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 reduce the risks 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.

Status

Given the importance of the Coal Mining Effluent Regulations, ECCC has released a discussion paper 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. This discussion paper follows four previous rounds of engagements with industry, Indigenous peoples, environmental non-governmental organizations and provinces since 2017. Previous 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 comprehensive discussion paper will be held in February, 2022.

The proposed Regulations are targeted for publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I in late 2022, for a 60-day consultation period, with final regulations following about a year later, in 2023.

Engagement on latest proposed approach

Discussion document

January, 2022: Proposed Approach for Coal Mining Effluent Regulations – Discussion Document

Information sessions

If you are interested in participating in information sessions on the latest proposed approach, please contact ermc-cmrd@ec.gc.ca by February 4, 2022 with the following information:

Submitting comments

Interested parties may submit comments in writing by e-mail to ermc-cmrd@ec.gc.ca by March 1, 2022.

Note: All personal information created, held or collected by ECCC is protected under the Privacy Act.

Participant funding

Funding may be available for representatives of Indigenous peoples and environmental non-governmental organizations to participate in the information sessions.

Representatives should submit an expression of interest to receive funding for participation in the information sessions, by e-mail to ermc-cmrd@ec.gc.ca, by January 30 2022.

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
Email: ermc-cmrd@ec.gc.ca

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