Departmental Results Report 2017 to 2018: Department of Environment, chapter 5

Results: what we achieved

Programs

Program 1.1: Biodiversity – wildlife and habitat

Program Description
This program aims to prevent biodiversity loss while enabling sustainable use by: protecting and recovering species at risk and their critical habitat; conserving and protecting healthy populations of migratory birds; and monitoring, conserving and restoring significant habitats by establishing and maintaining a network of protected areas, and developing and implementing stewardship programs. It also supports coordinated and coherent national assessment, research, planning and action to protect biodiversity, including viable, self-sustaining populations of species, healthy and diverse ecosystems, and genetic resources. The program forms strategic partnerships for integrated management of Canada's natural capital, including stewardship and the sustainable management of landscapes. This program has responsibilities under the Species at Risk Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, Canada Wildlife Act, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. International responsibilities include the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), the Migratory Birds Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group of the Arctic Council, and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar Convention).
Results
Migratory Bird Conservation

In 2017, ECCC celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, one of the first wildlife conservation laws to be adopted in the world. The Act protects 382 species of birds that migrate and nest in Canada, regulates migratory bird hunting and allows for the creation of sanctuaries that protect their habitat.

The department completed a full suite of migratory bird population surveys, including the 52nd annual North American Breeding Bird aerial and ground surveys of waterfowl, breeding surveys of shorebirds in the Arctic, and seabird colony surveys on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. These surveys provide the foundation for assessing the status of Canada’s migratory birds, and point to key conservation actions needed to maintain or restore healthy populations of all species and prevent them from becoming species at risk.

Protecting nature: by the numbers…

Completed recovery plans and strategies for species:

As of January 2018, ECCC had published recovery strategies and management plans for 315 of the 332 species for which recovery documents are due; since 2016 ECCC has reduced the backlog from 72 to 16.

Protected Areas set aside in Canada (as of 2018):

ECCC manages 54 National Wildlife Areas and 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries which, together, cover 12.4 million hectares, an area twice the size of Nova Scotia.

Protecting Species at Risk

An accurate list of species at risk is important to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct. ECCC made significant progress in addressing the backlog of listing decisions to be made for 149 terrestrial species that were assessed as at-risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada between 2009 and 2016. Final listing decisions were made for 58 species and proposed listing decisions were published for another 13 species. To further enhance the protection of Canada’s endangered species, ECCC established a timeline for future listing decisions: 24 months for terrestrial species and 36 months for more complex aquatic species. With the new timelines, ECCC is on track to achieve its commitment to eliminate the backlog by 2019–20.

Minister McKenna hosted a Round Table on the Species at Risk Act with members of a newly established Species at Risk Advisory Committee (including Indigenous, environmental, industry and agriculture representatives), which focused on collaboration on multi-sector, multi-species and place-based approaches to protect and recover species.

Celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday

To contribute to Canada’s birthday celebrations, ECCC offered free entry to Cap Tourmente, one of Canada’s 54 National Wildlife Areas.

The department also installed commemorative plaques on 150 properties across Canada to celebrate the exceptional habitat and biodiversity benefits of the properties set aside by Canadians through sale, donation, or conservation agreement for long-term conservation. These lands were conserved with the support of Government of Canada funding or tax incentives.

The 2018 Budget announcement in March 2018 heralded the investment of $1.35 billion over five years to reflect the Government of Canada’s commitment to nature conservation. The investment includes creation of a five-year, $500 million Canada Nature Fund to enhance capacity to protect and recover species at risk, and  manage and expand national wildlife area and migratory bird sanctuaries.

In addition, ECCC, in collaboration with provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders, took action on several fronts to protect declining populations of boreal caribou and southern mountain caribou. The department:

  • Released its five-year (2012–17) report on progress to implement the 2012 recovery strategy for the boreal caribou. With over 95% of habitat under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the department continued to support and encourage completion of range plans by involved jurisdictions.
  • Finalized an Action Plan for recovery of the boreal caribou. Based on extensive consultation, the Plan outlines steps that the Government of Canada will take to protect this important species. Of importance, the Plan establishes a Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium where federal departments, provinces, Indigenous organizations and communities, industry, environmental organizations and academics will share knowledge and lessons learned and collaborate to address knowledge gaps to advance boreal caribou conservation.
  • Collaborated with the Government of British Columbia to address the ongoing decline of the southern mountain caribou by creating a draft bilateral conservation agreement to recover population and habitat of particular importance to Indigenous peoples. The science-based agreement sets population objectives, with an initial focus on the Central Group of caribou (northeast British Columbia). The agreement will be expanded to other groups in British Columbia, in collaboration with directly affected First Nations, as well as communities and stakeholders.

ECCC, in collaboration with its federal partners (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada), and provinces and territories released a major Report on the assessments of nearly 30,000 species across Canada. Wild Species 2015 identifies that most (80%) of the species assessed are secure, while 20% face some level of risk of extinction. Published every five years, the Report helps ensure species at risk are identified and protected through collective actions.

Biodiversity Conservation

In support of Canada’s commitment to conserve, by 2020, at least 17% of Canada’s land and freshwater through connected networks of protected and conserved areas, Minister McKenna and Minister Phillips (Government of Alberta) co-led a collaborative Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative. They established a National Advisory Panel and an Indigenous Circle of Experts to advise governments on achieving the ambitious 17% target.

Building relationships with Indigenous Peoples

ECCC actively supported negotiations on conservation issues at modern treaty and Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination tables across Canada by participating directly at the table, and when that was not possible, by assessing Indigenous proposals and preparing responses for use by the federal negotiation team. The department recognizes Indigenous governments’ vested interests in sustainably managing wildlife harvesting in their traditional territories and that they are best placed to identify their specific conservation interests in treaty settlement areas. ECCC’s investments in collaboration with Indigenous peoples contributed to effective delivery on the Minister’s environmental priorities and the Government of Canada’s commitment to renew Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.

The Department and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) committed to a joint workplan to advance shared priorities on environmental issues—including to explore new solutions, such as Indigenous Protected Areas, and to re-establish the Inuit Communications Group with ITK and the four regional Inuit organizations as a forum to discuss shared wildlife priorities.

ECCC continued to build a strong foundation of collaboration and global leadership in engaging Indigenous organizations in meaningful participation in international conservation negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The department hosted an event at the 2017 CBD meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to showcase its new Ecosystem Services Toolkit, a technical guide to ecosystem services assessment and analysis to support decision making.

Highlights of other 2017–18 departmental results include:

  • continued progress in designating the Scott Islands Marine National Wildlife Area (in collaboration with the Government of British Columbia, the Tlatlasikwala First Nation, and Quatsino First Nation and stakeholders) and the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area (in collaboration with the Government of Northwest Territories, the Dehcho First Nations, Tłįchǫ Government and others).
  • ongoing international leadership in conserving nature, including through work at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). For the first time, a Canadian woman chaired the CITES Standing Committee.

Commitment to experimentation: Integrated conservation action approach

ECCC continued to test the use of an Integrated Conservation Action (ICA) approach in landscapes with high biodiversity value. ECCC worked with conservation partners to target and leverage resources, funding and action on shared conservation priorities in several focal areas across the country. In the Southwest Nova Scotia (SWNS) focal area, an experimental approach to ICA was pursued to collaboratively identify and implement key conservation actions for biodiversity using a multi-species, ecosystem-based approach. Through this integrated approach, all partners agreed to adopt a common overarching conservation framework, standard language and measures of success in order to foster synergies in actions, reduce overlap and gain efficiencies, and ultimately demonstrate greater collective impact for biodiversity conservation. As a result, a greater emphasis on Mi’kmaw perspectives has fundamentally strengthened ICA work through a ‘two-eyed seeing approach’ (Etuaptmunk) that integrates Indigenous knowledge with Western science. Lessons learned in this focal area included the importance of a common overarching framework, and consistent communications and messaging, as well the establishment of short-term objectives for coordinating action and of long-term objectives for conservation outcomes. The learning will continue to be applied to other ICA initiatives.
Results achieved
Populations of migratory birds are secure
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Proportion of assessed migratory bird species in General Status Reports whose status is considered to be "secure" 81% 2020 General Status Report n/a (the next report will be available in 2021) 79% in 2015 77% in 2010
Results for this indicator are derived from assessments of the status of species in Canada (General Status Reports) that are prepared every 5 years, as required by the Species at Risk Act.
Status of listed species shows improvement upon reassessment
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Proportion of federally listed species at risk for which Environment and Climate Change Canada is primarily responsible and for which recovery is feasible that exhibit, at the time of reassessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), population and distribution trends consistent with achieving the objectives of recovery strategies. 35% March 2017 40% as of May 2017 35% as of May 2016 33% as of May 2015
Indicator results should not be interpreted as a measure of recovery success until sufficient time has passed to allow species to recover and to collect sufficient information to assess that recovery. In addition, observations of rare species are often difficult to collect.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)*
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2017–18
Difference (actual minus planned)
135,322,453 135,322,453 160,414,883 159,446,462 24,124,009
*All figures, throughout the document, are net of respendable revenues.
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents—FTEs)*
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
546 635 89
*Totals may differ within and between tables due to the rounding of figures. The FTE numbers, throughout the document, include students.

Program 1.2: Water resources

Program Description

This program addresses the risks to and impacts on water resources from industrial activities, agriculture, climate change and other factors. It aims to minimize threats to Canada’s water resources and aquatic ecosystems and to maintain the sustainability of such resources. The program is delivered in collaboration with partners, specifically other federal departments, provinces and territories, and a range of non-governmental organizations. The program focuses on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s contribution to monitoring water quality and conducting water-related research and analysis and its role in collaborating with other departments to determine priorities for water quality and quantity as well as aquatic ecosystem monitoring and research. It provides scientific information and advice to decision makers and supports implementation of the Canada Water Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Fisheries Act, International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, and International River Improvements Act.

Results

ECCC monitors, assesses and reports on Canada’s water quality and quantity. To improve the public’s access to water quality data, as recommended in a 2017 evaluation of ECCC’s Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystems Health Program, the department developed and started the implementation of a plan to make all raw data available within 30 days of its collection, and to improve the timeliness of the release of analyzed data.

ECCC provided freshwater quantity monitoring data (such as river flow and water levels) to assist communities and other stakeholders with water management decisions, especially during periods of flooding, drought and other extreme weather events. For example, ECCC deployed in 2017 a first-of-its-kind high-resolution experimental system to accurately predict high water levels along the shore of Lake Ontario. The system allows the department to provide advance warning of the magnitude of expected increases in water levels.

ECCC worked with provincial authorities in Ontario to foresee risk and help manage water levels on Lake Ontario, and so helped protect Canadians and their property from weather disasters. By informing Canadians on time and with the best information available, this collaboration exemplified the department’s ongoing provision of water information, data and expertise to international and domestic water boards under agreements with provinces, territories and the U.S. through the International Joint Commission (IJC).

Water monitoring: by the numbers…

ECCC monitoring stations:

  • ECCC operates its stations in partnership with provinces, territories and others
  • 2,800 hydrometric stations monitor water levels and flow, including data published by ECCC from 700 third-party stations
  • 375 stations measure water quality

Relative risk to water quality in rivers monitored:

  • 22% – high
  • 55% – medium
  • 23% – low

ECCC monitoring sites where water quality is rated as good or excellent:

  • 43% in 2013–2015
  • 45% in 2012–2014

ECCC’s new mobile-friendly water office site received over 74 million hits, and 2.1 million unique visits in 2017–18.

Water level management

Throughout the spring and summer of 2017,  ECCC National Hydrological Services (NHS) transboundary engineers provided guidance and ran scenarios to provide input to the IJC’s Lake Ontario St. Lawrence Board of Control to help make decisions around the management of water levels on Lake Ontario and within the St. Lawrence River. Documentation of the impacts was also carried out by NHS engineers in order to assess how the system was managed, prepare for the future, and employ adaptive management principles. ECCC experts also supported the Ottawa River Regulation Board by providing enhanced technical and communications support during record Ottawa River flows.
ECCC launched a study of the Ottawa River watershed—a resource that is vital to the ecological, economic, and cultural well-being of people in more than 200 municipalities and Indigenous communities living in or near this area. The study engaged Indigenous peoples, multiple levels of government, local watershed groups, non-governmental organizations, industry, academia, diverse identity groups youth, and the general public in issues affecting them and will provide recommendations regarding the future of the watershed.

Not a typical day at ECCC Water Survey

In May 2017, ECCC’s Water Survey crews rescued a paddler who was capsized in the fast-moving and frigid waters of the Ottawa River, near Ottawa. ECCC employees went above and beyond the call of duty in saving the man’s life.

Two crews worked together: one spotted the man in trouble and a second pulled him from the water. Once on land, paramedics took over to treat the paddler’s hypothermia. Given harsh water conditions and cold temperatures, the actions of the two crews were instrumental in saving the man’s life.

ECCC collaborated with the Government of Alberta to shape a renewed commitment to jointly monitor the environmental impacts of oil sands’ development in Alberta. The new agreement promotes greater Indigenous involvement and will help to ensure that Indigenous knowledge, as well as robust and credible scientific data, contribute to evidence-based decisions. Funded by industry (up to $50 million annually), monitoring will include the oil sands’ impacts on air, water, wildlife and biodiversity, and will enhance understanding of the cumulative effects of activity in the oil sands area of northeastern Alberta.
Threats to Canada's water resources and aquatic ecosystems are minimized and the sustainability of the resource is maintained
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Percentage of core national monitoring sites whose water quality is rated as good or excellent 50% December 20161 40% for the period 2014–16 43% for the period 2013–15 45% for the period 2012–14

This indicator is designed to provide an overall measure of the ability of selected rivers across Canada to support aquatic life. Water quality changes slowly over time. The indicator is a snapshot in time, with overlapping years, of the water quality ratings for various sites (rivers) across Canada. The indicator reports on the status of water quality in select rivers. While the results may suggest a decline, this indicator cannot be used to assess trend. Trend in water quality can only be assessed at each testing station. This indicator will be discontinued in favour of a new suite of indicators that are expected to provide a more reliable picture of water quality trends over time.

1 Date to Achieve was identified as “In the 2014–16 data set” in the 2017–18 Departmental Plan. It has been updated in this document for greater clarity.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2017–18
Difference (actual minus planned)
69,722,840 69,722,840 83,401,908 81,868,848 12,146,008
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents—FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
598 602 4

Program 1.3: Sustainable ecosystems

Program Description

This program aims to sustain Canada’s ecosystems over the long term by providing Canadians, their governments and the private sector with the environmental information and tools required to incorporate social, economic and environmental considerations into decision making and actions. Environmental assessments are a large part of this program. The ecosystem approach to environmental management focuses on maintaining the capacity of a whole system to produce ecological goods and services and genetic resources to support the economy, security, and health and well-being. This program focuses on: the development and implementation of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s sustainability policies and strategies; provision of information to support integrated, ecosystem-scale planning; community engagement in remediation of sites; youth engagement; and research and reporting on environmental status and trends. The program facilitates interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral planning and information sharing among partners.

Results

Environment and Climate Change Canada made bold new investments to promote sustainable ecosystems, reinforced existing partnerships and extended opportunities for new and enhanced partnerships to broaden knowledge and increase strategic action in key areas.

The Great Lakes

"Sustained action on Great Lakes restoraion is key to the health and economic prosperity of citizens in this important region."
-The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (December 1, 2017)

ECCC continued to deliver on its commitments under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health and the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. With close to $45 million in new funding to the Great Lakes Protection Initiative, ECCC provided more opportunities for participation by Indigenous communities and governments, research bodies, environmental non-government organizations, local governments and agencies, and industry to take action on priorities, such as reducing toxic and nuisance algae and harmful pollutants, expanding knowledge of Great Lakes issues and restoring water quality and ecosystem health.

Too much phosphorous can cause harmful and nuisance algal blooms and zones of hypoxia that have negative impacts on human health, degrade fish and wildlife populations, and have economic costs as well, such as fouling beaches in this prime recreation area. In partnership with Indigenous peoples and stakeholders, ECCC and the Government of Ontario finalized the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan with the goal of reducing annual phosphorus loading into Lake Erie by 40% from the 2008 baseline to achieve Canada-U.S. phosphorus targets.

State of the Great Lakes

The 2017 State of the Great Lakes Report, released in June 2017 jointly by Canada and the U.S., reported on nine indicators assessing the condition of the Great Lakes ecosystem. More than 180 Great Lakes scientists and other experts worked to assemble the supporting data and to agree on what the indicators were saying. Overall, the report shows the lakes are in “Fair and Unchanging” condition. Findings highlight that progress has been made in reducing toxic chemicals, while challenges remain, including invasive species and nutrient levels.

2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement by Canada and the U.S., a major vehicle for engaging provincial/state governments, Indigenous peoples and a multitude of other partners and stakeholders in actions to protect this invaluable resource.

Science at work

ECCC scientists are working with other departmental partners to use earth observation data collected by drones, satellites and other sources to help assess and manage conditions in the Great Lakes coastal wetlands through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative.
The department continued to restore Great Lakes sites so that Canadians have cleaner drinking water and can enjoy waters where they can fish and swim. This work was conducted across all Canadian and binational Great Lakes Areas of Concern  with the involvement of the department’s collaboration network of community partners. This widespread action involves extensive partnerships with other governments, First Nations, Métis, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and community members.
In the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern in Lake Ontario, ECCC launched the second of three phases of the Randle Reef clean up, which will see contaminated sediments from the harbour floor dredged and contained within a six hectare, double walled containment facility. Preparations for dredging began in the Fall of 2017 and once completed, the surface area will be developed and operated as a marine terminal. This massive multi-year initiative remains on budget and on time, to be completed by 2022. Part of a larger initiative to restore water quality in the Great Lakes, ECCC is working with the Government of Ontario, the City of Hamilton, the City of Burlington, the Regional Municipality of Halton, Hamilton Port Authority, and Stelco on the Randle Reef clean up. It is the largest sediment remediation project ever undertaken in Canada.
Lake Winnipeg

Acting on the recommendations of the 2017 evaluation of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative , the department continued to take actions to fill scientific gaps, to apply a more strategic and targeted approach to reduce nutrient contamination, promote knowledge sharing among stakeholders, and increase Indigenous engagement. New funding of $25.7 million to the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program will support the delivery of ECCC’s Lake Winnipeg Science Plan, promote stakeholder-driven nutrient reduction actions, strengthen collaborative governance, and increase Indigenous engagement on Lake Winnipeg water quality issues. These efforts will improve the health of this major freshwater resource for economic and recreational opportunities.

St. Lawrence River Basin

ECCC continued to work with the Government of Québec on the conservation and enhancement of the St. Lawrence River Basin, including joint investments to improve water quality, conserve biodiversity and ensure its sustainable use. The department, in collaboration with the Government of Québec, announced investments of over $57 million as part of the 2016–2021 five-year plan to protect and enhance the river under the Canada-Quebec Agreement on the St. Lawrence 2011–2026 (St. Lawrence Action Plan). These funds will support 38 projects to conserve biodiversity, improve water quality, promote the river’s sustainable use and enable advances in research to preserve this vital ecosystem.

Other key accomplishments in 2017–18 include:

  • Directing $1.27 million from the Environmental Damages Fund to support eleven new projects aimed at restoring damaged ecosystems in the Atlantic provinces and Québec. The Fund operates on the “polluter pay” principle to direct financial penalties to activities that restore and improve the environment, and to educate Canadians and undertake research.
  • Publishing early results for short-term milestones under the 2017 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Update, including over 700 actions reported by 26 departments. To provide even greater transparency and accountability, Minister McKenna proposed (June 2017) legislative amendments that will triple the number of federal departments and agencies reporting progress on federal sustainable development goals.
  • Collaborating with employers across Canada to create over 1000 green internships in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program.
The health of selected ecosystems in Canada is closely monitored
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Average score on a 100-point scale based on expert ratings of status and trends of key indicators of the health of selected ecosystems in Canada 52% December 2020 63%  n/a n/a
The result is based on Great Lakes data from 1968 to 2015 and St. Lawrence River data from 2002 to 2012. Some of the component indicators used for calculating the score, depending on the ecosystem, include phosphorus and nitrogen levels, toxic contamination in sediments, and contaminants in waterbirds, among others. The indicator value is calculated by averaging the scores of the four Canadian Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. Great Lakes indicators are updated every 3 years and the St. Lawrence indicators are updated every 5 years (next update due in 2019–20).
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2017–18
Difference (actual minus planned)
84,520,845 84,520,845 110,739,990 103,586,093 19,065,248
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents—FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
422 432 10

Program 1.4: Compliance promotion and enforcement – wildlife

Program Description

This program works to conserve and protect the natural environment through compliance promotion and enforcement of the Species at Risk Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, Antarctic Environmental Protection Act and Canada Wildlife Act. The program promotes compliance through the communication of information, education, and consultation with parties affected by these statutes. It maintains a contingent of enforcement officers whose activities consist of verifying compliance with acts, regulations and permits pertaining to wildlife and Environment and Climate Change Canada protected areas, gathering intelligence, conducting inspections and pursuing investigations regarding alleged offenders. The program also works with INTERPOL as well as the United States and Mexico under the auspices of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to strengthen wildlife enforcement. These actions aim to reduce damage and threats to biodiversity for the benefit of Canadians and the international community.

ECCC continued to conduct inspections and take enforcement measures to protect Canada’s wildlife and habitats, and to support the recovery of endangered species.

Following guilty verdicts, courts issue fines and direct penalties to organizations and individuals that fail to comply with wildlife laws, including those under the Species at Risk Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulations of International Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). For example, a company found to be noncompliant with wildlife regulations for depositing a substance harmful to migratory birds was ordered by a judge to pay a penalty of $235,000 to environmental organizations and the Environmental Damages Fund while another part of the amount was directed to environmental organizations to support specific projects.

Enforcing wildlife measures: by the numbers...

In 2017–18, ECCC:

  • Conducted 4,955 inspections and initiated 114 investigations to gather evidence and take appropriate enforcement measures against alleged offenders.
  • Based on findings of inspections and investigations, undertook 414 enforcement measures, including prosecutions, compliance orders, contraventions and warnings that collectively resulted in 92 convictions and a total of $342,576 in penalties.

ECCC enforcement officers prioritized efforts to monitor Barn Swallow breeding colonies on McNabs Island in Halifax Harbour, to help reduce the serious decline of more than 75% of this threatened species since the 1970s. Departmental biologists continued to work to identify the reasons for this major decline.

ECCC continued its work with provincial and territorial governments and several Inuit communities to identify and track legal polar bear hides once they enter trade in order to support legally-harvested markets.

To protect wildlife in Canada and globally, ECCC continued its international work, including with INTERPOL and other international organizations, to promote compliance with and enforce domestic wildlife laws.

Protecting salamanders

To protect biodiversity, Canada implemented temporary restrictions on the import of salamanders. The restrictions were set to protect Canada’s native salamander species from a deadly fungal disease that has affected salamanders in other parts of the world. Scientific data on the disease and early and ongoing collaboration with partners, including the pet trade industry, led to the restrictions as the best course of action.

ECCC was recognized by the Community of Federal Regulators with the Excellence in Collaborative Approaches and Shared Solutions award for its work to protect Canadian salamanders.
Targeted regulatees are penalized when non-compliant with wildlife laws and regulations administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Percentage of prosecutions that result in convictions 95% March 2018 99% 97% 95%
This indicator is a measure of the effectiveness of the program in achieving convictions in cases of suspected non-compliance. The reported percentage is based on the total number of prosecutions that resulted in convictions, over the total number of prosecutions.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2017–18
Difference (actual minus planned)
16,297,080 16,297,080 18,866,900 18,680,551 2,383,471
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents—FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
128 133 5

Program 2.1: Weather and environmental services for Canadians

Program Description

This program provides reliable, accurate and timely forecasts and warnings, as well as weather and environmental intelligence to anticipate, manage and adapt to the risks and opportunities of changing weather, water, air quality and climate conditions. It involves monitoring, research, prediction and service delivery based on sound science to help Canadians make informed decisions in order to protect their health, safety, security and economic prosperity. Because a global effort is needed to monitor, understand and predict constantly changing weather, water, air quality, sea ice, and climate conditions, the program works with various collaborators around the world. Global collaborators include other national meteorological services, such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Météo France, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations World Meteorological Organization and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. At the national level, collaborators include the media, academia and all levels of government in Canada. The program meets the department’s responsibilities under the department of the Environment Act, Weather Modification Information Act, Emergency Management Act (2007), Convention of the World Meteorological Organization, and memoranda of agreement with other national meteorological and space agencies.
The program provides forecasts and information in the event of environmental emergencies associated with the release of toxic and radioactive material in the atmosphere.

Results

ECCC continued to provide weather and environmental services for Canadians on a 24/7 basis. For example, the Canadian Hurricane Centre along with our other 7 Storm Prediction Centres (SPCs) prepared Canadians for the 2017 severe weather and hurricane season, by issuing more than 2,100 weather alerts and warnings. The SPCs and the Canadian Hurricane Centre also provided accurate and timely weather-sensitive information to businesses and the public about storms and hurricanes to help them make decisions about their safety. In addition, ECCC continued to promote safety through the Government of Canada’s Get Prepared website, with advice on how to prepare for and take action in a variety of weather-related emergencies, including extreme heat and cold, tornadoes and storms.

The department continued to support the management of wildfires, including during the summer of 2017 in British Columbia. With around-the-clock weather information, local smoke-dispersion forecasts and weather forecasts, ECCC deployed staff and a high-resolution weather model over the Williams Lake area to provide detailed forecast information. The added resources supplemented ongoing wildfire smoke and air quality forecasts, updated twice daily, as well as hourly air quality condition reports under the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI).

The AQHI is maintained by ECCC and Health Canada to provide local conditions, forecasts, health risks, pollutants weather and educational tool kits. AQHI information readings for 117 locations across Canada are available on line and through the AQHI Canada mobile app.

Improving accuracy, timeliness and access to weather information
As part of a multi-year initiative to modernize Canada’s weather radar network, ECCC installed and began operating a new weather radar in Radisson, Saskatchewan. The state-of-the-art facility provides better, more timely severe weather warnings, including to agricultural operations to help plan for the growing season. It also gives communities greater lead time to plan for severe weather events, such as tornadoes and blizzards. ECCC began Installation of an additional four weather radars, with a total of 32 to be installed across the country by 2023.

Weather for Canadians: by the numbers...

In 2017–18, ECCC:

  • provided weather information to Canadians 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • issued 480,000 weather forecasts, watches and warnings
  • received at weather.gc.ca more than 550 million visits (averaging 1.5 million a day)— more than any other page on the Canada.ca website
  • received more than 30 million requests (for radar images, precipitation and temperature observations, weather forecasts, special bulletins, warnings and alerts) from 640,000 users a day through its Datamart*
  • received over 2,000,000 requests a day for weather data, from 100,000 users a day through GeoMet**
  • had 17,400 subscribers (public emergency officials and media) to its email weather alert service, EC Alert me
  • had 175,000 twitter followers, with accounts for over 830 communities
  • reached over 28.2 million Canadians in 10 provinces and 3 territories at 117 locations with information about local air quality through its AQHI
* DataMart enables users to receive large volumes of ECCC weather observations and forecast data.
** GeoMet gives users access to ECCC’s raw numerical weather prediction model data that they can download into their own tools and in interactive climate maps.
The department completed onboarding of its high-performance computer in September 2017, following several months of sustained effort with experts at Shared Services Canada. This major update, which provides computing capacity comparable to that of other leading global meteorological sites, will enable the Canadian Centre for Meteorological and Environmental Prediction to provide more accurate and timely forecasting for Canadians over the coming years. Other departments also benefit from the output of the supercomputer, including Public Safety Canada for environmental emergency prevention and response, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for pest control and management, Health Canada for the nuclear emergency response and air quality policy issues, Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Services for fire weather and forest fire smoke dispersion services, Department of National Defence for weather information and forecasts, Fisheries and Oceans for oil spills response, fish management strategy and ocean modelling for emergency management, and Provinces for flood forecasts and natural resources management.

Year of Polar Prediction

ECCC began a major contribution to a World Meteorological Organization initiative to respond to rapid polar climate change at both the north and south poles.

The Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) combines scientific information and forecasts from 21 countries to observe, model and improve forecasts of weather and climate systems in the Arctic and Antarctic. The YOPP (mid-2017 to mid-2019) will lead to better forecasts of weather and sea-ice conditions to improve environmental safety at both poles.

ECCC calibrated its national alert system to reflect data and information from multiple tracking systems. This extensive behind-the-scenes work will result in more accurate and timely ECCC alerts for weather and environmental hazards, and support alerts within affected areas before and as hazards occur, including tracking of lightning and hurricanes. The modalities used to communicate alerts will also be expanded from television and radio to include cell phones as well. Investments in weather infrastructure and system upgrades led to improved timeliness and accuracy of warnings (94% in 2017, up from 81% in 2016).

Work to create the department’s mobile weather app progressed in 2017–18. The new app will become Canada’s authoritative mobile source of weather information. The app is integrated with upgrades to weather information on the ECCC website and responds to an overall increase in the use of social media to provide Canadians with 24/7 accurate weather.

ECCC calibrated its national alert system to reflect data and information from multiple tracking systems. This extensive behind-the-scenes work will result in more accurate and timely ECCC alerts for weather and environmental hazards, and support alerts within affected areas before and as hazards occur, including tracking of lightning and hurricanes. The modalities used to communicate alerts will also be expanded from television and radio to include cell phones as well. Investments in weather infrastructure and system upgrades led to improved timeliness and accuracy of warnings (94% in 2017, up from 81% in 2016).

Work to create the department’s mobile weather app progressed in 2017–18. The new app will become Canada’s authoritative mobile source of weather information. The app is integrated with upgrades to weather information on the ECCC website and responds to an overall increase in the use of social media to provide Canadians with 24/7 accurate weather.

Science is the foundation of ECCC’s weather and environmental services. Some key scientific activities carried out over the year included:

  • Advances in Canada’s Numerical Environmental and Weather Prediction System, which has improved accuracy of predictions with forecast skills now beyond 7 days, with over 13.5 million observations brought into the system each day.
  • High-profile publications on climate research, including a study outlining how increases in average global temperature, aligned with targets under the Paris Agreement, could impact Arctic sea ice.

Commitment to experimentation: Leveraging social media networks

ECCC continued to experiment with using social media networks so that Canadians can directly receive pertinent weather and climate information, including weather alerts. A key learning to date is the that the redistribution of messages on social media is a powerful source of engagement.

In a trial using Twitter to provide supplementary, value-added information related to its weather alerts and forecasts in Québec and British Columbia, results show that in 2017 the experimental Twitter accounts had a combined 16,000 followers and meteorologists issued close to 2,300 tweets.

With respect to trials with severe weather warnings, tracking use shows that automated Twitter accounts used to pass along warnings continue to see a modest growth in followers: at 175,000 in 2017 compared to 113,000 in 2016 and 67,000 in 2015.

On another front, ECCC experimented with messaging through posting weather- and climate-related videos on its Facebook account. Results show that this approach does not support publishing of alerts in real time—a factor important to their effectiveness, given the speed with which weather situations can change.

Results achieved

Canadians use Environment and Climate Change Canada's weather and environmental services

Public component of the Weather Warning Index (a weighted index of weather warning timeliness and accuracy)
Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
7.9 December 2017 8.1 in 2015 to 2017 8.1 in 2014 to 2016 8.3 in 2013 to 20152

The Public Warning Index provides Canadians with an overview of the state of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s severe weather warning program. The value of this indicator has exhibited minor fluctuations over the last three reporting years, but has continually exceeded the target. The index is calculated based on timeliness and accuracy information for five warning types that are representative of Canada’s climate: rainfall, snowfall, freezing rain, wind, and severe thunderstorm.  It ranges from zero (poor performance) to ten (perfect performance).

2This result was reported as 8.4 in the 2016–17 Departmental Results Report, and was updated to 8.3 in the 2017–18 Departmental Plan to improve the consistency of the index components used for the indicator.

 

Percentage of the population of a warned area who report having seen or heard a recent weather warning and who took actions in response
Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
30% July 2018 53% as of January 2018 N/A 45% as of January 2016
The population of a warned area indicator is being used to illustrate that Canadians are using Environment and Climate Change Canada's weather and environmental services, specifically its weather warnings. The most recent value reported in 2017–18 exceeded the target of 30% and shows an improvement in results over the last reporting period.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2017–18
Difference (actual minus planned)
194,578,410 194,578,410 206,354,069 190,036,449 -4,541,961
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents—FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
1,072 1,085 13

Program 2.2: Weather and environmental services for targeted users

Program Description

Environment and Climate Change Canada provides specific predictions and services for targeted, weather-sensitive sectors through formal arrangements and revenue contracts. Building on the core capabilities offered under Program 2.1, this program provides reliable, accurate and timely weather, climate and ice observations, predictions and services to support the specific decision making needs of the aviation and marine transportation sectors and the Canadian military. It delivers services through various collaborations within Canada (including with other government departments), and internationally with the World Meteorological Organization, as well as with other countries and international bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This program supports the department in meeting obligations and responsibilities conferred by the department of the Environment Act and the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization. It also helps other government departments meet their obligations under the Aeronautics Act and the treaty in support of International Civil Aviation, the Oceans Act and the Fisheries Act, and supports memoranda of agreement with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Canadian Coast Guard, the Department of National Defence, and various provincial and territorial agencies.

Results

ECCC continued to deliver tailored weather services on a 24/7 basis to targeted users that rely on the department’s information and services to support business operations. Users include NAVCANADA, Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of National Defence (DND).

In 2017 to 2018, the department:

  • Supported Transport Canada in detecting oil spills and oil dumping by using satellite imagery to provide an around-the-clock survey of 90,000 km2 of Canada’s coastal waters, regardless of weather and light conditions. ECCC worked with Transport Canada’s National Aerial Support Program and the ISTOP program (Integrated Satellite Tracking of Polluters) of the Canadian Space Agency to identify the location, extent and length of a spill or dump, as well as nearby ship positions.
  • Delivered tailored weather information to directly support the decision making process in Air Traffic Flow Management.
  • Provided tactical support to DND, regardless of the location of its operations.
  • Established a new long-term agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard to provide weather and ice information.

Weather services for targeted users: by the numbers...

In 2017 to 2018, ECCC:

  • Issued 530,000 aviation-related forecasts, warnings and other aviation products through its Canadian Meteorological Aviation Centre
  • Issued 11,197 ice products for mariners and other users
Targeted sectors have the meteorological and environmental information and services they need to operate efficiently and safely
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Combined level of satisfaction of the main clients of the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) in terms of accessibility, timeliness and accuracy of products and services 7.5 (on a scale of 0 – 10) March 2018 8.5 8.6 8.4
The indicator measures the combined level of satisfaction in terms of accessibility, timeliness and accuracy of products and services provided by the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) to its three main clients: DND, NAV CANADA, and the Canadian Coast Guard. Data for this indicator was collected through client surveys.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending (authorities used)
2017–18
Difference (actual minus planned)
18,728,707 18,728,707 26,808,606 18,913,509 184,802
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents—FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
371 336 -35

Program 3.1: Substances and waste management

Program Description

Activities in this program reduce threats to human health and the environment posed by pollution and waste from human activities. The program assesses risks to the environment from substances that are already in commercial use (existing substances) and substances proposed for use in Canada (new substances). It also develops and implements measures to prevent or manage the risks from these substances and waste.

Results

Protecting oceans and freshwater

As part of Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan , the department strengthened its environmental response capacity across Canada, by adding environmental emergency officers in coastal regions. ECCC also completed the groundwork for the launch of its Marine Weather Information System Demonstration project by identifying the High Risk Marine Areas for which enhanced forecast information will be prepared, and selecting the locations for new weather buoys to support the initiative.

Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to international leadership in protecting the world’s oceans, the Government of Canada put plastic waste on the agenda for the June 2018 G7 leaders summit by championing a zero plastic waste charter. At home, ECCC launched the development of a national plastic waste strategy and action plan which will be completed by mid-2019.

Through the amended Metal and Diamond Mine Effluent Regulations, the department strengthened effluent quality standards for metal mines and added requirements for diamond mine effluent. Some of these amendments cameinto force in 2018, with the remainder in force by 2021.


Calling G7 youth to help solve ocean challenges: #myoceans2050

ECCC launched a global Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge, in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Natural Resources Canada. The challenge invites youth aged 18 to 25 from G7 countries to share through video their visions and innovative solutions for healthy and productive oceans by 2050. Winners will be invited to show their videos to a G7 ministerial meeting on oceans.
Protecting Canadians and the environment from harmful substances

To help protect Canada’s freshwater ecosystems, regulations published under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) in June 2017 prohibit the manufacture, sale, or import of toiletries that contain microbeads.

ECCC and Health Canada published proposed regulations to prohibit the import, sale and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. The final regulations are expected to be published by the end of 2018.

The department continued to deliver the Chemicals Management Plan, in collaboration with Health Canada. In 2017–18, 423 existing substances were assessed, with action taken as required to reduce risks to human health and the environment. In addition, assessments of all 424 new substance notifications were completed.

Managing substances and waste in 2017 to 2018: by the numbers...

Moving hazardous waste…

ECCC processed 1,826 regulatory permits for imports, exports or transit through Canada, covering close to 32,000 individual shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials.

Influencing global action on environmental pollution

ECCC participated extensively in and contributed vital expertise to international processes to address pollution. For example:

  • ECCC chaired the scientific and compliance sessions at the 2017 London Protocol meetings on ocean disposal, and chaired the financial assistance sessions at the 2017 Minamata Convention (on mercury) meeting.
  • The department contributed to the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in April 2017 by:
    • co-chairing the contact group on technical matters, whose work led to the adoption of six technical guidelines  under the Basel convention;
    • participating in technical and legal working groups to the Basel convention (on hazardous waste);
    • advocating for the listing of chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention; and
    • supporting the successful listing of two new substances to the Stockholm Convention (decaBDE; SCCPs) and chairing the committee responsible for the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention.
  • The department supported Canada’s input into the Global Environment Facility’s seventh replenishment period, advising on how Canada’s financial assistance to developing countries can achieve global environmental benefits by addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, persistent organic pollutants, mercury emissions, and threats to international waters and oceans.

In April 2017, Canada ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global agreement to reduce anthropogenic mercury emissions and releases to the environment in Canada and abroad. Canada will be one of the main beneficiaries of this agreement as over 95% of anthropogenic mercury deposited in Canada comes from foreign sources.

Threats to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by harmful substances and waste are reduced
Performance Indicator Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17
Actual results
2015–16
Actual results
Percentage of drainage regions where Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQG) are not exceeded for selected substances in sediment, water and/or biota

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in sediments and in fish: 80%

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) in water and in fish: 80%

PBDEs: September 2022

PFOS: September 2023

N/A

PBDEs Sediments: 30% of drainage regions sampled did not exceed the FEQG in the period 2007 to 2015.

Fish: 20% of drainage regions sampled did not exceed the FEQG in the period 2013–15.

PFOS Surface water: 100% of drainage regions sampled in the period 2011 to 2015 were found not to exceed FEQG for PFOS concentrations in surface water.

Fish tissue: 100% of drainage regions sampled in the period 2011 to 2014 were found not to exceed FEQG for PFOS concentrations for fish health.

The 2017–18 result will be available later in the fall of 2018, following the publication of this report.  This is due to the time required to analyze and validate the data.

Two substances, PBDEs and PFOS, measured in alternate years, are used to indicate a potential threat to the environment.

PFOS is a synthetic chemical that may enter into the environment through treated or untreated municipal / industrial wastewater. It takes a very long time to break down in the environment and can build up in certain living organisms.

PBDEs are a group of chemicals used in flame retardants. They build up in living organisms, and remain in the environment for long periods after their release. The occurrence of PBDE concentrations above FEQGs in fish tissue and sediment can pose a risk to aquatic life, and indicates that further evaluation may be required.
 
Only pentaPBDE results are reported in this table as it is the PBDE of highest concern.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2016–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
(actual minus planned)
84,357,041 84,357,041 97,006,879 91,591,830 7,234,789
Human Resources (FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
629 642 13

Program 3.2: Climate change and clean air

Program Description

This program aims to protect the health of Canadians, the environment and Canada’s economy from the harmful effects of air pollutants and the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the development and implementation of regulations and other control measures. Actions are based on sound scientific work, economic and policy analysis, and emissions monitoring and reporting. Work under this program includes: continued collaboration with other governments and stakeholders; delivery of sound scientific results, expert environmental science and technology advice, assessment, and program management in support of technology investment decisions, policy making and regulations; and cooperation with the United States to align GHG regulations as appropriate, reduce transboundary air pollution and advance the development of clean technologies. It also involves participation and negotiation in, and contributions to, international fora, in order to address climate change and transboundary air pollution, and bilateral and multilateral processes in order to support Canada’s positions and objectives.

Results

Climate change and clean growth

ECCC put in place key measures to implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF) including actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs):

Carbon pollution pricing

Most Canadian provinces have or are working toward pricing carbon pollution ECCC provided ongoing guidance to support the development of provincial and territorial systems and worked with territories and Indigenous peoples to find solutions that met their unique needs. The department also developed legislation for the federal carbon pollution pricing system for provinces and territories that do not have a pricing system.

The Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund includes two separate funds: the $1.4 billion Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund to help provinces and territories deliver on their commitments to reduce carbon pollution under the PCF and the $500 million Low Carbon Economy Challenge to support ambitious projects from organizations, Indigenous governments, municipal and provincial governments, businesses and not-for profit organizations. In 2017-18, under the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, ECCC announced over $1 billion over five years for projects that reduce carbon pollution and spur clean growth in six provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). The Low Carbon Economy Challenge, launched in March 2018, is designed to ensure that organizations of all sizes, including small communities and community organizations, as well as Indigenous organizations, have access to funds aimed at reducing GHGs.

Establishing permanent, distinction-based partnerships with Indigenous peoples is core to ECCC’s ongoing work to implement the PCF. In October 2017, the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations co-hosted the first senior-level bilateral meeting of the Joint Committee on Climate Change. Similarly, in December 2017, the Government of Canada held senior-level bilateral meetings with leadership of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council, respectively. These processes are ongoing, and are meant to inform joint action in the spirit of partnership and reconciliation.

One year in: progress on implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework

One year after Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial leaders adopted a pan-Canadian plan to address climate change, early results are in and documented in the PCF First Annual Synthesis Report on the Status of Implementation (December 2017).

The report identifies that steps taken by governments across Canada to implement the plan are on track to meet first year milestones under the PCF. These actions include drafting and consulting on regulations to cut GHGs and other emissions, and the creation of policies and programs to build climate resilience and support clean technology.

Regulations to reduce GHGs

The department proposed regulations to accelerate the phase-out of traditional coal-fired power in Canada by 2030, and to develop performance standards for natural gas-fired power plants. The phase-out of coal-fired electricity will cut carbon pollution by 16 million tonnes in 2030 (equivalent to one year of emissions from four million cars), thus improving air quality for Canadians.

Science at Work

ECCC developed new methods to use observations from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 satellite and published daily carbon dioxide emissions from individual coal-fired power plants for the first time. This demonstrated the potential for satellite data to quantify releases of GHGs from individual sources.

The natural gas regulations are designed to encourage some facilities to switch from coal to natural gas electricity and to provide regulatory certainty for new investments in clean electricity generation. Canada’s new Task Force on the Just Transition for Canadian Coal-Power Workers and Communities, established in February 2018, will recommend ways to support fairness in the transition away from coal.

Final amendments were made to the Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations, which were published in the spring of 2018. These set stringent GHG emission standards for on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines, beginning with the 2021 model year.

ECCC published a Regulatory Framework on the Clean Fuel Standard (December 2017) and established a multi-stakeholder consultation committee and technical working group on the regulatory design of the clean fuel standard.

The department also published final regulations to reduce methane emissions and volatile organic compounds from the upstream oil and gas sector. The regulations will reduce GHG emissions by about 20 megatonnes per year starting in 2023.

The Regulations Amending the Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations, which put in place a phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) consumption, came into force on April 16, 2018. The Regulations ensure that Canada will meet its obligations under the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

ECCC published (July 2017) a Strategy on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (PDF format), which describes how Canada will reduce emissions of these pollutants (black carbon, methane, ground-level ozone and HFCs) from all key sources to achieve climate and air quality benefits.

Montreal Protocol turns 30 

Canada was one of the first countries to ratify the Montreal Protocol in 1987, a historic international agreement that has eliminated over 99% of substances that were thinning the earth’s protective ozone layer.

The Kigali Amendment, which Canada ratified in November 2017, will see a gradual phase-down of HFCs, powerful GHGs. The phase-down is an important move to reduce the future impacts of HFCs on the climate and will contribute to efforts to avoid warming the planet by one half degree Celsius by the end of this century. Canada played a key role in encouraging other countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment helping to ensure that it will come into force in January 2019.

Commitment to Experimentation

ECCC continued to apply design thinking to approaches for leveraging innovative data visualization and reporting tools that combine qualitative data with real-world quantifiable data that is meaningful for Canadians. To that end, ECCC appointed a Chief Data Officer whose responsibilities include: 1.Developing an ECCC Data Agenda/Strategy and supporting its implementation; 2. Supporting data experimentation; and 3.Enabling and supporting a data culture at ECCC.
Climate resilience and adaptation

Science, maps and storytelling bring climate alive

ECCC supported the development of Canada’s first-ever Climate Atlas, an interactive resource that brings together climate science, maps and storytelling to inspire Canadians to take action to support climate resilience. It includes documentary videos developed with local and Indigenous knowledge holders and experts, and is the only tool in the world to integrate climatology, cinema and cartography in an easy-to-use, compelling format.

ECCC continued groundwork to establish the Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS), set to launch in the fall of 2018. As an important component of the PCF, the CCCS will help to increase climate resilience across Canada by providing access to reliable climate information, data and tools as well as training and a support desk, to help users to plan for possible future climate scenarios. The CCCS will support  broad needs including those of community planners, transportation engineers, forest managers, Indigenous communities and farmers, as well as individual Canadians.

Minister McKenna launched (August 2017) an Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results to provide advice to the Government of Canada on measuring progress on adaptation and climate resilience. The Panel included members from academia, Indigenous organizations and governments, the private sector, municipalities, youth and non-governmental organizations. Its final report, Measuring Progress on Adaptation and Climate Resilience: Recommendations to the Government of Canada, was released in June 2018. It also proposes indicators and advice on implementing a sustainable approach to monitoring and evaluation.

Efforts mentioned above helped respond to a recommendation of the 2017 evaluation of the Clean Air Agenda Adaptation Theme to increase stakeholder engagement and awareness of information, products and tools related to climate change adaptation (through the CCCS). They also addressed a recommendation of the evaluation to improve measurement and reporting of results (through the work of the Expert Panel).

International action on climate change

Internationally, Canada established and maintained environmental agreements with countries and organizations committed to advancing action on climate change and clean growth. To maintain momentum on climate action, Canada and its partners emphasized that the Paris Agreement is irreversible, and that Canada is committed to its full and effective implementation. ECCC delegates to the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) advanced negotiations under the Paris Work Programme, with a view to finalizing robust implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018.

Canada also continued to act on its commitment to pursue a progressive trade agenda that reflects environmental and climate change considerations, among others. For example, Canada committed to cooperating with the Parties of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to address climate change and other global environmental challenges. Canada also committed to work with New Zealand and Chile to uphold our respective commitments for an ambitious and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, as part of the CPTPP Declaration on Progressive and Inclusive Trade.

 

Keeping Canadians Informed

ECCC monitors and reports on Canada’s international environmental commitments under 94 multilateral and bilateral agreements and other instruments in the Compendium of Canada’s Engagement in International Environmental Agreements.

At the 2017 G7 Environment Ministers’ meeting (Italy), Minister McKenna showcased Canada’s climate plan and its collaborative approach that includes provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, cities and businesses. Canada assumed the G7 presidency for 2018, with the Leaders’ Summit held in Québec (June 2018). Accelerating action to support sustainable finance is an important part of Canada’s G7 presidency: Canada established an Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, which launched its work with the finance industry to address challenges and promote opportunities in the transition to a low carbon economy.

To advance the Canadian clean technology industry, Minister McKenna led 16 companies on a trade mission to China, and promoted clean technologies during international visits, including in the U.S., Germany,  and Mexico. Parliamentary Secretary Wilkinson also led a delegation of 18 companies to the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, California.

Furthermore, Minister McKenna and United Kingdom Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry, jointly launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance, gaining support from 27 national, provincial, state and city governments to phase out traditional coal-fired electricity globally. As of December 2017, the Alliance has grown to almost 60 members.

Other highlights of ECCC’s extensive international action on climate change in 2017–18 included:

  • Hosting the first Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action in Montreal (September 2017), under which Canada, China and the European Union brought together 34 countries to advance discussions on implementing the Paris Agreement.
  • Announcing a North American Climate Leadership Dialogue with Mexico and the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 17 U.S. governors committed to reducing GHGs in support of the Paris Agreement.
  • Launching the Declaration on Carbon Pricing in the Americas with Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica and seven subnational governments, a vehicle to collaborate on pricing carbon pollution throughout the Americas.

Maintaining and strengthening bilateral cooperation with Chile, Mexico, China, France and the United Kingdom to reinforce cooperation on the environment, clean energy, clean growth and climate change.

Canada’s leadership on gender equality and Indigenous peoples’ participation

Canada took a leadership role at COP23 (UNFCCC), advancing two historic decisions to make international climate action more inclusive:

  1. the Gender Action Plan will support women’s participation in decision-making and gender-responsive policy development
  2. the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform will help strengthen the knowledge, technologies practices and efforts of Indigenous peoples in addressing and responding to climate change, as well as their engagement in the UNFCCC process.
The department committed to protecting oceans and advance global climate action by building the resilience of coastal communities, including Small Island Developing States. Canada’s pledge of $2.65 billion by 2020 aims to help developing countries transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies through contributions to multilateral development banks, and direct support to developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. Initiatives and expected results are updated on Canada’s climate finance webpage.
Air quality

Science at work

ECCC science activities and results have been key to the department delivering on international commitments, such as the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement. ECCC’s research informed the joint Canada-U.S. State of the Great Lakes 2017 assessment, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme’s chemicals of emerging Arctic concern assessment, and the first effectiveness evaluation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2017).
 
At home, ECCC scientific evidence supported clean air policies and regulations. For example, science underpins a renewed memorandum of understanding, expected to be signed in spring 2019, for the National Air Pollutant Surveillance monitoring network to continue measuring air quality across Canada. In addition, ECCC’s research informed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) review of Wood Buffalo National Park, which contributed to ECCC’s action plan for the Park, and the government response to the environmental assessment of the Teck Frontier Project in the oil sands region of Alberta.

ECCC, in collaboration with provinces and territories under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), released a new State of the Air Report (see highlights on YouTube), which reports on the current status of air quality across the country, as well as progress in reducing smog. Minister McKenna took the reins of the CCME and will chair its 2018 Ministers’ meeting.

The department worked closely with provinces and territories to implement Canada’s Air Quality Management System (AQMS), in collaboration with the CCME. Under the AQMS, ECCC established two new Canadian Ambient Air Quality StandardsFootnote 3 (CAAQS) in 2017: one for sulphur dioxide and one for nitrogen dioxide.

ECCC also finalized measures to prevent air pollutants from several industrial sectors, including a code of practice for particulate matter 2.5 emissions in the potash sector, and guidelines for nitrogen oxide emissions from natural gas fuelled stationary combustion turbines. Performance agreements concerning several air pollutants from the aluminum and alumina sector, the iron ore pellet sector and the base metal mining sector, all came into effect in 2017–18. In May 2017, the Department also published proposed regulations to reduce the release of volatile organic compounds by the petroleum sector.

Canada ratified the Gothenburg Protocol and its 2012 amendments under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (November 2017). The Protocol addresses air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter that contribute to the formation of acid rain and smog, and the degradation of water bodies.

ECCC scientists make important contributions to understanding how forests benefit air quality. Their research, published in Nature Communications in 2017, identified the role of forests in lowering ground-level ozone levels by up to 50%. Ground-level ozone, along with nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter, are the key common air pollutants tracked through ECCC’s Air Quality Health Index forecast.

 

Threats to Canadians, their health and their environment from greenhouse gas emissions are minimized
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target

2017–18 Actual

2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Canadian emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide equivalents) in megatonnes Canada's national target is a 30% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, as per Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution 2030

704 Mt in 2016

Representing 4.6% decrease from 2005 level

714 Mt in 2015

Representing 3.3% decrease from 2005 level

716 Mt in 2014

Representing 3.0% decrease from 2005 level

Emissions of 704 Mt in 2016 represent a 4.6% decrease from 2005 level (reduction of 34 Mt from the baseline of 738 Mt in 2005).

The values are based on data from Canada’s 2018 National Inventory Report submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They are a sum of greenhouse gas emissions from the following sectors: transportation, electricity, oil and gas, heavy industry, buildings, agriculture, and waste and others (includes coal production, light manufacturing, construction and forest resources).

The annual emissions are recalculated at each new inventory update. Hence previous year's estimates have been updated in this report.

Improved air quality in Canada
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target

2017–18 Actual

2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Percentage of the Canadian population living in areas where the 24-hour and the annual Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standard (CAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of 28 µg/m3 and 10 µg/m3 are achieved Percentage increase over time March 2018 91% of monitoring stations for the period 2014 to 2016 92% of monitoring stations for the period 2013 to 2015 96% of monitoring stations for the period 2012 to 2014
Indicator methodology is under development. In the interim, a proxy indicator is used: the percentage of monitoring stations of the National Air Pollution Surveillance program where measured outdoor concentrations of fine particulate matter are below the 24-hour and the annual CAAQS for 2015.

Fine particulate matter  is a major component of smog and has been linked to adverse effects on human health and the environment. The indicator result is affected by weather conditions, local and transboundary emissions of air pollutants, as well as changes in natural events such as forest fires.  As these factors change between years, so may the result.
Improved air quality in Canada
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target

2017–18 Actual

2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Percentage of the Canadian population living in areas where the 8-hour Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standard (CAAQS) for ground-level ozone of 63 parts per billion (ppb) is achieved Percentage increase over time March 2018 88% of monitoring stations for the period 2014–2016 88% of monitoring stations for the period 2013–2015 82% of  monitoring stations for the period 2012–2014
Indicator methodology is under development. In the interim, a proxy indicator is used: the percentage of monitoring stations of the National Air Pollution Surveillance program where measured outdoor concentrations of ground-level ozone are below the 8-hour CAAQS for 2015. Ground level ozone is a highly irritating gas and is a major component of smog. It has been linked to adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
(actual minus planned)
147,118,686 147,118,686 339,538,691 228,206,537 81,087,851
Human Resources (FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
813 849 36

Program 3.3: Compliance promotion and enforcement – pollution

Program Description

This program contributes to minimizing damage and threats to the natural environment and biodiversity through the promotion and enforcement of legislation administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Activities focus on pollution, including the release of toxic substances to air, water or land, and the import and export of hazardous waste that presents a risk to the environment and/or human health. The program maintains a contingent of compliance promotion and enforcement officers. Compliance promotion officers deliver activities to increase regulatees’ awareness, understanding and compliance with regulations and other risk management instruments under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Fisheries Act, with the goal of increasing effectiveness in achieving desired environmental results. They also provide information on risk management instrument requirements, the benefits of compliance and the potential penalties of non-compliance, when applicable. Enforcement officers, on the other hand, conduct inspections to verify compliance with laws and regulations, gather intelligence, take enforcement action to bring offenders back into compliance, and pursue investigations where necessary. This program collaborates with international and domestic partners to strengthen transboundary environmental enforcement. Officers are provided training and are often supported by scientific analyses and expertise, including science advice to support enforcement actions. In addition, the program is supported by scientific analysis and expertise for the development and implementation of new and updated regulations.

ECCC conducted inspections and took enforcement measures under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and the Fisheries Act, and promoted compliance with pollution-related regulations and other risk management tools, such as codes of practice and guidelines.

As part of an initiative to modernize and strengthen enforcement provisions, new regulations under the Environmental Enforcement Act (EEA) came into effect. The Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) Regulations provide ECCC enforcement officers the authority to issue monetary penalties, with resulting monies directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

To better deter violators and strengthen environmental protection, minimum and maximum penalties for environmental infractions were also increased through changes to the EEA. Among the largest fines in 2017–2018 were a $3.5 million fine for releasing millions of litres of contaminated water into the Apetowun and Plante Creeks, and a $2.5 million fine for violations under the Fisheries Act and CEPA 1999.

The department’s enforcement capacity was strengthened to support increasingly complex environmental crime investigations through the creation of the Investigative Support Team. The team’s success was recognized with an award for Contribution to Innovation in a Regulatory Field by the Community of Federal Regulators.

A five-year (2013–14 to 2017–18) review  of compliance with regulations, as determined through targeted inspections, showed that rates of non-compliance with CEPA 1999 regulations and Fisheries Act regulations averaged 25% and 15%, respectively. Since 2013–14, rates of non-compliance have increased by 2 percentage points for CEPA 1999 regulations and by 6 percentage points for Fisheries Act regulations.

Promoting compliance with and enforcing pollution measures: by the numbers...

In 2017–18, ECCC:

  • Promoted compliance with 14 pollution-related instruments reaching nearly 30,000 members of the communities subject to the instruments.
  • Conducted 3600 inspections and 400 investigations to verify compliance with pollution regulations.
  • Inspections and investigations resulted in some 600 enforcement measures (such as tickets, directions, warnings and environmental protection compliance orders) for over 3,000 violations.
  • Successfully prosecuted 21 infractions under CEPA 1999 totalling $2 million in  2017-18; and 11 under the Fisheries Act, totalling over $8.25 million (in penalties, fines, and contributions) to the Environmental Damages Fund.

Commitment to Experimentation: Standardizing Sentencing Recommendations

ECCC continued its initiative to standardize sentencing recommendations with the view to increasing penalties under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA 1999), and the Fisheries Act. While the initiative will continue for another year, preliminary results have shown excellent progress. In 2017–18, the total fine amount was $10.47 million—up 132% over annual averages in the previous five years. The median fine amount was $35,000 in 2017–18—up 8% over the median fine average over the previous five years. However, given the variability in case severity and conclusions from year to year, and since the initiative is still in progress and constantly evolving, these results could differ in the next fiscal year. Creative sentencing and court orders is also on the rise, compelling companies to make investments and change processes to decrease or stop harmful releases into the environment. Due to this initiative, sentencing recommendations are better articulated based on case law.
Compliance with pollution laws and regulations administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada
Performance Indicators Targets Date to achieve target

2017–18 Actual

2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Percentage increase in compliance with pollution-related sections of selected laws and regulations in response to targeted enforcement or compliance promotion efforts 10% increase in compliance (Chlorinated water releases from drinking water treatment plants) March 2019 Chlorinated Water Releases from Water Treatment Plants:

verified that 93% of regulatees were either compliant or not subject to the Act*

Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations: 12% (increase from 2014–15 baseline of 59% to 71% in 2016–17)

Dry-cleaning Regulations:

12% (increase from 2012–13 baseline of 51% to 63% in 2015–16)

This indicator measures compliance with pollution laws in Canada by focusing on different pollution-related regulations in different reporting years. This approach provides Canadians with information on a variety of sectors focusing on those with higher risk of non-compliance. While only a few regulations are the subject of comprehensive compliance rate evaluation, ECCC collects compliance information for all regulations on a regular basis.

* The first phase of the project found that 93% of municipalities inspected were either compliant or not subject to the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act. Since the baseline compliance value exceeded 90%, it was deemed prudent to re-direct enforcement resources to higher risk areas. Remaining cases of non-compliance will be addressed, as required, with use of compliance promotion and/or enforcement measures. As a result of this project, the Compliance Promotion and Enforcement - Pollution Program has gathered valuable intelligence on this sector and will apply the lessons learned to enhance future project development and implementation.

Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
(actual minus planned)
41,696,948 41,696,948 45,341,572 44,627,307 2,930,359
Human Resources (FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
853 342 -11
Information on the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s lower-level programs is available in the GC’s InfoBase.

Internal services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services refers to activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services ; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Material Services; and Acquisition Services.

Results

ECCC’s internal services continued to focus on delivering results on departmental priorities while aligning with government-wide system changes and improvements.

The department strengthened its capacity for financial forecasting, including improved accuracy of forecasts, and the ability to provide real-time information to decisions makers across the department.

The department developed a five-year plan for investment that identifies ECCC’s targeted investments in strategic priorities, including in real property, transportation to support the Government of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy, and Information Management in support of Canada’s Open Government Agenda.

The department’s communication services supported both development and testing of ECCC’s first-ever mobile weather app. Beta testing continued throughout the year.

In support of a healthy workplace and a strong and committed workforce, the department continued to strengthen its mental health and diversity efforts. Human resource services developed a new ECCC mental health strategy to support employees, and the department adopted Not Myself Today, an evidence-based workplace mental health initiative. In addition, ECCC continued to address the needs of employees experiencing the effects of the government-wide pay transformation.

Considering the Impacts of Gender, plus…

To further the Government of Canada’s commitment to more fully consider the impacts of federal actions on people of different sex and gender identities, ages, abilities, cultures and other identities, ECCC began to apply GBA+ (gender-based analysis plus) to assess how diverse groups may be impacted by policies, programs and initiatives.

To accelerate implementation of GBA+ initiatives within the department, ECCC established a GBA+ Advisory Network, and a GBA+ Centre of Expertise, and set clear strategic goals for planning and reporting on progress, training and building capacity, enhancing accountability, and increasing awareness—all of which is aimed at promoting GBA+ at all levels of decision making at ECCC and building a culture of inclusivity.
Budgetary Financial Resources (dollars)
2017–18
Main Estimates
2017–18
Planned Spending
2017–18
Total Authorities Available for Use
2017–18
Actual Spending
(authorities used)
2017–18
Difference
(actual minus planned)
194,931,405 194,931,405 228,469,302 227,849,281 32,917,876
Human Resources (FTEs)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference
(actual minus planned)
1,443 1,476 33
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