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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report April 1998 to March 1999

Part IV: Federal Departments, Agencies, Crown Corporations, Works, Undertakings and Lands (CEPA Sections 52-60)

Part IV provides the authority to regulate waste handling and disposal practices, emissions and effluents from the operations of federal departments, Crown corporations and federal agencies.

Through the Greening of Government Operations initiative, the government continues to establish guidelines for integrating environmental considerations into the operations of all departments. The departments are encouraged to apply these guidelines, taking into account existing regulations and current technological options.

As well, the Federal Committee on Environmental Management Systems provided a forum for departments to exchange best practices in the areas of procurement, waste management, water usage, energy use, fleet management, contaminated sites, storage tanks and environmental emergencies.

Federal Halocarbon Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on August 29, 1998. These regulations concern ozone-depleting substances and their halocarbon alternatives and federal lands. (The Regulations came into force on July 1, 1999.)

The draft federal hazardous waste regulations were published for consultation purposes. The existing Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations are being amalgamated into these hazardous waste regulations.

During the 1998-99 fiscal year, work was done to ensure that appropriate systems are in place for responding to environmental emergencies at federal facilities. The National Environmental Emergency System was substantially upgraded in 1998 and now incorporates historical data from regions as well as data from various contributing agencies. This system has already been used to assess risks related to year 2000 problems.

A working group, co-chaired by Environment Canada and Transport Canada, was established as a forum for dealing with a range of environmental emergency issues at federal facilities. An immediate priority was the identification of federal land sites with PSL1 substances on them. Preliminary results show some facilities with PSL1 substances in quantities approaching the thresholds identified by the Major Industrial Accidents Council of Canada. Large quantities of fuel are also stored on some sites. The working group, which is under the auspices of the Federal Committee on Environmental Management Systems, is encouraging the custodial departments to conduct staff training and have appropriate emergency plans in place. Promoting compliance with the storage tank regulations is an ongoing project of the Environment Canada Storage Tank Network.

The following activities supported the Greening of Government Operations initiative in 1998-99:

  • delivery of training workshops to Crown corporations and agencies on tools to measure environmental performance and best practices for environmental management systems, and
  • delivery of two ISO 14000 Environmental Management workshops.

In 1998, Environment Canada conducted an assessment of 15 of the Department’s facilities, including laboratories and weather stations, to determine the state of emergency preparedness practices. Unpublished results indicated that effective contingency plans were in place, although comprehensive risk assessments may not have been carried out, as necessary. Some training needs were identified.

The Quebec Region offered a course on the management of hazardous wastes and responding to environmental emergencies to 20 participants from federal organizations in May 1998.

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