Update to national implementation plan on persistent organic pollutants: executive summary

Executive Summary

The purpose of this Update to Canada’s National Implementation Plan (NIP) is to inform the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the public, of Canada’s plan for implementing its obligations with respect to the nine new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) added to the Convention in 2009. Each Party to the Stockholm Convention is required, under Article 7 of the Convention, to develop a National Implementation Plan (NIP) demonstrating how it will implement its obligations under the Convention. Canada submitted its first NIP to the Stockholm Convention Secretariat on May 17, 2006. In 2009, Annexes A, B and C of the Stockholm Convention were amended to list nine new substances. In accordance with Article 7(c) of the Convention, Canada has prepared this Update to its 2006 NIP outlining the plans and programs Canada has in place to meet its obligations under the Convention such as Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan.

POPs are toxic substances, predominantly human-made, which persist in the environment and accumulate within living organisms, including humans. POPs can be transported great distances, and subsequently, deposited in the oceans and freshwater bodies of colder climates, such as the far North of Canada. In addition to those POPs known to have been present in Canada’s North for some time, a number of “new” contaminants have more recently reached the Arctic, including two new POPs added to the Convention: polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). Domestic action alone cannot eliminate the impacts of POPs on Canadians and their environment. As POPs can be transported great distances, international management is also necessary in order to limit the amount of POPs found in the Canadian environment. International agreements like the Stockholm Convention help to reduce emissions from all countries, which can ultimately end up in Canada.

Canada’s initiatives outlined in this update include legislation, regulations, voluntary programs and standards, policies, programs and other related measures, including actions by Canadians to manage and eliminate these new POPs in the environment. Canada has already taken significant steps to reduce domestic sources of the nine new POPs through its authorities under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Pest Control Products Act (among others); through action under the Chemicals Management Plan; and via regulations such as Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Regulations and the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations. This update also outlines Canada’s National Action Plan (NAP) for reducing total releases of by-product emissions of pentachlorobenzene from anthropogenic sources. Finally, Canada continues to lend its expertise and resources to support information exchange, public awareness and education, research and monitoring, technical assistance, capacity building and reporting.

The Update to Canada’s NIP has been developed in consultation across federal departments and with provinces and territories. A draft of this document was also made available for comment by Aboriginal organizations, industry, businesses, environmental and health non-governmental organizations and the public. Canada remains committed to meeting its obligations under the Convention and continuing its contributions toward protecting human health and the environment from POPs.

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