Implementation guidelines for Environmental Emergency Regulations: chapter 9

9.0 Summary of the Risk Evaluation Framework

This section introduces the evaluation methodology that Environment Canada has developed and is using to evaluate the properties of chemical substances that would prove hazardous in the event of an environmental emergency, and to calculate the threshold quantity for substances listed in Schedule 1 of the E2 Regulations.

The Risk Evaluation Framework (REF) is designed to:

  • evaluate the risk posed by a substance to the environment and human health;
  • determine the need to add this substance to Schedule 1 of the E2 Regulations, based on the risk evaluation results obtained; and
  • calculate the minimum quantity (the threshold) for substances listed in Schedule 1 of the E2 Regulations.

Section 200 of CEPA 1999 is the authority that allows the Governor in Council to make regulations establishing a list of substances that, should they enter the environment as a result of an environmental emergency, might be harmful to the environment, or to human life or health. Section 200 also gives the Governor in Council the authority to prescribe a minimum quantity for these substances.

In 2003, when the E2 Regulations were published, the REF had not yet been developed. As a result, the substances in Schedule 1 (parts 1 and 2) were adopted from the Major Industrial Accidents Reduction Council (MIARC). These thresholds, therefore, were not generated by the REF. The rationale for the MIARC list focused almost entirely on human health and safety criteria (MIARC 2002; J.P. Lacoursière Inc. 2002). The first amendment to the E2 Regulations added substances from the Toxic Substances List (CEPA 1999), and other substances of concern.

The regulated list is not a static one. Environment Canada continues to assess CEPA 1999 substances and other substances of concern (reactives, pesticides, petroleum, biologics, etc.) for possible inclusion in the E2 Regulations. As part of this ongoing process, substances may be added to or removed from Schedule 1 of the E2 Regulations, or thresholds may be adjusted if new data show such adjustments to be warranted.

Please see Appendix 9 for examples of these calculations.

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