Federal contaminated sites annual report 2015 to 2016

Executive summary

Established by the Government of Canada in 2005, the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) is a 15-year, $4.33-billion program. Its primary objective is to reduce environmental and human health risks and related financial liabilities from federal contaminated sites.

In Phase I of FCSAP (2005–2011), federal departments, agencies and consolidated Crown corporations (also referred to as custodians) made significant progress in addressing contaminated sites. FCSAP Phase II (2011–2016) was approved in the 2011–2012 fiscal year to continue this work for five years, with a focus on the remediation of the highest-priority sites. A third phase has been approved for 2016–2020. This report describes the progress made in 2015–2016, the last year of Phase II.

Nationally, federal custodians involved in FCSAP reported total expenditures of $278.5 million, including the custodian cost share in 2015–2016. This includes $7.3 million (3%) spent on assessments, $252.4 million (90%) spent on remediation and risk management and $18.8 million (7%) for program management activities related to federal contaminated sites. In 2015–2016, the program achieved the following results:

  • Custodians conducted assessments at 200 sites to characterize environmental conditions; of the 126 sites that were fully assessed, 58 sites (46%) require remediation or risk management, while 68 sites (54%) require no further action, as they pose no significant risk. The remaining 74 sites require further assessment.
  • Custodians conducted remediation and risk management activities at 374 sites, resulting in the reduction of risks to the environment and human health and reduction of federal financial liability; at 37 of these sites, the remediation process was completed. The remaining 337 sites require further work.
  • Approximately 1,350 jobs (person-years) were created or maintained, which is the equivalent of an estimated 5.2 direct jobs resulting from every million dollars spent on FCSAP projects.

Every year, the results of the FCSAP program are reflected in the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory (FCSI), which is maintained by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. At the end of 2015–2016, there were 23,070 sites listed in the FCSI. When the inventory from 2015–2016 was compared to the inventory from the previous year, the following progress was found: a 10% decrease in the number of suspected sites, an 8% decrease in the number of active sites undergoing assessment or remediation and a 7% increase in the number of closed sites, where no further action is required.

The FCSI includes federal contaminated sites that are not funded by the FCSAP program. In 2015–2016, approximately 85% of expenditures reported to the FCSI were attributable to FCSAP, therefore much of the progress was a result of FCSAP funding, which allowed custodians to conduct assessment and remediation work at their sites.

Contamination of federal sites may translate into liability for the Government of Canada, when certain accounting criteria are met. In 2015–2016, the total liability for the remediation of all federal contaminated sites increased by $463 million from $5.810 billion to $6.273 billion. Adjusted liability, an estimate of the liability for sites that may be eligible for FCSAP funding, increased by $914 million from $4.241 billion to $5.155 billion. Increases in liability can be attributed to adjustments for inflation, the recording of new liabilities for unassessed sites and revised cost estimates for the remediation of federal contaminated sites. Adjusted liability is expected to decline eventually, as fewer new sites are added to the federal inventory and more existing sites are remediated and closed.

For questions or comments on this report, contact:

FCSAP Secretariat
Contaminated Sites Division
Environmental Protection Operations Directorate
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 17th Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Email: ec.pascf-fcsap.ec@canada.ca

Abbreviations and acronyms

AAFC
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CCME
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
CSC
Correctional Service of Canada
DFO
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
DND
Department of National Defence
ECCC
Environment and Climate Change Canada
FCSAP
Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan
FCSI
Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory
INAC
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
JCCBI
Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated
LED
Lands and Economic Development
NAO
Northern Affairs Organization
NCC
National Capital Commission
PCA
Parks Canada Agency
PSPC
Public Services and Procurement Canada
TBS
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
TC
Transport Canada
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