Implementation guidelines for Environmental Emergency Regulations

Document information

Print version
Catalogue number (Cat. No.) En14-56/1-2011E
International Standard Book Number (ISBN): 978-1-100-19745-6

PDF version
Cat. No. En14-56/1-2011E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-19746-3

1.0 Purpose of the implementation guidelines

The implementation guidelines for the Environmental Emergency Regulations (“the implementation guidelines”) are intended for the use of any personFootnote 1 who owns or has the charge, management, or control of a substance listed in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Emergency Regulations (“the E2 regulations”). Such persons are referred to as regulatees. These implementation guidelines include the 2011 amendments made to the E2 regulations.

The implementation guidelines are designed to help you, as a regulatee, better understand what E2 regulations requirements are and how to comply with them. This document will provide clarification and guidance on important questions such as the following.

  • Do the E2 regulations apply to me?
  • How do I calculate on-site substance quantities and container capacity?
  • What are the benefits of E2 planning?
  • Do I need to prepare an E2 plan?
  • How do I prepare an E2 plan? What should it include?
  • How do I notify the Minister that I have the charge, management or control of an E2 substance?
  • How does Environment Canada evaluate chemical substances for environmental emergency hazards?
  • What happens if I fail to comply with the E2 regulations?

Other helpful information is provided in tables, graphics and references, located mostly in the appendices below:

  • Appendix 1 - useful references for preparing an E2 plan
  • Appendix 2 - information to be included in E2 notices, reports and certification
  • Appendix 3 - list of substances regulated under the E2 regulations
  • Appendix 4 - Environment Canada contact information for submissions under the E2 regulations
  • Appendix 5 - Calculation of substance quantity on site, substance quantity within a mixture, and maximum container capacity
  • Appendix 6 - flow chart detailing the new propane exception
  • Appendix 7 - notification and reporting of environmental emergencies under section 201 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA)
  • Appendix 8 - checklist helping in the preparation of an E2 plan
  • Appendix 9 - summary of Environment Canada’s risk evaluation framework (REF); the REF is used by the department to determine the level of environmental emergency risk posed by a substance, and to calculate the regulated threshold for the substance.

Important: The implementation guidelines are intended to provide contextual information on the E2 regulations  as amended in 2011 and CEPA. They do not replace CEPA or the E2 regulations.  Regulatees should refer to CEPA and the E2 regulations on the Justice Canada site to ensure they are in compliance with the law. Some provisions of CEPA and the E2 regulations have been quoted for convenience of reference only and have no official sanction. Should any inconsistencies be found between the implementation guidelines and CEPA or the E2 regulations, then CEPA and the E2 regulations shall prevail.

Further information with respect to these guidelines or the E2 regulations, are available on line.

2.0 Environmental emergency authorities under Part 8 of CEPA

This section provides information on the authorities granted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), and under the Environmental Emergency Regulations (E2 regulations).

The goal of the Government of Canada is to achieve “the highest level of environmental quality for all Canadians,” as stated in the Preamble to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. CEPA, paragraph 2(1)(a.1) also requires the Government of Canada to “take preventive and remedial measures to protect, enhance and restore the environment.”

Part 8 of CEPA on environmental emergencies (sections 193 to 205) provides various authorities to address the prevention of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from environmental emergencies caused by uncontrolled, unplanned or accidental releases, and to reduce any foreseeable likelihood of releases of toxic or other hazardous substances listed in Schedule 1 of the E2 regulations.

In investigating various measures to increase the safety and security of Canadians in the event of an environmental emergency, the Government of Canada has identified sections 199, 200 and 200.1 of Part 8 as important tools. These sections allow the Government of Canada to require the preparation of environmental emergency plans (E2 plans) for toxic or other hazardous substances. The primary objective for requiring environmental emergency planning under sections 199, 200 and 200.1 is to have the appropriate risk management practices adopted and implemented to reduce the potential risks associated with the manufacture, storage and use of toxic and other hazardous substances in Canada.

Schedule 1 of the E2 regulations contains a list of substances that, should they enter the environment as a result of an environmental emergency, may be harmful to the environment, its biological diversity or human life or health. Minimum quantities have been established for these substances at or above which the Minister may require notice of identification of the substance and place, as well as preparation of E2 plans under the E2 regulations.

There are strict penalties for failing to comply with the provisions of CEPA or its regulations. In sections 272 to 274, Part 10 (Enforcement) outlines various offences and penalties for contraventions of provisions of CEPA or its regulations, for knowingly or negligently providing false or misleading information, or for causing intentional or reckless damage to the environment or showing wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons and leading to the risk of death or harm to persons.

3.0 Benefits of E2 planning

Environmental emergency planning is not just about compliance with the E2 regulations. For today’s modern enterprise, effective planning for emergency events is an essential part of good business management.

When E2 planning is properly developed and implemented, benefits to the environment, human health and industry ensue. An industry-wide studyootnote 2 conducted by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers confirms that E2 planning provides measurable benefits by

  • saving lives and reducing human injury
  • reducing property damage costs, preventing the sometimes extreme costs of a major industrial incident
  • shortening business interruptions, which can be four times as costly as the property damage mentioned above
  • lessening loss of market share, which continues after an incident until the company’s production and reputation are restored
  • lowering litigation costs, which are unavoidable after an incident and can total five times the cost of the regulatory fines
  • reducing incident investigation costs, as well as corrective actions can cost millions of dollars
  • reducing regulatory penalties

E2 planning also provides non-measurable benefits by

  • greatly reducing the risk of catastrophic events, resulting in less severe incidents, which
    • engages employees at all levels by increasing morale, loyalty and retention
    • reduces concerns within the local community
    • helps regulators understand your facility’s credibility and unique considerations and
  • improving your corporate image
  • enhancing your lenders’ confidence, thus promoting capital expansion

An important step in E2 planning is the analysis of all kinds of risks found during the handling, storage, production process use or disposal of any hazardous materials. When the proper measures to eliminate or mitigate these risks are implemented, other benefits follow:

  • productivity increases while production and maintenance costs decrease, due to the correction of unproductive processes and the adherence to effective and well-timed maintenance procedures
  • lower insurance premiums may be obtained when meticulous emergency planning is implemented to prevent minor incidents and greatly reduce major incidents

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