Compliance and enforcement policy for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: chapter 3

Key Elements

The full title of the legislation is "An Act respecting the protection of the environment and of human health in order to contribute to sustainable development", which clearly defines the purpose of the statute. Also, the Declaration of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 states that "the protection of the environment is essential to the well-being of Canadians and the primary purpose of this Act is to contribute to sustainable development through pollution prevention". The Declaration underscores the importance placed by the Government of Canada on prevention of harm to the environment and its commitment to sustainable development.

Key Elements

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 has the following elements:

Relationship between the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Health

The Minister of Health has responsibility under the Act to provide advice in relation to human health aspects to the Minister of Environment. Among the subjects on which the Minister of Health may give advice are the toxicity of substances, the ability of the substance to become incorporated into and to accumulate in human tissue, and the ability of the substance to cause biological change, as well as the human health effects of emissions and discharges from Canadian sources of international air or international water pollution. In addition, jointly with the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Health recommends regulatory actions for toxic substances to the Governor in Council.

Relationships with other governments under CEPA, 1999

(a) Administrative Agreements

Protection of the environment is a responsibility shared by all levels of government as well as by industry, organized labour and individuals. For this reason, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 gives the Minister of Environment the authority to conclude, with the approval of the Governor in Council, agreements with a provincial, territorial or aboriginal government or aboriginal people concerning the administration of the Act.

(b) Equivalency Agreements

In addition, the legislation allows the Governor in Council, upon recommendation of the Minister of Environment, to make an order recognizing that requirements imposed by a provincial, territorial or aboriginal government are equivalent to regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. This means that the province, territory or aboriginal government will apply its equivalent requirements, rather than the regulation made under the federal Act.

The areas of CEPA, 1999 which are open to an order by the Governor in Council declaring the requirements of another government to be equivalent to those developed under CEPA, 1999 are:

For the recommendation to the Governor in Council, specific criteria will be used to determine equivalency. The factors to establish equivalency will include:

In the annual report to Parliament on administration of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Minister is required to include a specific accounting of activities conducted under equivalency agreements with provincial, territorial and aboriginal governments. The same requirement is imposed on the Minister for activities that take place under administrative agreements with provincial, territorial and aboriginal governments and those concluded with aboriginal people for implementation of the Act. Agreements will ensure that provinces, territories, aboriginal governments or aboriginal people enforcing all or any part of the statute, do so in a manner consistent with this policy. In addition, the agreements will spell out procedures for measuring performance.

Page details

Date modified: