Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999
Annual Report to Parliament for April 2020 to March 2021:
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- 5. Administration and public participation
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, enables national cooperative action, and seeks to avoid duplication in regulatory activity among governments. The Committee was provided opportunities to advise and comment on initiatives under the Act. More information on the Committee is available online.
To carry out its duties in 2020–2021, the CEPA NAC held 2 teleconference meetings, on May 4 and September 2. The NAC Secretariat corresponded regularly with Committee members regarding various initiatives implemented under CEPA. These initiatives included opportunities to comment on and be informed of numerous actions taken under the Act.
Members were provided an opportunity to comment on:
- 23 draft screening assessments, seven of which included a Risk Management Scope Document
- 7 Risk Management Approach Documents published with a final screening assessment
- 2 Proposed Orders, 1 adding Plastic Manufactured Items and 1 adding Chlorhexidine and its Salts to Schedule 1
- 2 Notices of Intent to apply the Significant New Activity (SNAc) Provisions
- proposed Federal Halocarbon Regulations 2020 (FHR)
- Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution (extension on comment period)
- Consultation Document Related to the Proposed Removal of substances from the Revised In-Commerce List (R-ICL)
- Proposal to Renew the Federal Agenda on the Reduction of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer and Commercial Product
- Proposed Equivalency Agreement on the equivalency of federal and Alberta regulations respecting the release of methane from the oil and gas sector in Alberta
- Proposed Equivalency Agreement on the equivalency of federal and Saskatchewan regulations respecting the release of methane from the oil and gas sector in Saskatchewan
- Science Approach Document on Bioactivity Exposure Ratio
Members were provided with an offer to consult on:
- Proposed Regulations Amending the Sulphur In Gasoline Regulations
- Proposed Clean Fuel Regulations
Members were informed of:
- 22 final screening assessments
- 2 Final Orders, 1 to delete BNST from Schedule 1 and 1 to add Mitotane to Schedule 1
- Cross-Border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations
- Regulations Amending the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations
- Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds Regulations (Petroleum Sector)
- Final Notice Requiring the Preparation and Implementation of Pollution Prevention Plans with Respect to Triclosan in Certain Products
- Final Code of Practice for Methylenediphenyl Diisocyantes (MDIs)
- Renewal of the Environmental Performance Agreement Respecting the Use of Tin Stabilizers in the Vinyl Industry
- Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines (FEQG) for Lead, Quinoline and Strontium
- Release Guidelines for Disperse Yellow 3 and 25 other Azo Disperse Dyes in the Textile Sector
- Information Gathering under Section 71 of CEPA
- Reviewed 2019 National Pollutant Release Inventory Data
- Reviewed 2018 National Pollutant Release Inventory Data
- 3 Orders amending the Domestic Substances List to apply the Significant New Activity (SNAc) provisions of CEPA to various substances
- Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution
- Strategy to Systematically Assess the Performance of the Risk Management Strategies or Approaches of Toxic Substances in Canada
5.2 Federal-provincial/territorial agreements
Part 1 of the Act 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 20 indicates the administrative and equivalency agreements in place under sections 9 and 10 of CEPA and the activities under them during 2020-2021.
Table 20. Current administrative and equivalency agreements under CEPA by jurisdiction
|Jurisdiction(s)||Agreement||Description||Activities for 2020-2021|
|British Columbia||Canada-British Columbia Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement*||Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016||
|Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and British Columbia Regulations Respecting the Release of Methane from the Oil and Gas Sector in British Columbia, 2020||
Equivalency agreement (s.10)
Signed on February 26, 2020, and came into force on March 25, 2020.
While in force, 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
The following CEPA regulations no longer apply in Alberta:
|Canada-Alberta Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement*||Administrative agreement (s.9) 2016||
|Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Alberta Regulations Respecting the Release of Methane from the Oil and Gas Sector in Alberta, 2020||
Equivalency agreement (s.10)
Signed on October 7, 2020, and came into force on October 26, 2020
|Saskatchewan||Canada-Saskatchewan Administrative Agreement for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act||Administrative agreement in place since 1994 that deals with compliance promotion and enforcement of regulations pertaining to pulp and paper mills and ozone-depleting substances, as well as general information sharing
Partially amended by 2016 Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement
|Canada-Saskatchewan Environmental Occurrences Notification Agreement*||
Administrative agreement s.9 2016
Amended the 1994 Administrative agreement with respect to the notification of environmental occurrences
|An agreement on the equivalency of federal and Saskatchewan regulations for the control of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity producers in Saskatchewan, 2020||
Equivalency agreement (s.10)
Signed on May 3, 2019, and came into force on January 1, 2020.
|Agreement on the Equivalency of Federal and Saskatchewan Regulations Respecting The Release of Methane from the Oil and Gas Sector in Saskatchewan, 2020||
Equivalency agreement (s.10)
Signed on September 29, 2020, and came into force on October 26, 2020
While 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 Health||
Administrative agreement (s.9)
New draft agreement published - July 6, 2019
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 2020-2021 for an update on progress under this Agreement.|
|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, 2020||
Equivalency agreement (s.10)
Signed on November 14, 2019 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, Alberta, 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||
* 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.
Memoranda of Understanding between Canada and Quebec
In order to maximize the effectiveness of regulatory efforts and reduce the administrative burden on the pulp and paper industry, 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:
- Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent Chlorinated Dioxins and Furans Regulations made pursuant to CEPA
- Pulp and Paper Mill Defoamer and Wood Chip Regulations made pursuant to CEPA
- Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act
The Memorandum of Understanding continued to provide ECCC with real time access to historical and current data during 2020-2021.
On January 30, 2021, a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the federal government and the government of Quebec was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. The MOU sets out the terms of cooperation and the respective responsibilities to ensure the continuity in the transmission of air quality data and air quality forecast and smog warnings production for Quebec's Info-Smog Program.
5.3 Public participation
Part 2 of CEPA (Public Participation) provides for the establishment of an environmental registry.
The CEPA Registry was launched on ECCC’s 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 2020 to March 2021, the CEPA Registry website had 304 104 visits.
CEPA has many provisions requiring consultation and public comment periods for proposed orders, regulations and other statutory instruments, and requirements to publish information.
In addition, engaging stakeholders and the public is central to several programs under CEPA. For example, at various stages of the CMP management cycle, stakeholders are engaged and the public has the opportunity to be involved and to comment (for example, on proposed assessments of substances or groups of substances).
There were 55 opportunities posted on the Registry between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 for stakeholders and the members of the public to provide comments on proposed initiatives under CEPA. These include:
- 20 screening assessments
- 4 final decisions on assessments
- 6 results of investigations
- 2 proposed additions to the List of Toxic Substances
- 5 amendments to the Domestic Substances List
- 8 proposed guidelines
- 2 proposed Regulations
- 1 amendment to existing Regulations
- 2 notices related to equivalency agreements
- 2 orders declaring the application of specific regulations
- 1 proposed removal from the In Commerce List
- 2 risk management discussion papers
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 27 000 views in 2020–2021. Users can search by keyword and/or filters to find resources of interest. The P2 finder contains links to resources for:
- employees or volunteers
- homeowners or renters
- youth or educators
- businesses (including non-profit organizations)
- community groups
- health care facilities
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 HC and ECCC on scientific issues.
- The Committee held its final meeting of its mandate online on February 17-19, 2021 to discuss the evolution of risk assessment under CEPA. Meeting records and reports are made available online.
The goal of the CMP Stakeholder Advisory Council (CMP SAC) was to obtain advice from stakeholders and Indigenous partners for implementing the CMP and to foster dialogue with the government, and among different groups.
- In 2020-2021, the government hosted a final virtual CMP SAC meeting to reflect on an evaluation of SAC Members’ experiences throughout the current mandate, as well as to seek insight on some forward looking considerations. The formal mandate of the SAC ended March 31, 2021.
Also in 2020-2021, ECCC and HC laid the groundwork for consultations to be held in 2021-2022 on supply chain transparency and labeling. The objective of this work is to improve supply chain transparency and enhance mandatory labeling for certain consumer products, to give Canadians greater access to information about the substances to which they are exposed. Responses to the voluntary survey ECCC launched for Canadian industry stakeholders to help identify barriers and challenges to supply chain transparency for chemicals in products will help prepare for these consultations (see section 3.1.1). In addition, ECCC collaborated with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and industry partners to support the development and testing of distributed ledger (“block chain”) technology solutions for the secure sharing of data about chemicals within supply chains.
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