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6th Annual Report - 2000-2001

P2 Framework

The Pollution Prevention Framework

The legislation and policies that form the federal government’s commitment to protect human health and the environment establish a strong pollution prevention framework

The federal government defines pollution prevention as “the use of processes, practices, materials, products, substances or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste, and reduce overall risk to human health or the environment." The goal of pollution prevention is to eliminate the causes of pollution rather than treat the waste generated. Pollution prevention involves continuous improvement through design, technical, operational and behavioural changes. It also encourages transformations that are likely to lead to lower production costs, increased efficiencies and more effective protection of the environment.

Pollution prevention practices and techniques focus on such areas as substances of concern, efficient use and conservation of natural resources, reuse and recycling on-site, materials and feedstock substitution, operating efficiencies, training, procurement techniques, product design, process changes, product reformulation, equipment modifications and clean production.

Pollution prevention:

  • minimizes or avoids the creation of pollutants;
  • prevents the transfer of pollutants from one medium to another;
  • accelerates the reduction and/or elimination of pollutants;
  • minimizes health risks;
  • promotes the development of source reduction technologies;
  • uses energy, materials and resources more efficiently;
  • reduces the need for costly enforcement;
  • limits future liability with greater certainty;
  • recognizes that waste is a cost that can be reduced;
  • avoids costly cleanup in the future; and
  • promotes a more competitive economy.

Environmental Protection Hierarchy

Pollution Prevention Practices and Techniques

  • Conserving natural resources and using them efficiently
  • Substituting “clean” and “green” materials and feedstock
  • Thinking “green” for purchasing, product design and reformulation, process changes, equipment modifications and production
  • Reducing inputs and waste; on-site reuse and recycling
  • Training everyone in pollution prevention techniques
  • Introducing cleaner operating practices

Federal Pollution Prevention Strategy

Pollution Prevention -- A Federal Strategy for Action is the Government of Canada’s policy framework for advancing pollution prevention as the priority approach to environmental protection. Approved by Cabinet in June 1995, the strategy elaborates on government policy and sets priorities for action based on five goals involving partnerships with federal departments and agencies, other orders of government, the private sector, individual Canadians and the international community.

The goals of the Federal Pollution Prevention Strategy include the following:

  • Within the federal government: Institutionalize pollution prevention across all federal government activities
  • With other governments: Foster a national pollution prevention effort
  • With the private sector: Achieve a climate in which pollution prevention becomes a major consideration in industrial activities
  • With all Canadians: Provide access to the information and tools necessary to implement pollution prevention practices
  • With the international community: Participate in international pollution prevention initiatives.

Federal Pollution Prevention Coordinating Committee

The federal Pollution Prevention Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 and is chaired by Environment Canada. It collectively promotes the implementation of Pollution Prevention -- A Federal Strategy for Action by encouraging the practice of pollution prevention throughout the federal government and with the federal government’s clients. The current committee membership, listed in Appendix I, includes representatives from 11 federal departments:

  • Environment Canada
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Canadian International Development Agency
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Health Canada
  • Industry Canada
  • National Defence
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • Transport Canada

Progress in Pollution Prevention, the annual report of the Pollution Prevention Coordinating Committee, was first published in 1996. This annual report informs Canadians and government officials of national progress in pollution prevention, highlighting pollution prevention achievements and successes across the country. By relating progress to the five target sectors of the federal pollution prevention strategy and action plan, this report provides a framework for monitoring performance, profiling federal environmental successes and assessing progress made towards the goals of the federal strategy.

Including the members of the Pollution Prevention Coordinating Committee, 17 federal departments and agencies contributed to this sixth annual report (see Appendix II), emphasizing the continued integration of pollution prevention across the federal government and demonstrating federal interdepartmental collaboration. Because of its example as a framework for monitoring performance and reporting on results achieved, Progress in Pollution Prevention has been featured in the Treasury Board Secretariat’s report Managing for Results 2000 as an excellent example of results-based reporting.

National Commitment to Pollution Prevention

Within Canada, federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Aboriginal governments share jurisdiction for the environment. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) is Canada’s premier forum for intergovernmental discussion and action on environmental issues. The CCME comprises environment ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments with a mandate to improve environmental protection and promote sustainable development in Canada.

In 1993, the CCME contributed to the evolution of pollution prevention in Canada by releasing the report entitled National Commitment to Pollution Prevention. In May 1996, the CCME again addressed the issue by releasing A Strategy to Fulfill the CCME Commitment to Pollution Prevention. This strategy sets out a shared vision, mission and goal statement, as well as guiding principles for the implementation of pollution prevention by all provinces and territories and the federal government. As part of the strategy, the CCME jurisdictions adopted a common definition of pollution prevention: “The use of processes, practices, materials, products or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and wastes, at the source.” As stated in the CCME strategy, pollution prevention is a shared responsibility among governments, individuals and industrial, commercial, institutional and community sectors.

To show its support for pollution prevention, the CCME presents pollution prevention awards annually and maintains a Pollution Prevention Network. The Network serves as a forum for information exchange amongst its members on an ad hoc basis and provides technical support to the CCME Pollution Prevention Awards Program.

The Government of Canada, with stakeholders in the private sector, environmental non-government organizations, communities, labour and academia, is putting pollution prevention into practice through a mix of regulatory, non-regulatory and economic instruments. This includes modernizing legislation and regulations, managing national programs, developing guidelines and codes of practice for industrial operations, establishing Canada-wide Standards for specific substances, supporting voluntary initiatives, ensuring accessibility of tools and information and implementing international agreements.


Key Pollution Prevention Policies and Regulations

2000 - Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

2000 - Sustainable Development in Government Operations: A Coordinated Approach

1998 - CCME Policy for the Management of Toxic Substances

1996 - A Strategy to Fulfill the CCME Commitment to Pollution Prevention

1995 - Pollution Prevention - A Federal Strategy for Action

1995 - Greening of Government Operations Policy

1995 - Auditor General Act pertaining to sustainable development strategies

1995 - Toxic Substances Management Policy

1993 - CCME National Commitment to Pollution Prevention

1988 - Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1988