Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes: annex 2

Annex 2: harmful pollutants

The purpose of this annex is to guide cooperative and coordinated actions to reduce or eliminate releases of harmful pollutants into the Great Lakes basin.

 

For over 40 years, Canada and Ontario have been working together to reduce or eliminate the release of harmful pollutants into the Great Lakes basin.

Under the 1994 Canada-Ontario Agreement, specific harmful pollutants were targeted for action and identified as Tier I Substances (chemicals targeted for virtual elimination or zero discharge from sources within the Great Lakes as well as for global efforts to eliminate out-of-basin sources) and Tier II Substances (chemicals that had the potential for widespread impacts in the Great Lakes or were already causing local adverse impacts). There have been significant accomplishments in reducing the presence of a number of these in the Great Lakes basin, including a more than 90 percent reduction in Canadian releases of mercury, dioxins and furans, and a more than 90 percent reduction in the amount of high-level polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in storage in Ontario. The concentrations of these chemicals are significantly lower in the sediments, offshore waters and fish of the Great Lakes.

Notwithstanding these successes, further efforts may be required to better understand the potential impact of some of these chemicals on the Great Lakes ecosystem and, where appropriate, to undertake new or additional risk management actions. Also, there is a need to address many other chemicals that are used and released into the Great Lakes basin, which are known to or suspected to pose an increased risk to human health or the environment. For example, by 2006 the Government of Canada categorized approximately 23,000 chemicals in commerce, in order to identify the highest priorities for assessing potential risks to human health or the environment in Canada. Many of these chemicals are being used by the growing population of the Great Lakes region and are being released into the basin.  

Canada and Ontario are actively engaged in programs and initiatives designed to assess and manage the risks posed by certain chemicals to human health and the environment. Federal initiatives include the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), which assesses and manages the risks posed by chemicals in accordance with federal laws, including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Food and Drugs Act and the Fisheries Act. International efforts under the CMP, for example the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants or the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, can contribute to reductions of releases of chemicals of concern from out-of-basin sources that are deposited within the Great Lakes basin. Provincial initiatives aimed at protecting human health include the elimination of stand-alone coal-fired electricity generation by the end of 2014, local air quality regulations, the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and a Toxics Reduction Strategy, which includes the banning of cosmetic pesticides.

This annex contains commitments to complete a status report of chemicals identified as Tier I and Tier II substances; establish a Canada-Ontario Chemicals Management Committee; establish a process to identify chemicals of concern in the Great Lakes and to cooperate on specific research, monitoring, surveillance, and risk management actions for these chemicals of concern; and take actions to reduce risks and impacts from environmental emergencies and spills, and from stormwater and wastewater contaminant loadings.

Goal 1: Consistent with the principles of this agreement, complete a review of chemicals identified as Tier I and Tier II substances under previous agreements between Canada and Ontario relating to the Great Lakes and continue to implement management actions in the Great Lakes.

Result 1.1 - Report on past and current research, monitoring and risk management activities and achievements related to chemicals identified as Tier I and Tier II substances in previous agreements between Canada and Ontario relating to the Great Lakes.

Canada and Ontario will:

Result 1.2 - Consistent with the principles of the agreement, continue to implement actions to manage Tier I and Tier II substances within the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.

Canada and Ontario will:

Ontario will:

Goal 2: Identify chemicals of concern in the Great Lakes basin and undertake actions, as appropriate, to reduce or eliminate their use and release within and into the Great Lakes basin.

Result 2.1 - A work plan is developed for achieving the goals, results and commitments set forth in this annex as they pertain to chemicals.

Canada and Ontario will:

Result 2.2 - Chemicals of concern are identified and periodically reviewed.

Canada and Ontario will:

Canada will:

Result 2.3 - Releases of chemicals of concern are reduced or eliminated within the Great Lakes basin.

Canada and Ontario will:

Canada will:

Ontario will:

Result 2.4 - Environmental quality criteria, which include guidelines, objectives, and/or standards, for chemicals of concern are established.

Canada and Ontario will:

Canada will:

Ontario will:

Goal 3: Advance knowledge regarding chemicals of concern for the enhancement or development of policies and programs to further reduce releases and mitigate risks.

Result 3.1 - A Canada-Ontario Chemicals Management Committee is established to foster coordination and cooperation on the management of chemicals in the Great Lakes.

Canada and Ontario will:

Result 3.2 - Research, surveillance and monitoring activities for chemicals of concern are delivered in a cooperative, coordinated and integrated fashion as appropriate.

Canada and Ontario will:

Goal 4: Risks and impacts resulting from environmental emergencies and spills, and from stormwater and wastewater contaminant loadings are reduced.

Result 4.1 - Joint spill prevention, preparedness, response and recovery efforts are strengthened.

Canada and Ontario will:

Result 4.2 - Contaminant loadings from stormwater and wastewater collection and treatment facilities in urban and rural communities are reduced.

Canada and Ontario will:

Ontario will:

Page details

Date modified: