Canada-United States inland pollution contingency plan

Official title: Canada-United-States Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan

Subject category:
Environmental Cooperation
Type of agreement / instrument:
Canada - United States
Form:
Cooperative Arrangement
Status:
  • Signed by Canada October, 28, 2009.
  • In force in Canada October, 28, 2009.
Lead & partner departments:
Lead:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Partner:
United States Environmental Protection Agency
For further information:
Web links:
Canada-United States Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan
Contacts:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
October 2018
Reference #:
C19/EN

Plain language summary

The Canada-United States Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan (Inland Plan) is an agreement for addressing significant accidental and unauthorized releases of pollutants along the inland border between the United States and Canada.

The Inland Plan is intended to ensure awareness and enable a coordinated federal response to pollution incidents that could affect both countries. In addition, the Inland Plan supports a request for help if a pollution incident occurs in one country that is significant enough to benefit from additional resources.

The Inland Plan complements the Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan, a plan that covers all potential sources of marine pollution (i.e., ships, offshore platforms, mystery spills).

Objective

The Canada-United-States Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan is an agreement between Environment and Climate Change Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). The revised Inland Plan supersedes the 1994 Canada-United States Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan and complements the Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan.

The Inland Plan sets forth cooperative measures for dealing with a release of a pollutant along the inland boundary of a magnitude that causes, or may cause, damage to the environment or constitutes a threat to public safety, security, health, welfare, or property. It may also facilitate the provision of assistance in the event that only one country is affected, but the polluting incident is of sufficient magnitude to justify a request for assistance from the other country.

Key elements

The Inland Plan facilitates a coordinated and integrated federal response to a polluting incident along the inland boundary and to provide a mechanism for cooperative responses among all levels of government. This also includes all federally recognized First Nations (Canada) and Tribal Nations (U.S.). The Inland Plan provides for a binational coordination mechanism to ensure appropriate and effective cooperative preparedness, notification, and response measures between Canada and the United States.

The Inland Plan may be activated when a release of a pollutant causes, or may cause, damage to the environment along the inland boundary, or constitutes a threat to public safety, security, health, welfare, or property. The Inland Plan may also be activated when only one country is affected by a polluting incident but the incident is of sufficient magnitude to justify a request for assistance from the other country.

The Inland Plan is based on a division of the inland boundary into five regional planning areas and includes Regional Annexes that describe the jurisdiction, roles, and response procedures of regulatory and support agencies within each planning area. The Regional Joint Response Teams (RJRTs) are responsible for developing the respective Annexes.

The Inland Plan establishes an International Joint Advisory Team (IJAT) and RJRTs. The IJAT is the policy and advisory body with overall responsibility for the maintenance, promotion, and coordination of the Inland Plan. The IJAT also provides advice and assistance to the RJRTs. The RJRT is the regional body responsible for providing advice and support to the On-Scene Coordinator(s) [OSC(s)]. The Inland Plan also establishes notification procedures and an incident management structure.

Expected results

The purpose of the Inland Plan is to mitigate the effects to public safety, security, health or welfare, the environment, or property by facilitating coordinated and integrated responses to polluting incidents along the inland boundary.

Canada’s involvement

The Inland Plan is the joint responsibility of Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These two organizations are to seek the assistance of other agencies, as necessary and appropriate.

ECCC and the U.S. EPA have initiated work toward updating the Inland Plan.

Results / progress

Activities

In 2015, ECCC and the US EPA promulgated the Regional Annexes CANUSPLAIN and CANUSWEST (as sub-annexes CANUSWEST-NORTH and CANUSWEST-SOUTH).

Results

All the Regional Annexes of the Inland Plan are now completed and promulgated (CANUSEAST, CANUSQUE, CANUSCENT, CANUSPLAIN, CANUSWEST-SOUTH, and CANUSWEST-NORTH).

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