Preventing environmental emergencies means taking action to reduce or eliminate the environmental risks associated with natural and human-induced disasters.
Even under the best of conditions, emergency response and recovery can only be partially effective. Prevention of environmental emergencies is the responsibility of governments, industries and individuals and can be more cost effective when compared to response and recovery.
In Canada, environmental emergency prevention is a partnership between government and the private sector. Canadian law supports the principle of polluter responsibility – which means industry must be accountable for taking adequate preventive actions and for ensuring that effective response plans are in place. The Government of Canada has the job of protecting the public interest.
Environment Canada has the mandate under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to provide guidance to prevent emergencies for fixed facilities that manufacture, store, use or dispose of toxic or other hazardous materials. To do this, the Environmental Emergencies Program develops regulations and promotes their compliance by providing advice and tools to regulatees and other stakeholders on risk assessment, process safety management guidance, and environmental emergency response planning.
The Environmental Emergencies Program also provides expert advice during the environmental assessment process of large development projects to improve mitigation measures that prevent accidents from occurring, and improve emergency response plans so that effective and timely actions can be taken when accidents occur.
The Environmental Emergencies Program works with our international partners such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD), the Arctic Council (AC), and with foreign governments such as China to advance and share our knowledge.
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