Canadian Environmental Protection Act: monitoring

Monitoring changes in the environment is essential for assessing the impact of risks and the effectiveness of measures to prevent or minimize those risks. Monitoring is an important component of the scientific work supporting the implementation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA).

  • Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) is a regional/remote monitoring program that has been measuring air quality since 1978. CAPMoN’s 31 measurement sites are located in remote and regionally representative areas across the country, in complement to the urban and rural sites of the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) network component. A wide range of air pollutants are measured, including several toxic substances under CEPA.
  • Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) was launched in 2006 to protect human health and the environment by assessing chemicals used in Canada and by taking action on chemicals found to be harmful. Jointly managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada, the CMP is a highly integrated program that addresses environmental and health risks under various laws including CEPA.
  • Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling network is part of a global program for monitoring chemicals in the environment using simple sampling devices that require no electricity. It is a collaborative effort managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada scientists working with a team of international researchers.
  • Canadian Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program began when Environment and Climate Change Canada initiated carbon dioxide observations in 1975 as part of the global effort to characterize the changing atmospheric composition and understand climate change. The current monitoring network includes 13 sites, which provide weekly and hourly concentration information for greenhouse gas across Canada.
  • Great Lakes Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network (IADN) is a joint Canada-United States program that was established in 1990 to monitor atmospheric trends and deposition of priority toxic pollutants in the Great Lakes Basin. Monitoring stations at each of the five Great Lakes provide long-term data on regionally representative concentrations of various toxic substances.
  • National Air Pollution Surveillance Program (NAPS) was established in 1969 as an Environment and Climate Change Canada-led cooperative initiative with the provinces and territories to monitor and assess the quality of the ambient air. It is comprised of 186 NAPS urban and rural sites in communities across Canada. A number of air contaminants are measured at these sites, including continuous measurement of ozone (O3), nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2, NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and fine and coarse particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10, respectively). Active, high-volume air samplers are also operated at these sites, measuring toxic substances including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and cadmium; and more than 167 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to smog formation. In addition, more than 340 chemical substances are analyzed in samples collected at a subset of NAPS sites.
  • Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) is led by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and is Canada’s National Implementation Plan for the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and contributes to Canada’s obligations under the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and UNEP’s current negotiations to establish a legally binding agreement on the reduction of global mercury emissions.
  • Freshwater Inventory and Surveillance of Mercury (FISHg) Network is a national aquatic mercury monitoring network that was established in 2008 as part of the Mercury Science Program of the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA). The network encompasses lakes across Canada that are in proximity to point-source mercury emissions, as well as reference lakes in remote regions.
  • Great Lakes Surveillance Program is delivered as part of Canada’s commitment to the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Environment Canada maintains water-quality monitoring stations within each of the four Canadian Great Lakes, along with several additional stations within basin watersheds. The monitoring stations provide long-term data on regionally representative concentrations of toxic substances, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), current-use and banned organochlorine pesticides, congener-specific polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, and trace elements.

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