Canadian Environmental Protection Act annual report 2015 to 2016: chapter 2
2 Addressing Key Risks
- 2.1 Toxic Substances Harmful to Human Health or the Environment
- 2.1.1 Monitoring
- 2.1.2 Research
- 2.1.3 Information Gathering
- 2.1.4 Risk Assessment Activities
- 2.1.5 Risk Management Activities
- 2.2 Living Organisms
- 2.2.1 Research
- 2.2.2 Risk Assessments
- 2.2.3 Risk Management Activities
- 2.3 Air Pollutants and Greenhouse Gases
- 2.3.1 Monitoring
- 2.3.2 Research
- 2.3.3 Risk Management Activities
- 2.4 Water Quality
- 2.4.1 Monitoring
- 2.4.2 Research
- 2.4.3 Risk Management Activities
- 2.5 Waste
- 2.5.1 Monitoring
- 2.5.2 Risk Management Activities
- 2.6 Environmental Emergencies
2.1 Toxic Substances Harmful to Human Health or the Environment
Parts 5 and 6 of CEPA include specific provisions for data collection, assessment and management for controlling toxic substances. Substances include both chemicals and living organisms (specific information on living organisms begins in section 2.2). For chemicals, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health are required to sort through, or “categorize”, the substances on the original Domestic Substances List (DSL), an inventory of approximately 23,000 substances manufactured in, imported into or used in Canada. The categorization process identified the need for a more detailed assessment of approximately 4,300 substances that:
- were suspected to be inherently toxic to humans or to the environment, and are persistent (take a very long time to break down) or bioaccumulative (collect in living organisms and end up in the food chain); or
- present the greatest potential for exposure to Canadians.
The Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is a program developed to protect Canadians and their environment from exposure to toxic substances. At its core is a commitment to assess by 2020, these 4,300 substances of potential concern that were already in commerce in Canada during the development of a pre-market new substance notification system under CEPA. As of March 31, 2016, drafts of final decisions have been published for 2,740 of those 4,300 substances. In February 2016, a notice of intent was published to seek early stakeholder engagement to help inform the plan to address the remaining substances under the CMP.
Under the CMP, the government also conducts pre-market assessments of health and environmental effects of approximately 500 substances that are new to Canada each year. The Chemical Substances website provides more information on activities related to the CMP.
Monitoring and surveillance activities are essential to identify and track levels and trends related to chemicals in the environment and human exposure to those chemicals.
In 2015-2016, a broad range of chemicals monitoring activities were conducted to support the CMP, the Northern Contaminants Program, the Freshwater Quality Monitoring Program, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Great Lakes Herring Gull Contaminants Monitoring Program and the Saint Lawrence Action Plan. These monitoring activities also support Canada’s contribution to multilateral cooperation under the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, and helped Canada fulfill its obligations under the United Nations Environment Programme Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
The CMP Environmental Monitoring and Surveillance Program involves the collection of data on the concentration of chemical substances in environmental compartments at locations across Canada. Environmental compartments include surface water, sediment, air, aquatic biota and wildlife. Wastewater system influent, effluent and biosolids are also monitored at select locations representing a range of input and treatment system types.
Through the program many priority substances have been monitored to provide environmental data for risk assessment and risk management decision making. Priority substances for 2015-2016 included polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), organophosphate and non-PBDE halogenated flame retardants, phthalates, substituted diphenyl amines (SDPAs), perfluorinated compounds and other poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (including PFOS, PFOA and PFCAs), polychlorinated napthalenes (PCNs), siloxanes, triclosan, bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol and its nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPEs), short chain chlorinated paraffins, and metals.
Through other initiatives, environmental monitoring continued to occur for current use pesticides, including neonicotinoids, and legacy chemicals such as, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans, to inform on performance of risk management actions.
Health Canada (HC) completed 13 two-year monitoring and surveillance studies in 2015-2016 under the following broad themes: targeted population studies, biomonitoring supportive research, and targeted environmental monitoring studies. HC’s monitoring activities continued to focus on human exposure to contaminants, including national baseline measurement of organic and inorganic chemicals in household dust under the Canadian House Dust Study; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water to support national estimates in Canada; and national estimates of VOCs in indoor air of Canadian residences under the National Indoor Air Survey project.
HC’s human biomonitoring efforts continued in 2015-2016 with the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) study and the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). The MIREC study continued to monitor mothers and infants by measuring their exposure to environmental chemicals. In 2015-2016, eight MIREC journal articles were published on the results of BPA, phthalates, triclosan, perfluoroalkyl substances, metals and organophosphate pesticides. Several non-PBDE emerging flame retardants were also measured in paired human milk and blood serum samples. HC continued work on the CHMS and published human biomonitoring data from cycle 3 in July 2015. Sample collection for cycle 4 was completed in December 2015. Sample collection for cycle 5 began in January 2016 and will continue until December 2017.
In 2015-2016, eight human biomonitoring and health projects were completed under the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP). HC partners with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) on the human health component of the NCP, which addresses concerns about human exposure to elevated levels of contaminants in wildlife species important to the traditional diets of northern Indigenous peoples. In 2015, INAC and HC initiated a Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report (CACAR) on Human Health, which will be published in 2016. Biomonitoring data and human health research generated through the NCP was used to support HC’s international involvement in the Arctic Monitoring Assessment Programme (AMAP), a working group under the Arctic Council. The AMAP Human Health Assessment Group, co-led by HC, published a human health assessment report addressing contaminant exposure and health effects in the circumpolar Arctic (AMAP 2015 Assessment Report: Human Health in the Arctic) in December 2015.
More information about monitoring activities is available online.
During 2015-2016, research on chemicals was carried out by both departments under a number of programs, including the CMP, the Northern Contaminants Program, the Strategic Technology Applications of Genomics in the Environment Program and the Great Lakes Action Plan.
ECCC and HC conduct a wide range of research to help inform assessments of the risks associated with toxic substances to human health or the environment. This research is designed primarily, among other uses, to fill data gaps in risk assessments; evaluate the impact of toxic substances and other substances of concern on the environment and human health; determine the extent of ecological and human health exposure to contaminants; and investigate the effects of chemicals on endocrine systems. In addition, HC undertakes research to support the development of regulations, guidelines and air quality objectives with the goal of reducing population exposures to pollutants and improving human health.
Research projects were initiated under the CMP in 2015-2016 on a number of subjects, including the development of genetic toxicity testing strategies for prioritized data-poor CMP chemicals; a toxicokinetics study of four rare earth metals to develop methods to interpret biomonitoring measures; a study to develop biomonitoring equivalents for organics and inorganics; a study to analyze exposure to selected flame retardants and chlorinated paraffins using the Canadian House Dust Study samples; and an in vitro pharmacokinetics study for high throughput data interpretation, the characterization of exposure and toxicity of CMP priority chemicals, such as flame retardants, benzotriazoles and benzothiazoles, bisphenol A replacement alternatives, antioxidants, hindered phenols, phthalates, inorganics, nanomaterials, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. These studies were initiated to help the risk assessment program meet the 2020 CMP commitments. Assessments of the toxic potencies of benzotriazoles and benzothiazoles to fish cell lines were also completed and published. An investigation of the tumour- inducing potency benzothiazoles in fish was initiated using 2-mercaptobenzothiazole as a model compound.
In addition, HC is continuing research on the development of testing methodologies to detect and characterize nanomaterials in products as well as to investigate the toxicity of nanomaterials; examining a series of case studies on the application of new integrated testing strategies that are more efficient and less expensive in human health risk assessment in order to evaluate the relevance and reliability of resulting genomics and high-throughput screening data compared with outputs from traditional toxicity testing methods. These new testing strategies are being developed for use in the evaluation of data-poor chemicals. In particular, a technical guide for applications of gene expression profiling in human health risk assessment of environmental chemicals was developed. The paper was recognized by the Society of Toxicology as one of top 10 best published papers in 2015 for advancing the science of risk assessment.
Under the CMP, ECCC scientists published 49 research papers and HC scientists published approximately 70 research papers related to these projects in 2015-2016.
2.1.3 Information Gathering
Section 71 Mandatory Surveys
Mandatory surveys (or data gathering notices) issued under section 71 of CEPA gather information needed to support risk assessment and, if necessary, risk management activities.
In August 2015, 4 notices under section 71 of CEPA were published on:
Microbeads - to gather information on microbeads imported, exported or used in certain applications products in Canada in 2014, as well as information related to the size and revenues of companies involved. The data that is being gathered is needed to identify uses and sources of microbeads used in certain personal care applications that may be released to water and to ensure that future decision making is based on the best available information.
Petroleum substances - to gather qualitative information about the import and blending/formulation activities of a subset of the 210 remaining priority petroleum substances. The notice will support a triage activity, as well as help to better identify stakeholders for further engagement.
Polymers - to obtain additional information from importers and manufacturers in order to inform future risk assessment for approximately 300 of the polymers reported to be in commerce.
Nanomaterials - to determine the commercial status of the 206 nanomaterials suspected to be in Canada for the 2014 calendar year. The data collected will be used to inform prioritization activities and decision making on any further actions. EC and HC are developing a consultation document on a proposed prioritization approach for nanoscale forms of substances on the DSL, which will be presented at a stakeholder consultation meeting in June 2016.
2.1.4 Risk Assessment Activities
New Substances Risk Assessment
Substances that are not on the DSL are considered to be new to Canada. In 2015-2016, 581 new substance notifications were received pursuant to sections 81 and 106 of the Act and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms). Some of these are related to products also regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, and to nanomaterials and substances that have the potential to be manufactured in the nanoscale.
In 2015-2016, eight new assessment report summaries for new chemical and polymer substances were published. These summaries cover substances for which the risk assessment has been completed, a restriction has been imposed and the restriction was published in the Canada Gazette. During the same period, a total of 103 waivers of information requirements were granted and published in the Canada Gazette. Seventy-seven (77) were for new chemical and polymer substances and 26 for new living organisms.
Substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act are subject to the new substances provisions in CEPA. For new substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, 59 notifications for chemical/polymer substances and 7 notifications for living organisms were received in 2015-2016.
Screening assessments are conducted to determine whether existing substances meet or are capable of meeting any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA. The results of the screening assessments are published in draft form on the Chemical Substances website, and the Ministers of the Environment and of Health publish a notice in the Canada Gazette, Part I to indicate that the draft assessments are available for comment. Interested parties can submit written comments during a 60-day public comment period. After taking into consideration comments received, the Ministers publish final assessment reports.
During 2015-2016, the Minister of Health and the Minister of the Environment published a draft screening assessment report for 29 selenium-containing substances, 19 pesticides via the rapid screening approach and two final screening assessment reports for 75 aromatic azo- and benzidine-based substances. Of the 123 assessed substances from the Substance Groupings Initiative, 29 are being proposed to meet one of more of the criteria in section 64 of CEPA.
In addition, in August 2015, the Proposed Approach for Cumulative Risk Assessment of Phthalates was published for a 60-day public comment period, along with other related documents, including four State of the Science reports.
Table 1 lists the 2015-2016 existing substances assessment publications and proposed measures, if applicable (note that information on assessments of living organisms is included in section 2.2 of this report).
|Substances (and Number of Substances)||Meet s. 64 Criteria||Proposed Measure||Publication Date of Draft NoticeTablenotea||Publication Date of Final NoticeTablenotea|
|Selenium and its compounds (29 substances)||Yes||Add to Schedule 1||Jul 18, 2015||-|
|Nineteen substances on the Domestic Substances List associated with pesticidal uses (19 substances)||No||no further action (NFA)||Jun 6, 2015||-|
|Certain Azo direct and reactive dyes (69 substances)||No||NFA||Mar 29, 2014||April 04, 2015|
|Certain Azo metal complexes and other azo substances (6 substances)||No||NFA||May 17, 2014||April 04, 2015|
|Microbeads||Yes||Add to schedule 1||August 1, 2015|
|4 State of the science reports on Phthalates and Proposed Approach for the Cumulative Risk Assessment of Phthalates (146 substances)||N/A||N/A||N/A||August 1, 2015|
Table 1 notes
- Table note a
The dates are those on which the draft and final notices were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
Under the CMP, ECCC and HC continued to complete the ecological and human health assessments assessment of substances that are part of the Groupings Initiative. They also continued data collection and assessment work as part of Petroleum Sector Stream Approach Initiative and the Rapid Screening Approach. As of March 2016, risk assessments were published on approximately 2,740 of the 4,300 substances prioritized under the CMP.
Along with the results of the screening assessment, the Ministers must publish in the Canada Gazette their final decision by choosing one of the following three “measures”: recommending to the Governor in Council the adding of the substance to Schedule 1 of CEPA (the List of Toxic Substances); adding it to the Priority Substances List for further assessment; or proposing no further action in respect of the substance.
Photo: vwPix © Thinkstock
Ministers may recommend the addition of a substance to Schedule 1 of CEPA if a screening assessment shows that a substance meets one or more of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA. The Governor in Council may then approve an order specifying its addition to Schedule 1. The decision to recommend adding a substance to Schedule 1 obliges the Ministers to develop a “regulation or instrument respecting preventive or control actions” within specific time periods.
During 2015-2016, a proposed order to add microbeads to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of CEPA was published as a result of the House of Commons unanimous vote to take immediate measures to add microbeads to Schedule 1. Also, a proposed order to add compounds to the list of excluded VOCswas published. There were no substances added to Schedule 1 during this time.
Review of Decisions of Other Jurisdictions
Section 75 of CEPA calls for co-operating and developing information exchange procedures with Canadian provinces, territories and Indigenous governments and with Member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The procedures focus on the exchange of information on substances that are prohibited or substantially restricted by the legislation of those jurisdictions for environmental or health reasons. In addition, decisions made by these other jurisdictions to prohibit or substantially restrict substances are to be reviewed to determine whether the substances are "toxic" or capable of becoming "toxic" as defined under CEPA. This process is designed to complement the existing process for assessing the environmental and health impacts of substances. On April 1, 2016, the Government of Canada published a document entitled Implementing Section 75 of CEPA for a 60-day public comment period.
ECCC published a science summary on microbeads, which concludes that microbeads are harmful to the environment, which can be found online.
2.1.5 Risk Management Activities
In general, when a draft risk assessment proposes a conclusion that the substance is “toxic” under CEPA, a risk management scope is developed under the CMP and published at the same time as the draft assessment report. Risk management scopes are used as discussion documents to engage stakeholders on potential risk management actions. A scope briefly describes the health or environmental concern, the activities potentially impacted and the type of risk management actions being considered. In 2015-2016, a risk management scope was published for the selenium and its compounds grouping.
Similar to the risk management scopes, when the final screening assessment report concludes that a substance is “toxic” under CEPA, a risk management approach document is developed and published at the same time as the final risk assessment report. The risk management approach document provides a more detailed description of the risk management being considered. It builds on the risk management considerations outlined in the risk management scope and considers new information received during the above-mentioned 60-day comment period. In 2015-2016, no risk management approach documents were published,
CEPA Instruments for Risk Management
The CMP uses a wide range of risk management instruments, including regulations, pollution prevention plans, environmental performance agreements, permits, substance lists, guidelines, codes of practice and significant new activity notification provisions. These instruments can address any aspect of the substance’s life cycle, from the research and development stage through manufacture, use, storage, transport and ultimate disposal or recycling.
In addition to implementing existing risk management instruments during the reporting period, the CMP published six proposed risk management instruments to address ten toxic substances or groups of substances, as well as one final risk management instrument to address one substance, as described below.
There are approximately 160 petroleum substances that were identified under the CMP as priorities for action through the categorization process and that are being addressed in a sectoral approach. A large portion of high-priority petroleum substances are used or manufactured during petroleum refining or bitumen/heavy crude oil upgrading activities. During 2015-2016, ECCC and HC developed risk management approaches for natural gas condensates and liquefied petroleum gases in consultation with other government departments. They also furthered regulatory development addressing Stream 1 and 2 Petroleum and Refinery Gases, including, but not limited to, informal consultations and incorporated input.
In 2015-2016, ECCC and HC published in Canada Gazette, Part I, the proposed Regulations Repealing the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 for a 60-day public comment period. The proposal would repeal the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (hereafter referred to as the VCRR). The proposed Regulations also make consequential amendments to the Regulations Designating Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement under CEPA, and to the Contraventions Regulations under the Contraventions Act, which impose limits on the release of vinyl chloride from both vinyl chloride production facilities and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production facilities under the authority of CEPA. Since 2009, only one PVC manufacturing facility continues to operate in Canada. Air emissions of vinyl chloride from this facility, located in Ontario, are regulated by the VCRR and by provincial regulations. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment regulations establish emission requirements that adequately protect human health.
On April 4, 2015, ECCC published the proposed Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 in the Canada Gazette, Part I, which would add five substances to the Regulations: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD); perfluorooctanoic acid, its salts, and its precursors (collectively referred to as PFOA); long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts, and their precursors (collectively referred to as LC-PFCAs); polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The Prohibition Regulations 2012 prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale, or import of specified toxic substances and products that contain these substances, with some exemptions.
In June 2015, ECCC consulted on the administrative burden of the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 and their proposed revisions through a voluntary survey. This information was gathered to support the development of revisions to the Regulations through the calculation of the administrative burden, as required by the Red Tape Reduction Regulations.
On August 1, 2015, the Department published a Notice of Intent indicating that the development of proposed regulations under CEPA had been initiated to prohibit the manufacture, import, sale and offer for sale of personal care products containing microbeads that are used to exfoliate or cleanse. On February 9, 2016, ECCC published a consultation document for public comment on the key elements of the proposed microbeads regulations. Feedback from over 2000 stakeholders received during the public comment period (which ended on March 10, 2016), suggests that there is substantial support for prohibiting microbeads.
The Products Containing Mercury Regulations came into force on November 8, 2015. These Regulations prohibit the manufacture and import of products containing mercury or any of its compounds, with some exemptions for essential products that have no technically or economically viable alternatives.
Export Control List
The Export Control List (ECL) in Schedule 3 of CEPA includes substances whose export from Canada is controlled because their use in Canada is prohibited or restricted, or because Canada has agreed, through an international agreement, such as the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention), to control their international trade and requires notification or consent of the country of destination before export. CEPA requires exporters to submit prior notice of export with respect to substances on the ECL. In 2015-2016, 75 export notices were submitted to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Canada. Certain exports of substances on the ECL require an export permit. In 2015-2016, three permits were issued by the Minister.
Environmental Quality Guidelines
Environmental quality guidelines provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment. They may be developed nationally through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) as Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CEQGs) or federally as Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs). Table 2 lists the CEQGs that were being developed nationally through the CCME in 2015-2016. Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for Silver were published September 2015. Canadian Soil quality Guideline for Zinc was published October 2015.
During the same period, ECCC developed draft FEQGs for various CMP substances (Table 3).
|Environmental Compartment||In Progress|
The Environmental Quality Guidelines can be found online.
Codes of Practice
The provisions within Part 3 of CEPA (Information Gathering, Objectives, Guidelines and Codes of Practice) allow the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health to publish codes of practice. Codes of practice are voluntary instruments that identify recommended procedures and practices or environmental controls relating to works, undertakings and activities, including any subsequent monitoring activities with an objective of limiting releases of the substance(s) in question. These set out official national standards that companies and organizations should follow. Further information on codes of practice is available online.
On March 5, 2016, a proposed Code of Practice for the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from the Use of Cutback and Emulsified Asphalt Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 60-day consultation. The intent of the Code is to provide guidance to the asphalt sector regarding actions that can contribute to the reduction of VOC emissions from the use of cutback asphalt and emulsified asphalt in order to reduce health and environmental concerns in Canada while maintaining road safety
Air-conditioning units fall under a new Code of Practice designed to reduce and prevent emissions of halocarbons into the environment
Photo: Fernand Comeau © Environment and Climate Change Canada
On May 9, 2015, ECCC and HC published a proposed Code of Practice for a Recommended Concentration of 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) Ethanol (DEGME) in Surface Coating Materials Available to Consumers in Canada. A threshold of 10,000 mg/kg (also expressed as 1.0 % (w/w)) was developed through an analysis of levels of DEGME used as surface coating materials in consumer products that would be protective of human health while minimizing harmful impacts from Canadian industry.
In 2015-2016, ECCC reviewed the implementation report submitted by the facility that is subject to the Code of Practice for the Management of Tetrabutyltin in Canada (Code of Practice) to determine if the facility continued to implement the Code of Practice. The review indicated that the facility had continued to implement the procedures and practices that were put in place in 2011.
A Code of Practice for the Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems was published on April 18, 2015 for the purpose of replacing the 1996 Code of Practice of the same name. The Code covers the design, installation and servicing of stationary and mobile refrigeration and air conditioning systems. It also covers training requirements. The Code is a complement to federal, provincial and territorial measures with a goal to minimize and eliminate emissions of certain halocarbons by introducing best practices in the cooling industry.
Pollution Prevention Planning Notices
The provisions in Part 4 of CEPA (Pollution Prevention) allow the Minister of the Environment to issue a “notice” to require designated persons to prepare, implement and report on pollution prevention (P2) plans for toxic substances. P2 Planning Notices provide the flexibility for industry to determine the best methods within their processes and activities to meet the risk management objective within the Notice. Further information on P2 planning is available online.
During 2015-2016, there were six active P2 Planning Notices covering inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluent; polyurethane and other foam sector (except polystyrene) --toluene diisocyanates; cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl (siloxane D4) in industrial effluents; BPA; dental amalgam waste; base metals smelters and refineries and zinc plants; and synthetic rubber manufacturing--isoprene.
- In Progress
In 2015-2016, ECCC reviewed the reports submitted by the six industrial facilities using the siloxane D4 and that are currently subject to the P2 Planning Notice. This review showed that two of the facilities have already achieved their reduction target, and four are working towards achieving it. The P2 Notice was introduced in 2012 to reduce industrial releases of siloxane D4 to the aquatic environment, and specify facility reduction targets to be met by mid-2017.
In October 2015, ECCC published a performance report summarizing the information that has been reported by facilities for the third year of the implementation of the P2 notice for Polyurethane and other foam sector (except polystyrene)--toluene diisocyanates.
- Proposed Notices
On April 18, 2015, ECCC published a Proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice in Respect of Halocarbons Used as a Refrigerant in the Canada Gazette Part I, for a 60-day public comment period. The objective of this Pollution Prevention Planning Notice is to have halocarbon refrigerants managed by stewardship programs in an environmentally sound manner throughout their life-cycle.
On April 18, 2015, ECCC also published a Proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice for Hydrazine, which relates to the electricity sector.
- Final Reports
In March 2015, ECCC received the final report submitted by the industrial facilities subject to the P2 Planning Notice on toluene diisocyanates. The review of the effectiveness of the P2 Planning Notice is currently underway.
In June 2015, ECCC published a final performance report on the implementation of the Notice Regarding Pollution Prevention Planning in Respect of Mercury Releases from Dental Amalgam Waste. The report concluded that the national risk management objective of 95% national reduction in mercury releases into the environment from dental amalgam waste, from a base year of 2000, has been achieved.
More information on pollution prevention planning notices is available online.
Environmental Performance Agreements
An Environmental Performance Agreement (EPA) is negotiated around the key principles and design criteria outlined in ECCC’s Policy Framework for EPAs to achieve specified environmental results. The new Environmental Performance Agreement 2015-2020 Respecting the Use of Tin Stabilizers in the Vinyl Industry, established in March 2015, calls for the implementation of the Guideline for the Environmental Management of Tin Stabilizers in Canada (the Guideline). In 2015-2016, verifications at four facilities were conducted by a verification team, confirming that all these facilities had implemented the practices and procedures outlined in the Guideline. Furthermore, the other facilities using tin stabilizers reported having implemented the Guideline.
Other active agreements include the EPA on production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons in Canada with E.I. DuPont Canada Company; the EPA respecting PFCAs and their precursors in perfluorinated products sold in Canada; the Refractory Ceramic Fibre EPA; and the EPA Respecting Bisphenol A in Paper Recycling Mill Effluents. Detailed information about these environmental performance agreements is available online.
Other Risk Management Tools
Significant New Activity Requirements
A Significant New Activity (SNAc) requirement is applied when a substance has been assessed and there is a suspicion that new activities may pose a risk to human health and/or the environment. When it is applied, any major changes in the way it is used must be reported to the government. This ensures that departmental experts can evaluate whether the new use of a substance poses a new or increased risk to human health or the environment, and determine if risk management should be considered as a result of the new use.
Of the 581 notifications for new substances that were assessed under CEPA in 2014-2015, the Minister issued three SNAc notices (Table 4) on new chemicals and polymers. One SNAc that had previously been in place for an existing substance on the DSL was rescinded based on new information received (Table 5).
|9-decenamide, N, N-dimethyl-, Cas Registry No. 1356964-77-6||May 20, 2015|
|Ethanedioic acid, manganese(2++) salt (1:1), CAS Registry No. 640-67-5||Aug. 12, 2015|
|Hexanedioic acid, mixed 4-methyl-2-propylhexyl and 5-methyl-2-propylhexyl and 2-propylheptyl esters, CAS Registry No. 1043888-25-0||Feb. 10, 2016|
Table 4 notes
- Table note b
The dates are those on which the final notices or orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I or Part II.
|Quinoline, CAS Registry No. 91-22-5||Apr. 22, 2015|
Table 5 notes
- Table note c
The dates are those on which the final notices or orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I and Part II.
|Quinoline, CAS Registry No. 91-22-5||Apr. 22, 2015|
Table 6 notes
- Table note d
The date is that on which the final order was published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
ECCC and Health Canada continued with their review of all SNAc notices and orders in force to ensure consistencies with current policies, including the Policy on the Use of Significant New Activity Provisions of CEPA (published in December 2013). SNAc notices and orders are being reviewed between 2014 and 2017 in groups of similar chemistry (e.g., nanomaterials) or common elements (e.g., notices and orders with consumer product references). SNAc review groups include:
- aromatic azo- and benzidine-based substances;
- new and existing substances with consumer product wording;
- high hazard substances, not in commerce substances; and
- remaining new and existing substances.
As a result of the review, SNAc notices or orders may be rescinded, amended or left unchanged. More information on the SNAc review is available online.
Conditions and Prohibitions on New Substances
When the assessment of a new substance identifies a risk to human health or the environment, CEPA empowers the Minister of the Environment to intervene prior to or during the earliest stages of its introduction into Canada. In this case, there are three actions that may be taken. The Minister may:
- permit the manufacture or import of the substance subject to specified conditions; or
- prohibit the manufacture or import of the substance; or
- request additional information considered necessary for the purpose of assessment. The notifier shall not manufacture or import the substance until supplementary information or test results have been submitted and assessed.
Of 581 notifications for new substances received in 2015-2016, the Minister issued 7 Ministerial Conditions (Table 7), and no prohibitions.
|Actinosynnema pretiosum, strain #3-459||Apr. 25, 2015|
|1,2-Propanediol, dibenzoate, CAS Registry No. 19224-26-1||Oct. 17, 2015|
|1,2-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid, 1-butyl 2-(phenylmethyl) ester, CAS Registry No. 1200806-67-2||Oct. 17, 2015|
|1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, mixed C8-11-alkyl and 2-ethylhexyl and hexyl and isononyl diesters., CAS Registry No. 1415043-91-2||Oct. 17, 2015|
|Alcohols, C12-18, ethoxylated, reaction products with 1,6-diisocyanatohexane and polyethylene-polypropylene glycol, CAS Registry No. 72968-35-5||Oct. 17, 2015|
|Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), ɑ, ɑ’-(iminodi-2,1-ethanediyl)bis[ω-hydroxy-, N-[3-(C10-16-alkyloxy)propyl] derivs., di-Et sulfate-quaternized, CAS Registry No. 70983-58-3||Feb. 6, 2016|
|Indeno[4,5-d]-1,3-dioxin, 4,4a,5,6,7,8,9,9b-octahydro-7,7,8,9,9-pentamethyl-, CAS Registry No. 365411-50-3||Mar. 5, 2016|
|1,2-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid, 1-butyl 2-(phenylmethyl) ester, CAS Registry No. 1200806-67-2||Mar. 19, 2016|
Table 7 notes
- Table note e
The dates are those on which the notices were published in the Canada Gazette.
2.2 Living Organisms
Products of biotechnology that are living organisms are regulated for health and safety purposes by a variety of federal departments and agencies across the government. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is an important regulator of crop plants and micro-organisms used in animal feeds. CEPA sets the federal standard for assessment and risk management of new and existing living organisms. Other Canadian legislation meeting this standard is listed in Schedule 4 of CEPA. Living organisms imported or manufactured for a use regulated under a Schedule 4-listed Act are exempted from the New Substances provisions in CEPA. Living organisms manufactured or imported for a use not covered by Schedule 4-listed Acts are regulated under CEPA. These include naturally occurring and genetically modified organisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and higher organisms such as fish or pigs) used for various environmental, industrial and commercial purposes.
CEPA establishes an assessment process for living organisms that are new animate products of biotechnology, which mirrors provisions in Part 5 of CEPA respecting new substances that are chemicals or polymers. In addition, paragraph 74(b) of the Act requires that all living organisms on the DSL (about 68 existing micro-organisms) undergo a screening assessment to determine whether the living organism is toxic or capable of becoming toxic.
Government research on living organisms focuses on determining hazardous characteristics and the pathogenicity potential of various biotechnology microbes in order to support screening assessments. The research is coordinated jointly with regulators at HC and ECCC and focuses mainly on micro-organisms on the CEPA DSL.
As the timeline for completing screening assessments of CEPA DSL micro-organisms was accelerated to March 2016 (originally set for March 2020), research conducted in 2015-2016 continued to focus on supporting the efficient screening assessment of these micro-organisms. This was done through application of rapid genomic methods for confirming micro-organism identity; by conducting organism-specific testing for determining potential pathogenicity characteristics; and by conducting exposure assays for toxicity assessment. Data summary reports were completed on several organisms, including fungi/yeast (Aspergillus, Saccharomyces, Candida) and bacteria (Bacillus, Delftia, Pseudomonas, Chaetomium and Sphingobium). Most of these results have already been incorporated in screening assessment reports as supporting data.
In addition, research continued on a number of subjects, including assessing the viability and identification of a mixture of micro-organisms (consortium) in artificial and commercial products using genomic tools; animal models to identify opportunistic pathogens; and cell-based immunology/toxicology methods to reduce animal usage.
2.2.2 Risk Assessments
Risk Assessment of New Animate Products of Biotechnology
During 2015-2016, 40 notifications of new animate products of biotechnology were received and of those, 10 were accepted pursuant to the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms). ECCC supported notifiers by providing advice on completing their notification dossiers. In addition, two notifications of new activities were received. All notifications that are accepted are assessed within the statutory assessment period.
During 2015-2016, eight pre-notification consultations were held to help companies better understand the notification requirements for their specific organism before submitting a Notification.
Risk Assessment of Existing Animate Products of Biotechnology
ECCC and HC jointly perform the screening assessment of micro-organisms listed on the DSL. In 2015-2016, draft screening assessments for seven micro-organisms were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 60-day public comment period. Final screening assessments for 18 micro-organisms were also published in the Canada Gazette, Part I (see Table 8). Work continues on the remaining screening assessments for several other DSL micro-organisms. Since most of the work on these microorganisms has been completed, the Technical Expert Group, which provided advice on the process and validated the scientific basis of screening assessments and their conclusions, has been discontinued.
|Substances (and Number of Substances)||Meet s. 64 Criteria||Proposed Measure||Draft NoticeTablenotef||Final NoticeTablenotef|
|Candida utilis (1 micro-organism)||No||no further action (NFA)||May 23, 2015||-|
|Pseudomonas sp. (1 micro-organism)||No||NFA||May 23, 2015||-|
|Aspergillus oryzae (1 micro-organism)||No||NFA||Mar 19, 2016||-|
|Pseudomonas putida (4 micro-organism)||No||NFA||Mar 19, 2016||-|
|DSL Bacillus licheniformis/ subtilis group of Priority A and B (11 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||Jan. 28, 2015||Aug. 1, 2015|
|Escherichia hermannii of Priority A (1 micro-organism)||No||NFA||Jan. 28, 2015||Aug. 1, 2015|
|Paenibacillus polymyxa of Priority B (3 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||Jan. 24, 2015||Aug. 1, 2015|
|Pseudomonas fluorescens||No||NFA||Dec. 7, 2013||Feb. 14, 2015|
|Micro-organisms in Lot 2 of Priority C (2 micro-organisms)||No||NFA||Dec. 7, 2013||Feb. 14, 2015|
Table 8 notes
- Table note f
The dates are those on which the draft and final notices were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
2.2.3 Risk Management Activities
Significant New Activity Requirements
In 2015-2016, no final orders or notices of intent to apply the SNAc provisions were published for existing living organisms.
In 2015-2016, no new living organisms were subjected to a SNAc Notice or a Ministerial prohibition. One new living organism was subjected to Ministerial Conditions.
2.3 Air Pollutants and Greenhouse Gases
Air pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHGs) originate from numerous domestic sources, such as industry and transportation, as well as transboundary transport of air pollution from other countries.
Monitoring and reporting activities are important for identifying and tracking levels and trends related to air pollutants that impact both the environment and human health.
Ambient (outdoor) air quality monitoring informs air quality management in Canada, including the evaluation of progress relative to the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (see below) for health research, for validation of numerical air quality prediction models, for evaluating the benefits of control measures and for assessments of the impact of air pollution on Canadians and the environment.
In Canada, ambient air quality monitoring is carried out across the country through two complementary networks known as the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) program and the Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) (Figure 1). The NAPS program is managed by ECCC via a cooperative agreement with the provinces, territories and some municipalities in order to provide accurate and long-term air quality data of a uniform standard from primarily urban and rural sites across Canada. There are 286 NAPS sites in 203 communities located in every province and territory.
The Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) provides information on regional patterns and trends of atmospheric pollutants in both air and precipitation and identifies emerging issues. There are over 30 CAPMoN sites located in remote regionally representative areas across Canada that contribute to understanding of atmospheric issues, including how long range transport impacts the Canadian environment.
Figure 1: Map of NAPS and CAPMoN monitoring sites
Description of Figure 1
There are 286 NAPS sites in 203 communities located in every province and territory. There are over 30 CAPMoN sites located in remote regionally representative areas across Canada that contribute to understanding of atmospheric issues, including how long range transport impacts the Canadian environment.
The information compiled from these monitoring sites is available from the National Air Pollution Surveillance website and the Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) Data and Products website.
Shown here is wet deposition (kilograms per hectare per year) for non sea salt SO4 in 1990, 2000 and 2012.
A success story: reduced emissions of NOx and SO2resulted in changes in acidic wet deposition
Over the past few decades, Canada and the U.S. have established commitments and taken various actions to reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the main precursor gases resulting in acid deposition. Both substances were added to the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1 of CEPA) in 2003.
In Canada, these actions have resulted in the reduction of SO2 emissions to approximately 1.3 million tons in 2012, a decrease of 58% from total emissions in 1990. The resulting trend in acid deposition reflects this decrease in SO2emissions. As seen in the figure, the wet deposition of sulphate (i.e., deposition to the Earth’s surface via rain and snow) has decreased from 1990 to 2000 and then 2012, in both the eastern United States and eastern Canada.
Parallel decreases in emissions of NOx have been achieved in both countries, resulting in similar patterns in wet nitrate deposition from 1990 to 2012 (not shown here).
In spite of the decreases in emissions and accompanying decreases in deposition of both SO2 and NOx, there continues to be exceedances in the ecosystem critical loads (the amount of acid deposition a region can receive without being adversely affected). As well, there are gaps in our knowledge over ecosystem recovery following reductions in emissions, as not all recover at the same rate or in the same way. Some unanswered questions remain, which are the focus of current scientific research and monitoring efforts.
The Canadian Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Program includes observations of carbon dioxide and other GHGs from 15 long-term measurement sites across Canada (Figure 2). Among the sites is the Alert Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory. Alert serves as one of three global greenhouse gas inter-comparison sites to ensure consistent measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas concentrations across the world. Measurements of atmospheric CO2 began in March 1975 at Alert, NU (Figure 3). The seasonal decline in late May to early June is due to the transport of air from southern latitudes that is depleted in CO2 from photosynthetic uptake. The annual average CO2 value at Alert in 2015 was 402.1 parts per million (ppm); the first year in which the annual mean exceeded 400 ppm. The annual average CO2 values were 399.7 and 397.9 ppm in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Figure 2: Canadian Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program monitoring sites
Description of Figure 2
Canada's GHG monitoring is part of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Program. Environment Canada's Long Term Greenhouse Gas sites are located in: Alert, Inuvik, Churchill, Behohoko, Lac Labiche, Estevan Pt., Abbotsford, Esther, Bratts Lake, East Trout Lake, Chibougamau, Fraserdale, CARE Egbert, Toronto, Sable Island.
Figure 3: Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Alert, Nunavut
Figure 4: Atmospheric methane measured at Alert, Nunavut
ECCC also runs a long-term atmospheric monitoring program for methane. Measurements of atmospheric methane (CH4) began in August 1985 at Alert, NU (Figure 4). Globally, approximately 40% of the CH4 emitted to the atmosphere is from natural sources such as wetlands. The remaining emissions are due to anthropogenic (human caused) sources such as cattle ranching, agriculture, fossil fuels and landfills. The annual average CH4 value at Alert in 2015 was 1917.8 parts per billion (ppb), the highest recorded value at Alert and more than 10 ppb higher than the 1905.9 ppb recorded value in 2014. The annual increase in CH4 steadily declined since the late 1980s and hovered around zero from 1999 to 2006, reflecting a near balance between emissions and removal by atmospheric chemical processes. Since 2007, CH4 has increased every year on average by 6 ppb per year.
ECCC makes its atmospheric monitoring data available to the public through national and international databases, e.g. the Government of Canada Open Data Portal; World Meteorological Organization (WMO); World Data Centres for GHGs; WMO World Data Centre for Precipitation Chemistry; and the WMO World Ozone and Ultraviolet Data Centre, which is operated by the Meteorological Service of Canada.
Air quality monitoring from space - an emerging tool
ECCC also monitors air quality and air pollutant emissions from space using satellite-based instrumentation. Satellites measure air pollution by comparing light intensity levels at many different wavelengths (or colour ‘shades’). Emissions can be derived by combining the satellite data with wind information, and retrieving this data by way of new retrieval algorithms developed by ECCC researchers. This research undertaken by the Department has enabled the clarification of trends in ambient levels of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide (listed as toxic substances on CEPA Schedule 1) and helped identify and quantify emission sources for these pollutants across the country.
For example, a decade (2005-2014) of measurements was used to examine changes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentrations over western Canada and the northern United States. This work has included trends in pollutants over the Canadian oil sands region, as part of the Canada-Alberta Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program.
NO2 was seen to increase by as much as 10% per year in the oil sands area, while SO2 concentrations remained constant. By contrast, other locations in the region show a reduction in both pollutants, which is likely due to the implementation of several pollution control measures implemented in Canada and the US. These images demonstrate how ECCC air quality science and research supports and links to policy and regulatory actions.
More information about monitoring activities is available online.
Air quality research efforts help quantify priority air pollutants and determine trends, improve and validate air quality predictions both in the near term and into the future within the national and global context, as well as enhance understanding of the impacts of air pollutant sources on Canadians and the environment.
Researchers sorting invertebrates at Nancy Green Lake for the CARA Mercury Science Program
Photo: Johan Wikland, ©Environment and Climate Change Canada
ECCC scientists published more than 100 research papers related to air pollutants and GHGs in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Environmental research topics included satellite measurements of emissions; development and validation of high-resolution air quality forecasting models; the carbon cycle in the Earth system; and engine or traffic emissions (furthering understanding of sources and impacts).
Ongoing research by ECCC continued on a wide range of air pollution and GHG topics, including development of a better method to model dry deposition of atmospheric particles; characterization and measurement of atmospheric aerosols; GHG sources and sinks; transport and deposition of ammonia and mercury; understanding and predicting air quality at high resolution in airsheds of particular interest from an environmental perspective (e.g., urban); conducting on-board measurements of exhaust emissions from vessels carrying cargo to northern communities; impacts of maritime shipping emissions in the Canadian Arctic; understanding the impact of specific emissions sources on air quality; renewable fuels operation in cold temperature; and non-criteria exhaust emissions from new engine technologies.
Research also continued on atmospheric mercury in the Arctic; long term trends and long-range transport of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Arctic air; long term trends of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in the Canadian Great Lakes Basin; trends of flame retardants and organochlorine pesticides in air in the western sub-Arctic; atmospheric composition, transport and deposition of mercury and deposition of organophosphate flame retardants; determination of hindered phenolic antioxidants (HPAs) in exhaust emissions from light-duty vehicles; and poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances in indoor dust and food packaging materials.
The Toronto Island air quality station was added to the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) program network for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Data from this station are being used to study ozone over-prediction over lakes.
Photo: © Greg Evans
Showcasing Air Quality Science at the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games
During the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, held in Toronto, ECCC scientists collected data related to air quality and weather and used this data to evaluate and improve the “next generation” air quality forecasting model. The model is being designed to better simulate the conditions experienced in urban environments. In collaboration with other research groups, data was collected to help validate the upgraded research models, inform policy strategies related to ambient air quality standards and urban environments, and inform the development of new chronic exposure mapping strategies for Toronto.
Enhanced services made available to the public during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games included hourly actual and forecast values of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), a risk communication tool designed to inform citizens about the current health risks associated with air pollution. Web-traffic and stakeholder feedback indicated that the public was very interested in enhanced forecasting. Consequently, hourly forecasts will be rolled out nationally.
An initial assessment was also completed by ECCC comparing ambient concentrations of 63 air toxics measured in Canada to provincial ambient air quality guidelines.
In addition, ECCC scientists led or contributed to the development and publication of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Assessment 2015: Black carbon and ozone as Arctic climate forcers and the AMAP Assessment 2015: Methane as an Arctic climate forcer.
2.3.3 Risk Management Activities
The Air Quality Management System (AQMS), implemented by federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers in 2012, supports a comprehensive approach to reducing air pollution in Canada. Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards are the driver for air quality management under AQMS. CEPA provides authorities with the tools to regulate reductions in releases of air pollutants and GHGs.
ECCC has implemented six vehicle and engine regulations and nine fuel regulations under CEPA.
Consistent with the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council’s Joint Forward Plan (2015), ECCC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continued to collaborate closely under the framework of the Canada U.S. Air Quality Committee towards the development of aligned vehicle and engine emission standards and their coordinated implementation.
Air Pollutant Emissions Regulations
On July 29, 2015, ECCC published amendments to the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations and the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The regulations further limit emissions of smog-forming air pollutants from new passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs and certain heavy-duty vehicles (such as delivery vans) and reduce the allowable sulphur content of gasoline, in alignment with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Tier 3” vehicle and fuel standards. The more stringent emission standards apply to 2017 and later model year vehicles, and the lower sulphur limits take effect beginning in 2017. Specifically, the amendments to the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations reduce the allowable annual average sulphur content of gasoline to 10 parts per million from the current level of 30 parts per million, beginning in 2017. This will enable the effective operation of advanced emission control technologies needed to comply with the more stringent vehicle air pollutant emission standards.
Lower levels of sulphur in gasoline will also reduce air pollutant emissions from vehicles already on the road and enable new vehicle technologies or strategies to improve vehicle greenhouse gas emission performance. The regulations are expected to result in air quality improvements in Canada and deliver significant health and environmental benefits to Canadians.
Renewable Fuels Regulations
The Renewable Fuels Regulations are a part of the Government’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The Regulations require petroleum producers and importers (primary suppliers) to have an average of at least 5% renewable fuel content in their gasoline produced and imported and 2% renewable fuel content in their distillate fuel produced and imported. On February 29, 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada published the first performance report for the Regulations that provided an analysis of the performance of the Regulations for the period December 2010 to December 2012. The results of the assessment indicate that the Regulations are on track to meeting their objective of reducing GHG emissions. GHG reductions of approximately 7.0 Mt were estimated to have accrued in the first two compliance periods representing an annual average reduction of approximately 3.7 Mt/yr.
Regulatory Administration of the Transportation Regulations
ECCC administers a compliance program under the transportation regulations. This includes processing of regulatory reports, importation declarations, managing defects and recalls and testing of selected vehicles and engines to verify compliance with the regulations.
Some of the transportation regulations require companies to submit annual reports documenting fleet performance or the quantity of products. During 2015-2016, the Department received over 280 regulatory reports. ECCC also continued with updates to its on-line reporting tool, the Vehicle and Engine Emissions Reporting Registry, which enables automobile manufacturers to submit their annual automobile GHG performance report along with fuel consumption data utilized by Natural Resources Canada for its Fuels Consumption Labelling Program.
In 2015-2016, ECCC processed almost 400 Canada-unique submissions and almost 800 importation declarations for vehicles and engines. Additionally, the Department processed 51 notices of defect and recall notifications covering over 200,000 vehicles and engines. Of those, ECCC influenced five campaigns covering over 15,000 vehicles and engines.
The regulatory administration of the transportation regulations is supported by ECCC laboratory emissions testing on vehicles and engines in order to verify compliance with the regulations. Additional on-road testing methodologies using portable emissions measurement technology were implemented in 2015-2016. ECCC also conducts testing on vehicles and engines to verify compliance with the regulations. In 2015-2016, the Department conducted 75 rounds of testing.
Additionally, the Department responds to inquiries from regulatees and prospective regulatees. During 2015-2016, ECCC responded to over 1400 inquiries regarding these regulations.
More information on ECCC’s vehicle, engine and fuel regulations is available online.
The performance standard set under the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation Electricity Regulations (the Regulations) came into effect on July 1, 2015. The stringent performance standard allows 420 tonnes of CO2/GWh of electricity produced for new coal-fired electricity generation units and for existing units once they reach a defined period of operating life under the regulations. The Regulations are estimated to result in a net reduction of approximately 214 Mt CO2 equiv. of GHG emissions over the period 2015-2035.
The Environmental Performance Agreement with Rio Tinto Alcanconcerning air emissions of PAHs ended in December 2014. A final public report is being prepared and will be published by ECCC in 2016. Information about the agreement and updates is available online.
Consumer and Commercial Products
ECCC has been targeting the reduction of emissions of VOCs from consumer and commercial products. VOCs are a contributing factor in the creation of air pollution.
On March 5, 2016, a proposed Code of Practice for the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from the Use of Cutback and Emulsified Asphalt Notice was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 60-day consultation. The intent of the Code is to provide guidance to the asphalt sector regarding actions that can contribute to the reduction of VOC emissions from the use of cutback asphalt and emulsified asphalt in order to reduce health and environmental concerns in Canada while maintaining road safety.
On May 2, 2015, a proposed order to exclude specific compounds from the list of VOCs on Schedule 1 of CEPA was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The objective of the proposed order is to exclude VOCs from the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of CEPA that do not contribute significantly to the formation of ground-level ozone. The proposed order will also align with the list of compounds excluded from the regulatory definition of VOCs in the United States.
2.4 Water Quality
Ottawa River © Environment and Climate Change Canada
Water quality is affected in many ways, including by nature's own patterns. The water quality of rivers and lakes changes with the seasons and geographic areas, even when there is no pollution present. It is also affected by human development, including disposal of human wastes, animal wastes and chemical substances into the environment.
Water quality is a shared responsibility with provinces and territories. The federal government addresses water quality under various statutes, including the Fisheries Act. Work on water quality under CEPA includes scientific research, monitoring and leadership on the development of guidelines for water quality.
Trace metals sampling is done as part of Great Lakes Surveillance on board the CCGS Limnos
Photo: Alice Dove © Environment and Climate Change Canada
In 2015-2016, ECCC’s Fresh Water Quality Monitoring program continued to implement the risk-based adaptive management framework in conjunction with statistical power analyses to better evaluate the risks of contaminants and human activities in Canadian watersheds. The approach has been used to optimize monitoring locations and adjust monitoring frequencies relative to the environmental risks and to inform on changes in environmental condition.
In addition to data collection and reporting on a wide range of environmental issues, monitoring efforts in 2015-2016 included continued upgrades to monitoring technologies and improved data reporting and database infrastructure. In addition, the ECCC initiated a plan that contributes to the Government of Canada’s commitment to Open Data. More information on ECCC monitoring activities is available online.
Both Health Canada and ECCC continued their water quality research activities. Health Canada conducts research on drinking water quality in support of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
ECCC’s research included method development for analytes in wastewater treatment plant influent and effluent; assessing the environmental fate of azo benzidine compounds and their transformation products; investigating organophosphorus flame retardants in a variety of environmental compartments; biotoxins identification in algal blooms in the St. Lawrence River; analytical methods development for the identification of degradation products from pharmaceuticals in surface waters; multiple biological impacts of municipal effluents on wild fish in the St. Lawrence River; and assessing bioaccumulation and toxicity of dysprosium and palladium under varying water quality parameters.
In 2015-2016, Health Canada conducted research on disinfection by-products from source waters containing nano-silver. The results were used to inform the World Health Organization Water Quality and Health Joint Expert Meeting. Further method development was completed for ground water testing of contaminants including volatile and semivolatile aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs and alkylphenols, potentially associated with shale gas production. These new methods will improve analytical capability for future drinking water surveys. In addition, new tools, including databases and worksheets, have been developed to support data accessibility for inorganic compounds identified as priorities for risk assessment under the CMP. The databases, worksheets and related training tools were provided to and tested by risk assessment groups.
2.4.3 Risk Management Activities
Drinking Water Quality Guidelines
Health Canada works in collaboration with the provinces and territories to develop the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and their technical documents. Health-based guidelines are developed for contaminants that could be found in drinking water supplies across Canada at levels that could lead to adverse health effects. Guidance documents are also developed under the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality to provide general operational or management guidance related to specific drinking water issues (such as boil-water advisories) or to make risk assessment information available when a guideline is not deemed necessary (such as potassium from water softeners).The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality are used by all provinces and territories as a basis to establish their own regulatory requirements regarding the quality of drinking water in their jurisdictions.
Table 8.1 lists the guidelines that were completed or in progress in 2015-2016.
Table 8.1: Guidelines/guidance documents for Canadian drinking water quality from April 2015 to March 2016
- Cyanobacterial toxins
- Enteric protozoa
- Enteric viruses
- Natural organic matter
Waste generally refers to any material, non-hazardous or hazardous, that has no further use, and which is managed at recycling, processing or disposal sites or facilities.
In Canada, the responsibility under the Canadian protection act for managing and reducing waste is shared between the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Municipal governments are responsible for collecting and managing waste from homes for recycling, composting and disposal, while provincial and territorial authorities are responsible for the approval, licensing and monitoring of waste management operations.
For its part, ECCC exercises responsibilities with respect to disposal at sea of specified materials, as well as the international and interprovincial movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material.
Disposal at Sea Site Monitoring Program
As required by CEPA, representative disposal at sea (DAS) sites are monitored to verify that permit conditions are met, and that scientific assumptions made during the permit review and site selection process are correct and sufficient to protect the marine environment. By monitoring disposal sites, ECCC is able to verify that the permitting of disposal is sustainable and that permit holders can have continued access to suitable sites. Where monitoring indicates a problem or where the site has reached its capacity over time, management action in the form of closing, moving or altering the site use can occur.
In 2015-2016, 13 monitoring projects were completed at 11 ocean disposal sites nationally (or 9% of the 123 actively used sites this fiscal year).
In the Pacific and Yukon Region (PYR), monitoring was conducted at four DAS sites. In June 2015, field monitoring was conducted at the Kitimat Arm disposal site in British Columbia. Sediment sampling activities included sediment grab sampling for chemistry analysis, toxicity testing and benthic macroinvertebrate survey. Surficial sediment samples were analyzed for trace metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), particle size, moisture, nutrients including total organic carbon (TOC) and total organic nitrogen (TON), dioxins, and furans and sulphides. Sediment toxicity testing included both acutely lethal and sub-lethal lethal endpoints. Benthic invertebrate identification was conducted by certified taxonomists to the lowest possible taxonomic level. The results of all the analyses, tests and assessments are pending. In October 2015, PYR conducted monitoring at the Five Finger Island, Point Grey and Porlier Pass disposal sites. A multi-beam bathymetric survey was conducted at each site. As well, sediment sampling activities included sediment grab sampling for chemistry analysis and toxicity testing. The same physicochemical parameters and toxicity tests used for the June 2015 Kitimat Arm monitoring study were also used for the October 2015 monitoring study.
In the Prairie and Northern Region (PNR), the data from pre-2007 and post-2012 disposal bathymetric studies at the Pangnirtung disposal site were reprocessed. The intent of the study was to compare the surveys to determine if the disposal activities were carried out in accordance with the conditions of the DAS permit. Specifically, the study was designed to verify that the material was disposed of in the appropriate location and the quantity of material disposed did not exceed what was permitted.
In the Quebec Region (QR), hydro-acoustic surveys were conducted at four DAS sites in the Magdalen Islands. The objective of these studies was to obtain data on the Depot E disposal site, which is a major DAS site, and three other frequently used disposal sites, L’Île-d’Entrée (IE-6), Pointe Basse (PBCM-1) and Grosse-Ile (GI-2). The survey results were used to determine if the disposal activities were carried out in accordance with the conditions of the DAS permits issued. Specifically, the studies assessed the locations of the disposals and the quantities disposed. The survey at the L’Île-d’Entrée (IE-6) site also allowed the department to determine the capacity of the disposal site and confirm that this site has capacity to receive additional dredged material. The monitoring confirmed that no remedial management actions were needed at any of the sites monitored in 2015-2016.
In the Atlantic Region (AR), four monitoring studies were conducted in 2015-2016. In Newfoundland and Labrador a post-disposal video survey was conducted at the Bull Arm fabrication facility disposal site. In New Brunswick, three related studies were conducted for the Black Point disposal site located near Saint John. These studies included a preliminary site capacity study, a geophysical survey and a sediment sampling study.
The post-disposal video survey at Bull Arm was a pilot study to provide habitat-scale knowledge of the site and to provide information for the design of future monitoring studies. For the Black Point site, the preliminary site capacity study was conducted to determine an approximate life expectancy and to inform future site use. The geophysical survey and sediment sampling of an area in the south of the disposal site, where previously disposed dredged material had slumped, were conducted. The objective of this study was to provide a baseline for future long-term sampling in this area. Lastly, high resolution/ultra-trace level PCB analysis was done to establish the presence or absence of PCBs in the slump area.
2.5.2 Risk Management Activities
In addition to the activities listed below, risk management actions described in section 2.1.5 on toxic substances also contribute to the overall improvement of waste management.
Disposal at Sea
Under CEPA, most types of disposal of waste at sea in areas of the sea within Canadian jurisdiction and by Canadian ships in Canadian jurisdiction and in international waters requires a permit issued by ECCC.
The CEPA DAS rules implement two treaties; the London Convention and the Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter. A permit for disposal at sea will generally be issued only if it is the environmentally preferable and practical option. CEPA provides additional controls on disposal at sea, including:
- a prohibition on the export of a substance for disposal in an area of the sea under the jurisdiction of a foreign state or in its internal waters;
- a similar prohibition on the import of a substance for disposal at sea;
- a list of six types of substances for which a disposal at sea permit can be obtained (Schedule 5 of CEPA);
- an assessment framework for reviewing permit applications based on a precautionary approach, which must be followed (Schedule 6 of CEPA); and
- a statutory obligation to monitor selected sites.
Canada and other parties to the London Convention and Protocol are finalizing a new five-year strategic plan prioritizing increased membership in the newer and more stringent treaty - the London Protocol. Workshops, guidance and technical assistance are offered to countries to aid their accedence to the London Protocol or compliance with it. In 2015, Canada was re-elected to serve as Vice-Chair to the Compliance Group, a small sub-group of the London Protocol that is responsible for encouraging and supporting compliance with the treaty.
Canada is in the second of four years chairing the Scientific Groups, which are sub-groups of the Convention and Protocol that advise the treaties about science and technical issues. Canada participates actively in the development of international guidance relevant to disposal at sea and the prevention of marine pollution. Current projects include developing guidance on action levels for dredged material disposal, as well as continuing work on best practices for disposal related to offshore mining wastes. A desktop review of the data supporting the continued ban of the disposal of radioactive waste at sea is complete and a recommendation is expected to be finalized next year.
In 2013, an amendment to the London Protocol was adopted to further regulate ocean fertilization and create the ability to address other forms of marine geo-engineering where there is potential to cause harm to the marine environment. Canada is continuing to look at ratifying the amendment within the next few years to ensure domestic consistency with the London Protocol.
Canada is also considering the possible ratification of other amendments to the Protocol that would enable a permit system for the storage of carbon dioxide streams from industrial processes in sub-seabed geological formations. This could add a tool to the portfolio of options for reducing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases.
Disposal at Sea Permits
In 2015-2016, 75 permits were issued in Canada for the disposal of 5.7 million tonnes of waste and other matter (tables 9 and 10), compared to 90 permits for the disposal of almost 5 million tonnes in 2014-2015. Most of the material permitted for disposal was dredged material that was removed from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. Also permitted was excavated native till (geological matter) that is disposed of at sea in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where on-land disposal options for clean fill are extremely limited. Fish-processing waste is also permitted in remote communities where there is no access to reuse-and-recycling opportunities.
|Material||Quantity Permitted||Permits Issued|
4 557 800 Tablenoteg
1 105 000 Tablenoteg
5 718 765
Table 9 notes
- Table note g
Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.
|Prairie and Northern
|Prairie and Northern
|Pacific and Yukon
|Pacific and Yukon
3 087 500
1 105 000
1 373 015
4 192 500
The number of permits issued has decreased slightly in 2015-2016 after almost a decade of relatively stable permit numbers, largely due to a smaller number of fish waste permits being requested (Figure 5). The quantities permitted continue to fluctuate from year to year, showing a slight trend towards increasing quantities, particularly for dredged material (Figure 6). The trend may be due to infrastructure spending in support of ports and port infrastructure, and new major projects with marine terminal project elements.
Figure 5: Number of disposal at sea permits issued
Figure 6: Annual disposal at sea quantities permitted (in millions of tonnes)Footnote1
Further information on disposal at sea is available online.
Controlling the Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material
CEPA provides authority to make regulations governing the export, import and transit of waste (including both hazardous and prescribed non-hazardous waste) and hazardous recyclable materials. It also provides authority to establish criteria for refusing an export, import or transit permit, should the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material not be managed in a manner that will protect the environment and human health.
Canada implements its international obligations as a party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Decision on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations, and the Canada-United States Agreement on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) and the PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996.
In 2015,Footnote2 ECCC processed approximately 2,500 notices for proposed imports, exports and transits of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials under the EIHWHRMR. The notices received covered 22,191 waste streams, which exhibited a range of hazardous properties such as being flammable, acutely toxic, oxidizing, corrosive, dangerously reactive and environmentally hazardous. Approximately 37,000 individual transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material were reported in movement documents received by ECCC.
Cathode ray tubes in old computer monitors and TVs are banned from export to certain countries under the Basel Convention.
Photo: Allison Grant © Environment and Climate Change Canada
Almost all imports (99.9%) and exports (97.8%) of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials occurred between Canada and the United States. The remaining imports and exports occurred with Nigeria, France, Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. The quantity of hazardous recyclable material and hazardous waste imported into Canada was 367,726 tonnes (t) in 2015. This represents a decrease of 12,636 t or 3.3% less than the total quantity imported in 2014. Shipments destined for recycling totaled 249,323 t and represented about 68% of all imports in 2015.
Hazardous recyclable materials imported into Canada in the greatest quantities were:
- hydraulic fluids;
- batteries filled with acid;
- waste liquors from the pickling of metals;
- wastes (excluding metal wastes in massive form) having metals as constituents or contaminants;
- Waste non-halogenated organic solvents and;
- Glass wastes from cathode-ray tubes and other activated glass.
Of the 118,403 t of Hazardous wastes imported into Canada, the greatest quantities included:
- waste tarry residues (excluding asphalt cements) arising from the refining, distillation and any pyrolytic treatment of organic materials;
- wastes having as constituents or contaminants: metal carbonyls, hexavalent chromium compounds;
- waste halogenated or non-halogenated non-aqueous distillation residues arising from organic solvent recovery operations;
- wastes containing, consisting of, or contaminated with inorganic cyanides or organic cyanides and;
- wastes (excluding metal wastes in massive form) having metals as constituents or contaminants.
The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials exported was 516,014 t in 2015. This represents a decrease of approximately 15,200 t or 3% from 2014. Shipments exported for recycling totaled 429,391 t and represented about 83% of all exports in 2015. The majority of hazardous recyclable material exported abroad for recycling includes:
- Waste acidic or basic solutions;
- treated wood wastes;
- wastes lead-acid batteries;
- wastes (excluding metal wastes in massive form) having metals as constituents or contaminants;
- wastes from oil/water or hydrocarbon/water mixtures and;
- waste containing, consisting of, or contaminated with inorganic cyanides or organic cyanides.
Of the 86,623 t of hazardous wastes exported, the greatest quantities included:
- waste acidic or basic solutions;
- wastes from oil/water or hydrocarbon/water mixtures;
- clinical and related waste;
- wastes (excluding metal wastes in massive form) having metals as constituents or contaminants;
- waste non-halogenated organic solvents and;
- wastes consisting of (or containing) off-specification or outdated chemicals.
Imports of hazardous recyclable material were shipped to five provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Alberta. Except for New Brunswick, all of these provinces also receive waste for final disposal. Exports of hazardous recyclable materials originated from eight provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia. Exports of hazardous wastes for final disposal also originated from these same provinces, except for Saskatchewan.
Tables 11 and table12 list the quantities imported and exported from 2006 to 2015.
Please note that data are revised periodically as new information becomes available. Therefore, information presented here may differ from information published in other reports.
2.6 Environmental Emergencies
Part 8 (Environmental Matters Related to Emergencies) of CEPA addresses the prevention of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental releases into the environment of substances that pose potential or immediate harm to the environment or danger to human life or health.
Part 8 provides the authority, among other things, for making regulations, guidelines and codes of practice. Part 8 also establishes a regime that makes the person who owns or has the charge, management or control of such a substance liable for restoring the damaged environment and for the costs and expenses incurred in responding to an environmental emergency.
The Environmental Emergency Regulations (referred to as the E2 Regulations) are made under Part 8 of CEPA. The E2 Regulations require any person who owns, manages, or has the control of a regulated substance at a place in Canada, at or above the established threshold, to notify ECCC when this quantity threshold is met or when the maximum container capacity meets or exceeds this threshold. If the total quantity and container capacity thresholds are both met, there is an additional requirement to prepare and exercise an environmental emergency (E2) plan. The E2 plan ensures that any individual that owns, manages, or controls specific hazardous substances equal to or above a certain threshold has a plan for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in the event of an environmental emergency.
Propane storage facility regulated by the E2 Regulations.
Photo: Gerard Chisholm © Environment and Climate Change Canada
The Environmental Emergencies website includes implementation guidelines for E2 plans, a common issues section and online notice filing. The website also provides public access to a database containing basic information about persons or places (e.g., company names and addresses) that are subject to the Regulations.
As of March 31, 2016, there were approximately 4,500 regulatees from various sectors under the E2 Regulations. Of these regulatees, approximately 2,850 were required to prepare E2 plans. The seven most commonly identified substances requiring E2 plans are propane, anhydrous ammonia, butane, pentane, gasoline, hydrochloric acid and chlorine.
In 2015-2016, ECCC’s regional activities associated with the implementation of the E2 Regulations included conducting site visits and delivering presentations to the regulated community, covering prevention, preparedness, and response and recovery aspects for chlorine, among other substances. As a result of targeted efforts to increase the implementation of E2 plans by regulated parties, approximately 95% of those regulated parties which require E2 plans have fully implemented and tested their plans.
Throughout 2015-2016, the Department continued the process to update the E2 Regulations. Included in the updates is the proposed addition of 49 new hazardous substances to the E2 Regulations, clarification of certain existing provisions, and an amendment to reporting requirements.
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