Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Annual Report to Parliament for April 2019 to March 2020: chapter 5

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5. Administration and public participation

Administration and public participation covers stakeholder engagement and inter-jurisdictional relationships.

5.1 Federal, provincial, territorial cooperation

National Advisory Committee

The National Advisory Committee (NAC) provides a forum for provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments to advise the Ministers on certain actions being proposed under the Act, enable national cooperative action, and avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The Committee was provided opportunities to advise and comment on initiatives under the Act.

To carry out its duties in 2019-2020, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) NAC held a teleconference meeting in January 2020, and the NAC Secretariat corresponded regularly with committee members regarding various initiatives implemented under CEPA, including the publication of 27 draft screening assessments and 9 final screening assessment. The initiatives include those listed below.

Members were informed of risk management and other activities:

Members were provided with an opportunity to comment on:

Members were provided with an offer to consult on:

Members were provided with an offer to advise on proposed regulatory initiatives:

5.2 Federal-provincial/territorial agreements

Part 1 of the Act also allows the Minister of the Environment to negotiate an agreement with a provincial or territorial government, or an Aboriginal people, with respect to the administration of the Act. It also allows for equivalency agreements, which allow the Governor in Council to suspend the application of federal regulations in a jurisdiction that has equivalent regulatory provisions. The intent of an equivalency agreement is to eliminate the duplication of environmental regulations. Table 21 indicates the administrative and equivalency agreements in place under sections 9 and 10 of CEPA.

Table 21: current administrative and equivalency agreements under CEPA by jurisdiction
Jurisdiction(s) Agreement Description
British Columbia Canada-British Columbia Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016
British Columbia Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and British Columbia Regulations Respecting the Release of Methane from the Oil and Gas Sector in British Columbia, 2020a

Equivalency agreement (s.10)

Signed on February 26, 2020a, and comes into force pending the publication of a final Order under Section 10(3) of CEPA. On that date, the following CEPA regulations no longer apply in British Columbia:

Alberta Canada-Alberta Equivalency Agreement 1994

Equivalency agreement in place since 1994 that applies to pulp and paper mills and secondary lead smelters

Alberta Environment reported no violations in 2019-2020 by the 4 pulp and paper mills regulated under the provincial regulations.a

Alberta Canada-Alberta Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016
Saskatchewan Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act Administrative agreement in place since 1994 that deals with pulp and paper mills and ozone-depleting substances
Saskatchewan Canada-Saskatchewan Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement s.9 2016
Saskatchewan An Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Saskatchewan Regulations for the Control of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity Producers in Saskatchewan, 2020a

Equivalency agreement (s.10)

Signed on May 3, 2019a, and came into force on January 1, 2020.

When in force, the following CEPA regulations no longer apply in Saskatchewan:

Manitoba Canada-Manitoba Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016
Ontario Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Healtha

Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016

New draft agreement published - July 6, 2019a

Agreement outlines how the governments of Canada and Ontario will cooperate and coordinate their efforts to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.

See the Canada Water Act Annual Report 2019-2020 for an update on progress under this Agreement.

Ontario Canada-Ontario Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016
Nova Scotia An Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Nova Scotia Regulations for the Control of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Electricity Producers in Nova Scotia, 2020a

Signed on November 14, 2019a and came into force on January 1, 2020.

On that date, the following CEPA regulations continue to no longer apply in Nova Scotia:

Northwest Territories Canada-Northwest Territories Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016
Yukon Canada-Yukon Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement* Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016
British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon National Air Pollution Program Memorandum of Understanding Administrative agreement (s.9) renewed in 2018

a New activity in 2019-2020.
* Purpose is to establish a streamlined notification system and reduce duplication of effort for persons required to notify federal and provincial/territorial governments of an environmental emergency or environmental occurrence, such as an oil or chemical release.


Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Quebec

The Province of Quebec and the Government of Canada have been collaborating since 1994. The parties currently co-operate through a memorandum of understanding for data collection, whereby Quebec provides a single data-entry portal for regulatees for the following federal regulations:

5.3 Public participation

CEPA Registry

Part 2 of CEPA (Public Participation) provides for the establishment of an environmental registry, whistleblower protection, and the right of an individual to request an investigation and pursue court action.

The CEPA Registry was launched on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) website when the Act came into force on March 31, 2000. Continuous efforts are made to increase the Registry’s reliability and ease of use. The Registry encompasses thousands of CEPA-related documents and references. It has become a primary source of environmental information for the public and private sectors, both nationally and internationally, and has been used as a source of information in university and college curricula.

From April 2019 to March 2020, the CEPA Registry website had 307 466 visits.

Public consultation

CEPA includes many requirements to provide the public with access to information, to provide comments on proposed initiatives and to provide access to justice. These provisions include a mandatory consultation and public comment periods for proposed Orders, Regulations and other statutory instruments; and requirements to publish information. Other provisions allow for a member of the public to bring civil actions against alleged offenders, to request reviews of existing laws and policies, as well as providing protection for whistle-blowers.

In addition, engaging stakeholders and the public is central to several programs under CEPA. For example, at each stage in the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) management cycle, stakeholders are engaged and the public has the opportunity to be involved and comment on proposed assessments of substances or groups of substances.

There were 48 opportunities posted on the Registry between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 for stakeholders and the members of the public to provide comments on proposed initiatives under CEPA. These included:

Please see the CEPA Registry public consultations, available online.

Pollution Prevention resource finder

Part 4 of CEPA provides the authority for the establishment of a national pollution prevention information clearinghouse to facilitate the collection, exchange and distribution of information regarding pollution prevention.

The Pollution Prevention resource finder (P2 finder) is Canada’s largest publicly accessible database of links to practical resources that can help Canadians and Canadian organizations be more environmentally friendly. It received more than 16 500 views in 2019-2020. Users can search by keyword and/or filters to find resources of interest. In 2019-2020, 93 new links were added to the P2 finder. The P2 finder contains links to resources for:

CMP-related committees and activities

The CMP Science Committee supports a strong science foundation to CMP by providing external national and international scientific expertise to Health Canada (HC) and ECCC on scientific issues. Members met in June 2019 to discuss new approaches for integrating chemical fate and spatial and temporal scale in exposure assessment. Another meeting took place in February 2020 to discuss considerations for identifying potential risks from exposure to chemicals in the workplace. Members engaged in constructive discussions as they continued developing the Committee’s scientific input for the Government of Canada. Meeting records and reports are made available online.

The CMP Stakeholder Advisory Council (CMP SAC) aims to obtain advice from stakeholders for implementing the CMP and to foster dialogue between stakeholders and government, and among different stakeholder groups. In May 2019, the government hosted a CMP SAC meeting to update on government initiatives related to chemicals management in Canada, with presentations and discussions on the following topics:

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