Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Annual Report for April 2012 to March 2013

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1 Introduction

This annual report provides an overview of the activities conducted and results achieved under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013. The publication of this report responds to the statutory requirement to provide annual reports to Parliament on the administration and enforcement of the Act.

CEPA 1999 provides authority for the Government of Canada to take action on a wide range of environmental and health risks--from chemicals to air pollution to wastes. For the most part, it functions as an enabling statute, providing a suite of tools for identifying, assessing and addressing the risks.

The general steps followed to address each risk can typically be organized into a cycle: information is collected to understand risks and inform decisions; risks are assessed to determine if action is required; risk management instruments are put in place to reduce or eliminate risks to the environment or human health; these instruments require compliance promotion and enforcement; and information is once again collected to monitor progress and determine if additional action is required. At each stage in the cycle, stakeholders are engaged, the public has opportunity to be involved, the government works closely with provincial and Aboriginal counterparts, and information is reported out to the public.

Figure 1: The CEPA management cycle

The CEPA management cycle

The new annual report structure includes information on all stages of the management cycle. Section 2, “Addressing Key Risks,” covers: information gathering, research and monitoring; risk assessment; and risk management for toxics, air pollution, greenhouse gases, water quality and waste. Section 3, “Administration, Public Participation and Reporting,” covers reporting, stakeholder engagement, public rights and inter-jurisdictional relationships. Section 4 covers compliance promotion and enforcement.

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