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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for the Period of April 1997 to March 1998

Minister's Message

Since the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) first came into force in 1988, each year has seen an increase in activities and programs under the Act to achieve the statute’s goal of protecting the environment and human life and health.

Some of the highlights during 1997-98 are:

  • 1,647 inspections were carried out by CEPA inspectors, and there were 268 follow-up actions;
  • prosecutions for a variety of offenses were initiated, and some from the previous year are still before Canadian courts;
  • the new Benzene in Gasoline Regulations were promulgated;
  • 17 new guidelines for toxic substances in different media were completed;
  • 509 new substances and 736 transitional substances were assessed to determine if they were toxic, and eight had some form of control imposed upon them;
  • 10 new products of biotechnology were also were assessed to determine if they were toxic;
  • 1,251 notices for export, 6,365 notices for import and 180 notices for transit shipments of hazardous waste were processed; 37,688 manifests were received by Environment Canada for hazardous waste shipments approved following those notices;
  • 86 permits were issued for controlled dumping of wastes at sea; and
  • a major assessment of nutrients entering the Canadian environment through human activities was initiated, in response to the recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Scientific research continued in various laboratories across the country. Of particular note is the priority given to research on endocrine disrupting substances, so that we can enhance our ability to measure these substances in the environment and predict their environmental effects.

Work also continued in 1997-98 on another significant environmental milestone – proposed legislation for the renewal of CEPA. Introduced in the House of Commons for First Reading as Bill C-32 in March 1998, the proposed statute will modernize and strengthen the CEPA that we have worked with over the past 10 years. Bill C-32 makes pollution prevention the priority approach for the reduction of toxic substances in the environment. The Bill will also:

  • implement a fast-track approach to evaluating substances to determine whether or not they are toxic;
  • ensure that the most harmful toxic substances are not released into the environment in any measurable quantity, or are phased out altogether if their release cannot be prevented;
  • improve the enforcement of the Act and its regulations;
  • improve whistleblower protection to encourage more Canadians to report CEPA violations; and
  • provide the means for more effective cooperation and partnership with other governments, as well as Aboriginal people.

I look forward to Parliamentary passage and implementation of the renewed CEPA. Canada will then have the tools to tackle environmental challenges well into the new millennium.

My thanks go to all the officials at Environment Canada and Health Canada who have once again made this a productive year for the administration of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Christine Stewart
Minister of the Environment

Minister's Message
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