Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations: overview

These regulations were developed under the Fisheries Act to manage threats to fish, fish habitat, and to human health from fish consumption. They limit the deposit of harmful substances into fish-bearing waters by pulp and paper mills and prohibit deposits of effluents that are acutely lethal to fish. These regulations came into force on May 7, 1992.

This information does not in any way supersede or modify the Fisheries Act or the regulations. In the event of an inconsistency between this information and the official version of the act and/or the regulations, the act and the regulations prevail.

Scope of regulations

The purpose of these regulations is to manage threats to fish, fish habitat and human health from fish consumption by governing the deposit of deleterious substances from pulp and paper mills into waters frequented by fish.

Key requirements under the regulations

The Regulations set limits for the maximum quantities of biochemical oxygen demand matter (which consumes oxygen dissolved in water) and suspended solids that can be deposited from pulp and paper mills under prescribed conditions. The Regulations do not allow the deposit of any effluent that is acutely lethal to fish. The Regulations also contain requirements for mills to conduct environmental effects monitoring to identify effects of the effluent on fish and fish habitat.

The application of these requirements depend on whether the mill deposits effluent into water or into a wastewater system that is regulated by the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations.

Under these regulations, pulp and paper mills are required to conduct environmental effects monitoring studies to identify and investigate potential effects from mill effluent. They also impose additional requirements on owners and operators such as:

Related links

Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations annual report 2020

Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations annual reports 2019

Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations Status Report 2012

Fisheries Act Registry

Pulp and Paper Environmental Effects Monitoring Technical Guidance Document, 2010 (PDF; 3.93 MB)

Pulp and paper effluent quality environmental indicator

Management of Toxic Substances: Pulp and Paper Sector

Environmental effects monitoring

The Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management

The Red Tape Reduction Action Plan

The Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council

Contact us

Environmental Protection Branch
Industrial Sectors, Chemicals, and Waste Directorate
Forest Products and Fisheries Act Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 19th Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3

Phone number: 1-800-668-6767
Fax number: 819-420-7384
Email address: ec.refpppper.ec@canada.ca

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