Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Annual Report to Parliament for April 2020 to March 2021: chapter 3
On this page
- 3. Addressing key risks
- 3.1 Chemicals
- 3.2 Living organisms
- 3.3 Air pollutants and greenhouse gases
- 3.4 Drinking water quality
- 3.5 Waste
- 3.6 Environmental emergencies
- 3.7 Government operations and federal and aboriginal land
3. Addressing key risks
This section on addressing key risks covers information gathering, risk assessment, and risk management for chemicals, living organisms, air pollution and greenhouse gases, water quality, and waste.
Parts 4, 5 and 6 of CEPA include specific provisions for data collection, assessment and management of toxic substances. Substances include both chemicals and living organisms (specific information on living organisms begins in section 3.2).
There are two streams of risk assessment for substances in Canada based on when they enter into commerce. Substances on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) are referred to as existing substances and many have been in use in Canada for over 3 decades. Substances that are not on the DSL are considered “new” substances.
Chemicals management plan update
The CMP is a program developed to protect Canadians and the environment from exposure to toxic substances. This includes a commitment to finish addressing approximately 4300 substances of potential concern that were already in commerce in Canada between 1984 and 1986. Under the CMP, the government also conducts pre-market assessments of health and environmental effects of approximately 400 substances that are new to Canada each year.
Highlight - Progress under the Chemicals Management Plan
Since the launch of the CMP in 2006, the Government of Canada has been managing potential risks to Canadians and the environment. As of March 31, 2021, the Government of Canada has:
- addressed 91% (3974) of the 4363 existing substances identified as priorities in 2006
- found 333 existing substances to be harmful to the environment and/or human health, for a total of 582 when including toxic substances identified prior to 2006
- implemented over 200 risk management actions for existing substances
- received and assessed approximately 6645 notifications for new substances prior to their introduction into the Canadian market
- implemented 320 risk management actions for new substances
3.1.1 Information gathering
On October 10, 2020, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change issued an information gathering Notice under section 71 of the Act with respect to perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, its salts and its precursors for assessing whether to control or the manner in which to control the substance. Also in October 2020, summaries of data received were published via the Government of Canada Open Data Portal, for the following 3 notices that had been issued in 2018:
- Notice to provide information for the risk management of 1,4-benzenediamine, N,N′-mixed phenyl and tolyl derivatives (BENPAT) (issued under s.71)
- Notice to provide information for the risk management of certain coal tars and their distillates (issued under section 71)
- Notice with respect to certain quaternary ammonium compounds in Canadian commerce - Phase 1 (issued under section 46)
Targeted voluntary data-gathering activities also contribute to risk assessments and risk management activities. In 2020-2021, Health Canada issued 1 targeted voluntary data request for Turpentine and turpentine oil (part of the terpenes and terpenoïds Group 1: Acyclic, monocyclic, and bicyclic monoterpenes) to inform risk assessment and risk management activities. Environment and Climate Change Canada also issued 1 voluntary request to industry stakeholders for information on barriers to supply chain transparency for chemicals, to help the Government gain a better understanding of the issues.
3.1.2 Existing substances risk assessment
ECCC and HC conduct risk assessments or screening assessments to determine whether existing substances, on the DSL, meet or are capable of meeting any of the criteria for toxicity as set out in section 64 of the Act. Draft screening assessments are published for a 60-day public comment period, which is followed by publication of the final screening assessments.
During 2020-2021 (see Table 4), the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Health:
- published 24 draft screening assessment reports covering 98 substances
- published 20 final screening assessment reports covering 167 substances
- published 1 science approach document
- published the bisphenols technical consultation
- proposed that 32 substances meet one or more of the toxicity criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA
- concluded that 8 substances meet one or more of the toxicity criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA
|Substances (and number of substances)||Meet s. 64 criteria||Proposed measure||Publication date of draft notice||Publication date of final notice|
|Naphthalene Sulfonic Acids and Salts Group (6)||No||NFA||July 4, 2020||-|
|Sulfurized Isobutylene (1)||No||NFA||July 4, 2020||-|
|Antimony-containing Substances Group (11)||No||NFA||September 15, 2018||July 11, 2020|
|Base Oils (39)||No||NFA||October 6, 2018||July 11, 2020|
|Alkanolamines and Fatty Alkanolamides Group (11)||No||NFA||July 18, 2020||-|
|Pigments and Dyes Group (6)||No||NFA||January 5, 2019||August 1, 2020|
|Nitro Musks Group (2)||No||NFA||September 15, 2018||August 1, 2020|
|Fatty Acids and Derivatives Group (9)||No||NFA||August 18, 2018||August 1, 2020|
|Epoxides and Glycidyl Ethers Group (5)||No||NFA||November 24, 2018||August 8, 2020|
|Poly(amines) Group (9)||No||NFA||November 10, 2018||August 15, 2020|
|Silver and its compounds (7)||No||NFA||August 15, 2020||-|
|Aromatic Amines Group (8)||Yes - 1 substance*||Add to Schedule 1||August 15, 2020||-|
|TMSS (1)||No||NFA||September 19, 2020||-|
|Thallium and its compounds (5)||Yes*||Add to Schedule 1||September 19, 2020||-|
|Petroleum Coke Group (2)||No||NFA||September 19, 2020||-|
|Other polymers group (5)||Yes - 2 substances*||Add to Schedule 1||October 3, 2020||-|
|Triclocarban (1)||No||NFA||October 10, 2020||-|
|p-Toluenesulfonic acid (1)||No||NFA||October 17, 2020||-|
|Melamine (1)||Yes*||Add to Schedule 1||October 17, 2020||-|
|TCPP and TDCPP (2)||Yes*||Add to Schedule 1||October 17, 2020||-|
|Triarylmethanes Group (6)||Yes - 4 substances**||Add to Schedule 1||December 8, 2018||October 17, 2020|
|Coumarin 1 (1)||Yes*||Add to Schedule 1||October 31, 2020||-|
|Sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) (1)||No||NFA||November 14, 2020||-|
|Inorganic substances identified as being of low concern (21)||No||NFA||April 13, 2019||November 14, 2020|
|Phthalate Substance Grouping (28)||Yes – 1 substance**||DEHP to remain on Schedule 1||October 7, 2017||December 5, 2020|
|Phenol-formaldehyde Resins Group (8)||No||NFA||April 6, 2019||December 12, 2020|
|Phosphoric Acid Derivatives Group (3)||No||NFA||July 13, 2019||December 19, 2020|
|Na3NTA (1)||No||NFA||December 19, 2020||-|
|Used and Re-refined Oils Group (9)||No||NFA||April 6, 2019||December 26, 2020|
|Substituted Alkyl Imidazolines Group (4)||No||NFA||June 22, 2019||December 26, 2020|
|Thiocarbamates Group (2)||Yes - 1 substance**||Add to Schedule 1||February 3, 2018||January 9, 2021|
|Decenes Group (2)||Yes*||Add to Schedule 1||January 9, 2021||-|
|Diazenedicarboxamide (1)||No||NFA||April 20, 2019||January 16, 2021|
|Acetic Acid (1)||No||NFA||July 20, 2019||January 16, 2021|
|Benzophenone (1)||Yes**||Add to Schedule 1||August 4, 2018||January 30, 2021|
|Protein Derivatives and Yeast Extract Group (4)||No||NFA||February 6, 2021||-|
|Dimethoxymethane (1)||No||NFA||July 20, 2019||February 6, 2021|
|Dinoseb (1)||Yes**||Add to Schedule 1||June 2, 2018||February 6, 2021|
|Hexamethylenetetramines Group (3)||Yes - 2 substances*||Add to Schedule 1||March 6, 2021||-|
|Benzotriazoles and Benzothiazoles Group (15)||Yes - 6 substances*||Add to Schedule 1||March 6, 2021||-|
|Aliphatic Amines Group (13)||Yes - 9 substances*||Add to Schedule 1||March 6, 2021||-|
|Thiophosphate Alkyl Esters Group (2)||Yes - 1 substance*||Add to Schedule 1||March 13, 2021||-|
|Piperazine (1)||No||NFA||March 13, 2021||-|
|Ethers Group (4)||No||NFA||March 13, 2021||-|
* Risk Management Scope document published (see section 3.1.3)
** Risk Management Approach document published (see section 3.1.3)
Final decision by Ministers
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 toxicity 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 (see section 3.1.3).
In 2020-2021, the Ministers proposed that 1 substance be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA as listed in Table 5. For the Order proposing the addition of plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 see section 3.5.1 on Plastic pollution.
|Chlorhexidine and its salts||March 6, 2021|
* Date of publication in Canada Gazette Part I
In 2020-2021, 1 substance was added to Schedule 1 and 1 substance was removed as listed in Table 6. New information about the substance benzenamine, N-phenyl- (BNST) indicates that it has a lower potential to cause ecological harm in Canada than previously available information had indicated. Therefore, an order to remove BNST from Schedule 1 of the Act was published in October 2020.
|Added - Benzene, 1-chloro-2-[2,2-dichloro-1-(4- chlorophenyl)ethyl]-, which has the molecular formula C14H10Cl4||October 28, 2020|
|Removed - benzenamine, N-phenyl-, reaction product with styrene and 2,4,4-trimethylpentene (CAS RN 68921-45-9 (BNST)||October 28, 2020|
* Date of publication in Canada Gazette Part II
Identifying Risk Assessment Priorities
Since 2014, ECCC and HC formalized their approach to the identification of risk assessment priorities (IRAP) for chemicals and polymers under CEPA. As a result of the IRAP process, substances may be considered for future risk assessment. In December 2020, ECCC and HC published the results of their 2019 IRAP review, recommending 85 substances for further scoping. The 2019 IRAP review took into consideration quantity and use information obtained through the 2017 DSL inventory update. Results of this IRAP review, along with results of the 2017-2018 IRAP review, will inform post-2020 assessment activities, including data gathering.
In March 2021, HC published a Science Approach Document - Bioactivity exposure ratio: Application in priority setting and risk assessment which presents the application of computational tools and new approach methods (NAM) in a quantitative risk-based approach to identify substances of a greater potential concern or substances of low concern for human health.
3.1.3 Existing substances risk management
Risk management instruments are put in place to reduce or eliminate risks to the environment and/or human health. They range from regulations, notices to require the preparation of pollution prevention plans, codes of practice, environmental performance agreements, and release guidelines, to environmental quality guidelines.
Risk management scope and approach documents
In general, when a draft risk assessment proposes a conclusion that the substance is “toxic” under CEPA, meaning that the substance has met one or more of the criteria in section 64, a risk management scope document is developed 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. In 2020-2021, 11 risk management scope documents were published for the following substances or groups of substances that were proposed to have met one or more of the toxicity criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA (see Table 4):
- TPAE-1 of the thiophosphate alkyl ester group
- long-chain aliphatic amines
- 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) and its precursors (from the Benzotriazoles and Benzothiazoles Group)
- certain substances in the Hexamethylenetetramines Group
- 1-decene, dimer, hydrogenated and 1-Decene, tetramer, mixed with 1-decene trimer, hydrogenated (The Decenes Group)
- 2H-1-benzopyran-2-one, 7-(diethylamino)-4-methyl- (coumarin 1)
- 1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine (melamine)
- TCPP and TDCPP (updated)
- poly(iminocarbonimidoyliminocarbonimidoylimino-1,6-hexanediyl), hydrochloride and poly(hexamethylenebiguanine) (PHMB)
- thallium and its compounds
- Aromatic Amines Group, specifically: benzenamine, N,N-dimethyl- (dimethylaniline)
When the final screening assessment report concludes that a substance is “toxic” under CEPA and is 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.
In 2020-2021, 5 risk management approach documents were published for the following substances, or substance groups that met one or more of the toxicity criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA (see Table 4):
- Phenol, 2-(1-methylpropyl)-4,6-dinitro- (Dinoseb)
- Thioperoxydicarbonic diamide ([(H2N)C(S)]2S2), tetramethyl- (TMTD) in the Thiocarbamates Group
- 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester (DEHP)
- Certain triarylmethanes
On April 1, 2020, final Regulations Amending the Chromium Electroplating, Chromium Anodizing and Reverse Etching Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations aim to limit emissions of hexavalent chromium compounds during chromium electroplating, chromium anodizing and reverse etching processes at facilities that use more than 50 kg of chromium trioxide per calendar year. The amendments address the concerns raised by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) by improving consistency between the French and English versions of the Regulations, improving the clarity of the regulatory text related to laboratory accreditation, and removing a reference to an outdated technical standard.
On September 2, 2020, the final Regulations Amending the Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The amendments revise the Canadian hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) baseline value in accordance with the October 2018 Interim Order. In addition, the amendments allow the consumption of HCFC-123 (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) for the servicing of existing fire protection equipment until 2029, in accordance with recent adjustments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
On November 11, 2020, the final Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds Regulations (Petroleum Sector) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations require the implementation of comprehensive leak detection and repair programs at Canadian petroleum refineries, upgraders and certain petrochemical facilities. The operators of these facilities are also required to ensure that certain equipment components are designed and operated in a manner that prevents leaks, and to monitor the level of certain volatile organic compounds at facility fencelines.
The Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives 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 2020-2021, approximately 135 permits were issued under these Regulations. Additionally, consumption allowances for HFCs and HCFCs were issued to eligible companies. The lists of HCFC and HFC allowance holders are available online.
The Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations apply to the export of substances listed on Schedule 3 of CEPA (known as the Export control list) and to the export of products containing these substances. The Export Control List 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.
- In 2020-2021, 16 notices of proposed export were submitted to the Minister of the Environment; however, only 1 export permit was requested and issued by the Minister.
Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist
The Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist is an administrative tool that HC uses to communicate to manufacturers and others that certain substances may be prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics.
- On October 15, 2020, 2-Ethylhexyl-2-ethylhexanoate (2-EH-2-EHA) (CAS RN 7425-14-1) was proposed for addition to the list of restricted substances due to health concerns.
Codes of Practice
In August 29, 2020, a final Code of Practice for Certain Methylenediphenyl Diisocyanates in Low-Pressure Two-Component Spray Polyurethane Foam Products was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. Methylenediphenyl Diisocyanates (MDIs) are widely used in the production of a wide range of products including polyurethanes, adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings. The code of practice aims to reduce exposure of the general population to MDIs resulting from the use by consumers of low-pressure two-component spray polyurethane foam (SPF) products containing MDIs. The Code of Practice sets elements of best practices and recommendations for any person who manufactures, imports, or sells low-pressure two-component SPF products containing MDIs to consumers.
The complete list with status updates for all active Codes of Practice is available online.
Pollution Prevention Planning Notices
On October 10, 2020, the final Notice requiring the preparation and implementation of pollution prevention plans with respect to triclosan in certain products was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The Notice applies to any person or class of persons who, on the date of publication and anytime thereafter uses 100 kg or more of triclosan in a calendar year in the manufacture of cosmetics, natural health products or drugs, or imports 100 kg or more of triclosan in a calendar year contained in cosmetics, natural health products or drugs.
On July 17, 2020, the Government published the Final Performance Report for the Pollution prevention (P2) planning notice for the synthetic rubber manufacturing sector (isoprene). This notice was published in 2012 with the risk management objective of reducing human exposure to isoprene through the reduction of industrial emissions of isoprene to the environment by 80% relative to the baseline year, using best available techniques economically achievable. In 2018, the one facility subject to the P2 notice reduced its emissions of isoprene by 78% as compared to their 2009 baseline year, an achievement within 2% of the objective.
Progress under Pollution Prevention Planning notices is available online.
Environmental Performance Agreements
The 2020-2025 Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting the Use of Tin Stabilizers in the Vinyl Industry was published on June 4, 2020. This was the second renewal of this agreement between ECCC, the Vinyl Institute of Canada (VIC) and participating companies with vinyl compounding facilities. The purpose of this agreement is to prevent the release of tin stabilizers into the environment through the continued implementation of effective stewardship practices by Canadian vinyl compounding facilities.
The final progress report for the previous 2015-2020 Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting the Use of Tin Stabilizers in the Vinyl Industry was published on the Government of Canada website on March 9, 2021. This final progress report indicates that all participating facilities have met the objective of the agreement.
Results from 4 active EPAs and all completed EPAs are posted on the List of EPAs website.
Release guidelines recommend limits for the release of substances into the environment from works, undertakings or activities. They may be issued by the Minister of the Environment under section 54, or by the Minister of Health under section 55 of the Act.
On September 5, 2020, the Government of Canada published the final Release Guidelines for Disperse Yellow 3 and 25 other azo disperse dyes in the textile sector in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The Guidelines recommend limits, expressed as concentrations or quantities, for the release of Disperse Yellow 3 (DY3) and the 25 other azo disperse dyes into the aquatic environment from textile dye formulation and textile dyeing activities.
Environmental quality guidelines
Environmental quality guidelines provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment. They may be developed nationally through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) as Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CEQGs) or federally under section 54 of CEPA as Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQGs).
Table 7 lists the CEQGs that were being developed nationally through CCME in 2020-2021.
|Environmental compartment||Under development|
Table 8 lists the FEQGs for various CMP substances that were published or under development by ECCC in 2020-2021.
|Environmental compartment||Published||Under development|
* Draft guidelines published for comments
In addition, an FEQG summary table is available online as of Feb 2021.
Significant New Activity requirements
A Significant New Activity (SNAc) requirement is applied when a substance has been assessed and no risks were identified with current activities, but there is a suspicion that new activities may pose a risk to human health and/or the environment. When it is applied, new uses or activities must be reported to the government. This ensures that departmental experts can evaluate whether the new use of a substance poses a risk to human health or the environment, and determine if risk management should be considered.
In 2020-2021, 4 SNAc Notices of Intent were issued for 6 existing substances (Table 9).
|Oxirane, [(2-propenyloxy)methyl]- (CAS RN 106-92-3)||August 8, 2020|
|Oxirane, [(2-methylphenoxy)methyl]- (CAS RN 2210-79-9)||August 8, 2020|
|1,3,5-Triazine-2,4,6(1H,3H,5H)-trione, 1,3,5-tris(oxiranylmethyl)- (CAS RN 2451-62-9)||August 8, 2020|
|Ethanol, 2-[(2-aminoethyl)amino]- (CAS RN 111-41-1)||September 12, 2020|
|Hexanoic acid, 2-ethyl-, 2-ethylhexyl ester (CAS RN 7425-14-1)||September 12, 2020|
|Phenol, dimethyl-, phosphate (3:1) (CAS RN 25155-23-1)||December 19, 2020|
In 2020-2021, 3 SNAc Orders were issued for 27 existing substances (Table 10).
|Acetamide, N-(4-ethoxyphenyl)- (CAS RN 62-44-2)||July 22, 2020|
|Benzenamine, 4,4′-[(1methylethylidene)bis(4,1-phenyleneoxy)]bis- (CAS RN 13080-86-9)||August 19, 2020|
|Benzene, 1,1′-(2,2,2-trichloroethylidene)bis[4-methoxy- (CAS RN 72-43-5)||March 17, 2021|
|Phenol, pentachloro- (CAS RN 87-86-5)||March 17, 2021|
|Benzenamine, 2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-4(trifluoromethyl)- (CAS RN 1582-09-8)||March 17, 2021|
|1,3-Benzenedicarbonitrile, 2,4,5,6-tetrachloro- (CAS RN 1897-45-6)||March 17, 2021|
|1,3,5-Triazine-2,4-diamine, 6-chloro-N-ethyl-N′-(1-methylethyl)- (CAS RN 1912-24-9)||March 17, 2021|
|1H-Indene-1,3(2H)-dione, 2-[(4-chlorophenyl) phenylacetyl]- (CAS RN 3691-35-8)||March 17, 2021|
|1,3-Benzodioxole, 5-[[2-(2-butoxyethoxy)ethoxy]methyl]-6-propyl- (CAS RN 51-03-6)||March 17, 2021|
|Phosphoric acid, 2,2-dichloroethenyl dimethyl ester (CAS RN 62-73-7)||March 17, 2021|
|Methane, trichloronitro- (CAS RN 76-06-2)||March 17, 2021|
|1,3,5-Triazine-2,4,6(1H,3H,5H)-trione, 1,3,5-trichloro- (CAS RN 87-90-1)||March 17, 2021|
|Phenol, 4-nitro-3-(trifluoromethyl)- (CAS RN 88-30-2)||March 17, 2021|
|Acetic acid, (2,4-dichlorophenoxy)- (CAS RN 94-75-7)||March 17, 2021|
|1H-Isoindole-1,3(2H)-dione, 3a,4,7,7a-tetrahydro-2-[(trichloromethyl)thio]- (CAS RN 133-06-2)||March 17, 2021|
|1H-Isoindole-1,3(2H)-dione, 2-[(trichloromethyl)thio]- (CAS RN 133-07-3)||March 17, 2021|
|Phosphorothioic acid, O,Odiethyl O-[6-methyl-2-(1-methylethyl)-4-pyrimidinyl] ester (CAS RN 333-41-5)||March 17, 2021|
|Cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 2,2-dimethyl-3-(2-methyl-1-propenyl)-, 2-methyl-4-oxo-3-(2-propenyl)-2-cyclopenten-1-yl ester (CAS RN 584-79-2)||March 17, 2021|
|Phosphorothioic acid, O,Odiethyl O-(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyl) ester (CAS RN 2921-88-2)||March 17, 2021|
|Creosote (CAS RN 8001-58-9)||March 17, 2021|
|Pyrethrins and pyrethroids (CAS RN 8003-34-7)||March 17, 2021|
|Cyclopropanecarboxylic acid, 2,2-dimethyl-3-(2-methyl-1-propenyl)-, [5-(phenylmethyl)-3-furanyl]methyl ester (CAS RN 10453-86-8)||March 17, 2021|
|Carbamic acid, 1H-benzimidazol-2-yl-, methyl ester (CAS RN 10605-21-7)||March 17, 2021|
|Copper, [μ-[carbonato(2-)-O:O’]]dihydroxydi- (CAS RN 12069-69-1)||March 17, 2021|
|Distannoxane, hexakis(2-methyl-2-phenylpropyl)- (CAS RN 13356-08-6)||March 17, 2021|
|Octanoic acid, copper salt (CAS RN 20543-04-8)||March 17, 2021|
|Carbamic acid, [1,2-phenylene bis(iminocarbonothioyl)]bis-, dimethyl ester (CAS RN 23564-05-8)||March 17, 2021|
Risk management performance measurement evaluation
Performance measurement evaluations provide Canadians with information on the effectiveness of risk management actions in place for substances found to be toxic under CEPA 1999. The risk management, human health and environmental objectives are systematically evaluated using robust data and expert analysis.
In 2020-2021, ECCC and HC collaboratively published Strategic performance measurement: Evaluating the effectiveness of risk management actions on toxic substances in protecting Canadians and their environment. It is a performance measurement evaluation strategy prepared in response to a recommendation by the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development in the 2018 audit on Toxic Substances.
In 2020-2021, performance measurement evaluation reports were published for the following 7 substances:
- bisphenol A (BPA) – ecological component
- pigment red 3
- butanone oxime (MEKO)
3.1.4 New substances risk assessment
Substances that are new to Canada require notification to the government prior to being imported into or manufactured in Canada.
- 297 New Substances Notifications were assessed pursuant to section 81 of CEPA and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers)
- 65 new substances risk assessment summaries were published online
- 56 waivers of information requirements were published in the Canada Gazette for new chemical and polymer substances
Forty-two pre-notification consultations were held to help companies better understand the notification requirements for their specific chemical or polymer before submitting a New Substances Notification.
Substances in products regulated under the Food & Drugs Act (FDA) 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, 62 notifications for chemical/polymer substances were assessed in 2020-2021
New substances in COVID-19 vaccines and treatments
The environmental and indirect human health risk assessments of new substances in COVID-19 vaccines and treatments were prioritized by HC and ECCC to match accelerated timelines for clinical trial applications and new drug submissions. Furthermore, HC expedited the assessments of all new substances in COVID-related products to meet supply demands in various sectors. To accomplish this objective without compromising the integrity of its assessments, HC developed a new information sharing process to facilitate the assessment of information as it came in and contacted drug sponsors at the earliest possible opportunity to provide tailored guidance.
- in 2020-2021, the assessments of 9 New Substances Notification (NSN) for new substances in COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and the assessments of 15 NSN for new substances in COVID-related products were prioritized and either completed within accelerated timelines or expedited and completed early
3.1.5 New substances risk management
When the assessment of a new substance identifies a risk to human health or the environment, CEPA allows the Minister of the Environment to intervene prior to or during the earliest stages of its introduction into Canada. In this case, 3 actions may be taken. The Minister may:
- permit the manufacture or import of the substance subject to specified conditions
- prohibit the manufacture or import of the substance
- request additional information considered necessary for the purpose of assessment
In 2020-2021, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change issued 11 Notices of Ministerial Conditions for 7 new substances and issued a variation to 1 Ministerial Condition for an additional substance (Table 11).
|Amides, tall-oil fatty, N-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl]||June 6, 2020|
|Sulfonic acids, branched alkane hydroxy and branched alkene, sodium salts||June 6, 2020|
|Bentonite, lanthanian||June 13, 2020|
|2-Pyrrolidinone, 1-butyl-||July 4, 2020|
|Amides, tall-oil fatty, N-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl]||July 4, 2020|
|1-Propanaminium, 3-amino-N-(carboxymethyl)-N,N-dimethyl-, N-C8-18 acyl||September 12, 2020|
|Bentonite, lanthanian**||October 10, 2020|
|Hexanoic acid, 3,5,5-trimethyl-, 2-ethylhexyl ester||November 21, 2020|
|Hexanoic acid, 3,5,5-trimethyl-, 2-ethylhexyl ester||October 31, 2020|
|1-Propanaminium, 3-amino-N-(carboxymethyl)-N,N-dimethyl-, N-C8-18 acyl||January 9, 2021|
|1-Propanaminium, 3-amino-N-(carboxymethyl)-N,N-dimethyl-, N-C8-18 acyl||January 9, 2021|
|1,2-Propanediol, dibenzoate||March 13, 2021|
* The dates are those on which the Notices were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
** Variation to a Ministerial Condition.
A Significant New Activity (SNAc) requirement can be applied when a substance has been assessed and there is a suspicion that significant new activities may pose a risk to human health and/or the environment.
- In 2020-2021, 4 SNAc Notices were issued for 4 new substances (Table 12).
|2-Alkenoic acid, methyl- , 2-ethylhexyl ester, polymer with hexadecyl alkyl-alkenoate, α-(methyl-oxo-alkenyl)-ω-hydroxy poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), octadecyl alkyl-alkenoate and polyhaloalkyl alkyl-alkenoate||August 8, 2020|
|Graphene||November 28, 2020|
|Siloxanes and silicones, di-Me, alkene Me, [(alkenedimethylsilyl)oxy]-terminated, polymers with hydrogen-terminated di-Me siloxanes||December 5, 2020|
|1,2-Cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid, 1-(phenylmethyl) ester, ester with 2,2,4-trimethyl-1,3-pentanediol mono(2-methylpropanoate)||March 20, 2021|
* The dates are those on which the Final Notices or Orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
3.1.6 Communications activities
ECCC and HC work together to communicate information to Canadians on the environmental and human health risks of substances of concern. Materials are published on Canada.ca and on ECCC and HC social media channels.
In 2020-2021, ECCC and HC continued to increase collaboration activities to raise awareness of the safe use and potential risks of chemicals. A variety of communications materials were developed and published to accompany the technical and scientific documents on chemicals. These products include information sheets, fact sheets, plain-language summary pages and social media campaigns. They provide supplemental and/or non-technical information about aspects of the program and about substances, for stakeholders and the general public.
The following communications activities and products relating to the health and environmental risks of chemicals were published:
- 24 ‘Information sheet’ webpage summaries of draft screening assessments and risk management scopes (where applicable)
- 20 ‘Information sheet’ webpage summaries of final screening assessments and risk management approach documents (where applicable)
- 4 ‘Information sheet’ webpage updates for performance measurement evaluations
- 15 ‘Information sheet’ webpage updates for risk management activities
- 5 plain language summaries for high profile substances
- 2 draft screening assessment summaries (decenes and quaternium-15)
- 3 final screening assessment summaries (phthalates, benzophenone, chlorocresol)
- 171 new substances notification assessment summaries on Canada.ca
Specific social media materials included:
- social media for phthalates: 2 Twitter posts (14 000 impressions), 2 Facebook posts (27 019 impressions) and 2 LinkedIn posts (3894 impressions)
- social media products related to the performance measurement and evaluation strategy for risk management of harmful substances and 4 performance measurement evaluation reports for lead, mercury, BPA and PBDEs
- social media products related to the Triclosan Pollution Prevention Planning Notice
- a news release and social media products related to the final science assessment of plastic pollution
- social media products for the guidance document for the notification and testing of new chemicals and polymers
Implementation of the new Healthy Home social marketing campaign has been ongoing. The campaign aims to raise awareness and to motivate Canadians to take action to protect themselves from the risks of chemicals and pollutants in and around the home. A mix of both traditional and digital marketing and communication tactics have been utilized:
- Digital engagement:
- 52 Facebook posts (837 799 impressions), 52 Twitter posts (458 093 impressions) and 16 LinkedIn posts (31 493 impressions) promoted the campaign and drove traffic to the Healthy Home website
- 4 new Healthy Home videos were published on the website in both English and French
- Media outreach:
- HC developed 18 plain-language articles addressing environmental health topics like asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon, lead, mould, chemical safety, and ventilation. These articles continue to be published by media outlets across Canada
- Delivery of over 90 virtual outreach activities across the country to increase Canadians' awareness of the health risks of chemicals in and around the home and to provide information for them to take action to protect their health and that of vulnerable populations
- The activities targeted intermediary groups such as caregivers, early childhood educators, health care providers, and parents/guardians. This allowed the information to reach subpopulations that may be more vulnerable to chemicals or have greater exposure, such as Indigenous communities, new Canadians, seniors, pregnant women, children and youth
3.2 Living organisms
Living organisms that are products of biotechnology are regulated for health and safety purposes by a variety of federal departments and agencies across the government. CEPA sets the federal standard for assessment and risk management of new and existing living organisms that are animate products of biotechnology. Other Canadian legislation meeting the CEPA standard is listed in Schedule 4 of the Act. Living organisms manufactured or imported for a use not covered by an act listed on Schedule 4 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.
3.2.1 Risk assessment activities
The Act requires that all 68 living organisms that were grandfathered to the DSL, because they were in commerce between 1984 and 1986, undergo a screening assessment to determine whether the living organism is toxic or capable of becoming toxic. ECCC and HC jointly perform the screening assessment of micro-organisms listed on the DSL. In addition, living organisms that are new to the Canadian marketplace require notification to the government prior to being imported into or manufactured in Canada.
Risk assessment of existing animate products of biotechnology
On December 5, 2020, a Notice of Intent to delete 22 masked strains from the DSL was published (see Table 13) in the Canada Gazette, Part I, as these living organisms do not meet the criteria prescribed in subsection 105(1) of the Act.
|Confidential substance identity number||Inanimate biotechnology product and living organism|
|18120-3||Bacillus species 1|
|18118-1||Bacillus species 2|
|18119-2||Bacillus species 3|
|18121-4||Bacillus species 4|
|18122-5||Bacillus species 5|
|18129-3||Bacillus species 7|
|18117-0||Pseudomonas species 1|
|18123-6||Pseudomonas species 2|
|18126-0||Pseudomonas species 3|
|18127-1||Pseudomonas species 4|
|18134-8||Pseudomonas species 5|
|18135-0||Pseudomonas species 6|
Risk assessment of new animate products of biotechnology
During 2020-2021, 60 notifications of new animate products of biotechnology were assessed under the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms).
For new substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, 36 notifications for new animate products of biotechnology were assessed in 2020-2021.
Also during 2020-2021:
- 32 pre-notification consultations were held to help companies better understand the notification requirements for their specific living organism before submitting a New Substances Notification
- 69 waivers of information requirements for new living organisms were granted and published in the Canada Gazette, Part I
Risk assessment of new higher organisms
The Voluntary Public Engagement Initiative on the risk assessment of higher organisms (for example, genetically modified plants and animals) was launched in 2018. This initiative promotes greater public engagement in the risk assessment of higher organisms. A public comment period was initiated in March 2021 on 3 new genetically modified fishes to inform risk assessments.
3.2.2 Risk management activities
When the assessment of a new living organism identifies a risk to human health or the environment, CEPA allows the Minister of the Environment to intervene prior to or during the earliest stages of its introduction into Canada. The Minister may permit a person to manufacture or import a substance subject to conditions, or may prohibit the manufacture or import of a substance.
In 2020-2021, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change issued 1 Notice of Ministerial Condition for 1 new living organism (Table 14).
|Coxsackievirus A21, Kuykendall strain||October 17, 2020|
* The dates are those on which the Final Notices were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
In 2020-2021, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change issued 1 variation to a SNAc Notice for a new living organism (Table 15).
|Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) bearing a single copy of the α-form of the opAFP-GHc2 recombinant DNA construct at the α-locus in the EO-1α lineage**||July 18, 2020|
* The dates are those on which the Final Notices or Orders were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
** SNAc variation.
3.3 Air pollutants and greenhouse gases
Air pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHGs) originate from numerous domestic and international sources, such as industry and transportation. CEPA provides authorities to develop and administer regulatory and non-regulatory risk management instruments to reduce the releases of air pollutants and GHGs.
3.3.1 Risk assessment activities
HC assesses the overall impact of air pollution on the health of Canadians on an annual basis. Health and environmental risk assessments of air pollutants underpin air quality risk management decisions made by federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. Comprehensive risk assessments are completed in support of decisions to establish or update Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) and sector-based assessments are conducted to inform management and regulation of air pollution sources.
In March 2021, HC published a new estimate of the health impacts of air pollution in Canada, reporting that air pollution contributes to 15 300 premature deaths per year in Canada along with 2.7 million asthma symptom days per year and 35 million acute respiratory symptom days per year. The total economic cost of all health impacts attributable to air pollution for 2016 was $120 billion (2016 CAD).
In June 2020, HC published a health assessment of the impact of traffic related air pollution (TRAP) on asthma, allergies and lung function and continued to assess the impact of TRAP on other health endpoints. HC continued work on a science assessment of the health effects of particulate matter (PM2.5) and began development of Health Based Air Quality Objectives for a wider suite of air pollutants.
3.3.2 Risk management activities
Different regulatory and non-regulatory instruments are available under the authorities provided by CEPA to limit and reduce emissions of air pollutants and/or 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.
Cooperation among governments is key in managing air pollution. The Air Quality Management System (AQMS), agreed to by federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers in 2012, provides a collaborative approach to reducing air pollution and improving the health of Canadians and the environment. The AQMS includes:
- Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS)
- local air zones and regional airsheds
- industrial emission requirements for several industrial sectors
- work to address emissions from mobile sources
- outdoor air pollutants monitoring program
- reporting to Canadians on the state of the air
CAAQS are environment- and health-based-standards that apply to the concentration of specific air pollutants in the outdoor air. They provide the drivers for air quality management actions across the country. ECCC and HC lead the process under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) to develop, review and amend CAAQS. Once agreed under the CCME, CAAQS are published by the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health as environmental quality and health objectives under CEPA. CAAQS have been developed for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
In 2020-2021, work continued on the review of the CAAQS for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The new CAAQS for ozone, published in 2019, will replace the 2020 standard and come into effect on January 1, 2025. The 2025 ozone CAAQS are more stringent than the existing CAAQS and will drive continuous improvement in air quality across the country.
Industrial sector emissions
The Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations (MSAPR) came into force in 2016 and established nationally consistent industrial emissions performance standards. The MSAPR limit 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.
On September 30, 2020, the final Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations Amendment Regulations (Part 1 - Biomass) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The amendments to Part 1 of the MSAPR clarify that boilers and heaters that combust predominantly solid or liquid biomass are excluded from the MSAPR.
For stationary spark-ignition engines covered by the MSAPR, the online reporting system was updated to allow regulatees to submit compliance reports for pre-existing engines. Emissions requirements for modern engines are in force with annual compliance reports due by July 1, while emission requirements for pre-existing engines began to apply on January 1, 2021, with the first annual compliance report due by July 1, 2022.
Oil and gas sector emissions
The first requirements under the Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector), came into force on January 1, 2020, in order to help fulfill Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions of methane from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45% below 2012 levels, by 2025.
Equivalency agreements with Alberta and Saskatchewan for these regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on November 7, 2020 (see section 5.3). It was determined that regulations in each of these provinces would lead to reductions in emissions of methane at least as great as the Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector) and with these agreements the federal regulations have stood down in these jurisdictions.
As noted in section 3.1.3 the the final Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds Regulations (Petroleum Sector) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations require the implementation of comprehensive leak detection and repair programs at Canadian petroleum refineries, upgraders and certain petrochemical facilities.
Vehicle and engine emissions
ECCC administers 6 vehicle and engine emission regulations and 9 fuel regulations under CEPA.
On December 23, 2020, the final Off-road Compression-Ignition (Mobile and Stationary) and Large Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations set performance-based emissions standards for air pollutants from new stationary off-road diesel engines and large spark-ignition engines. These Regulations repeal and replace the Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations. Emission standards applicable to mobile off-road diesel engines remain unchanged. The Regulations will come into force on June 4, 2021.
ECCC also collaborates with the California Air Resources Board, as per their Memorandum of Understanding, to promote and carry out cooperative activities on policy and regulatory measures that reduce emissions from greenhouse gases and air pollutants including from vehicles, engines, and fuels.
On May 18, 2020, a second interim order was made by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to delay the coming into force of the GHG emission standards for trailers in Canada under the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations until May 18, 2021. On June 6, 2020, a Governor in Council Order Approving the Interim Order Modifying the Operation of the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations (Trailer Standards) was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This allowed the department time to assess concerns received from Canada’s trailer industry on potential adverse economic impacts if Canada proceeded to implement the trailer standards without the corresponding standards of the U.S. EPA being in force due to legal challenges.
ECCC published the Final Decision Document on the Mid-Term Evaluation of the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations on February 12, 2021. The department determined that the standards for light-duty vehicles, which were aligned with the standards in the United States for up to model year 2026, were not stringent enough to meet Canada’s emission reduction and climate goals and that Canada should work with the U.S. to develop more stringent standards. These more stringent standards are expected to be finalized in the U.S. in December 2021. Canada’s regulations incorporate U.S. standards by reference and these more stringent standards will automatically apply in Canada once they are finalized in the U.S.
On December 23, 2020, ECCC published in Canada Gazette, Part II, final amendments to the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations. The amendments maintain environmental quality standards while re-instituting a temporary sulphur compliance unit trading system for the years 2020 to 2025 to provide flexibility to fuel suppliers as they complete their transition to production or import of low sulphur gasoline.
Regulatory administration of vehicle, engine and fuel quality regulations
ECCC administers a compliance program under the vehicle, engine and fuels regulations. This includes processing of regulatory reports and importation declarations; managing notice of defects and recalls; testing of selected vehicles and engines; analyzing fuel samples; reviewing production and import records of fuel suppliers; and verifying compliance with the regulatory prohibitions and reporting requirements. In 2020-2021, to verify compliance and identify non-compliance, ECCC program staff assisted the Enforcement Branch in conducting 5 major inspections at fuels facilities, which included a detailed review of regulatory records.
Some transportation regulations require companies to submit annual compliance reports documenting fleet performance and the quantity of products. Fuel producers and importers are required to submit annual reports on the composition and volume of their liquid fuel products, as well as corporate pool averages, as applicable.
During 2020-2021, the department received approximately 198 regulatory reports for vehicles and engines and over 1150 reports and notices for fuels. ECCC conducts an annual risk-based review of each fuel supplier based on the reports submitted. In 2020-2021, ECCC assessed 83 fuels suppliers and worked directly with 52 of those suppliers to address their reporting and administrative issues.
In 2020-2021, ECCC processed about 270 Canada-uniqueFootnote 2 submissions and almost 1835 importation declarations for vehicles and engines. Additionally, the department processed 100 notices of defect and recall notifications covering almost 462,402 vehicles and engines. ECCC continues to provide basic information summarizing notices of defect and other company notifications received.
The administration of the transportation and fuel quality regulations is supported by ECCC laboratory emissions testing on vehicles and engines, and fuel quality testing done in order to verify compliance with the regulations. Occasionally, private laboratories will be used by ECCC to conduct testing. In 2020-2021, the department conducted testing on 41 vehicles and engines, and conducted 146 analyses on 72 fuel samples.
During 2020-2021, the department published the 2018 model year light-duty vehicle GHG performance report and the 2017 model year light-duty vehicle air pollutant report. These reports, compiled from the annual compliance reports submitted by automobile companies, document the overall fleet performance for all model years since the regulations were first introduced in 2010 (with the 2011 model year) for GHGs and the 2004 model year for air pollutants up to the titular model year. The department also made available aggregated data related to 3 fuel quality regulations (the Fuels Information Regulations, No. 1, the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations, and the Renewable Fuels Regulations) reported by the regulated community for the 2018 and 2019 calendar years.
During 2020-2021, ECCC responded to almost 1143 inquiries regarding the vehicles and engines regulations and over 500 regarding the fuels regulations.
More information on the Government of Canada’s vehicle, engine and fuel regulations and data related to certain regulations is available online.
Clean fuel standard
On December 19, 2020, ECCC published the proposed Clean Fuel Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 75-day comment period. The proposed Regulations would require liquid fossil fuel primary suppliers (that is, producers and importers) to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of the liquid fossil fuels they produce in and import into Canada from 2016 CI levels by 2.4 gCO2e/MJ in 2022, increasing to 12 gCO2e/MJ in 2030. The proposed Regulations would also establish a credit market whereby the annual CI reduction requirement could be met via 3 main categories of credit-creating actions: (1) actions that reduce the CI of the fossil fuel throughout its lifecycle, (2) supplying low-carbon fuels, and (3) specified end-use fuel switching in transportation. Parties that are not fossil fuel primary suppliers would be able to participate in the credit market as voluntary credit creators by completing certain actions (e.g. low-carbon fuel producers and importers). In addition, the proposed Regulations would retain the minimum volumetric requirements (at least 5% low CI fuel content in gasoline and 2% low CI fuel content in diesel fuel) currently set out in the federal Renewable Fuels Regulations, which would be repealed.
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. In 2020-2021, new Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines were published for Acrolein and for Carbon Dioxide.
In 2020-2021, HC published fact sheets and web information on indoor air quality including:
- Protecting your indoor air from outdoor pollutants
- At home: Using ventilation and filtration to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19
HC’s air quality program also provided support to the Public Health Agency of Canada in developing guidance on using ventilation to reduce aerosol transmission of COVID-19 in residences and in long-term care homes.
3.4 Drinking water quality
Work on water quality under CEPA includes leadership on the development of guidelines for water quality. HC works in collaboration with the provinces and territories to establish a list of priority contaminants for developing or updating Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ) 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 GCDWQ 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 to manage the risk from drinking water.
Priorities for guideline development are established approximately every 4 or 5 years, using exposure information from federal, provincial and territorial sources and up-to-date science, international actions, as well as taking into consideration jurisdictional needs. A process for prioritizing the development and updating of GCDWQ was updated in November 2020. The list of priority contaminants was also finalized to form the basis for the workplan for the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (CDW).
New or updated GCDWQ are published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, while supporting technical documents are published on Health Canada’s website. The draft GCDWQ undergo a 60-day public consultation period and the final GCDWQ are accompanied by a plain language summary to increase the public’s access.
Also to support transparency, each guideline compares the standards of international agencies and key foreign jurisdictions. Note that drinking water values for contaminants may vary internationally due to a number of factors. All leading international agencies and jurisdictions consider the science that has been used by other agencies. However, each jurisdiction must also consider its specific climate, geology, industrial usage and other contextual factors when establishing values, thus accounting for the potential for different values in different jurisdictions.
Table 16 lists the guidelines finalized in 2020-2021 and those under development.
|Published final guidelines||In progress*|
* In progress refers to guidelines published for consultation
Waste generally refers to any material, non-hazardous or hazardous, that has no further use, and 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.
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.
In addition to the activities listed below, risk management actions described in section 3.1.3 on toxic substances also contribute to the overall improvement of waste management.
3.5.1 Plastic pollution
Plastic that is discarded, disposed of, or abandoned in the environment outside of a managed waste stream is considered plastic pollution. Plastic pollution has been detected on shorelines, and in surface waters, sediment, soil, groundwater, indoor and outdoor air, drinking water and food.
The final Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution was published on October 7, 2020. The report evaluates the state of the science and looks at the presence and effects of plastic pollution on the environment and human health. It confirms that plastic pollution is everywhere and is negatively impacting our environment. The Science Assessment established the foundation for taking action under CEPA.
On October 7, 2020, ECCC also published a discussion paper on A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution. It includes a proposal to ban or restrict six single-use items (checkout bags, cutlery, food service ware made of problematic plastics, ring beverage carriers, stir sticks, and straws) and commitments to establish minimum recycled content requirements for plastic products and to contribute to improving extended producer responsibility in Canada.
On October 10, 2020, a proposed Order to list plastic manufactured items on Schedule 1 of CEPA was published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1, for a 60-day public comment period. Adding plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 of CEPA would provide the Government with the authority to put forward regulatory requirements. All comments received during the consultation periods for both the proposed Order and discussion paper are being considered in the development of the proposed regulations.
These efforts are part of Canada’s comprehensive zero plastic waste agenda that includes a range of complementary actions across the lifecycle to transition to a circular economy for plastics.
3.5.2 Disposal at sea
Part 7, Division 3 of CEPA imposes a general prohibition on the disposal at sea or onto sea ice of substances. 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 low risk wastes. A permit is only granted after an assessment, and only if 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 1996 London Protocol, which is a more modern version of the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972. Canada reports the number of permits, quantities and types of wastes disposed, and results of disposal site monitoring to the London Protocol Secretariat each year.
At the London Protocol meetings in 2020, Canada led a group working to help other countries to monitor for effects of disposal in the marine environment, and supported technical assistance to bring implementation within reach of more countries. Canada continues to serve as a member of the London Protocol Compliance Group, which encourages and supports compliance and ratification of the treaty.
Disposal at sea permits
From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, 84 permits were issued in Canada for the disposal of 8.4 million tonnes of waste and other matter at sea (Tables 17 and 18), compared to 85 permits for the disposal of 9.3 million tonnes in 2019-2020. While the number of permits is slightly less than our 10-year average, the quantity of waste is significantly higher than the 10-year average. This is largely due to the permitting of a few major projects for port development and the continued need to remove dredged material from harbours and waterways to keep them safe for navigation. Also permitted was excavated native till (geological matter) that is disposed of at sea in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where on-land disposal options for clean fill are extremely limited. Fish processing waste was also permitted in remote communities where there is no access to reuse-and-recycling opportunities.
|Material||Quantity permitted||Permits issued|
|Dredge material||6 861 790||43|
|Fisheries waste||32 320||28|
|Geological matter||1 560 000||11|
|Total||8 454 510||84|
Note: Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.
|Pacific and Yukon
|Pacific and Yukon
|Dredge material||1 506 050||14||478 400||10||4 877 340||19|
|Fisheries waste||31 170||25||1 150||3||-||-|
|Geological matter||-||-||-||-||1 560 000||11|
|Total||1 537 620||41||479 550||13||6 437 340||30|
Note: Dredged material and geological matter were converted to tonnes using an assumed density of 1.3 tonnes per cubic metre.
The trends in the number of permits issued over the last decade is illustrated in Figure 5, with the number of permits issued remaining consistent in 2020-2021 with the previous year.
Figure 5: number of disposal at sea permits issued in each fiscal year by type of material
Long description for Figure 5
This graph shows the number of disposal at sea permits issued in each fiscal year from 2011-2012 to 2020-2021, by type of material: dredged material, geological matter, fish wastes, vessels, and organic matter.
|Type of material||2011-
The trends in the quantity of material permitted each year is illustrated in Figure 6. The quantities permitted continue to fluctuate from year to year. Building of infrastructure led to a high quantity permitted for both dredged material and inert, inorganic geological matter (excavated material) this fiscal year, similar to the quantities in the previous 2 years.
Figure 6: Annual disposal at sea quantities permitted (in millions of tonnes)
Long description for Figure 6
This graph shows the annual disposal at sea quantities permitted (in millions of tonnes) from 2011-2012 to 2020-2021, by type of material: dredged material, geological matter, fish wastes, vessels, and organic matter.
|Year||Dredged Material||Geological Matter||Fish Wastes||Vessels||Organic Matter|
|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||2880||1|
|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||4 993 950||1 137 500||39 644||0||0|
|2018-2019||7 218 250||1 959 100||35 220||6755||0|
|2019-2020||7 478 062||1 850 000||33 420||0||0|
|2020-2021||6 861 790||1 560 000||32 320||0||400|
Further information on disposal at sea is available online.
3.5.3 Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material
With respect to managing the movement of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, CEPA provides authority to:
- make regulations governing the export, import and transit of waste (including both hazardous and prescribed non-hazardous waste) and hazardous recyclable materials
- 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
- make regulations governing movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials between provinces and territories
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, Canada implements its international obligations as a party to the:
- Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Decision on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations
- Canada-United States Agreement on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste
On March 17, 2021, the final Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part II and came into force on October 31, 2021. These regulations repeal and replace the 3 current regulations (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). These new Regulations ensure greater clarity and consistency of the regulatory requirements, while maintaining the core permitting and movement tracking requirements of the former regulations.
In 2020, ECCC processed 2469 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. From the notices received, 2175 permits were issued.
The notices received covered 42,037 waste streams, which exhibited a range of hazardous properties such as being flammable, acutely toxic, oxidizing, corrosive, dangerously reactive and environmentally hazardous. Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the compilation of data on the transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material for both 2019 and 2020. As a result, the current report is providing an update on the transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material that occurred in 2019. Sufficient data for the transboundary shipments that took place in 2020 was not available at the time of publication.
At least 38,054 individual transboundary shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material were reported in movement documents received by ECCC for 2019. By comparison, in 2018, 32,765 individual transboundary shipments were done. It should be noted that these data are revised periodically as new information becomes available.
In 2019, almost all imports (99.8%) and exports (94.6%) of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials occurred between Canada and the United States. The remaining import exchanges occurred with Germany, France, Bahamas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia, while the remaining exports occurred with the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Belgium, Germany, and Austria.
The quantity of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials imported into Canada was 399,010 metric tonnes (t) in 2019. This represents an increase of 10,721 t or 2.8% compared to 2018.
Imported shipments destined for recycling totaled 249,874 t and represented about 62.6% of all imports in 2019. Imports of all hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials in 2019 were shipped to authorized facilities in 5 provinces: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Alberta. Hazardous recyclable material imported into Canada in the greatest quantities were:
- hydraulic fluids (used oil)
- spent batteries (lead-acid and lithium)
- metal-bearing waste
- sulphuric acid, spent
- corrosive liquids
- flammable liquids
The remaining 149,136 t imported were hazardous wastes (about 37.4%) and were mostly composed of:
- metal-bearing waste having as constituents any of the following: metal carbonyls, hexavalent chromium compounds
- waste tarry residue from refining, distillation and pyrolytic treatment
- wastes from the production, formulation and use of biocides and phytopharmaceuticals, pesticides, and herbicides
- corrosive liquids
- waste oils/water, hydrocarbon/water mixtures, emulsions, organic solvents
Figure 7 shows the updated trends in the quantities of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials imported from 2010-2019, as compared to those shown in the 2019-2020 annual report.
Figure 7: Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, imports, 2010-2019 (metric tonnes)
Long description for Figure 7
This graph shows the trends in the annual metric tonnes of both hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material imported into Canada from 2010-2019. The ratio of waste to recyclable material is fairly constant with waste imports approximately half the amount of the recyclable imports as shown in the table below.
|2010||146 499||217 663|
|2011||151 295||243 491|
|2012||101 796||243 434|
|2013||190 841||245 110|
|2014||159 008||221 354|
|2015||118 403||249 323|
|2016||118 130||258 984|
|2017||129 311||240 661|
|2018||146 832||241 457|
|2019||149 136||249 874|
The quantity of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials exported from Canada was 367 465 t in 2019. This represents a decrease of 10 850 t or 2.9% from 2018.
Shipments exported for recycling totaled 306 642 t and represented about 83% of all exports in 2019. Exports of hazardous recyclable materials in 2019 originated from eight provinces: Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland. The majority of hazardous recyclable material exported abroad for recycling included:
- sulphuric acid, spent
- batteries and other electrical cells
- waste oil/water, hydrocarbon/water mixtures, and emulsions (used oils)
- waste catalysts
- metal-bearing waste, waste from industrial pollution control devices
- treated cork and wood wastes
The remaining 60 823 t exported were hazardous wastes (17%) and were mostly composed of:
- waste consisting of or containing off specification or outdated chemicals
- corrosive solutions, sulphuric acid, spent
- waste oil/water, hydrocarbon/water mixtures, and emulsions (used oils)
- clinical and related wastes
- metal-bearing waste
Figure 8 shows the updated trends in the quantities of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials exported from 2010-2019, as compared to those shown in the 2019-2020 annual report.
Figure 8: Hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material, exports, 2010-2019 (metric tonnes)
Long description for Figure 8
This graph shows the trends in the annual metric tonnes of both hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material exported from Canada from 2010-2019. The ratio of recyclables to wastes is fairly constant with exports of wastes about 20% that of recyclable exports. Exports increased from 2010-2015, but show a steady decline since 2015.
|2010||70 740||357 627|
|2011||86 500||374 207|
|2012||91 847||413 614|
|2013||93 786||422 388|
|2014||94 601||436 608|
|2015||86 623||429 391|
|2016||63 513||349 412|
|2017||70 929||316 384|
|2018||63 094||315 221|
|2019||60 823||306 642|
Note: Data are revised periodically as new information becomes available. Therefore, information presented here may differ from information published in other reports.
3.6 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.
The Environmental Emergencies Division (EED) implements the departmental pollution incident notification system for persons required to notify federal and provincial/territorial governments of an environmental emergency or environmental occurrence (spill, release, etc.).
In the event of a significant pollution incident, the National Environmental Emergencies Centre (NEEC) oversees that response actions are taken by the responsible party to repair, reduce or mitigate any negative effects on the environment or human life or health that result from the environmental emergency. In the event of non-compliance, NEEC will work collaboratively with ECCC’s Enforcement Branch.
NEEC provides science-based expert advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in collaboration with other federal, provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, and stakeholders to inform actions that reduce the consequence of environmental emergencies.
- In 2020-2021, NEEC recorded 536 notifications involving an uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental release of CEPA-regulated substances into the environment.
The Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2019 came into force on August 24, 2019 and a new online reporting application was launched.
The 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 for prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in the event of an environmental emergency.
The 9 most commonly identified substances requiring E2 plans are propane, anhydrous ammonia, gasoline, butane, natural gas, chlorine, natural gas condensates, ammonium nitrate solid, and hydrochloric acid.
More than 3582 facilities from different sectors, subject to the Regulations, have registered in the new application and 2278 have already informed ECCC that their E2 plan has been brought into effect.
In 2020-2021, ECCC’s regional activities associated with the implementation of the Regulations included delivering presentations to the regulated community, and promoting and enforcing compliance with regulated persons.
3.7 Government operations and federal and aboriginal land
On November 11, 2020, the final Regulations Amending the Storage Tank Systems for Petroleum Products and Allied Petroleum Products Regulations (Miscellaneous Program) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The proposed amendments are in response to concerns, comments and recommendations from the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) regarding a lack of clarity and some inconsistencies in the regulatory text. These regulations establish technical standards for the design and installation of storage tank systems under federal jurisdiction and include requirements for operation, maintenance, removal, reporting and record keeping.
On November 14, 2020, ECCC published the proposed Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2020 in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The proposed regulations would repeal and replace the current Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003. The Regulations aim to minimize releases of halocarbons to the environment from refrigeration, air conditioning and fire-extinguishing systems that are owned by federal departments, boards and agencies, Crown corporations, or federal works or undertakings; or are located on federal or Aboriginal lands. The proposed revisions will address administrative, operational and enforcement issues and will affect certain businesses under federal jurisdiction in the refrigeration, air conditioning, and fire extinguishing sectors.
- In 2020-2021, 13 permits to charge fire-extinguishing systems with a halocarbon and 3 permits to install fire-extinguishing systems with a halocarbon were issued under the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003.
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