Canadian Environmental Protection Act annual report 2017 to 2018: chapter 2

2 Addressing key risks

2.1 Toxic substances harmful to human health or the environment

Parts 4, 5 and 6 of Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (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 were 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 Update

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 approximately 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 by 2020. 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.

Since the launch of the CMP in 2006, the Government of Canada has:

  • addressed 3470 of the 4,363 chemicals identified as priorities for attention by 2020-2021, including draft and final assessments
  • found 457 existing chemicals to be harmful to the environment and/or human health
  • implemented over 90 risk management actions for existing chemicals; and
  • received approximately 5,909 notifications for new substances prior to their introduction into the Canadian market, which were assessed and over 291 risk management actions have been taken, when necessary, to manage potential risks to Canadians and their environment

2.1.1 Monitoring

Monitoring and surveillance activities are essential to identify and track levels and trends of chemicals in the environment and human exposure to those chemicals. Monitoring activities also support Canada’s contribution to international efforts, such as the 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 and the Minimata Convention on Mercury.

A broad range of monitoring activities for chemicals was conducted to support a number of domestic programs including:

  • the Chemicals Management Plan
  • the Northern Contaminants Program
  • the Freshwater Quality Monitoring Program
  • the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
  • the Great Lakes Herring Gull Contaminants Monitoring Program
  • the St. Lawrence Action Plan

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 CMP Environmental Monitoring and Surveillance Program, many priority substances have been monitored to provide data for environmental risk assessment and risk management decision making. Priority substances monitored in 2017-2018 included: polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), organophosphate ester and non-PBDE halogenated flame retardants, phthalates, substituted diphenyl amines (SDPAs), perfluorinated compounds and other poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (including PFOS, PFOA and PFCAs), siloxanes, triclosan, bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol and its nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP/NPEs), chlorhexidine salts, hindered phenols, thiocarbamates, short chain chlorinated paraffins, and metals, such as mercury, cadmium, cobalt and selenium and a selection of priority rare earth elements.

As an example, a retrospective analysis of the concentration of polychlorinated napthalenes in gulls, fish and sediment of the lower Great Lakes revealed a consistent decrease in biota from 1980 (when its use was banned) until1995.  There was an unexpected spike in concentrations in biota in Detroit River and western Lake Erie in 1995 that persisted until 2005, after which it resumed a declining trend. This spike in biota was associated with sediment remediation activities involving dredging in the Detroit River at that time.

In 2017–2018, several research and monitoring activities and studies on wildlife and fish were completed and published in the scientific literature. These studies included temporal and pan-Canadian monitoring trends of organophosphate esters (OPEs), PFASs, PBDEs, and volatile cyclic organosiloxanes in species of gulls, European starlings, Peregrine falcons and Lake Trout.

ECCC monitors hazardous airborne chemicals through the Great Lakes Monitoring Program, the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling network (GAPS), and the atmospheric component of the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) (Figure 2). Air and precipitation monitoring in the Great Lakes Basin measures persistent organic pollutants (POPs), other priority chemicals and trace metals to determine the atmospheric loadings of these substances to the Great Lakes. GAPS uses cost-effective and simple passive air samplers designed by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientists to collect data. The atmospheric component of NCP conducts long-term monitoring of POPs and other priority chemicals in the Canadian Arctic to evaluate trends and to assess the influence of long-range atmospheric transport.

ECCC also monitors similar suites of bioaccumulative chemicals in the eggs of a wildlife sentinel species as part of the Great Lakes Herring Gull Contaminants Monitoring Program, where eggs have been collected annually for 45 years.

Figure 2. Map of hazardous air pollutant monitoring sites

Figure 2. Map of hazardous air pollutant mornitoring sites
Long description for figure 2

This map indicates sites that are monitored as part of the CMP Environmental Monitoring and Surveillance Program (mercury), the Great Lakes Monitoring Program, the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling network (GAPS), and the atmospheric component of the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP).

Regulated halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) declining in the Great Lakes Basin

Organic pollutants have been monitored in the atmosphere of the Great Lake Basin (GLB) since the 1990s in support of the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and to determine the effectiveness of source reduction measures and factors influencing air concentrations.  Research by ECCC scientists shows an overall decline of atmospheric concentrations of regulated halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) in the Canadian Great Lakes Basin, indicating that pollution controls appear to be effective.  Air samples were collected between 2005 and 2014 at three Ontario locations (Burnt Island, Egbert and Point Petre) and analyzed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and several other HFRs.  The results indicate that atmospheric PBDE concentrations in the Canadian Great Lakes Basin are slowly decreasing, although at different rates depending on location.  These patterns and the production of emerging chemicals require continued monitoring to ensure regulatory efforts are still working.

For decades, PBDEs were some of the most widely-used flame retardants in household and commercial products. Due to their bio-accumulative, persistent, toxic properties and long-range atmospheric transport potential, they are considered to be a risk to human health and wildlife and are regulated in Canada and globally by chemical control initiatives.

Health Canada (HC) continued analysis and publication of biomonitoring results from the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Research Platform. In 2017-2018, two MIREC peer-reviewed journal articles were published including biomonitoring results for dioxins/furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in human milk, and tobacco metabolites in pregnant women and infants. The MIREC Research Platform was extended to measure additional chemicals such as glyphosate, additional phthalates, bisphenol A substitutes/analogues, organophosphate (OP) flame retardants and the organic solvents N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone and N-Ethyl-2-pyrrolidone in biobanked maternal urine samples.

HC’s human biomonitoring (HBM) efforts continued in 2017–2018 with the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), measuring environmental chemical exposures in blood and urine of a nationally representative sample of Canadians aged 3 to 79. During this period, laboratory analyses of 54 environmental chemicals in blood and/or urine samples collected as part of CHMS cycle 4 (2014–2015) were completed and the results were reported in the Fourth report on human biomonitoring of environmental chemicals in Canada published in August 2017. In addition, sample collection for cycle 5 was completed in December 2017, and sample collection for cycle 6 began in January 2018. The selection and prioritization of chemicals to be included in cycles 7 and 8 (2020–2023) continued, and the development of new laboratory analytical methods was undertaken.

Also, the reference laboratories were engaged in the development of analytical methods for the measurement of selected chemicals (e.g. pesticides such as glyphosate and DEET, chemicals used as UV blockers, OP flame retardants, 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), etc.) to be measured in cycle 7. In 2017–2018, the first set of Canadian reference values (RV95) for non-persistent organic pollutants were developed and published as a peer-reviewed journal article.

During the same period, CHMS data also contributed to the proposed reevaluation decisions for the pesticides lambda-cyhalothrin and permethrin, the final screening assessment reports (FSAR) for selenium and its compounds, and cobalt & cobalt containing substances, the draft screening assessment report (DSAR) of phthalate substance grouping, and the public consultation document on uranium and copper in drinking water.

Monitoring activities continued to focus on human exposure to contaminants through indoor air and blood for the measurements of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Furthermore, a scientific paper on exposure to parabens in maternal urine and breast milk and associations with use of personal-care products was published based on the Plastics and Personal-care Product use in Pregnancy (P4) Study.

Trends in blood levels from the Canadian Health Measures Survey

Nationally representative biomonitoring data on lead collected as part of Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) Cycle 1 (2007-09) served as an important tool in determining the efficacy of regulatory interventions (e.g. successful phase-out of lead in gasoline, lead-based paints and lead-solder in food cans etc.) to reduce Canadians’ exposure to lead, as part of developing the Risk Management Strategy for Lead (2013). The analysis showed a 70% decline in lead concentrations measured in Canadians aged 6-79 years as part of the Canada Health Survey (1978-1979) to levels measured in CHMS Cycle 1 (2007-2009) (see Figure 3, adapted from the Risk Management Strategy for Lead, February 2013).

Figure 3. Decreasing blood lead levels in Canadians

Figure 3. Decreasing blood lead levels in Canadians
Long description for figure 3

Bar chart showing geometric mean blood lead levels in Canadians age 6 to 79 years from the Canada Health Survey conducted in 1978 to1979 which is 4.79 micrograms per decilitre and from the Canadian Health Measures Survey conducted in 2007-2009 which is 1.34 micrograms per decilitre. The chart also indicates that the current blood lead intervention level set in 1994 by the CEOH or Federal-Provincial Committee on Environmental and Occupation Health, is 10 micrograms per decilitre and that in 1978 to 1979, 27% of Canadians had levels which exceeded this guideline, and that in 2007 to 2009, less than 1% of Canadians had levels exceeding this guideline.

The decade of national biomonitoring under CHMS (2007-2015) has helped to establish the declining trend in the blood concentrations of lead (see Figure 4), with the average concentration for 6 to 79 years declining from 1.3 μg/dL in Cycle 1 (2007 to 2009) to 0.96 μg/dL in Cycle 4 (2014 and 2015), further highlighting the efficacy of risk management measures for lead. Average cadmium levels have also declined from 0.35 μg/L to 0.32 μg/L over the same time period. However, there has been no significant change in blood mercury levels for Canadians over this periodFootnote 1, ootnote 2.

Figure 4. Average concentrations of selected environmental chemicals in the Canadian populatio aged 6 to 79 years, Canadian Health Measures Survey, Cycle 1 (2007 to 2009) to Cycle 4 (2014 and 2015)

Figure 4. Average concentrations of selected environmental chemicals in the Canadian populatio aged 6 to 79 years, Canadian Health Measures Survey, Cycle 1 (2007 to 2009) to Cycle 4 (2014 and 2015)
  1. Concentrations are presented as a geometric mean.
  2. Lead, mercury and cadmium were measure in blood.
  3. For the purpose of total population comparisons, only values from participants aged 6 to 79 were included, as participants under the age of 6 years were not included in cycle 1 (2007 to 2009).
  4. The average blood mercury concentrations is for the 20 to 79 age group only. The concentration for the 3 to 19 age group was too often below detectable limits to be included in the calculation.

Source(s): Statistics Canada, Canadian Health Measures Survey

Both ECCC and HC contribute to the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) led by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). HC partners with CIRNAC 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 2017–2018, HC supported five HBM and health projects under the NCP. These projects addressed exposure to contaminants and links to country foods and nutritional status in multiple northern regions (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavik), the development and evaluation of health communication tools, and dissemination of research models to stakeholders.

ECCC has been a major contributor in monitoring abiotic media, aquatic biota and wildlife, as well as Arctic ecosystem health.  ECCC monitors wildlife at numerous sites across the Canadian Arctic on a biennial or annual basis under the NCP, for a large suite of legacy and new Chemicals of Emerging Arctic Concern (CEACs), as well as metals including mercury.  As a result ECCC scientists were able to co-lead and substantially contribute to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)'s 2016 report on CEACs (published on December 29, 2017).

Trends for persistent organic pollutants in the Canadian Arctic

Human biomonitoring in the Canadian Arctic Nunavik region has provided trends data for many persistent organic pollutants, including organochlorine compounds which have decreased by an average of 80% in pregnant Inuit women over the last 20+ years of monitoring (between the years of 1992 and 2013) (see Figures 5 and 6, adapted from the Canadian Arctic Contaminants Assessment Report Human Health Assessment 2017Footnote 3).

Figure 5. Geometric mean concentrations for six persistent organic pollutants in pregnant Inuit women from Nunavik over the period 1992-2013

Figure 5 : Geometric mean concentration for 6 POPs in pregnant Inuit woment, 1992-2013

Figure 6. Geometric mean concentrations for five persistent organic pollutants in pregnant Inuit women from Nunavik over the period 1992-2013 (p,p’-DDE is shown on the secondary axis)

Figure 6 : Geometric mean concentration for 5 POPs in pregnant Inuit woment, 1992-2013

Persistent Organic Pollutants in Canadian Polar bears

ECCC conducted core monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in polar bears in the Canadian Arctic with a focus on animals from Hudson Bay subpopulations. Chemical screening was carried out for a large and complex suite of 295 legacy and Chemicals of Emerging Arctic Concern (CEAC) POPs. A total of 210 POPs were detected with some frequency in all fat or liver samples.

Time trends for PBDE concentrations (in fat) showed an increase up to 2010 for western and southern Hudson Bay bears, but after 2010 levels gradually decreased until 2016. In liver samples collected from 2010 to 2017, PFOS concentrations were in the >1000 ng/g (wet weight (ww)) range for southern Hudson Bay bears, and western bears were in the <1000 ng/g ww range. As of 2017, there continues to be no obvious increasing or decreasing trends for PFOS and other PFASs.

These trends in polar bears are illustrating the effectiveness of international regulatory action via the Stockholm Convention to reduce POPs, as both PBDEs and PFOS were added to this convention in 2009.

2.1.2 Research

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 to fill data gaps in risk assessments; to develop novel methods and approaches to improve risk assessment; to evaluate the impact of toxic substances, complex environmental mixtures, 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.

During 2017-2018, research on chemicals was carried out by both departments under a number of programs, including the CMP, the NCP, the Strategic Technology Applications of Genomics in the Environment Program, Genome Canada and the Great Lakes Action Plan.

ECCC Research

Research projects were carried out by ECCC under the CMP on long-term trends, sources, atmospheric process and environmental fate, as well as continued development and evaluation of monitoring and modelling methodologies related to a number of subjects, including flame retardants, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and mercury.

  • Flame retardant research included investigating levels globally and regionally, assessing long term trends, and assessing levels in indoor dust.
  • Persistent organic pollutants research assessed atmospheric levels in the Southern Hemisphere and the Antarctic.
  • Research was conducted into emissions, atmospheric concentrations, and deposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) particularly in the Canadian Athabasca oil sands region.
  • Atmospheric concentrations and trends of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances were evaluated.
  • Mercury related research included studying and modelling how it disperses and cycles in the atmosphere, deposition of atmospheric mercury on snow and forests, and variation of mercury bioaccumulation by location.

Specific research conducted by ECCC researchers during 2017-18 included the following.

  • The metabolic fate of organophosphate ester (OPE) flame retardants and plasticizers was assessed in in vitro liver assays based on bird (herring gull), mammal (polar bears and ringed seals) and fish (Lake Trout) model species. For 6 to 10 OPEs generally rapid metabolism occurred but was dependent on the species and the type of OPE. This information is important as it explains factors that can affect the bioaccumulation of OPEs in exposed biota.
  • Assessments of the effects of 10 priority organic flame retardants (OFRs) using a high-throughput, avian, toxicogenomics assay were conducted. Results from this work indicated the need to prioritize 2 of the 10 OFRs for whole animal assessment follow-up. For example, the toxicity of TPHP was further evaluated in whole animal tests of Japanese quail.
  • A tiered approach to toxicity testing was also utilized to screen for effects of BPA replacement alternative compounds and contributes further information regarding the utility of new approach methodologies (NAMs) for chemical regulation. The use of NAMs is even more pressing currently given the international push to reduce/replace animal utilization in chemical testing. Canada is in a good position to emerge as a leader in this new era of toxicity testing. A collaborative opportunity between HC, ECCC and the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM)/Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (CaCVAM) was established in 2017-2018 to enhance the incorporation of NAMs into risk assessment.    
  • Understanding of the occurrence and fate of specific pharmaceuticals in Canadian wastewater treatment systems, the understanding of ecotoxicity of specific pharmaceuticals, and bioinformatics tools in risk assessments of substances in personal care products were also pursued.
  • Soil effects data on 4 lanthanide rare earth elements (REE): Praseodymium (Pr) and Samarium (Sm), Neodymium (Nd) and Yttrium (Y) was obtained. Specifically, effects data was derived using natural boreal forest soil and test organisms (soil invertebrates and indigenous microorganisms) representative of the Canadian boreal ecozones. Testing to date indicates the 4 REE are not significantly toxic to the test organisms.
  • Effects of substituted phenyl amines (SPAs) were assessed in several invertebrates and fish, and comparisons made to concentrations of SPAs downstream of municipal wastewater discharges.
  • The fate of nanomaterials such as cerium oxide and silver nanoparticles in natural waters and their toxicity in exposed fish were assessed. Detection of silver nanoparticles and transformation products was performed in Canadian municipal wastewater effluents as the targeted source.
  • The toxic potencies of benzotriazoles and benzothiazoles to fish cell lines were also completed and published. Acute and chronic amphibian toxicity tests were completed in 2017-2018 to determine concentrations that induced mortality (LC50) and sublethal effects (e.g., growth, developmental rate, sex differentiation) of priority list benzotriazoles, hindered phenols and an organophosphate brominated flame retardant. Exposures were conducted using a laboratory model amphibian species (Silurana tropicalis) and two Canadian native amphibian species (Lithobates sylvaticus and L. pipiens). Bioaccumulation and metabolomics profiles for L. pipiens were also assessed after chronic exposure to these compounds. In general, overt toxicity was not detected at maximum water solubility concentrations for the benzotriazole or organophosphate brominated flame retardant. However, LC50 values were obtained for some of the hindered phenols. Further, the benzotriazole was detectable in liver and whole body tissue samples of the tadpoles with some alteration in metabolomics profiles.

Under the CMP in 2017–2018, ECCC scientists published approximately 60 research papers related to these and other projects. Examples of these publications include:

Health Canada Research

HC funded 26 new CMP research projects in 2017-2018. These projects address departmental and international priorities and cover a number of subjects such as characterization of nanomaterials, toxicological response to nanomaterials, carcinogenic potential of chemicals, genetic toxicity assessment, hazard characterization and identification of biotechnology microbes (see further details in 2.2.1). Research projects addressed knowledge gaps on: 1) the effects of exposure of substances to humans and the environment, 2) identification and characterization of sources, pathways and levels of exposure, and 3) the development of tools (see further details for water in 2.4.2), testing and analytical methodologies.

Recommendations to reduce label rate applications listed on specific pesticide products (i.e., Reward Aquatic herbicide) was shared with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) for their re-evaluation assessments of this registered pesticide. Data on the effects of neonicotinoids on frogs, amphipods and grasshoppers was also shared with PMRA for their re-evaluation of specific neonicotinoids, where aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates were found to be more sensitive to the toxic effects of particular neonicotinoids than frogs during their aquatic life-stage.

2.1.3 Information gathering

Mandatory surveys (or information gathering notices) issued under section 71 of CEPA request information needed to support risk assessment or risk management activities. Three mandatory surveys were published this year. Two separate noticesFootnote 4,Footnote 5  were published on April 1, 2017 to collect information on commercial activities in Canada to inform decision-making for risk management of numerous substances. A third notice was published on September 23, 2017 to collect information on the commercial status of certain micro-organisms to inform risk management activities.

Voluntary information gathering activities were conducted on a total of 17 organic groupings, one inorganic grouping and five individual substances to inform risk assessments.  In addition, a voluntary survey was issued seeking additional information to inform the commercial status of Bisphenol A (BPA) and certain other bisphenols in Canada.

2.1.4 Risk assessment activities

New substances risk assessment

Substances that are not on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) are considered to be new to Canada and require notification to the government prior to beginning commercial activity in Canada. In 2017-2018, 392 new substance notifications were received pursuant to section 81 of CEPA and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers). Some of these notifications include substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA), and to nanomaterials and substances that have the potential to be manufactured in the nanoscale.

During 2017-2018, a total of 151 waivers of information requirements were granted and published in the Canada Gazette, for new chemical and polymer substances.

Substances in products regulated under the Food & Drug Act are subject to the new substances provisions in CEPA for examination of potential risks to the environment and indirect exposure to humans. For new substances in products regulated under the FDA, 76 notifications for chemical/polymer substances and living organisms were received in 2017-2018.

Existing substances assessment

ECCC and HC conduct risk assessments or screening assessments to determine whether existing substances meet or are capable of meeting any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA which defines toxicity under the Act. Screening assessment reports 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 public 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 2017-2018, the Minister of Health and the Minister of the Environment:

  • published 27 draft screening assessment reports covering 402 substances
  • published 16 final screening assessment reports covering 209 substances
  • concluded that, of the 611 substances assessed, 32 meet or are proposed to meet one or more of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA
  • published one Science Approach Document covering 14 substances with low human health hazard potential
Table 1: Summary of existing substance assessment decisions published from April 2017 to March 2018 (note that information on assessments of living organisms is included in section 2.2 of this report)
(NFA = no further action)
Substances (and number of substances) Meet section 64 criteria Proposed measure Publication date of draft notice* Publication date of final notice*
Phenacetin (1) No NFA April 15, 2017 Not applicable (N/A)
EDTA and its Salts Group (4) No NFA April 29, 2017 N/A
Cobalt-containing Substance Grouping (57) Yes Add to Schedule 1 December 6, 2014 May 27, 2017
Rapid screening of substances with limited general population exposure (171) No NFA June 10, 2017 N/A
74 Substances identified as being of low concern (74) No NFA June 17, 2017 N/A
Methylenediphenyl Diisocyanate and Diamine (MDI/MDA) Substance Grouping (7) Yes Add to Schedule 1 August 16, 2014 June 10, 2017
Thiols Group (4) No NFA July 22, 2017 N/A
Arenes Group (2) No NFA July 22, 2017 N/A
Sector-specific Inorganic UVCBs Group (57) No NFA July 22, 2017 N/A
Chlorhexidine and its salts (4) Yes Add to Schedule 1 August 19, 2017 N/A
Asphalt and oxidized asphalt (2) No NFA June 4, 2016 August 26, 2017
Distillate aromatic extracts (3) No NFA June 4, 2016 August 26, 2017
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sodium sulfide (Na(SH)) and sodium sulfide (Na2S) (3) No NFA September 9, 2017 N/A
Acrylates and Methacrylates Group (6) No NFA September 23, 2017 N/A
Eugenol and Isoeugenol Derivatives Group (2) No NFA September 30, 2017 N/A
Stilbenes Group (2) No NFA September 30, 2017 N/A
Phthalate Substance Grouping (16) Yes Add to Schedule 1 October 7, 2017 N/A
Chloral hydrate (1) No NFA December 17, 2016 October 7, 2017
Alkyl Sulfates and α-Olefin Sulfonate Group (4) No NFA December 10, 2016 October 21, 2017
Alkyl Aryl Phosphites Group (2) No NFA October 28, 2017 N/A
Mitotane, BAPP, Sclareol (3) Yes Add to Schedule 1 July 6, 2013 October 28, 2017
Heterocycles Group (4) No NFA November 11, 2017 N/A
Acetic Anhydride (1) No NFA January 28, 2017 November 11, 2017
2-MBS (1) No NFA February 11, 2017 November 18, 2017
Poly(bios) Group (5) No NFA November 18, 2017 N/A
Short-chain alkanes (5) No NFA January 28, 2017 November 25, 2017
Trimellitates Group (3) No NFA December 2, 2017 N/A
Aliphatic Diesters Group (1) No NFA December 2, 2017 N/A
Carboxylic Acid Anhydrides Group (3) No NFA December 9, 2017 N/A
Substituted Diphenylamine Substance Grouping (14) No NFA December 10, 2016 December 9, 2017
Selenium-containing Substance Grouping (29) Yes Add to Schedule 1 July 18, 2015 December 16, 2017
Formic Acid and Formates Substance Group (4) No NFA December 31, 2016 December 16, 2017
Approach for a Subset of Petroleum Substances Prioritized during Categorization (83) N/A N/A N/A December 30, 2017
Carboxylic Acids Group (4) No NFA December 30, 2017 N/A
Benzoates Group (9) No NFA December 30, 2017 N/A
Sulfurized lard oil (1) No NFA February 4, 2017 January 13, 2018
Thiocarbamates Group (2) Yes Add to Schedule 1 February 3, 2018 N/A
Cyanides (10) Yes Add to Schedule 1 February 10, 2018 N/A
Fatty Amides Group (3) No NFA February 24, 2018 N/A
Isophorone diisocyanate (1) No NFA March 3, 2018 N/A
Seven Hydrocarbon-based substances (7) No NFA March 10, 2018 N/A
4-Vinylcyclohexene (4-VCH) (1) No NFA February 25, 2017 March 10, 2018
Epoxy Resins Group (4) No NFA March 24, 2018 N/A

* The dates are those on which the draft and final notices were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

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 addition 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.

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.
The substances or groups of substances that the Ministers proposed to be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA in 2017-2018 are listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Proposed orders adding substances to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 from April 2017 to March 2018
Substance Draft order
Disperse Yellow 3 (1) April 1, 2017
Liquefied Petroleum Gases (2) April 1, 2017
MDIs (5) June 17, 2017
Cobalt and Soluble Cobalt Compounds June 24, 2017
Mitotane (1) November 11, 2017
Selenium and its Compounds February 17, 2018

The substances or groups of substances that were added to Schedule 1 in 2017–2018 are listed in Table 3.

Table 3: Orders adding substances to Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999 from April 2017 to March 2018
Substance Final order
Fuel Oil No. 2 (1) June 14, 2017
Natural Gas Condensates February 21, 2018

Substances in products regulated under the FDA between 1987 and 2001 that are on the administrative Revised in Commerce List (~2600), were prioritized in 2016 and substances found to be listed on the DSL were removed from the Revised in Commerce List. A subset of higher priority substances (~675) were subject of a section 71 inventory update in 2017 in order to gather information on their commercial status and quantities in use. Substances identified for further consideration are being assessed to determine whether they meet or are capable of meeting any of the criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA.

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 document 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 2017-2018, risk management scope documents were published for the following five substances:

Similar to the risk management scopes, when the final screening assessment report concludes that a substance is “toxic” under CEPA and proposed for addition to Schedule 1 of the Act, 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. Under the CMP a wide range of risk management instruments are used, including regulations, pollution prevention planning notices, environmental performance agreements, 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 2017–2018, risk management approach documents were published for the following five substances:

Final regulations

In June 2017, the final Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations were published to prohibit the manufacture, import, and sale of toiletries used to exfoliate or cleanse that contain plastic microbeads, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products.  As of January 1, 2018, the first phase of prohibitions came into effect with the prohibition of the manufacture and import of certain toiletries that contain plastic microbeads.

In October 2017, the Regulations Amending the Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations were published in Canada Gazette Part II and will control HFCs through the phase-down of consumption of bulk HFCs complemented by controls on specific products containing or designed to contain HFCs, including refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, foams and aerosols

Proposed regulations

On January 6, 2018, the proposed Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations and related amendments to the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part I. The final regulations and related amendments are expected to be published by the end of 2018 and would prohibit the manufacture of products containing asbestos as well as the import, sale, use and export of asbestos and products containing asbestos, with certain specific exemptions.   

On March 31, 2018, ECCC published proposed amendments to the Concentration of Phosphorus in Certain Cleaning Products Regulations. The amendments would align the Regulations with the requirements of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation by exempting goods in transit; clarify language of the regulatory text; and provide consistency and standardization of the laboratory accreditation provisions with other regulations under CEPA.


In July 2017, a consultation document was published to inform stakeholders and to solicit comments on key elements of the proposed regulatory approach for the development of regulations respecting formaldehyde in composite wood products.  The purpose of the proposed regulations is to reduce emissions of formaldehyde in indoor air to supplement other risk management measures in place for formaldehyde.

In September, 2017, ECCC sent stakeholders a consultation document describing proposed amendments to the Chromium Electroplating, Chromium Anodizing and Reverse Etching Regulations. The proposed Amendments will fulfill commitments made to the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) and will also clarify the regulatory text and incorporate new requirements based on comments from industry and other stakeholders, and lessons learned from administering the Chromium Regulations.

On February 1, 2018, ECCC published a consultation document outlining proposed amendments to the Products Containing Mercury Regulations for a 60-day comment period. The objective of the amendments would be to align the Regulations with the requirements of the Minamata Convention, an international treaty which Canada ratified in April 2017. Other amendments were proposed that would phase out certain products and align with recent industry standards and international regulatory initiatives.

Regulatory administration

The Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 reduce and prevent emissions of halocarbons to the environment from refrigeration, air conditioning, fire extinguishing and solvent systems that are located on aboriginal or federal lands or are owned by federal departments, boards and agencies, Crown corporations, or federal works and undertakings.  In 2017-2018, 12 permits to charge a fire-extinguishing system with a halocarbon were issued by the Minister of Environment under these Regulations.

The Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations is the main instrument that implements Canada’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol), including the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs.  These regulations control the export, import, manufacture, sale and certain uses of ozone-depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons as well as certain products containing or designed to contain them.  In 2017-2018, approximately 140 permits were issued under these Regulations.

Export Control List

The Export Control List in Schedule 3 of CEPA includes substances whose export from Canada is controlled because their use in Canada is prohibited or restricted, or because they are subject to an international agreement that requires notification or consent of the country of destination before the substance is exported from Canada, such as the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention). CEPA requires exporters to submit prior notice of export with respect to substances on the Export Control List.

  • In 2017-2018, 48 prior notices of export were submitted to the Minister of the Environment and one permit was issued by the Minister.
  • A proposed order amending the Export Control List (Schedule 3 to the act) was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on January 6, 2018, to list all forms of asbestos.
Environmental quality guidelines

Environmental quality guidelines provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment as required under section 54. They may be developed nationally through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) as Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CEQGs) or federally under section 54 of CEPA as Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs).

Table 4 lists the CEQGs that were published or being developed nationally through CCME in 2017-2018. Table 5 lists the seven FEQGs for various CMP substances that ECCC finalized in 2017-2018 and the substances for which FEQGs are under development (Table 5).

Table 4: Canadian environmental quality guidelines under development or finalized in 2017–2018
Environmental compartment Finalized Substance
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
Soil Zinca
  • perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • Guidelines for n = 100 substances
Soil Vapour  
  • Guidelines for n = 100 substances

a Published on CCME website June 12, 2018

Table 5: Federal environmental quality guidelines in 2017–2018
Environmental compartment Finalized Under development
  • Cobaltb
  • Triclosanc
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Quinoline
  • Strontium
  • Aluminum
  • D4 Siloxane
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • D4 Siloxane
Fish Tissue
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • D4 Siloxane
Wildlife Diet
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • Selenium
  • D4 Siloxane
Bird Egg
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • Selenium
Soil N/A
  • Quinoline
Groundwater N/A
  • Quinoline

b Published in Canada Gazette May 2017
c Published in Canada Gazette December 2017

Codes of Practice

The provisions within Part 3 of CEPA (Information Gathering, Objectives, Guidelines and Codes of Practice) require the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health to publish codes of practice. 

In 2017-2018, ECCC repealed the Code of Good Operating Practice for Vinyl Chloride and Polyvinyl Chloride Manufacturing Operations following the repeal of the Vinyl Chloride Release Regulations, 1992 (VCRR). With the repealing of the VCRR, the Code was no longer useful and was redundant with provincial regulation and the federal Environmental Emergency Regulations.

In 2017–2018, ECCC reviewed the voluntary annual Report on Continuous Implementation of the Code of Practice for the Management of Tetrabutyltin in Canada submitted by the one facility that is subject to the Code. The Department’s review indicated that the facility had continued to implement the procedures and practices identified in the Code of Practice that was put in place in 2011.

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. Pollution Prevention 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.

On December 13, 2017, ECCC published a consultation document outlining the key elements of a proposed Pollution Prevention (P2) Planning Notice for triclosan for a 60-day comment period. The P2 Notice would apply to manufacturers and importers of cosmetics, natural health products, drugs, and cleaning products containing triclosan. The objective would be to reduce the quantity of triclosan used in or imported into Canada by 30% from the base year and by 95% for uses beginning after the publication of the Final Notice.

On March 24, 2018, ECCC published, in the Canada Gazette, Part I, a Proposed notice requiring the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans in respect to toluene diisocyanates (TDIs). On final publication, this Notice will replace the P2 Planning Notice for the Polyurethane and other foam sector (except polystyrene) in respect of toluene diisocyanates (TDIs) published on November 26, 2011. The new Notice will streamline testing and administrative requirements while broadening the coverage to any facility that releases more than 100 kg annually.

In progress
  • In April 2017, ECCC published the 2015 progress report summarizing the performance of the P2 Planning Notice in respect of specified toxic substances released from base metals smelters and refineries and zinc plants. Results indicate that the implementation of P2 plans has reduced toxic substances releases to the environment from the base year of 2005 and most factors to consider listed in the Notice have either been met or are being achieved. The Notice is still in effect for 3 facilities which were granted a three-year extension to December 2018 to implement their P2 plans.
  • A P2 Planning Notice published in 2012 to reduce industrial releases of cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl- (siloxane D4) to the aquatic environment required the preparation and implementation of a P2 plan by June 2016, followed by an additional year of monitoring to be completed by June 2017. As of the end of the 2017-2018 administrative period, five of the facilities had declared that they had met the reduction target as a result of implementing their P2 plan, while the sixth facility had indicated that, despite significant reductions in its D4 releases after fully implementing its P2 plan, it had not managed to meet the risk management objective of the Notice.
Final reports

Overall effectiveness of P2 Notices

P2 Notices can be effective at changing behavior and achieving results to help protect the environment and human health.  ECCC developed a report summarizing the results and effectiveness of 10 completed P2 Notices.

These 10 notices required that 563 facilities prepare and implement P2 plans to reduce environmental releases of 21 toxic substances; of those that implemented P2 plans, 92% were successful in achieving the risk management objective. Many of the facilities that did not meet the objectives were still able to achieve considerable reductions. These results helped contribute to the overall reduction of pollution into the environment since 2003.

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. Results from EPA’s are posted online.

New signed agreements

In 2017-2018, 3 different environmental performance agreements were signed with 10 companies to reduce various air pollutants (see Industrial sector emission requirements under section 2.3.3).

Active agreements

In 2017–2018, under the Environmental Performance Agreement 2015–2020 Respecting the Use of Tin Stabilizers in the Vinyl Industry, a verification team consisting of the Vinyl Institute of Canada and ECCC representatives conducted reverification of four facilities to determine whether the practices and procedures identified in the Guideline for the Environmental Management of Tin Stabilizers in Canada are being implemented. The consolidated annual report was submitted to Environment and Climate Change Canada in September, 2017. The report indicates that all participating facilities have fully implemented the practices as outlined in the guideline.

Overall effectiveness of environmental performance agreements

A report summarizing the results of 13 environmental performance agreements completed since the implementation of the Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements in 2001 was prepared by ECCC.

Over 175 companies/facilities participated in these 13 environmental performance agreements to manage risks from selected pollutants, including substances deemed toxic. The analysis of the overall effectiveness of these agreements showed them to be successful instruments in managing risks. The primary objectives were fully met in 77% of agreements, partially met in 8% and not met in 15%, though they still had positive impacts and results. The commitment shown by industry to reduce risks to the environment and human health is evident in the results achieved through agreements completed to date and continues to be seen in agreements that are currently active.

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 the substance 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.

ECCC and HC continued with their review of all SNAc notices and orders in force to ensure consistency with current policies. SNAc notices and orders being reviewed include those 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
  • nanomaterials
  • new and existing substances - consumer product
  • 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.

In 2017–2018 under CEPA:

  • the Minister of the Environment issued 7 SNAc Notices for new substances (Table 6)
  • 33 SNAc Notices and Orders were rescinded (Table 7)
  • 4 SNAc Notices of Intent were issued for existing substances (Table 8)
  • 8 Notices of Ministerial Conditions for new substances (Table 9)
 Table 6: Significant New Activity Notices for new substances from April 2017 to March 2018
Substance Publication Dated
1,1'-biphenyl, bis(1-methylethyl)- (CAS RN 69009-90-1) June 24, 2017
Ethanol, 2,2',2''-nitrilotris-, compd. with α,α'-[[[4-[[4-[2-[1-(2-chloro-5-sulfophenyl)-dihydro-methyl-oxo-1H-heteromonocycle-4-yl]diazenyl]phenyl]methyl]phenyl]imino]di-2,1-ethanediyl]bis[ω-hydroxypoly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl)] (1:1) (Confidential Accession No. [CAN] 19208-6) December 2, 2017
Quaternary ammonium compounds, benzylalkyldimethyl, salts with bentonite (CAN 19227-5) December 30, 2017
Quaternary ammonium compounds, dialkyldimethyl, salts with bentonite (CAN 19215-3) December 30, 2017
Quaternary ammonium compounds, bis(derivative oil alkyl)dimethyl, salts with smectite group minerals (CAN 19216-4) December 30, 2017
Quaternary ammonium compounds, benzylalkyldimethyl, salts with smectite group minerals (CAN 19217-5) December 30, 2017
Quaternary ammonium compounds, dialkyldimethyl, salts with smectite group minerals (CAN 19218-6) December 30, 2017

d The dates are those on which the final notices or orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

Table 7: Significant new activity notices and orders rescinded between April 2017 and March 2018
Substance Publication datee
Acetamide, N-[2-[(2-bromo-6-cyano-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-5-(diethylamino)phenyl]- (CAS RN 2537-62-4) July 12, 2017
Carbamic acid, [4-[[4-[(4-hydroxyphenyl)azo]-2-methylphenyl]azo]phenyl]-, methyl ester (CAS RN 6465-02-7) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[4-[(4-nitrophenyl)azo]phenyl][2-[[(phenylamino)carbonyl]oxy]ethyl]amino]- (CAS RN 15958-27-7) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[4-[(5-nitro-2-thiazolyl)azo](2-phenylethyl)amino]- (CAS RN 19745-44-9) July 12, 2017
Benzonitrile, 2-[[4-[(2-cyanoethyl)(2-phenylethyl)amino]phenyl]azo]-5-nitro- (CAS RN 24610-00-2) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[4-[(6,7-dichloro-2-benzothiazolyl)azo]phenyl]ethylamino]- (CAS RN 25150-28-1) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[4-[(4,6-dibromo-2-benzothiazolyl)azo]phenyl]ethylamino]- (CAS RN 28824-41-1) July 12, 2017
Benzenamine, 4-[(2-chloro-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-N-ethyl-N-(2-phenoxyethyl)- (CAS RN 31030-27-0) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[2-(acetyloxy)ethyl][4-[(5,6-dichloro-2-benzothiazolyl)azo]phenyl]amino]- (CAS RN 33979-43-0) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[4-[(5,6-dichloro-2-benzothiazolyl)azo]phenyl]methylamino]- (CAS RN 41362-82-7) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[2-[(2-bromo-4,6-dinitrophenyl)azo]-4-methoxy-5-[(phenylmethyl)-2-propenylamino]phenyl]- (CAS RN 42852-92-6) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[2-[(2-cyano-6-iodo-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-5-(diethylamino)phenyl]- (CAS RN 55252-53-4) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[2-[(2,6-dicyano-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-5-(dipropylamino)phenyl]- (CAS RN 56532-53-7) July 12, 2017
3-Pyridinecarbonitrile, 5-[(2-cyano-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-2-[(2-hydroxyethyl)amino]-4-methyl-6-[[3-(2-phenoxyethoxy)propyl]amino]- (CAS RN 61799-13-1) July 12, 2017
1(2H)-Quinolineethanol, 6-[(2-chloro-4,6-dinitrophenyl)azo]-3,4-dihydro-2,2,4,7-tetramethyl- (CAS RN 63133-84-6) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[5-(dipropylamino)-2-[[5-(ethylthio)-1,3,4-thiadiazol-2-yl]azo]phenyl]- (CAS RN 63134-15-6) July 12, 2017
3-Pyridinecarbonitrile, 5-[(2-cyano-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-6-[(2-hydroxyethyl)amino]-4-methyl-2-[[3-(2-phenoxyethoxy)propyl]amino]- (CAS RN 63833-78-3) July 12, 2017
Carbamic acid, [2-[(2-chloro-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-5-(diethylamino)phenyl]-, 2-ethoxyethyl ester (CAS RN 68214-66-4) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[2-(acetyloxy)ethyl][4-[(2-chloro-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-3-methylphenyl]amino]- (CAS RN 68516-64-3) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[2-[(2-bromo-4,6-dinitrophenyl)azo]-5-[(2-cyanoethyl)-2-propenylamino]-4-methoxyphenyl]- (CAS RN 68877-63-4) July 12, 2017
1-Naphthalenamine, 4-[(2-bromo-4,6-dinitrophenyl)azo]-N-(3-methoxypropyl)- (CAS RN 70660-55-8) July 12, 2017
Benzonitrile, 2-[[4-[[2-(acetyloxy)ethyl]butylamino]-2-methylphenyl]azo]-3-bromo-5-nitro- (CAS RN 72828-63-8) July 12, 2017
1,3-Benzenedicarbonitrile, 2-[[4-[[2-(acetyloxy)ethyl]butylamino]-2-methylphenyl]azo]-5-nitro- (CAS RN 72828-64-9) July 12, 2017
2,4,10-Trioxa-7-azaundecan-11-oic acid, 7-[4-[(2,6-dichloro-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-3-methylphenyl]-3-oxo-, methyl ester (CAS RN 73003-64-2) July 12, 2017
3-Pyridinecarbonitrile, 5-[(9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-1-anthracenyl)azo]-2,6-bis[(2-methoxyethyl)amino]-4-methyl- (CAS RN 73398-96-6) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[4-chloro-2-[2-(2-chloro-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-5-[(2-hydroxy-3-phenoxypropyl)amino]phenyl]- (CAS RN 79542-46-4) July 12, 2017
Acetamide, N-[2-[(2-bromo-6-cyano-4-nitrophenyl)azo]-5-(dipropylamino)phenyl]- (CAS RN 83249-47-2) July 12, 2017
Benzonitrile, 3-bromo-2-[[4-(diethylamino)-2-methylphenyl]azo]-5-methyl- (CAS RN 83249-49-4) July 12, 2017
Methanesulfonamide, N-[2-[(2-bromo-6-cyano-4-methylphenyl)azo]-5-(diethylamino)phenyl]- (CAS RN 83249-53-0) July 12, 2017
Methanesulfonamide, N-[2-[(2-bromo-6-cyano-4-methylphenyl)azo]-5-(dipropylamino)phenyl]- (CAS RN 83249-54-1) July 12, 2017
3-Pyridinecarbonitrile, 1-butyl-5-[[4-(4-chlorobenzoyl)-2-nitrophenyl]azo]-1,2-dihydro-6-hydroxy-4-methyl-2-oxo- (CAS RN 90729-40-1) July 12, 2017
Propanenitrile, 3-[[2-(acetyloxy)ethyl][4-[(6,7-dichloro-2-benzothiazolyl)azo]phenyl]amino]- (CAS RN 127126-02-7) July 12, 2017
Ethanol, 2-[[4-[(2,6-dichloro-4-nitrophenyl)azo]phenyl]methylamino]- (6232-56-0) July 12, 2017

e The dates are those on which the final notices or orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I or Part II.

Table 8: Significant new activity notices of intent for existing substances from April 2017 to March 2018
Substance Publication date
Benzenamine, 4,4'-methylenebis- (CAS RN 101-77-9) June 10, 2017
Formaldehyde, polymer with benzenamine (CAS RN 25214-70-4) June 10, 2017
Ethanol, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)- (CAS RN 111-77-3) November 25, 2017
Benzenamine, 4,4’-[(1-methylethylidene)bis(4,1-phenyleneoxy)]bis- (CAS RN 13080-86-9) October 28, 2017
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:

  1. permit the manufacture or import of the substance subject to specified conditions; or
  2. prohibit the manufacture or import of the substance; or
  3. 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.
Table 9: Notices of Ministerial Conditions for new substances from April 2017 to March 2018
Substance Publication datef
Bentonite, lanthanian, (CAS RN 302346-65-2) November 4, 2017
Iron(1+), chloro[dimethyl 9,9-dihydroxy-3-methyl-2,4-di(2-pyridinyl-kN)-7-[(2-pyridinyl-kN)methyl]-3,7-diazabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane-1,5-dicarboxylate-kN3,kN7]-, chloride (1:1) (CAS RN 478945-46-9) September 30, 2017
Fatty acids, tall-oil, reaction products with bisphenol A, epichlorohydrin, glycidyl tolyl ether and triethylenetetramine (CAS RN 186321-96-0) October 21, 2017
Iron(1+), chloro[dimethyl 9,9-dihydroxy-3-methyl-2,4-di(2-pyridinyl-kN)-7-[(2-pyridinyl-kN)methyl]-3,7-diazabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane-1,5-dicarboxylate-kN3,kN7]-, chloride (1:1) ( CAS RN 478945-46-9) September 2, 2017
Benzene, 1,1'-(1,2-ethanediyl)bis[2,3,4,5,6-pentabromo- (CAS RN 84852-53-9 ) October 14, 2017
Bisphenol dicyanate (CAN 10841-5) July 29, 2017
Benzene, 1,1'-(1,2-ethanediyl)bis[2,3,4,5,6-pentabromo- (CAS RN 84852-53-9) April 28, 2018
Benzoic acid, 2-benzoyl-, methyl ester (CAS RN 606-28-0) June 17, 2017

f 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 the CEPA 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.

2.2.1 Research

Government research on living organisms focuses on developing novel and contemporary methods for determining the hazardous characteristics and the pathogenicity potential of various existing and emerging biotechnology microbes in order to support regulatory risk assessments. The research is jointly coordinated between regulators at HC and ECCC and has resulted in seven screening assessment reports.

In addition, research in 2017-2018 continued on a number of subjects, including: investigating differences in virulence between opportunistic pathogens and closely related microbes considered for biotechnology; development of animal models to distinguish opportunistic pathogens from those that can be used safely for biotechnology; studying how microbial mixtures affect pathogenicity; advancing cell-based immunology/toxicology methods to reduce animal usage; and developing methods for the analysis of microbial whole genome data towards hazard characterization, as well as home dust microbiome analysis towards Canadian exposure assessments of biotechnology microbes. Current successful methods for assessing viability of micro-organisms have been developed, including whole-transcriptome sequencing (i.e. looking at the ribonucleic acid (RNA)) and adding a chemical to an active microbial community where the chemical selectively distinguishes deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from live and dead cells.

2.2.2 Risk assessment activities

Risk assessment of new animate products of biotechnology

During 2017–2018, 27 notifications of new animate products of biotechnology were received and of those, 21 were assessed as new animate products under the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms). All notifications that were accepted as new animate products were assessed within the statutory assessment period.

Also during 2017–2018:

  • 17 pre-notification consultations were held to help companies better understand the notification requirements for their specific organism before submitting a notification, and
  • 28 waivers of information requirements for new living organisms were granted and published in the Canada Gazette
Risk assessment of existing animate products of biotechnology

ECCC and HC jointly perform the screening assessment of micro-organisms listed on the DSL. In 2017–2018, a draft screening assessment for one micro-organism was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 60-day public comment period. Final screening assessments for 8 micro-organisms were also published in the Canada Gazette, Part I (see Table 10). None of these organisms met the criteria in section 64 of the act, therefore no further action was proposed.

Table 10: Summary of existing living organisms assessment decisions published from April 2017 to March 2018
Assessment Publication date draftg Publication date finalg
Arthrobacter globiformis strain ATCC 8010   February 24, 2018
Cellulomonas biazotea strain ATCC 486   February 24, 2018
Bacillus megaterium strain ATCC 14581   February 24, 2018
Trichoderma reesei strain ATCC 74252   February 24, 2018
Bacillus circulans strain ATCC 9500   February 24, 2018
Chaetomium globosum strain ATCC 6205   February 24, 2018
Micrococcus luteus strain ATCC 4698   February 24, 2018
Bacillus thuringiensis strain ATCC 13367 April 29, 2017 March 3, 2018
Enterobacter aerogenes strain ATCC 13048   March 24, 2018

g The dates are those on which the notices were published in the Canada Gazette.

2.2.3 Risk management activities

Significant new activity requirements

While, no SNAc Notices of Intent were issued for new living organisms, in February 2018, a Notice of Intent applying the SNAc provisions to one existing living organism was published (Table 11).

Table 11: Significant new activity notices of intent and orders for existing living organisms from April 2017 to March 2018
Assessment Number of strains Notice of intenth Final orderh
Trichoderma reesei strain ATCC 74252 1 February 24, 2018 To be determined

h The date is that on which the notices of intent and final orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I or Part II, respectively.

2.3 Air pollutants and greenhouse gases

Outdoor air pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHGs) originate from numerous domestic sources, such as industry and transportation, as well as transboundary transport of air pollution from other countries.

2.3.1 Monitoring

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.  The data is used for validation of numerical air quality prediction models, for evaluating the benefits and effectiveness of control measures, as well as for assessments of the impact of air pollution on Canadians and the environment.

ECCC monitors ambient air quality 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 7). NAPS is managed by ECCC via a cooperative agreement with the provinces, territories and two municipalities in order to provide long-term air quality data from populated regions of Canada. CAPMoN provides information on regional patterns and trends of atmospheric pollutants in both air and precipitation at rural and remote sites.

Additional air pollutant monitoring carried out by ECCC includes AEROCAN, a member of NASA’s global AERONET satellite network, which takes optical readings of solar radiation in order to measure atmospheric aerosols. The Canadian Brewer Spectrophotometer Network measures total column ozone and spectral UV radiation, providing long-term stratospheric ozone data. The Canadian Ozonesonde Network measures vertical column ozone from ground level up to 36 km altitude by launching weekly ozonesondes affixed to balloons, providing long-term ozone data.

During 2017–2018, research was carried out by ECCC under the Climate Change, Air Pollution and Oil Sands Monitoring programs.

Figure 7. Map of air pollutant monitoring sites

Figure 7: Map of air pollutant monitoring sites
Long description for figure 7

This map indicates the sites that are monitored for ambient air quality across the country through several networks: NAPS- National Air Pollutant Surveillance, CAPMoN - Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN), Aerocan - part of NASA’s global AERONET satellite network, Brewer- Canadian Brewer Spectrophotometer Network, and Ozonesonde- Canadian Ozonesonde Network.

* Some NAPS sites may not be visible in places where they are close together.

The Canadian Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Program includes observations of carbon dioxide and other GHGs from 16 long-term measurement sites across Canada (Figure 8). Among the sites is the Alert Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory. Alert serves as one of three global GHG inter-comparison sites to ensure consistent measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas concentrations across the world.

Figure 8. Canadian Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program monitoring sites

Figure 8. Canadian Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program monitoring sites
Long  description for figure 8

Canada's GHG monitoring is part of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Program. ECCC'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.

Measurements of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 at Alert, Nunavut

Measurements of atmospheric CO2 began in March 1975 at Alert, Nunavut (Figure 9). 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 values at Alert in 2017 was 407.7 parts per million (ppm). The annual average CO2 values at Alert in 2015 and 2016 were 402.1 ppm and 404.3 ppm; 2015 was 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.

In addition to CO2, ECCC also conducts measurements of atmospheric methane (CH4), which began in August 1985 at Alert, Nunavut (Figure 10). The annual average CH4 value at Alert in 2017 was 1934.2 parts per billion (ppb). The rate of annual increase in CH4 concentrations steadily declined since the late 1980s and hovered around zero from 1999 to 2006, reflecting a near global balance between emissions and removal by atmospheric chemical processes. However, since 2007, CH4 has increased every year on average by 6 ppb per year.

Figure 9. Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Alert, Nunavut

Figure 9. Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Alert, Nunavut
Long description for figure 9

This graph shows the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) measured in Alert, Nunavut, by year, starting in March, 1975.

Figure 10. Atmospheric methane measured at Alert, Nunavut

Figure 10. Atmospheric methane measured at Alert, Nunavut
Long description for figure 10

This graph shows the level of atmospheric methane (CH4) measured in Alert, Nunavut, by year, starting in August, 1985.

ECCC makes its atmospheric monitoring data available to the public through national and international databases, including 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.

Quantifying carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from individual power plants from space

Burning coal for electricity generation accounts for more than 40% of anthropogenic global CO2 emissions. Improved methods of quantifying emissions are needed at all spatial scales from the national level down to the level of individual power plants.

A study led by ECCC provided the first detection and quantification of CO2 emissions from individual facilities using space‐based observations, and has yielded daily emission estimates for coal power plants with reasonable accuracy and precision. While NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) satellite was not designed for monitoring power plant emissions, this study showed that in select cases, CO2 observations from OCO-2 can be used to quantify daily CO2 emissions from individual mid- to large-sized coal power plants by fitting the data to a simple plume model. When using this methodology, the emission estimates for United States power plants were within 17% of the actual reported daily emission values.

These results have implications for broader monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions. A constellation of future CO2 imaging satellites, with a design optimized for point sources, could be used to monitor CO2 emissions from individual fossil fuel burning power plants, thus providing another source of relevant information to guide strategic action.

2.3.2 Research

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.  The research also tackles emerging issues and underpins and informs evidence-based policy decision-making, to help ensure policymakers focus their efforts appropriately.

Ongoing research by ECCC continued on a wide range of topics related to air pollution, GHGs, and short lived climate pollutants. This included reported research results on topics such as ammonia, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), acidic emissions and deposition, tropospheric and stratospheric ozone, particulate matter and aerosols, and air pollutants in the transportation sector. It also included improving understanding of GHG sources and sinks; utilizing surface and satellite GHG observations; characterization and measurement of atmospheric aerosols, including black carbon; and measuring the impact of ship emissions in the Arctic environment. ECCC scientists published approximately 80 research papers related to air pollutants and GHGs in peer-reviewed scientific journals in 2017-18.

Research on nitrogen compounds (ammonia and nitrogen oxides) included measurement of dry deposition from satellite observations, and evaluation of sources of ammonia including in the Canadian oil sands. Sulphur dioxide research focused on satellite measurements, including changes in ground level SO2 over North America and evaluating the consistency of satellite and surface measurements with reported emissions.

Volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds research included improvements to the methodology of monitoring using passive samplers, and a study of the contribution to VOC emissions from natural chemical activity at the surface of the Arctic seas.

Studies were completed of emissions and secondary formation in the atmosphere of gaseous organic acid in the Athabasca oil sands region.  Another study assessed long-term trends in acidic air concentrations and wet deposition at rural sites across Canada.

Transport sector air pollution research included characterization of the impacts of fuel composition and altitude on emissions from a turbojet engine, and the effects of biodiesel fuels on particulate matter emissions from light duty diesel engines.

ECCC scientists also contributed to a number of studies of the health effects of exposure to air pollution.  Two studies with Statistics Canada looked at the health effects (e.g. skin cancer) of exposure to ambient ultraviolet radiation.

In 2017–2018, HC continued to conduct research on human exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollutants and their health impacts in order to guide actions to address air pollution by governments, industries, other organizations and individuals. HC scientists published approximately 47 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals and contributed to many other publications. These addressed issues such as the emissions of air pollutants from transportation and industrial sectors and their impact on ambient air quality and on respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, pregnancy outcomes, and dementia. Others studies investigated determinants of air pollution exposure in various environments and provided information of use to local air quality management and population health studies.

More than 25 HC research projects on air quality were ongoing in 2017-18 and will generate information that can be used to support regulatory decisions. They include new approaches to measuring the concentration-response functions, and the influence of extreme temperatures on air pollution and on population health outcomes.

In November 2017 Health Canada published:

Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Canada: An estimate of premature mortalities; which estimated that 14,400 deaths per year in Canada were attributable to air pollution from human activity.  This estimate was calculated using the Air Quality Benefits Assessment Tool developed and maintained by HC.

Human Health Risk Assessment for Gasoline Exhaust: A comprehensive review and analysis of the potential adverse health effects associated with gasoline fuel use in Canada. Among the conclusions of the report was an estimated total societal cost of $7.3 billion for calendar year 2015 associated with on-road and off-road gasoline emissions. 

2.3.3 Risk management activities

Different instruments are available under the authorities provided by CEPA to limit and reduce emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from vehicles, engines and fuels, consumer and commercial products, and industrial sectors, as well as for establishing national ambient air quality objectives to drive air quality improvements. However, cooperation among governments in Canada has been key in managing air pollution.

The Air Quality Management System (AQMS), agreed by federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers in 2012, provides a comprehensive approach to reducing pollution and improve the health of Canadians and the environment. The AQMS includes: 1) Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS); 2) local air zones and regional airsheds; 3) industrial emission requirements for major industries; 4) an intergovernmental working group for enhanced collaboration and the reduction of emissions from mobile sources, and; 5) reporting to Canadians on the state of the air.

CAAQS are environment and health standards for specific air pollutants that provide the drivers for air quality management actions across the country.  ECCC leads the process under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to develop, review and amend CAAQS. In November 2017, federal, provincial and territorial ministers of environment announced new CAAQS for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).

CEPA provides authorities to establish CAAQS as environmental quality objectives to be met across the country and to develop and administer regulatory and non-regulatory instruments to reduce the releases of air pollutants and GHGs.

During 2017-18 work to review the CAAQS for ozone (O3) was completed.

Industrial sector emission requirements

Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations

In 2016, the Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations (MSAPR) came into force. The MSAPR establish nationally consistent industrial emissions requirements and limits nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from large industrial boilers and heaters as well as from stationary spark-ignition engines, used in several industrial sectors, that burn gaseous fuels (such as natural gas). The MSAPR also limit NOx and SO2 emissions from kilns at cement manufacturing facilities. The MSAPR will contribute significantly to reducing emissions that contribute to smog and acid rain, including 2,000 kilotonnes of NOx emission reductions in the first 19 years.

As part of the MSAPR requirements, classification reports for boilers and heaters, initial registration, as well as the first annual compliance reports for modern engines were due to ECCC in 2017.

Also as part of the MSAPR requirements, all regulated cement facilities were to install, before January 1, 2018, continuous emission monitoring equipment (CEMS) on their equipment and record NOx and SO2 emissions for annual reporting to ECCC by June of the following year.


In November 2017, final Guidelines for reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from natural gas-fueled stationary combustion turbines were published.

Environmental performance ageements

On November 13, 2017, ECCC, the Aluminium Association of Canada and the three aluminium companies operating in Canada signed the Performance Agreement Concerning Air Pollutants from the Aluminium and Alumina Sector to implement the industrial emissions requirements developed for this sector. The agreement is in effect until December 31, 2025.

On January 5, 2018, ECCC, the Iron Ore Company of Canada, and ArcelorMittal Mining Canada G.P. signed the Performance Agreement Concerning Air Pollutants from the Iron Ore Pellet Sector to implement the industrial emissions requirements developed for this sector. The agreement is in effect until June 1, 2026.

On January 5, 2018, ECCC and five companies signed company specific Performance Agreements Concerning Air Pollutants to implement the industrial emissions requirements developed for the Base Metals Smelting sector. These agreements are in effect until December 31, 2025.

Code of practice

On September 9, 2017, ECCC published, in the Canada Gazette, Part I, the Code of Practice for the Management of PM2.5 Emissions in the Potash Sector in Canada. This code of practice describes operational activities and associated environmental concerns relating to emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from facilities in the potash sector in Canada. The recommended practices in the code include the development and implementation of best practices to control and minimize emissions of PM2.5. These recommended practices can be used by the potash industry, regulatory agencies, and the general public as sources of technical and policy guidance.

Pollution prevention planning notice

On May 6, 2017, ECCC published, in the Canada Gazette Part 1, a Pollution Prevention Planning Notice Requiring the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans in respect of specified toxic substances released from the iron, steel and ilmenite sector. The objectives of this pollution prevention planning notice are to achieve and maintain the industrial emissions requirements developed through the Air Quality Management Systems air emission targets for NOx and SO2 and to implement best practices to reduce fugitive VOC emissions.

Oil and gas sector emission requirements

Methane is a potent GHG, with a global warming potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. The federal government has committed to reduce methane emissions by 40-45 percent by 2025. In 2017-2018, ECCC consulted extensively with provinces, territories, industry, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and Indigenous peoples to develop robust and cost-effective regulations.

In May 2017, the proposed Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector) were published in Canada Gazette Part I and would introduce control measures (facility and equipment level standards) to reduce fugitive and venting emissions of hydrocarbons, including methane, from the oil and gas sector.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds are primary precursors to the formation of ground-level ozone and particulate matter, which are the main constituents of smog. Smog is known to have adverse effects on human health and the environment. In addition, some VOCs such as 1.3-butadiene, benzene and isoprene are known to be carcinogenic.

On May 27, 2017, ECCC and HC published the proposed Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds (Petroleum Sector) in Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 60-day comment period. The proposed regulations address releases of VOCs, including petroleum and refinery gases, from petroleum refineries, upgraders and certain petrochemical facilities. Key elements of the proposed regulations included a leak detection and repair program, preventive equipment requirements and fenceline monitoring.

Electricity sector emissions requirements

In November 2017, ECCC’s proposed regulatory initiative to develop air emission standards for new stationary diesel (compression-ignition) engines was included in ECCC’s 2018-2020 Forward Regulatory Plan. These regulations are being developed under CEPA as part of the pan-Canadian efforts to reduce reliance on diesel and the department’s efforts to address short-lived climate pollutants and air pollutants.

On February 17, 2018, ECCC published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, proposed amendments to the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations. The proposed amendments would require all coal-fired electricity generating units to comply with a carbon dioxide emissions performance standard at the end of their useful life as specified by the existing coal-fired electricity regulations, or by the end of 2029, whichever comes first. The purpose of the amendments is to accelerate the phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity.

To support the transition away from coal towards cleaner sources of generation, the Government published the proposed Regulations Limiting Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Natural Gas-fired Generation of Electricity, on February 17, 2018. The proposed regulations for natural gas-fired electricity have been designed to ensure that new natural gas-fired electricity generation uses efficient technology, while providing flexibility for new units to meet electricity system demand and incorporate variable renewables, like wind and solar.

For coal units that convert to run on natural gas, the proposed regulations would encourage companies to convert their coal units to natural gas ahead of their end-of-life under the amended coal regulations, while also providing assurance that higher emitting coal-to-gas converted units will be phased out more rapidly than better performers.

Transportation sector emission requirements

ECCC implements six vehicle and engine regulations and nine fuel regulations under CEPA.

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, related fuel quality regulations and their coordinated implementation.

Greenhouse gas emissions regulations

In 2017-2018, ECCC conducted extensive consultations with stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission, the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission and the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission regulations and worked toward finalizing the amendments in spring 2018.

Air pollutant emission regulations

On October 4, 2017, ECCC published final amendments to the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations, in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The regulations will decrease exhaust and evaporative emissions of air pollutants from off-road engines using a spark plug, or other sparking device, and producing no more than 19 kW of power. The more stringent standards for air pollutant emissions apply to 2019 and later model year small spark-ignition engines.

Regulatory administration of the transportation regulations

ECCC administers a compliance program under the transportation and fuels 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, the quantity of products or fuel quality parameters. During 2017-2018, the department received over 250 regulatory reports for vehicles and engines and over 630 reports for fuels.

In 2017-2018, ECCC processed about 482 Canada-uniqueFootnote 6 submissions and almost 1400 importation declarations for vehicles and engines. Additionally, the department processed 59 notices of defect and recall notifications covering over 180,000 vehicles and engines. Of those, ECCC influenced 16 notices of defect covering over 90,000 vehicles and engines. ECCC also began posting basic information summarizing notices of defect and other company notifications submitted to the department on the Government of Canada’s Open Data portal.

Additionally, during this period, an update to the Department’s Vehicle and Engine Emissions Reporting Registry (VEERR), an electronic online system designed for automobile manufacturers to submit their annual compliance report, was completed.  The department hosted three webinars with automobile companies to provide guidance related to the system updates.

The regulatory administration of the transportation regulations is supported by ECCC laboratory emissions testing on vehicles, and engines and fuel quality testing in order to verify compliance with the regulations. Occasionally, private laboratories will be used by ECCC to conduct testing. In 2017-2018, the department conducted testing on 86 vehicles and engines. During 2017-2018, ECCC responded to almost 1500 inquiries regarding the vehicles and engines regulations and almost 230 regarding the fuels regulations.

In 2017-2018, ECCC continued to expand its capacity to verify compliance with the transportation sector’s emission regulations, including identifying devices to defeat the emission regulations. The expanded program increases opportunities to identify non-compliant regulatees and take enforcement action where required.

During 2017-2018, the department also published fleet average NOx performance reports for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model year light-duty vehicle fleets and the 2011 to 2015 model year light-duty vehicle GHG performance reports. Those reportsFootnote 7, compiled from the annual compliance reports submitted by automobile companies, document the overall fleet performance for each of the specified model years.

More information on ECCC’s vehicle, engine and fuel regulations is available online.

Fuels regulations

In March 2018, ECCC published proposed Regulations Amending the Contaminated Fuel Regulations. The proposed amendments would ensure consistency with Canada’s international obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation by exempting contaminated fuel from prohibition when it is in transit through Canada, where there is written evidence establishing that the fuel is in transit.

Starting January 1, 2017, the sulphur limits under the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations were adjusted downwards according to schedule. For those companies that have elected to apply a pool average, the limit decreased from 30 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg, and for those companies that do not apply a pool average, the limit decreased from 40 mg/kg to 14 mg/kg. The sulphur compliance unit trading system also came into effect for the duration of the 2017 to 2019 compliance periods.

In December 2017, ECCC published proposed Regulations Amending the Regulations Prescribing Circumstances for Granting Waivers Pursuant to Section 147 of the Act. The proposed amendments would simply make administrative changes, and would have no impact on stakeholders.

Clean fuel standard

In support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, the government is developing a Clean Fuel Standard that will reduce the carbon intensity of the liquid, gaseous and solid fuels used in transportation, industry, homes and buildings. The overall objective is to achieve 30 megatonnes of annual reductions in GHG emissions by 2030 and incentivize the use of lower carbon fuels, and alternative energy sources and technologies.

In 2017, consultations were held following the release of a discussion paper that led to the publication of a regulatory framework in December, 2017. Regulatory design consultations were launched in January 2018 with the formation of a Multi-Stakeholder Consultative Committee and a Technical Working Group. ECCC also held bilateral meetings with Indigenous peoples on the development of the Clean Fuel Standard.

Consumer and commercial products

ECCC has been targeting the reduction of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from consumer and commercial products. VOCs are a contributing factor in the creation of air pollution. Control measures have been developed that set VOC content limits in some products, which in turn reduce their emissions. The ECCC VOC in Products laboratory conducts testing in order to verify compliance with the regulations. In 2017–2018, the Department completed testing on 123 products including architectural coatings and automotive refinishing products.

In 2017-2018, ECCC furthered the development of the proposed Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Concentration Limits for Certain Products Regulations. The proposed Regulations would establish VOC concentration limits for 130 product categories including personal care, automotive and houselhold maintenance products; adhesives, adhesives removers, sealants and caulks; and other miscellaneous products.

Indoor air quality

In addition to the penetration indoors of outdoor pollutants, indoor air can be contaminated by emissions from building materials, products, and activities inside the home, and by the infiltration of naturally occurring radon from the soil under the building.

The Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines summarize the health risks posed by specific indoor pollutants, based on a review of the best scientific information available at the time of the assessment.

On July 22, 2017, the Minister of Health published a Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline for acetaldehyde in the Canada Gazette, Part I. HC also published a report on Indoor Air Reference Levels for Chronic Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds and supported the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in developing a Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Response Framework in Long-term Care Facilities.

In March, 2018 HC published a guidance document entitled Ventilation and the Indoor Environment to assist Canadians in applying strategies to maintain indoor air quality.

2.4 Water quality

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 by the release of human wastes, animal wastes and chemical substances into the environment.

Water quality is a shared responsibility with provinces and territories. In addition to CEPA, the federal government addresses water quality under other statutes, such as the Fisheries Act. Work on water quality under CEPA includes monitoring, scientific research, and leadership on the development of guidelines for water quality.

2.4.1 Monitoring

ECCC’s Fresh Water Quality Monitoring program continues to implement a risk-based adaptive management framework in conjunction with statistical power analyses to better target monitoring activities to 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 report on changes in environmental condition.

In 2017–2018, ECCC scientists continued to participate in the development of management options for remediation of contaminated sediments in Great Lakes Areas of Concern, including Hamilton Harbour and the St. Clair River. The remediation project for Hamilton Harbour has now proceeded to implementation.

In addition to data collection and reporting on a wide range of environmental issues, monitoring efforts in 2017–2018 included continued upgrades to monitoring technologies and improved data reporting and database infrastructure.

2.4.2 Research

Both ECCC and HC continued their water quality research activities.

ECCC’s research related to water quality included:

  • method development for analytes in wastewater treatment plant influent and effluent
  • assessing the environmental fate of substituted phenylamine antioxidants (SPAs)
  • 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
  • studying multiple biological impacts of municipal effluents on wild fish in the St. Lawrence River
  • studying the toxicity of pesticides to non-target freshwater species
  • investigating the occurrence, distribution and fate of musk compounds and the emerging anti-cancer cytostatic substances in wastewater treatment plant influent, effluent and biosolids; and
  • assessing bioaccumulation and toxicity of dysprosium and palladium under varying water quality parameters

In 2017–2018, two peer-reviewed journal articles were published on the potential contamination of drinking water by chlorine, the most common disinfectant, and on the occurrence of an emerging class of disinfection by-products in Canadian water supplies. HC has also initiated a new research project aiming to optimize the design of parameters for cost-effective future national drinking water surveys. HC generated water data that were used for the development of many screening assessment reports.

2.4.3 Risk management activities

HC works in collaboration with the provinces and territories to establish priorities used to develop the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and their technical documents. Health-based guidelines are developed for drinking water contaminants that are found or expected to be found in drinking water supplies across Canada at levels that could lead to adverse health effects. 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.

HC has been modernizing its drinking water program, in order to increase openness and transparency and further engage stakeholders, including the Canadian public. New or updated Guidelines are now being published in the Canada Gazette Part I, while the technical document continues to be published on Health Canada’s website. Priorities for guideline development are established every four years, using exposure information from federal, provincial and territorial sources and up-to-date science, as well as taking into consideration jurisdictional needs. As part of the drinking water program’s modernization efforts, the process for prioritizing the development and review of guidelines was updated in 2017. The results of the prioritization process will form the basis for the five-year workplan for the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (CDW). A summary of the process is available online.

To keep abreast of new scientific studies and reviews that could help inform the development of the guidelines, HC continually reviews updates to standards and guidelines respecting the quality of drinking water from leading international agencies, including:

  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Australia National Health and Medical Research Council (ANHMRC); and
  • European Union (EU)

It was determined that for 2017-2018, there were no updates that should be considered for the development of a new guideline or an update to an existing one.

In addition to reviewing foreign agencies’ guidelines and standards related to drinking water quality for the purposes of priority setting, Guidelines being developed or updated are also subject to an international comparison. As part of its ongoing guideline review process, Health Canada continues to monitor new research and recommend any change to the guidelines that is deemed necessary. Table 12 lists the guidelines that were completed or in progress in 2017–2018, each of which contains international considerations.

Table 12: Guideline documents for Canadian drinking water quality from April 2017 to March 2018
Finalized Underwent public consultation In progress
  • Enteric protozoa
  • PFOS
  • PFOA
  • Uranium
  • Enteric viruses
  • QMRA
  • Copper
  • Strontium
  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • Total coliforms
  • Natural organic matter
  • Barium

2.5 Waste

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 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.

2.5.1 Monitoring

Disposal at sea site monitoring program

As required by CEPA, representative disposal at sea 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 2017–2018, monitoring projects were completed at 14 ocean disposal sites nationally (or 13% of the 104 actively used sites this fiscal year).

In April 2017, in the Pacific and Yukon Region, monitoring was conducted at five disposal at sea (DAS) sites with results pending.

  • At the Cape Mudge, Comox (Cape Lazo), Malaspina and Point Grey DAS sites, monitoring consisted of sediment sampling and analysis for physicochemical parameters and toxicity testing and sediment profile imaging surveys.
  • Monitoring at the Five Finger Island DAS site consisted of sediment sampling and analysis for PCBs.

In 2017-2018, the analysis of results from monitoring studies that were conducted in September 2016 at five DAS sites (Five Finger Island, Porlier Pass, Sand Heads, Thornbrough Channel and Watts Point) were completed.

  • Contaminants (cadmium, mercury, total PAHs and total PCBs) were found to be below national screening levels.
  • For sediment toxicity testing, passing results were seen at all sites, except for one issue identified at the Five Finger Island DAS site where two of three composite samples failed the sublethal echinoid larval development test since. Therefore, three core samples were taken during a subsequent April 2017 study at this site, results of which are still pending.  
  • Sediment Profile Imaging study data revealed that:
    • disposal material was not deposited outside of the DAS site boundary nor was it transported outside of the DAS site boundary following deposition
    • fine and very fine silt-clay sediments were predominantly characterized outside the Sand Heads DAS site
    • the benthic habitat quality outside of the DAS site boundary did not appear to be affected by disposal activity, and
    • the presence of wood waste was observed at Five Finger Island, Porlier Pass and Thornbrough Channel DAS sites

In the Quebec Region (QR), monitoring surveys were conducted at a total of six DAS sites in 2017-2018, three sites in the Magdalen Islands and three sites on the Gaspé Peninsula.

  • The Magdalen Islands sites: bathymetric surveys were conducted in October 2017 at the Millerand, Pointe-Basse and L’Île-d’Entrée sites. These surveys were conducted to determine if the disposal activities had been carried out in accordance with the conditions of the DAS permits.
  • The Millerand and L’Île-d’Entrée sites: monitoring was also conducted to confirm that the depth above the mounds at the disposal sites remained safe for navigation.
  • The Gaspé Peninsula: bathymetric studies were conducted in October 2017 at the Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé, Saint-Godefroi and Gascons sites.  These surveys were conducted to determine if disposal activities had been carried out in accordance with the conditions of the DAS permits. The results of the monitoring studies conducted in 2017-2018 are currently pending.

In 2017-2018, the results for monitoring studies that were conducted in 2016-2017 became available. Seven DAS sites were monitored, including the Depot E, Pointe-Basse (PBCM-1), L’Île-d’Entrée (IE-6) and Depot D sites which are located in the Magdalen Islands and the l’Anse-à-Brillant (ABR-1), l’Anse-à-Beaufils (AB-5) and Port-Daniel (PD-6) sites which are located in Gaspésie.

At the Depot E, PBCM-1, IE-6 and ABR-1 sites, the results of the bathymetric monitoring studies have concluded that:

  • the disposals complied with the respective permit conditions
  • the depths remained safe for navigation above the mound at the IE-6 disposal site
  • no management measures were necessary, and
  • the disposal sites could continue to be used

However, for the AB-5 and PD-6 sites, 3,890 m3 and 3780 m3 of dredged material disposed of in 2016, respectively, could not be detected in the October 2017 bathymetric surveys at these sites. These disposal sites can continue to receive material from maintenance dredging.

In the Atlantic Region (AR), in 2017-2018, monitoring studies were conducted at three DAS sites; the Outer False Harbour site in Nova Scotia, the Woods Island site in Prince Edward Island and the Pigeon Hill Bar site in New Brunswick to assess compliance with permit conditions with results pending.

  • At the Outer False Harbour site, two separate studies were conducted. In April 2017, a post-disposal geophysical assessment of the site and surrounding areas was conducted, including multi-beam bathymetric and backscatter surveys. In August 2017, an optical imaging study was also conducted at this site.
  • In November 2017, a post-disposal bathymetric survey was conducted at the Woods Island site study to assess the compliance with the DAS permit conditions, to define the post-disposal footprint of the disposal site and to satisfy Condition 3.2 of the Fisheries Act Serious Harm Authorization issued by the DFO Fisheries Protection Program (DFO).
  • At Pigeon Hill Bar site, which is a new site, a post-disposal bathymetric survey was conducted in September 2017.

With respect to the two DAS sites that were monitored in 2016-2017, the Outer False Harbour and Black Point site, the results of the geophysical surveys which consisted of bathymetric, backscatter and ground-truthing sampling monitoring studies have concluded that the disposals complied with the respective permit conditions and that the disposal sites could continue to be used.  For the Black Point site, following the bathymetric studies conducted in 2016-2017, a decision was made to move the release zone for future disposals commencing in 2017-2018.

2.5.2 Risk management activities

Disposal at sea

Part 7, Division 3 of CEPA imposes a general prohibition on the disposal of substances into waters or onto ice from activities taking place at sea. Disposal at sea activities conducted under a permit from ECCC are exempt from this prohibition and permits are only available for a short list of wastes. A permit cannot be granted unless disposal at sea is the environmentally preferable and practical option.

The disposal at sea provisions of CEPA help Canada to meet its obligations as a party to the 1972 London Convention and the more modern London Protocol (1996). Canada reports the number of permits, quantities and types of wastes, and results of disposal site monitoring to the London Protocol Secretariat each year.

At the London Protocol meetings in 2017, Canada led or participated in the development of a series of “low cost, low tech” technical guidance documents, and supported workshops and technical assistance that is offered to bring implementation within reach of more countries. Canada continued to Chair the London Protocol Compliance Group, which encourages and supports compliance and ratification of the treaty. Canada also continued to Chair the Scientific Groups of the Protocol and Convention, which address new and emerging technical issues that arise.

Disposal at sea permits

In 2017–2018, 69 permits were issued in Canada for the disposal of 6.2 million tonnes of waste and other matter (Tables 13 and 14), compared to 81 permits for the disposal of 7.1 million tonnes in 2016–2017. 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 was 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 was also permitted in remote communities where there is no access to reuse-and-recycling opportunities.

Table 13: Disposal at sea quantities permitted (in tonnes) and permits issued in Canada from April 2017 to March 2018
Material Quantity permitted Permits issued
Dredged materiali 4 973 150 35
Fishies waste 39 644 29
Geological matter 1 137 500 5
Vessels n/a n/a
Organic matter n/a n/a
Total 6 150 294 69

i Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.

Table 14: Disposal at sea quantities permitted (in tonnes) and permits issued by region from April 2016 to March 2017
Material Atlantic: quantity permitted Atlantic: permits issued Quebec: quantity permitted Quebec: permits issued Pacific and Yukon: quantity permitted Pacific and Yukon: permits issued
Dredged materialj 1 511 900 12 98 800 9 3 362 450 14
Fisheries waste 38 494 26 1 150 3 n/a n/a
Geological matter n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 137 500 5
Vessels n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Organic matter n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Total 1 550 394 38 99 950 12 4 499 950 19

j Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.

The number of permits issued decreased slightly in 2017–2018 (Figure 11). The quantities permitted continue to fluctuate from year to year, showing decreasing quantities for dredged material but a slight increase in excavated material, this past year (Figure 12).

Figure 11. Number of disposal at sea permits issued in each fiscal year by type of material

Figure 11. Number of disposal at sea permits issued
Long description for figure 11
Number of disposal at sea permits issued
Years Dredged material Geological matter Fisheries wastes Vesseks Organic matter
2006-2007 38 11 42 1 0
2007-2008 42 9 45 1 1
2008-2009 45 4 46 0 1
2009-2010 33 5 45 0 1
2010-2011 35 2 46 0 0
2011-2012 52 6 41 0 0
2012-2013 44 5 39 2 1
2013-2014 39 7 38 0 0
2014-2015 36 8 45 1 0
2015-2016 40 5 30 0 0
2016-2017 43 5 32 1 0
2017-2018 35 5 29 0 0

Figure 12. Annual disposal at sea quantities permitted (in millions of tonnes)

Figure 12. Annual disposal at sea quantities permitted (in millions of tonnes)
Long description for figure 12
Annual disposal at sea quantities permitted (in millions of tonnes)
Years Dredged material
Geological matter Fisheries wastes Vessels Organic matter
2007-2008 3 329 560 1 345 500 60 380 1 118 200
2008-2009 3 113 760 611 000 67 985 0 200
2009-2010 3 790 150 715 000 67 355 0 200
2010-2011 3 321 370 390 000 70 385 0 0
2011-2012 3 671 850 910 000 58 587 0 0
2012-2013 3 218 800 689 000 57 799 734 200
2013-2014 4 702 750 1 040 000 58 005 0 0
2014-2015 3 539 900 1 378 000 71 940 2 880 0
2015-2016 4 557 800 1 105 000 55 965 0 0
2016-2017 6 294 600 741 000 48 845 42 0
2017-2018 4 973 150 1 137 500 39 644 0 0

Further information on disposal at sea is available online.

Controlling the movement of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material

With respect to managing the movement of hazardous wastes and 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
  • 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; and
  • make regulations governing movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials between provinces and territories

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 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Decision on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations (OECD Decision), 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, the Interprovincial Movement of Hazardous Waste Regulations and the PCB Waste Export Regulations, 1996.

In 2017Footnote 8 , ECCC processed 1826 notices for proposed imports, exports and transits of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. The notices received covered 16 865 waste streams, which exhibited a range of hazardous properties such as being flammable, acutely toxic, oxidizing, corrosive, dangerously reactive and environmentally hazardous. From these permits, 31 759 individual transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material were reported in movement documents received by ECCC. By comparison, in 2016, 35 372 individual transboundary shipments were done; a decrease of more than 10%, in 2017.

Almost all imports (99.9%) and exports (96.7%) of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials occurred between Canada and the United States. The remaining import exchanges occurred with United Arab Emirates, Russia Federation, Uruguay, and Venezuela; while the remaining exports occurred with Mexico, Belgium, Germany and Republic of Korea.

The quantity of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials imported into Canada was 369 972 tonnes (t) in 2017. This represents a decrease of 7142 t or 1.9% relative to 2016. Shipments imported destined for recycling totaled 240 661 t and represented about 65 % of all imports in 2017. Imports of all hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials in 2017 were shipped to authorized facilities in four provinces: Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

Hazardous recyclable material imported into Canada in the greatest quantities were:

  • spent lead-acid batteries
  • spent sulfuric acid, corrosive liquids, waste liquors from pickling of metals
  • hydraulic fluids (used oil)
  • flammable liquids, organic solvents; and
  • metal-bearing waste

The remaining 129 311 t imported were hazardous wastes (35 %) and were mostly composed of:

  • metal-bearing waste
  • treated wood
  • organic solvents/flammable liquids
  • aluminum remelting by-products
  • wastes from the production, formulation and use of biocides and phytopharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides; and
  • spent sulfuric acid, corrosive liquids

The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials exported was 387 313 t in 2017. This represents a decrease of 25 612 t or 6.2% from 2016. Shipments exported for recycling totaled 316 384 t and represented about 81.7% of all exports in 2017. Exports of hazardous recyclable materials in 2017 originated from eight provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

The majority of hazardous recyclable material exported abroad for recycling includes:

  • spent sulfuric acid, corrosive liquids, waste liquors from pickling of metals
  • aluminum remelting by-products
  • spent lead-acid batteries
  • treated wood; and
  • hydraulic fluids (used oil)

The remaining 70 929 t exported were hazardous wastes (18.3 %) and were mostly composed of:

  • aluminum remelting by-products
  • spent sulfuric acid, corrosive liquids, waste liquors from pickling of metals
  • hydraulic fluids (used oil and equipment contaminated with oil); and
  • clinical and related waste

Tables 15 and 16 list the quantities of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials exported and imported from 2008 to 2017.

Table 15: Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, imports, 2008–2017 (tonnes)
Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Waste 270 390 268 391 146 499 151 295 101 796 190 841 159 008 118 403 118 130 129 311
Recyclables 262 337 221 778 217 663 243 491 243 434 245 110 221 354 249 323 258 984 240 661
Total imports 532 727 490 169 364 162 394 786 345 230 435 951 380 362 367 726 377 114 369 972
Table 16: Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, exports, 2008–2017 (tonnes)
Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Waste 117 212 105 234  70 740  86 500  91 847  93 786  94 601  86 623  63 513 70 929
Recyclables 365 468 315 631 357 627 374 207 413 614 422 388 436 608 429 391 349 412 316 384
Total exports 482 680 420 865 428 367 460 707 505 461 516 174 531 209 516 014 412 925 387 313

Please note that data are revised periodically as new information becomes available. Therefore, information presented here may differ from information published in other reports.

In August 2017, ECCC published a consultation document outlining the proposed amendments to the regulations relating to the international and interprovincial movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials, to solicit feedback prior to the publication of proposed regulations.

2.6 Environmental emergencies

Part 8 of CEPA (Environmental Matters Related to Emergencies) 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 of CEPA provides the authority, among other things, for making regulations, guidelines and codes of practice. It 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) 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 person that owns, manages, or controls specific hazardous substances equal to or above certain quantity and container capacity thresholds has a plan for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in the event of an environmental emergency.

The environmental emergencies web section 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, 2018, there were approximately 4800 regulatees from various sectors under the E2 Regulations. Of these regulatees, approximately 3000 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 2017-2018, ECCC’s regional activities associated with the implementation of the E2 Regulations included conducting site visits, delivering presentations to the regulated community, and promoting and enforcing compliance with regulated persons. As a result of targeted efforts to increase the implementation of E2 plans by regulated parties, approximately 97% of those regulated parties which require E2 plans reported to the department that they have fully implemented and tested their plans.

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