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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report April 1998 to March 1999

Part VII: General (CEPA Sections 87-139)

Part VII of the Act concerns the enforcement of regulations made under CEPA and other administrative matters. Under Section 34(6) of CEPA, the federal government can enter into an Equivalency Agreement with a province, so that provincial requirements are enforced in place of the equivalent CEPA regulation. In addition, under Section 98, the federal government can enter into Administrative Agreements with provinces.

There were 24 CEPA regulations in force in 1998-99:

  • Asbestos Regulations,
  • Benzene in Gasoline Regulations (amended January 1999),
  • Chlor-Alkali Mercury Release Regulations,
  • Chlorobiphenyls Regulations,
  • Contaminated Fuel Regulations,
  • Diesel Fuel Regulations,
  • Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations,
  • Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations,
  • Fuels Information Regulations No. 1,
  • Gasoline Regulations,
  • Masked Name Regulations,
  • New Substances Notification Regulations,
  • Ocean Dumping Regulations,
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations (amended January 1999),
  • PCB Waste Export Regulations,
  • Phosphorus Concentration Regulations,
  • Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations,
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations,
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations,
  • Registration of Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Lands Regulations,
  • Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations,
  • Storage of PCB Material Regulations,
  • Toxic Substances Export Notification Regulations, and
  • Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992.

The Context for Enforcement: Compliance Is the Goal

The CEPA Enforcement and Compliance Policy establishes principles for fair, predictable and consistent enforcement and informs all parties who share responsibility for protecting the environment -- governments, industry, organized labour and individuals -- about what is expected of them and what to expect from the officials who promote compliance and enforce CEPA and its regulations.

Regular inspections are carried out according to an annual National Inspection Plan, which identifies the quantity and types of inspections and monitoring activities to be carried out each year.

When suspected violations occur, investigations are undertaken to gather evidence and information in order to make a decision on the appropriate enforcement action. In provinces where cooperative arrangements have been put in place through Administrative Agreements, pursuant to Section 98 of CEPA, certain inspection and enforcement activities relating to CEPA may be carried out by provincial inspectors in accordance with their roles and responsibilities.

Enforcement Activities within Canada

To address the concerns about Environment Canada’s enforcement capabilities raised in recent Auditor General and Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development hearings and reports, the Department began a strategic planning process in early 1998.

The government’s response to the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development:

More than 70 Environment Canada inspectors, investigators and managers attended a national workshop in June 1998 to develop an Environment Canada Enforcement Action Plan, endorsed by senior managers in July 1998. The Action Plan addresses several key issues (defined as 15 projects), addressing gaps and weaknesses in program management and policies, and providing additional tools to enable officers to perform their duties more effectively.

Specific projects include:

  • developing a framework for departmental enforcement and compliance policies, and decision making,
  • improving intelligence gathering, analysis and sharing, and
  • improving regulations development and amendments.

Currently 13 of the 15 projects are completed and are in the implementation phase.

Reporting on Enforcement Activities

Using the National Enforcement Management Information System and Intelligence System (NEMISIS), the Enforcement Program can now rely on nationally consistent definitions to report on cross-Canada enforcement activities. NEMISIS will increasingly offer managers and enforcement officers an important work tool and will provide a more precise picture of Environment Canada’s enforcement activities.

Environment Canada offers the NEMISIS software to provinces free-of-charge as part of the sharing of enforcement-related information among enforcement agencies.

Enforcement on the Net

In December 1998, the Enforcement Branch launched its Homepage on Environment Canada’s Green Lane. Enforcement information had previously been available on the Green Lane but is now presented in a more easily accessible and coherent way. The Homepage provides the public with information on legislation, policies, reports and completed prosecutions and provides links to a number of partner organizations, provincial, federal and international enforcement organizations and agencies, such as INTERPOL, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the RCMP and the FBI.

Enforcement Activities and Actions 1998-99
RegulationsEnforcement ActivitiesEnforcement Actions
Verbal War-
Verbal Direc-
Written Direc-
to other
CEPA Regulations
Chlor-Alkali Mercury Release147       
Contaminated Fuel4        
Diesel Fuel4977 12    
Export & Import of Hazardous Waste15716516112    
Fuels Information No. 164 1 1    
Gasoline 65       
New Substances Notification23142 12    
New Substances Notification - Biotechnology3171      
Ocean Dumping, 1998 461     3
Ozone-depleting Substances971819 9  1 
PCB Waste Export18       
Pulp & Paper Mill Defoamer & Wood Chip5820       
Pulp & Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins & Furans11123       
Registration of Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products & Allied Petroleum Products on Federal Lands162       
Secondary Lead Smelter Release318       
Storage of PCB Materials1981986 353   
Vinyl Chloride Release, 1992431 2    
CEPA Guidelines
Glycol 6    1  
National Pollution Release Inventory1933829 152    
*CEPA - Sections534967223    

Note: There were no enforcement actions related to the following regulations: Benzene in Gasoline; Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction; Masked Name; Phosphorus Concentration; Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances; Toxic Substances Export Notification.

*    The category “CEPA - Sections” refers to enforcement activities and actions taken under a section of the Act, rather than under a CEPA regulation; for example, a citizen can request an investigation of an alleged offence under CEPA Section 108.

**   The category “Totals” refers to the total enforcement activities and actions taken under CEPA.

National Training Program

Training continues to be of major importance in maintaining and enhancing the enforcement program. The National Training Program comprises a wide range of courses developed and delivered through the collaborative efforts of staff from headquarters, the regions and the Wastewater Technology Centre. Participants include environmental protection enforcement officers, wildlife officers as well as staff from partner agencies, such as Canada Customs. Subjects range from those dealing with general skills -- for example, General Enforcement Training for CEPA Enforcement Officers -- to very specialized responsibilities and advanced investigative techniques, such as the Forensic Interviewing Course and the Undercover Course.

In support of regional compliance activities and enforcement of the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations, training was provided to CEPA inspectors from across Canada on a central database to enquire on enforcement-related activities. The system has become an integral part of national and regional compliance promotion directed at priority companies.

A computer-based training package for Customs inspectors was developed with Revenue Canada -- Customs to enhance the enforcement of the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations at border crossings.

In conjunction with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Environment Canada developed a training program for First Nations in Alberta concerning the CEPA-required registration of all underground fuel storage tanks on Aboriginal lands and federal facilities.

A five-week General Enforcement Training course for CEPA Enforcement Officers was prepared in anticipation of CEPA officers receiving “peace officer” powers, as set out in CEPA 1999.

In 1998-99, approximately 150 individuals participated in one of the following courses relating to environmental enforcement:

  • Multimedia Sampling Course (1 week)
  • Contaminated Site Health and Safety Course (1 week)
  • Forensic Interviewing Course (1 week)
  • National Undercover and Cover Team Course (3 weeks)
  • Boating Course for Enforcement Officers (2 weeks)
  • Basic Inspector’s Course for CEPA Enforcement Officers (2 weeks)

Other Enforcement-related Activities

In 1998–99, increased efforts were made to promote awareness and compliance with various CEPA regulations, including the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations and the new Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations.

Environment Canada and Revenue Canada -- Customs are working on an “umbrella” agreement that will foster continued cooperation on CEPA-related enforcement and other matters, such as hazardous wastes and ozone-depleting substances.

A two-day federal–provincial working-level enforcement meeting was held in Whitehorse in June 1998 to share enforcement-related experiences, to network and to discuss common training.

A course on environmental crimes, developed by Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Germany under the auspices of INTERPOL, was given to trainers from Eastern European countries. The intent is for them to train members of the regular police forces in their countries to make them aware of environmental crimes and how to respond to them.

Equivalency Agreements

CEPA Section 34(6) provides for Equivalency Agreements where provincial or territorial environmental legislation has provisions that are equivalent to the CEPA provisions. The intent is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations. Equivalency is based on the following criteria: equivalent regulatory standards (as determined by measurement and testing procedures and penalties and enforcement programs) and similar provision for citizens to request investigations.

The federal government has the responsibility to report annually to Parliament on the administration of Equivalency Agreements. Only one province, Alberta, has entered into an Equivalency Agreement with the federal government.

The Canada/Alberta Equivalency Agreement

“An Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations for the Control of Toxic Substances in Alberta” was signed on June 1, 1994 and came into effect on December 28, 1994. The following CEPA regulations no longer apply in Alberta:

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations (all sections),
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chips Regulations (Sections 4(1), 6(2), 6(3)(b), 7 and 9),
  • Secondary Lead Smelter Release Regulations (all sections), and
  • Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations (all sections).

In 1998-99, the regulated facilities continued to show compliance with their provincial operating licences for dioxin, furan and vinyl chloride emissions. There were no violations. There was one uncontrolled release of vinyl chloride from a plant that was reported to Alberta Environmental Protection. Stack analysers at another facility showed an excessive release of vinyl chloride on one occasion. Environment Canada has contacted Alberta Environmental Protection to obtain more details about both releases.

Administrative Agreements

Administrative Agreements are working arrangements between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments to streamline efforts in administering regulations. The agreements usually cover inspections, enforcement, monitoring and reporting, and so forth, with each jurisdiction retaining its legal authorities.


Environment Canada signed an Administrative Agreement with the Government of Quebec for the application in Quebec of the federal pulp and paper mill regulations (in effect from December 16, 1997 to March 31, 2000).

This Agreement deals with regulations under CEPA and the Fisheries Act and creates a “one-window” approach to administer regulations affecting 62 pulp and paper mills in Quebec. The CEPA federal regulations covered by the Agreement and affecting seven mills are the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations and the Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations.

According to the agreement, the province collects the regulated information, conducts inspections under its own regulations and relays data to Environment Canada.

In 1998-99, Environment Canada reviewed 1008 monthly reports from the mills and the municipalities, produced monthly reports on compliance, discussed problematic mills with Quebec and took appropriate action in conformity with the enforcement and compliance policy. Two investigations by federal government representatives were ongoing during the year. If we consider just the CEPA federal regulations, Environment Canada reviewed 112 reports of the 1008 reviewed under the agreement.

The agreement management committee met four times during the year to improve the automated system for transmitting data from the regulated industry and to set up emergency and follow-up procedures.


The Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement for CEPA (in force since September 15, 1994) covers the following CEPA regulations:

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations,
  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations,
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Products Regulations,
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations,
  • Chlorobiphenyls Regulations,
  • Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations, and
  • Storage of PCB Material Regulations.

In October 1998, eight Conservation Officers from the Saskatchewan Spill Control Centre were given CEPA spill reporting training and qualified for designation as inspectors under CEPA for the purpose of Section 36, CEPA, release of toxic substances.

Under the terms of the Agreement, the Saskatchewan Department of Environment and Resource Management (SERM) receives all reports related to unauthorized releases or spills and then notifies Environment Canada of releases of substances that fall under the federal Act.

In 1998-99, 36 releases of electrical fluids that had the potential of containing PCBs were reported. After examination, it was found that only two contained PCBs, one of which was on federal lands. The province found that appropriate corrective measures had been taken by industry following the release on provincial land, and no further action was required. With respect to the release on federal lands, the Environment Canada and Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development assessment of the initial cleanup identified some deficiencies, and the utility company undertook additional cleanup.

Compliance with the following federal regulations was promoted and verified:

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations -- There are two large pulp and paper mills in Saskatchewan. One is a state-of-the-art zero liquid discharge plant and produces no liquid effluent. SERM has incorporated the Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations into the permit for the other mill. All reported information received by the province according to its regulations is copied to Environment Canada. Administrative inspections of these data showed compliance with the regulations.

  • Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations -- Pulp and paper mills in Saskatchewan do not use products listed in these regulations at this time. Consequently, no inspection activities occurred under the CEPA Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations.

  • Ozone-depleting Substances Products Regulations -- The CEPA regulations prohibit the sale of small containers of ozone-depleting substances. The provincial regulations also cover the sale of small containers, as well as certification of refrigeration technicians and requirements for recovery. Through the agreement, Environment Canada focuses its effort on sale of containers, and Saskatchewan focuses on certification and recovery activities. Federal inspectors conducted five inspections relating to sale of containers of ozone-depleting substances in 1998-99, two jointly with SERM. In addition, SERM conducted one inspection under the Saskatchewan Ozone-depleting Substances Control Act to verify certification and recovery activities and found no violations.

  • Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations -- These CEPA regulations control manufacture, import, consumption and export of ozone-depleting substances. There is no manufacturing of ozone-depleting substances in Saskatchewan. In 1998-99, Environment Canada and SERM conducted joint inspections of three refrigerant distributors and two automotive facilities that distribute or use ozone-depleting substances. These facilities were found to be in compliance with the federal regulations.

  • Chlorobiphenyls Regulations and Storage of PCB Material Regulations -- There were no inspections conducted under the Chlorobiphenyls Regulations of in-use equipment containing PCBs in 1998-99. Environment Canada conducted six inspections under the CEPA Storage of PCB Material Regulations, four of which took place at federal storage sites and two at private sector sites. Saskatchewan was informed of all Environment Canada inspection activities at non-federal sites. Of the six sites inspected, CEPA inspectors found one private site to be out of compliance. A letter setting out the minor violations was issued. A joint Environment Canada-SERM reinspection of the site confirmed that the site had been brought into compliance.

Environment Canada maintains the inventory of in-use PCB-containing equipment in Saskatchewan and the inventory of stored PCB-containing equipment and other materials and waste containing PCBs.


Canada and Yukon use the Canada–Yukon Environmental Protection Agreement (in force since May 16, 1995) as a reference for working cooperatively, where most practical. In 1998–99, areas of cooperation included:

  • monitoring -- a vehicle emissions testing clinic and a NAPS station in Whitehorse,
  • research -- assessment and evaluation of three contaminated sites,
  • standards -- Canada participated on Government of Yukon advisory committees developing regulations: air emissions regulations were promulgated in 1998-99, and solid waste regulations are almost ready,
  • inspections -- two joint inspections relating to special/hazardous wastes; information sharing on environmental emergencies, and
  • spills -- the Yukon Spills Committee met three times to exchange information, confirm lead response agencies and increase the level of awareness related to environmental emergency preparedness.

Northwest Territories

The Canada-Northwest Territories Framework Agreement for Environmental Cooperation in the Northwest Territories was signed on November 15, 1996 and focuses on maintenance and improvement of current levels of environmental protection through cooperative efforts. It includes the following areas of cooperation:

  • development of, and adherence to, policies, guidelines and standards,
  • development of, and compliance with, legislation and regulations, and
  • response to environmental emergencies in cooperation with all responsible agencies.

This agreement expired on April 1, 1999, when the territory of Nunavut was created.

The two governments have agreed that they will not renew the agreement as they intend to implement cooperative activities through annexes to the Framework Agreement. However, in 1998-99, Environment Canada and the Northwest Territories did not negotiate any annexes, due to ongoing discussions related to interjurisdictional cooperation under the Canada-wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization, under the auspices of the CCME.

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