News Release - New funding to implement the new Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Ottawa -- September 14, 1999 -- Environment Minister David Anderson today announced $72 million in new funding to help implement the renewed Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The new Act, which provides the government with stronger powers to protect the environment and human health, received Royal Assent today.

"After having invested more than five years renewing the legislation, we can now move on to implementing stronger environmental protection to give Canadians the cleaner environment they deserve," said Minister Anderson. "The funding provides the government with the resources needed to tackle the increased workload that will result from the additional powers and responsibilities included in the new CEPA". The new $72 million funding is in addition to $40 million announced earlier this year to conduct scientific research into toxic substances that harm human health and the environment, including endocrine disruptors.

Pollution prevention is the cornerstone of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which provides the government with new tools to protect the environment and human health. Under the legislation, all substances currently in use in Canada will be categorized to determine if they are toxic. CEPA also establishes strict deadlines for controlling toxic substances, and requires the virtual elimination of the most dangerous toxic substances.

Of the $72 million announced today, $9.7 million over the next five years has been allocated to accelerate the categorization, screening and assessment of new and existing substances, including the 23,000 substances currently in use in Canada. A total of $57.6 million has been earmarked for managing and controlling toxic substances, including identifying management options, and developing and maintaining control instruments. The funding improves the balance between resources allocated to assess and control toxic substances. An additional $4.7 million will be used to track progress.

The legislation provides Environment Canada enforcement officers with significant new powers to deal with polluters who break the law. It will also help Canada meet several of its international environmental obligations, and provides a right-to-sue if the federal government fails to enforce CEPA.

"The new CEPA is tangible evidence of the government's commitment to make environmental protection one of our top priorities as we enter the new millennium, said Minister Anderson. "The funding for implementation of the Act shows that we are taking this responsibility seriously."

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the 1999 federal budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.

The new Act will come into force when it is proclaimed early in 2000.

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