Executive Summary

This Annual Report provides an overview of the results achieved under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011.

In 2010–2011, Environment Canada consulted with the National Advisory Committee on various CEPA 1999 initiatives and reported on actions under three administrative agreements and one equivalency agreement. Under the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation in Atlantic Canada, Environment Canada worked with provincial counterparts to develop annexes and work plans that support CEPA 1999. Environment Canada also entered into environmental occurrences notification agreements with five provinces and two territories.

The CEPA Environmental Registry continued to provide public access to all CEPA-related initiatives. There were 55 public consultation opportunities published on the Registry in the reporting period.

Results were achieved under 14 environmental quality monitoring initiatives, such as the National Air Pollution Surveillance Network, the Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network, the Northern Contaminants Program, and greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring. In 2010–2011, Environment Canada and Health Canada scientists published hundreds of articles, reports and papers. Much of this research is conducted in Canada and abroad in collaboration with other governments, academic institutions and industry. The present report provides examples of research activities related to air quality, water, wildlife and soil, and human health.

In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, two environmental quality guidelines, one for water and another for soil; four drinking water quality guideline documents; and three air quality guidelines were finalized in the reporting period. As well, many other guidelines were being developed during 2010–2011.

Public reporting continued in 2010–2011 through the publication of Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators for air quality, water quality and GHG emissions; through the National Pollutant Release Inventory, which provides a publicly accessible inventory of pollutant releases (to air, water and land), disposals and transfers for recycling; and through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program.

In 2010–2011, draft or final assessment decisions were published for 171 existing substances or groups of substances, including 76 substances in batches 6 through 12 of the Challenge program under the Chemicals Management Plan. Of the substances assessed, 76 were found or proposed to be found to meet the definition of toxic under CEPA 1999.

Various risk management measures were undertaken in 2010–2011. The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health proposed listing 12 substances or groups of substances in Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 (the List of Toxic Substances), and the Governor-in-Council added 29 substances or groups of substances to Schedule 1. Notices of intent to apply Significant New Activity Notices, which require new uses of a substance to be notified and assessed, were published for 18 existing substances, and final orders amending the Domestic Substances List to apply the Significant New Activity provisions were published for 22 substances. Environment Canada published three proposed regulations and one final regulation under Part 5 of CEPA 1999. These included the proposed Regulations Respecting Products Containing Certain Substances Listed in Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, which would prohibit, with some exceptions, the manufacture, import, and sale of mercury-containing products.

During the reporting period, four pollution prevention planning notices were proposed, and six pollution prevention planning notices were active, including one new final notice regarding mercury in dental amalgam. Through Environmental Performance Agreements, a number of companies have reduced or are working toward reducing their production, use or release of specific pollutants.

The Canadian public and environment continued to be protected from the possible risks associated with the introduction of new substances to the Canadian market. Environment Canada and Health Canada received 461 new substance notifications for new chemicals, polymers or living organisms. The Minister of the Environment issued 16 Significant New Activity Notices and three Ministerial Conditions to prevent risks.

Work on animate products of biotechnology continued in 2010–2011. The first screening assessment report for existing microorganisms was finalized and two screening assessment reports were drafted. During 2010–2011, 16 notifications were received for new animate products of biotechnology and eight were completed by fiscal year-end (four were rejected and four remained under assessment).

Under Part 7 of CEPA 1999, the government amended, drafted or finalized three regulations related to vehicle, engine and equipment emissions, including the final Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations. In addition, two regulations related to fuels were finalized or amended. Under Environment Canada's emissions verification testing program, 131 tests were performed on various types of vehicles and engines. Also under Part 7, 83 permits were issued for the disposal at sea of 3.78 million tonnes (t) of waste and other matter. Most of this was dredged material that was removed from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. As required by CEPA 1999, monitoring projects were completed on seven ocean disposal sites in the reporting period.

Environment Canada continued to implement the government's international obligations under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. In calendar year 2010, imports and exports of these materials were 358 236 t and 425 344 t, respectively.

Under the Environmental Emergency Regulations, 4200 facilities had filed Notices of Identification of Substance and Place as of March 31, 2011; of those facilities, approximately 2400 were required to do so.

Promoting compliance with and enforcing CEPA 1999's regulations continues to be a priority. In 2010–2011, the number of designated persons with enforcement powers under CEPA included 185 enforcement officers, 38 officers from the Environmental Emergencies Program and 154 CEPA analysts. All designated officers were trained on the new Environmental Enforcement Act. The report also provides examples of the numerous compliance-promotion projects undertaken by regional offices to increase the awareness and understanding of the law and its regulations, such as collaboration with First Nations and workshops on individual CEPA 1999 regulations. Enforcement officers conducted more than 5400 inspections during the reporting period and more than 50 investigations were in various stages of development.

In March 2011, the Release and Environmental Emergency Notification Regulations came into force. They provide the regulated community and the public with the names and telephone numbers of the 24-hour authorities operating for the given province or territory to which verbal notifications are to be made.

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