Canada-Panama environment agreement: overview

Agreement on the Environment between Canada and Panama

Flags of Canada and Panama

The Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama (the Canada-Panama Environment Agreement) was signed on May 14, 2010 and entered into force on April 1, 2013. This Agreement commits both countries to encourage high levels of domestic environmental protection, to foster good environmental governance and to promote transparency and public participation. It also creates a framework for undertaking environmental cooperative activities.

The Environment Agreement, signed in parallel to the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA), reinforces the concept that free trade should not take place at the expense of the environment. The FTA itself also includes environment provisions and a principles-based Environment chapter.

Related documents:

  • Canada-Panama Environment Agreement (HTML | PDF, 794 Kb)
  • Summary of the Canada-Panama Environment Agreement (HTML)

Key Elements of the Environment Agreement

Under the Canada-Panama Environment Agreement, the countries commit to:

  • ensure that their laws and policies provide for high levels of environmental protection;
  • effectively enforce their environmental laws;
  • not relax their environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment;
  • ensure that procedures for environmental impact assessment are maintained;
  • promote trade and investment in environmental goods and services;
  • ensure that proceedings are available to provide sanctions or remedies for violations of their environmental laws;
  • promote public awareness of environmental laws and policies;
  • promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;
  • respect, preserve and maintain traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities; and
  • encourage voluntary best practices of corporate social responsibility.

The Environment Agreement also includes enforcement and complaint mechanisms, which:

  • allow any Canadian or Panamanian to submit a written question to either country regarding any obligation under the Agreement;
  • provide that any Canadian or Panamanian can request an investigation of alleged violations of environmental laws in his or her country; and
  • establish a dispute resolution mechanism to address any matter that may arise under the Agreement.

The Environment Agreement will further create a framework to undertake environmental cooperative activities.

For more information on the Environment Agreement, please refer to the Summary of the Canada-Panama Environment Agreement.

Environment Elements in the FTA

The FTA itself also includes environment provisions and an Environment chapter that:

  • recognize the need to implement the FTA in a manner consistent with environmental protection and conservation and the sustainable use of their resources;
  • stipulate that, in the case of inconsistent obligations, Multilateral Environmental Agreements that both countries have signed and ratified (e.g., Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer) prevail over the FTA;
  • require that the countries not weaken domestic health, safety or environmental measures to encourage investment;
  • allow the countries to take certain necessary measures to protect human, animal and plant life or health which may be inconsistent with trade or investment obligations; and
  • commit the Commission established under the FTA to consider reports and recommendations from the Committee on the Environment, in respect of any trade and environment-related issues.

Committee and Cooperative Activities

The implementation of the Canada-Panama Environment Agreement will be overseen by a Committee on the Environment, made up of government officials from both countries.

The countries are to decide on priority areas and create a work program of environment-related cooperative activities. The activities may be carried out through technical (e.g., training) or financial cooperation.

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