Environmental emergency regulations: reporting a spill or release

Section 201 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) requires that, when an environmental emergency occurs for any of the substances on the list established on Schedule 1 of the Environmental Emergency Regulations (E2 Regulations), except for those excluded under subsection 2(2), any person who owns or has the charge, management or control of the substance immediately before the emergency or a person who causes or contributes to the emergency, shall make:

  • a verbal notification as soon as possible under the circumstances to the authorities identified in the schedule of the Release and Environmental Emergency Notification Regulations (Notification Regulations) under CEPA 1999 or on the Report an environmental emergency webpage, which provide the regulated community and the public with the telephone number of the 24-hour authorities operating for the respective province or territory to which notifications are to be made, and
  • a written report as soon as possible under the circumstances to the relevant authorities designated pursuant to subsection 18(2) of the E2 Regulations.

In addition, you must take all reasonable measures consistent with the protection of the environment and public safety, including preventing, mitigating or recovering from any negative effects on the environment or on human life or health.

You must make a reasonable effort to notify any member of the public who may be adversely affected by the environmental emergency.

For the purposes of subsection 18(1) of the E2 Regulations, paragraph 201(1)(a) of the act applies only in relation to an environmental emergency that:

  • has or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment
  • constitutes or may constitute a danger to the environment on which human life depends
  • constitutes or may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health

As per subsection 18(2), as amended in 2019, the person who is designated to be provided with a written report respecting the occurrence of an environmental emergency involving a regulated substance is the Regional Director, Environmental Enforcement Directorate, Enforcement Branch, Department of the Environment, in the region where the environmental emergency occurs.

If you need to report an environmental emergency for your registered facility, please login to the Environmental emergencies reporting system using your GCKey credential and submit a Schedule 8. If you need to report an environmental emergency for an unregistered facility, you can submit your written report on an environmental emergency.

Information on what a written report must include can be found in schedule 8 of the E2 Regulations and in section 8 of the Technical Guidelines for the E2 Regulations, 2019 Version 2.0. You can also consult the fact sheet on reporting an environmental emergency.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: