Implementation guidelines for Environmental Emergency Regulations: chapter 2

2.0 Environmental Emergency Authorities under Part 8 of CEPA 1999

This section provides information on the authorities granted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), and under the 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 1999, 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 1999 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 1999 or its regulations. In sections 272 to 274, Part 10 (Enforcement) outlines various offences and penalties for contraventions of provisions of CEPA 1999 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.

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