partners.

Progress with Other Governments

The development of regional or Canada-wide strategies for the management of pollutants and toxic substances continues to be relevant and a high priority through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Municipal wastewater has been a particular focus for the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Programs addressing greenhouse gases and smog were strong nationally and are reflected throughout this report. Advocating energy conservation was one of many strategies addressing these concerns. Activities with local governments, such as the City of Toronto, Halifax Regional Municipality, and various communities in the Vancouver area, demonstrated the effectiveness of locally based action. Key partnerships were made with Aboriginal and northern communities to help Canadians reduce pollutants and address climate change.

Progress with the Private Sector

Several federal departments have been involved in the success of voluntary agreements and programs that focus on industries such as automotive manufacturing, chemical processing, oil and gas, furniture manufacturing, and metal finishing. Providing resources for the delivery of demonstration projects, guidance materials, and training programs further advances the adoption of the preventative approach in such sectors as agriculture, health care, information technology, construction, building design, mining, printing, and tourism.

There is an increased focus on the fastest growing, highly diversified facet of the economy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A number of federal departments are providing SMEs with access to pollution prevention options, tools, and technologies needed to improve environmental performance.

Progress with the Canadian Public

The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse, Canadian Pollution Prevention Success Stories, and Auto$mart continue to provide Canadians with access to high-quality and reliable information resources on pollution prevention. The EcoAction fund remains supportive of communities across Canada in addressing key environmental issues such as pesticide reduction, sustainable transportation, and home energy use.

As in past years, Canadian youth engaged in environmental discussions with decision-makers and pollution prevention practitioners at various roundtables and international forums and continued to provide valuable contributions to our knowledge and understanding of pollution prevention issues.

Progress with the International Community

The North American Pollution Prevention Partnership will look for additional ways to align environmental policies, projects, and programs to advance pollution prevention and achieve better environmental results. The launch of the Pollution Prevention World Information Network opens the doors to collaborative information exchange on a global scale.

There were major successes in the negotiation of international agreements. Canada was the first country in the world to sign and ratify the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Efforts have been made to share Canadian pollution prevention approaches and practices with other countries around the world. China translated into Mandarin and distributed throughout the country several key Canadian documents on pollution prevention and pollution prevention planning.

Trends and Future Opportunities

Pollution prevention will continue to be at the forefront in helping to meet the objectives of the federal government's priorities on clean air and water. The federal Pollution Prevention Strategy resides as the foundation for promoting the use of processes, practices, materials, products, substances, and energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste.

Progress in Pollution Prevention 2001-2002 demonstrates the collective commitment on the part of federal departments to implement pollution prevention techniques and processes within their own facilities. It also shows that pollution prevention techniques and processes are evolving to address local, national, and global challenges.

The pollution prevention successes and lessons learned in 2001-2002 leave the Government of Canada in a stronger position to identify future opportunities to promote pollution prevention as the preferred method for protecting the environment and improving economic competitiveness.