Canadian Environmental Protection Act: plans and policies
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA) provides for the following types of plans:
Having selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions, Environment and Climate Change Canada, in consultation with key stakeholders, may develop policies to provide a definite course or method of action to guide and determine present and future decisions under CEPA. Policies can provide a high-level overall plan to embrace the general goals and acceptable procedures of the Act or can provide direction on how laws or regulations will be implemented.
Policies are not law, but may form the basis for laws and regulations. Policies provide a framework which forms the basis for attaining of key management objectives.
Toxic substances management policy
The federal government's Toxic substances management policy was announced in Parliament on June 2, 1995. This policy provides a science-based framework for the management of toxic substances. The key management objectives in the policy are:
- Virtual elimination of releases to the environment of toxic substances that are persistent and bioaccumulative and are present in the environment primarily due to human activity (Track 1) and
- Management of other toxic substances and substances of concern throughout their life cycles to prevent or minimize their release into the environment (Track 2).
For substances declared to be toxic under CEPA, the policy provides directional guidance in selecting management objectives.
The Toxic Substances Management Policy Interdepartmental Forum, representing 12 key departments, co-ordinates the implementation of the TSMP. The initial list of 12 substances which meet the criteria for management under Track 1 of TSMP was published in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette on July 4, 1998. They are:
- dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)
- hexachlorobenzene (HCB)
- polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs)
- polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs)
All 12 substances are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which also enter the Canadian environment from foreign sources through long-range atmospheric transport. Within Canada, action has already been taken to severely limit or ban the production, use or release of these 12 substances. Nine of these substances were active ingredients in pesticides that are now prohibited in Canada.
- Update to Canada’s National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (June 2023)
- Introduction - update to Canada’s national implementation plan under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (April 2013)
- Statement - negotiations lead to an international agreement to reduce and eliminate persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
- National implementation plan under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (May 2006)
For more information, please visit management of toxic substances website.
Compliance and enforcement policy
For more information, please visit about environmental enforcement web section.
Pollution prevention planning
Part 4 of CEPA gives the Minister of the Environment the authority to require the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans (P2 plans) for CEPA toxic substances (substances that have been added to Schedule 1 of CEPA). This document provides an indication of the circumstances under which pollution prevention plans are required. For more information on how these provisions of CEPA are implemented, go to the plans section of the CEPA Registry.
- Guidelines for the implementation of the pollution prevention planning provisions of Part 4 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (portable document format, 240 kilobytes)
For more information, please visit pollution prevention planning web section.
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