Summary report on the public workshops assisting Environment Canada and Health Canada in preparing for the parliamentary review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

1. Introduction

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) includes a provision requiring that the Act be referred to Parliament for review five years after its entry into force. Given that the Act came into force March 31, 2000, it must be referred to Parliament by March 31, 2005, and the review will begin sometime thereafter.

The Parliamentary Committee assigned to review CEPA 1999 will have up to one year from the time it begins to undertake the task and submit a report to Parliament on the changes it recommends to the Act and/or its administration. The Committee may be granted an extension. From the point of tabling its report in Parliament, the Government of Canada will have 150 days to respond to the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee. If the report and government response call for amendments to the legislation, the final phase will consist of either amendments or a new bill, which will follow the normal parliamentary process. Given these timelines, a revised CEPA might be expected to come into force around 2008. However, identified administrative improvements in the implementation of the Act do not require legislative amendments and could commence as soon as practical.

While it is a Parliamentary Committee which will undertake the review of the Act, the federal Ministers of the Environment and Health intend to provide their advice to the Committee. In order to assist in their preparations for the review, and as well, to help Canadians prepare for the Review, Environment Canada and Health Canada (sometimes referred to as "the departments" in this Report) have undertaken a number of initiatives, including:

The stated purposes of the web-based engagement process and the public workshops included:

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