Performance indicators and national targets for environmental management of road salts: notice

Table of Contents

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

Issuance of the Performance Indicators and National Targets for the Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts in Canada.

Whereas on April 3, 2004, the Minister of the Environment published a Notice of the Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts in Canada in the Canada Gazette Part I;

The Minister of the Environment issues, under subsection 54(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the annexed Performance Indicators and National Targets.

December 23, 2014


Virginia Poter
Director General
Chemicals Sector Directorate
On behalf of the Minister of the Environment


1 - Context

The Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts was developed in 2004 to assist municipal and provincial road authorities to better manage their use of road salts in a way that reduces the harm to the environment while maintaining roadway safety. The Code specifies road organizations that use over 500 t/year of salt or who have salt-vulnerable areas in their territory to review their existing winter maintenance operations to improve practices and reduce adverse impacts of salt releases in the environment. In addition to developing and implementing salt management plans, road organizations are asked to provide, voluntarily, annual reports to Environment Canada on the progress achieved. A further requirement of the Code was completion of a five-year review to measure effectiveness of the Code. The Five-year Review of Progress was published in April 2012 and is available online.

Based on the review, Environment Canada recommended maintaining the Code and encouraged road organizations to continue improving their salt management. However, the review identified several actions that could be considered for the continued improvement in road salt management. One of these actions is to set national targets for the implementation of best practices against which performance of the road organizations and the success of the Code can be evaluated.

2 - Why national targets?

The main objective for setting national targets is to increase environmental protection. National targets will help monitor progress in specific areas of the Code.

At the time of the review, the lack of targets created challenges in determining whether the objective of the Code had been achieved. As such, it was recommended that the list of performance indicators for future evaluations be examined to ensure that they reflect key components of the Code and current techniques in winter maintenance. National targets would then be established against which performance could be measured.

National targets are a set of common goals that organizations should reach. The Code is voluntary, and goal setting in the salt management plan remains the responsibility of individual road organizations to allow for flexibility, according to an organization's size, resources and capability. This approach has resulted in a wide variability in progress between individual road organizations. Almost 10 years after the implementation of the Code, sufficient time has been allocated for road organizations to phase-in the required investment. All road organizations are expected to reach a minimum level of progress in best practices to prevent and reduce negative impacts from road salts; however, leadership to surpass these targets is encouraged.

Setting national targets offers transparency in expected performance level from road organizations for the future and provides a basis for conducting a second review five years after the national targets are established. National targets will assist road organizations in planning priorities and should improve the ongoing efforts of the provinces and municipalities in their salt management efforts. Road organizations are encouraged to continually improve even if they have met the national targets.

3 - Performance indicators and national targets

Seven performance indicators were chosen under four main activities of the Code (adoption of the Code, salt storage, salt application and salt-vulnerable areas.) Table 1 describes the performance indicators, unit of measurement, national targets for the next review and status as of the five-year review (2009).

National targets will evolve over time. Data for several other best practices are being gathered during annual reporting. Data collected over the next five years will be used to establish a baseline for future performance indicators that reflect the future best practices.

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