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ARCHIVED - CEPA 1999 Annual Report for April 2009 to March 2010

Executive Summary

This Annual Report provides an overview of the results achieved under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) from April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010.

In 2009-2010, Environment Canada consulted with the National Advisory Committee on various CEPA 1999 initiatives, and reported on actions under three administrative agreements and one equivalency agreement.

The CEPA Environmental Registry continued to provide public access to all CEPA-related initiatives, with an average of 96 400 visits each month. There were 46 public consultation opportunities published on the Registry in the reporting period.

Results were achieved under 12 environmental quality monitoring initiatives, such as the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network, the Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network, the Northern Contaminants Program and greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring. In 2009-2010, Environment Canada and Health Canada scientists published hundreds of articles, reports and papers. Much of this research is carried out in collaboration with other governments, academic institutions and industry, in Canada and abroad. The report provides examples of research activities related to air quality, the climate, water, wildlife and soil, and human health.

In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, five environmental quality guidelines for water or sediment, four drinking water quality technical guideline documents and one drinking water quality guidance document were finalized in the reporting period.

Public reporting continued in 2009-2010 through the publication of Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators for air quality, water quality and GHG emissions; through the National Pollutant Release Inventory, which provides a publicly accessible inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling; and through GHG reports.

Through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, seven pollution prevention awards were presented in 2009-2010 to organizations that have shown leadership and innovation in pollution prevention.

In 2009-2010, significant progress was made on the Challenge program under Canada's Chemicals Management Plan. As of March 31, 2010, all of the batches under the Challenge had been launched, and draft or final assessment decisions had been published for 151 of the substances in batches 1 through 9. Of those assessed, 39 substances were found or proposed to be found to meet the definition of toxic under CEPA 1999. Draft or final assessments were conducted on various other existing substances. In total, draft or final assessment decisions were published for 215 existing substances or groups of substances.

Various risk management measures were undertaken in 2009-2010. Twenty-two substances or groups of substances were proposed to be listed in Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (the List of Toxic Substances). Notices of intent to apply Significant New Activity Notices, which require new uses of a substance to be notified and assessed, were published for 26 substances, and final orders amending the Domestic Substances List to apply the Significant New Activity provisions were published for 23 substances. These substances are no longer in commerce in Canada but have hazardous properties that could affect the environment or human health if commercial activity resumes. An additional 484 substances were removed from the Domestic Substances List, meaning that these substances are also subject to notification and assessment prior to any manufacture or import.

Six pollution prevention planning notices were active during the reporting period, including one new notice regarding mercury in dental amalgam. Four regulations were proposed, amended or finalized under Part 5 of CEPA 1999 in 2009-2010. Environment Canada, Health Canada and participating companies signed an Environmental Performance Agreement respecting perfluorinated carboxylic acids in perfluorinated products. In addition, six risk management instruments were under development to address high-priority substances under the Challenge. Twenty-seven instruments are under development or being amended to control non-Challenge substances.

The Canadian public and environment continued to be protected from the possible risks associated with the introduction of new substances to the Canadian market. Environment Canada and Health Canada conducted 503 assessments of new chemicals or polymers. Of the 503 notifications received, the Minister of the Environment issued 22 Significant New Activity Notices and three Ministerial Conditions.

Work on animate products of biotechnology continued in 2009-2010. Two screening assessment reports were drafted. The Technical Expert Group provided advice and recommendations on the process. During 2009-2010, 13 notifications were received for new animate products of biotechnology and Significant New Activity Notices were published for two of these substances.

Under Part 7 of CEPA 1999, a consultation draft of the planned Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations was released to seek input from interested parties. Eighty-four permits were issued in Canada for the disposal at sea of 4.16 million tonnes (t) of waste and other matter. Most of this was dredged material that was removed from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. As required by CEPA 1999, monitoring projects were completed on 15 ocean disposal sites in the reporting period. As well, the Governor in Council made the Regulations Amending the Phosphorus Concentration Regulations, which will help limit the proliferation of blue-green algae.

Environment Canada continued to implement the Government's international obligations as a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, through CEPA 1999's Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. In calendar year 2009, imports and exports of these materials were 478 651 t and 431 921 t, respectively.

Under the Environmental Emergency Regulations, 5478 facilities had filed Notices of Identification of Substance and Place as of March 31, 2010. In addition, 3670 facilities have filed notices indicating that they have prepared and implemented environmental emergency plans.

Promoting compliance with and enforcing CEPA 1999's regulations continues to be a priority. In 2009-2010, the number of designated CEPA enforcement officers was 188, including 42 officers from the Environmental Emergencies Program. The redesign of the Basic Enforcement Training Program was completed during the reporting period. The report also provides examples of the numerous compliance promotion projects undertaken by regional offices to increase the awareness and understanding of the law and its regulations, such as collaboration with First Nations and workshops on individual CEPA 1999 regulations. Enforcement Officers conducted more than 5200 inspections during the reporting period, and more than 40 investigations were in various stages of development. Enforcement measures included 56 Environmental Protection Compliance Orders, among other measures.

In June 2009, the Environmental Enforcement Act (Bill C-16) received Royal Assent. It will amend the enforcement scheme of nine Acts administered by Environment Canada and Parks Canada, including CEPA 1999.

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