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8th Annual Report - 2002-2003

Canadian Public

Progress with the Canadian Public

Federal pollution prevention strategy goal: Provide access to the information and tools necessary to implement pollution prevention practices.

Citizen-Driven Activities

Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP) is a community-based program created by Environment Canada as a means of mobilizing local communities to address their own environmental and developmental challenges. Some examples of 2002-2003 ACAP projects appear below:

"In the summer of 2002, ACAP, together with the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador, made available half-subsidized residential rain barrels."

Atlantic Coastal Action Program

  • Newfoundland and Labrador communities have been struggling with water shortages for years, but they also consume an average of 450 litres of water per person per day, higher than the national average of 350 litres. With financial support from Eco-Action, ACAP Humber Arm Environmental Association Inc. is implementing a pilot water conservation project in the community of Massey Drive, near Corner Brook, Newfoundland, to reduce overall water consumption by 20% through the provision of retrofit kits (which consist of items such as faucet and showerhead flow reducers, toilet bags to reduce volume of water in the toilet tank, shower flow meter, dye tablets and a dripping water gauge) to 75% of homeowners. Also, 75% community participation is expected in public education events or forums. Project information will be distributed to at least 50 communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • With financial support from Eco-Action, ACAP Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, undertook a water conservation program to address water usage in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, estimated at twice the national average. A credit program for installing low-flow toilets is in effect, which credits 200 residents with $100 on their water bill upon proof of installation. A showerhead swap was also implemented. Residents can swap old high-flow showerheads for low-flow models, saving approximately 116 800 litres of water per year. Other components of the project include water meter education, a school outreach initiative for grades 4 to 6, with presentations to 30 schools, and World Water Day promotional activities. These combined initiatives produced an overall water use reduction in participating houses of 20%, or 2.18 million litres per year.
  • ACAP Cape Breton created a "Pesticide Free Doctor" team, which visited 100 homes at the residents request to suggest pesticide-free solutions for common lawn and garden pests. As well, ACAP distributed 300 pesticide-free kits at local events and garden centres. These efforts resulted in greater resident awareness of the impacts of pesticide spraying on human health and the environment and of effective alternatives to pesticides, as well as a reduction in overall homeowner use of pesticides.
  • In the summer of 2002, ACAP, together with the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador, made available half-subsidized residential rain barrels. St. John's-area residents were sold 150 rain barrels to catch rainwater for landscaping/gardening use to reduce the demand on the municipal water supply. Participants were also given information on water conservation and pesticide-free gardening.
  • A prominent sight along St. John's harbour in Newfoundland is ACAP's latest billboard encouraging citizens to stop flushing toxic and inappropriate substances down the drain. The message is part of a campaign on source control, which also included a seminar entitled "Exploring pollution prevention opportunities in municipal wastewater". Over 75 government staff, environmentalists, students and concerned citizens attended to discuss P2 and source control with a variety of experts from throughout Atlantic Canada.

What Is Sustainable Consumption?

Sustainable consumption is defined as "the use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations."10

In June 2002, Environment Canada hosted the second meeting of the North American Sustainable Consumption Alliance Workgroup. The North American Sustainable Consumption Alliance is a strategic partnership of people and organizations that are working to promote more sustainable consumption patterns in Mexico, Canada and the United States. One of the Alliance's goals is to facilitate the shaping of a common North American vision of sustainable consumption. Activity following this meeting has centred around the development of a web-based database of activities and initiatives in the area of sustainable production and consumption in North America, with the support of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The goal of the database is to facilitate cooperation among organizations in North America that are interested in promoting sustainable consumption, by providing information about activities or initiatives that they could replicate, support or join. At the World Summit for Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2002, sustainable consumption was identified as a global priority with participating Nations committing to develop a Ten Year Framework for Sustainable Consumption. This is being managed by the United Nations Environment Program.

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Public Awareness Campaigns

Between 1999 and 2003, Natural Resources Canada led a multistakeholder committee in designing and implementing a national wood heat education campaign called Burn it Smart. At the World Summit for Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, sustainable consumption was identified as a global priority, with participating nations committing to develop a Ten Year Framework on Sustainable Consumption, which will be managed by the United Nations Environment Programme. Similarly, under a clean air commitment made by federal, provincial and territorial officials, the CCME agreed in 1999 to cooperate on a number of initiatives to reduce air pollution, including emissions from wood-burning appliances. The campaign was created to promote safer, cleaner and more efficient wood-burning practices for those who heat their homes with wood or use it for recreational purposes. The campaign was launched nationally in September 2002. By the end of March 2003, approximately 5 800 Canadians attended one of the more than 300 workshops held in over 200 communities across Canada. Environment Canada guided implementation of the workshops in several provinces.

The Healthy School Program identifies indoor and outdoor air pollution sources that schools can address through policy decisions on, for example, reduction of bus and vehicle idling times, implementation of scent-free policies, greening of school properties, chemical-free pest control practices, waste reduction initiatives and energy efficiency programs. With the financial support of Environment Canada's Eco-Action program, the New Brunswick Lung Association completed a pilot project at one school and now aims to have over 20 schools involved in the program, including schools in First Nations communities.

"By the end of March 2003, approximately 5 800 Canadians attended one of the more than 300 Burn It Smart workshops held in over 200 communities across Canada."

Burn It Smart

As part of its effort to promote awareness of sustainable transportation issues, Transport Canada funds projects through the Moving On Sustainable Transportation program. The program is guided by an advisory committee consisting of representatives from Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Health Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Air Transportation Association of Canada. Since the program's inception in September 1999, approximately $1.8 million has been allocated towards 57 sustainable transportation-focused projects that provide Canadians with practical information and tools for better application of sustainable transportation thinking to their daily lives.

Transport Canada's Advanced Technology Vehicles Program promotes the adoption of sustainable transportation technology to increase public understanding of advanced technology vehicles through inspections, vehicle testing and awareness-raising events. As of March 31, 2003, the department had acquired 87 advanced technology vehicles, conducted 352 vehicle evaluations and held 76 public awareness events. It is estimated that over 3.8 million Canadians were made aware of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Program through print media, television, radio, live Internet and major events such as auto shows, conferences and other public functions.

Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc., in New Brunswick, has successfully reopened Letang Harbour, a site that has been closed since the 1960s due to unacceptable bacteriological water quality, for commercial and recreational clam digging. This was accomplished through joint cooperation with the local clam diggers association, municipalities and federal and provincial agencies by reducing the inputs of sewage into the harbour by taking steps to educate the public and monitor, prevent and control possible problems in the harbour. Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc. won the New Brunswick Leadership Award last fiscal year for its ongoing efforts to maintain the natural environment of Letang Harbour.

"In 2002, the Ecology Action Centre, with the help of the Environment Canada Clinic Team, organized a vehicle emissions testing clinic in Halifax."

Vehicle emissions testing clinic

The Community Animation Program is a joint initiative of Health Canada and Environment Canada to contribute to the sustainability and health of Canadian communities. In 2002-2003, the Community Animation Program supported several initiatives in Quebec. For example, in the area of Saguenay-Lac St-Jean, efforts are under way to reach and encourage over 8 600 people to adopt practices that reduce energy use and solid waste. In the Eastern Townships, efforts are focused on encouraging drivers to reduce idling time and municipal officials to adopt anti-idling by-laws. In the Beauport River area, youth are becoming involved in the preservation of water resources.

In 2002, the Ecology Action Centre, with the help of the Environment Canada Clinic Team, organized a vehicle emissions testing clinic in Halifax. The clinics are an opportunity to survey motorists on driving habits, maintenance practices and awareness of the environmental effects of emissions and idling. Of the 341 vehicles tested, 309 (90.6%) passed the emissions test, while 25 (7.3%) exceeded either the hydrocarbon or carbon monoxide limits. Also in 2002, Environment Canada conducted 30 separate clinics across Canada, testing more than 5 900 vehicles, while the Miramichi River Environmental Assessment Committee hosted a vehicle emissions clinic with the New Brunswick Lung Association to promote cleaner car emissions and better mileage through tire inflation. In all cases, those whose vehicles failed the emissions test were given information on what might be causing the high emissions and were encouraged to have the vehicles repaired.

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Access to Information

Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry

The CEPA Environmental Registry is a comprehensive source of public information relating to activities under CEPA 1999. In addition to providing up-to-date copies of current CEPA instruments, the primary objective of the Environmental Registry is to encourage and support public participation in environmental decision-making, by facilitating access to documents arising from the administration of the Act.

The Environmental ChoiceM Program is managed and developed by TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc. on behalf of Environment Canada. The Environmental ChoiceM Program is an eco-labelling program that helps individuals, corporations and governments make informed purchasing decisions to reduce their environmental impacts. Over 3 000 brand name products in approximately 140 product categories now bear the Environmental ChoiceM Program's EcoLogo, including products such as tires, cleaners, office equipment and paints, as well as services such as printing and carwashes. Recently, a certification criteria document for renewable low-impact electricity was developed for the program.

The Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse is an Internet tool that links Canadians with the resources they need to practise or support P2. It provides access to over 1 400 P2 materials, such as technical reports, guides, regulations and training materials. The Canadian Pollution Prevention Success Stories website recognizes Canadian companies and organizations that have effectively implemented P2 in their business operations. Currently, the website highlights the P2 accomplishments of over 95 businesses. Environment Canada is responsible for the growth and maintenance of both these websites, which continue to provide Canadians with excellent access to P2 information.

The sixth annual Canadian Pollution Prevention Roundtable was held in Quebec City in April 2002. The Roundtable is a recognized opportunity to strengthen partnerships and advance P2. Program areas included P2 and Industrial Sectors, Municipal P2, Small Business P2 Programs, Government Leadership, Communication and Program Delivery and Making Connections between P2 and Environmental Management Strategies. Some noteworthy presentations included Collecting National P2 Data, Municipal Wastewater Effluents, Connecting P2 and Environmental Management Systems and Building a North American Sustainable Consumption Alliance. Over 140 participants, representing businesses, consultants, universities, governments, labour, youth and non-government organizations, discussed P2 issues and celebrated Canadian achievements. The Roundtable experienced its best international representation in its six-year life, with eight participants representing the United States and Mexico. Two workgroups, the Municipal P2 and P2 Planning, met at the Roundtable to discuss common P2 interests and collaborate on future activities. With support from Environment Canada, the Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention, a non-profit organization, coordinates the Roundtable.

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Addressing Climate Change

The Government of Canada's 2002 Climate Change Plan sets out a three-step approach for achieving Canada's climate change objective of reducing annual GHG emissions by 240 megatonnes. First, there are the investments to date that will address one-third of the total reduction (80 megatonnes). Second, it articulates a strategy for a further 100-megatonne reduction. Finally, it outlines a number of current and potential actions that should enable Canada to address the remaining 60-megatonne reduction. The Plan identifies action in five broad areas: transportation, housing and commercial/institutional buildings, large industrial emitters, SMEs, and the international market.

The international ENERGY STAR® symbol is a simple way for consumers to identify products that are among the most energy-efficient on the market. Only manufacturers and retailers whose products meet the ENERGY STAR criteria can label their products with this symbol. In Canada, Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency administers and promotes the international ENERGY STAR symbol for a wide range of energy-using products sold in Canada. By choosing an ENERGY STAR-qualified appliance, consumers can save up to 260 kilowatt-hours11 of electricity per year. That's more than enough energy to run a dishwasher 100 times. In a survey done in the fall of 2002, 15% of respondents indicated unaided recognition of the ENERGY STAR symbol, while 27% were able to recognize it with retailer assistance. Promotional activities have involved joint marketing efforts with equipment distributors, retailers, different levels of government and industry groups.

"By choosing an ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliance, consumers can save up to 260 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year."


The EnerGuide for Houses Initiative encourages Canadians to improve the energy efficiency of their homes when undertaking home renovation and maintenance projects. As of March 2003, over 17 500 houses were audited and labelled, and the average energy consumption of homes improved by 19% or 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide reduced per home per year on average. Typical upgrades can include increased insulation in walls and attic, basement insulation, improved windows and doors, furnace efficiency upgrades, hot water efficiency upgrades, air sealing and installation of a heat recovery ventilation unit. Natural Resources Canada provides national coordination, technical support, software tools and training for the home energy audits.

Climadapt Network

Environment Canada-Atlantic Region is a member of a network of federal, provincial, municipal and private interests developed in Nova Scotia to promote awareness of and action on how to adjust to and accommodate climate changes that are occurring and will occur in the future (temperature changes, more extreme weather events, etc.). Some of the main objectives include incorporating Climadapt guidelines into environmental assessments (currently under contract with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency), factoring climate change adaptation risks into development guidelines and insurance companies' premium ratings, promoting modification of building codes and public outreach programming. Such early action should improve design and development decisions that will minimize adverse environmental impacts, rather than require future remedies. This is a long-term P2 initiative.

Engaging Youth

In 2002-2003, Environment Canada -Ontario Region developed a P2 education campaign that involved a number of demonstrations aimed at educating schoolchildren about water pollution and the importance of preventing groundwater contamination. Specific events included the Children's Water Festival in York Region, where over 4 000 students (grades 2 to 5) participated in the four-day educational event. P2 was also integrated into the Great Art for Great Lakes program.

"In 2002--2003, the YRTE met with the federal Minister of the Environment on Parliament Hill and brought forth its proposal for a Youth Engagement Strategy on Climate Change."

Youth Round Table on the Environment

Started in 1997, the Youth Round Table on the Environment (YRTE) is an active, non-partisan forum that brings together young Canadians of diverse regional, cultural, educational and linguistic backgrounds. During a one-year term, which begins in September, the group, which includes up to 18 young people, meets up to three times a year to provide input on Environment Canada's programs and policies and to advise on ways to make these programs more accessible to youth. In 2002-2003, the YRTE met with the federal Minister of the Environment on Parliament Hill and brought forth its proposal for a Youth Engagement Strategy on Climate Change. The YRTE also had discussions on the Environmental Bill of Rights and on integrating a youth position at the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. For the coming year, 2003-2004, the YRTE will be focusing on issues such as Environmental and Social Justice, Greening Economics, Stewardship Education, Living Spaces Both Urban and Rural and Climate Change.

"The Computers for Schools program's current goal is to deliver more than 60 000 quality computers each year to Canadian schools and libraries."

Computers for Schools

The Computers for Schools program collects, repairs and refurbishes donated surplus computers from government and private sector sources and distributes them to schools. The program, managed by Industry Canada, has a total of 69 centres throughout Canada where computers are cleaned, refurbished and prepared for delivery or recycled if unusable. The Computers for Schools program has met its "Millennium Challenge" of delivering more than 250 000 computers to schools and libraries throughout Canada at no charge. The program's current goal is to deliver more than 60 000 quality computers each year to Canadian schools and libraries. The Computers for Schools program is considered a "best practices" program for keeping often potentially toxic material out of landfill sites.

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Upcoming Projects

The National Office of Pollution Prevention is currently developing a resource package for Canadian elementary and secondary school educators. The package includes complete lesson plans, student activities, evaluation materials and resources for background information. The lesson plans link to provincial and territorial curriculum standards to facilitate easy implementation in existing courses and units of study.

The following table summarizes the linkages to programs and initiatives undertaken in P2 under the federal government's action plan on P2 with individual Canadians.


Tracking Progress Against Pollution Prevention - A Federal Strategy for Action

: Provide access to the information and tools necessary to implement pollution prevention practices.
1. Provide information that illustrates how P2 fits into daily activities.Ongoing
  • Canadian Pollution Prevention Success Stories
  • Eco-Action program
  • Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention
  • Youth Round Table on the Environment
2. Create a national P2 clearinghouse.Complete
  • Canadian Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse
3. Encourage consumers to use their purchasing power to promote P2.Ongoing
  • Environmental Choice Program
  • ENERGY STAR® program
  • EnerGuide for Houses

10 Symposium-Sustainable Consumption. Oslo, Norway: January, 1994.

11 One kilowatt-hour is the amount of electrical energy supplied by one kilowatt over a one-hour period and is equivalent to running an energy-efficient refrigerator for half a day.