National Pollutant Release Inventory for Canada: final report, appendix 5


Facilitating public access to release data is a major objective of the NPRI, and to this end the Committee has prepared proposals on the means by which NPRI data should be disseminated. However, given the limited resources available to NPRI and the priority for getting the inventory up and running, the Committee chose to include only general recommendations in its report (please see section 4.14 and 6.4).

This appendix contains the Committee's detailed proposals on how NPRI information could be made available. These proposals require further discussion during 1993.


The public should have access to the NPRI data base by modem (possibly through the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety), through CD-ROM, and through a telephone support service. The latter would provide user support for the electronic versions of the data base, and respond to requests for a paper copy of specific information in the NPRI.

Information that is not confidential should be accessible. The public should be able to obtain release information for individual facilities.


The NPRI annual report should consist of 13 volumes or sections: a national report, 10 provincial reports and two territorial reports. The national report would contain information from all parts of Canada as well as inter-provincial comparisons. The provincial reports would contain more detailed information on the geographic distribution of releases within each province.

The introduction to the NPRI report should describe very clearly what the NPRI does and does not do.

The NPRI report should use figures and tables to present the data, accompanied by some discussion in the accompanying text. The use of maps to show the geographic distribution of releases should only be used in the provincial reports; maps showing the distribution of releases among provinces would not be very meaningful.

The NPRI report should be structured so that trends in releases can be tracked in future reports.

As a general rule, quantities of releases and transfers should be listed separately, rather than added together.


There are four variables that can be used to organize NPRI release data: by substance, by the receiving media, by the sector that is releasing (two or four digit SIC codes, as appropriate), and by geographic area. These variables should be combined in a variety of ways in the NPRI report (with releases and transfers listed in separate columns), as follows:

  • Environmental distribution of releases and transfers
  • Releases and transfers by province
  • Releases and transfers by sector
  • Releases and transfers by substance class
  • Environmental distribution of releases and transfers by substance class
  • The environmental distribution of releases and transfers of each sector
  • Basis of estimate for releases and transfers
  • The top 25 municipalities with the largest releases and transfers
  • The 50 facilities with the largest releases and transfers
  • The 10 parent companies with the largest releases and transfers
  • Environmental distribution of the 25 substances with the largest releases and transfers
  • Releases and transfers in each province by substance class
  • Releases and transfers of each sector by substance class
  • Off-site transfers sent out of province and received from out-of-province
  • Releases and transfers within each substance class by sector
  • The number of forms by maximum amount code for the top 25 substances (ranked by number of forms)
  • Releases and transfers on the basis of estimate by type of release and transfer

The national report should also contain a summary table (or tables if necessary) that would show, for each NPRI substance:

The number of facilities reporting the substance

  • The amount released
  • The percentage released to air, water, and land
  • The amount transferred
  • The reason for concern about the substance
  • The applicable federal and provincial regulations and/or standards, taking care to note those cases where an absence of releases makes standards unnecessary

The NPRI report should rank the NPRI substances by the severity of their impact and the quantity released. This could be done by showing the releases of the 10 or 20 substances of greatest concern; and/or the amounts released for the various types of impacts, such as carcinogens, bio-accumulating substances, etc. Some MSAC members have cautioned that such a ranking of substances may not be feasible.

The NPRI report should give information on the international and inter-provincial transfers of NPRI substances.

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