Proposed Coal Mining Effluent Regulations: Overview

The Government of Canada is committed to preventing and managing pollution from industrial sectors.

Effluent from coal mines in Canada can be a source of pollution that harms aquatic life and specifically fish and fish habitat. The evidence of environmental effects is clear and Canada is moving to address the issue. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is developing Coal Mining Effluent Regulations under the Fisheries Act. These regulations will manage the threats to fish and fish habitat by limiting levels of harmful substances in coal mining effluent. Once in place, they will apply to the 28 existing coal mines in Canada and to all future coal mine expansions and new coal mine projects.

These regulations will implement national effluent quality standards for selenium, nitrate and suspended solids as well as requirements related to pH and toxicity. They will also set requirements for monitoring, reporting and record keeping, including environmental effects monitoring.


Given the importance of the Coal Mining Effluent Regulations, ECCC has released 5 discussion documents since 2017 to inform interested parties of the latest proposed approach and to solicit feedback before the publication of the proposed regulations in Canada Gazette, Part I. The discussion documents are available under the “Previous discussion documents” section of this webpage.

The proposed approach includes effluent quality standards for deleterious substances of concern, including selenium, nitrate and suspended solids. In addition, ECCC proposes to provide a 5-year status report on the selenium requirements, and to review the Regulations as a whole after 10 years. The status report and regulatory review will take into account the results from environmental effects monitoring and will also consider advances in selenium removal technologies. This work will inform future policy development and possible amendments.

Information sessions to discuss the January 2022 discussion paper were held in February 2022, followed by bilateral meetings with Indigenous communities until March 2023.

The proposed Regulations are targeted for publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I in Spring 2024, for a 60-day consultation period, with final regulations following about a year later, in 2025.

Previous discussion documents

Related links

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Regulatory Development and Analysis Section
Mining and Processing Division
351 boul. St-Joseph, 11th floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3

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