National Pollutant Release Inventory for Canada: final report, chapter 2


"To develop a better understanding of the nature and quantity of toxic substances being released in Canada, the Government will develop a national data base for hazardous pollutants being released, from industrial and transportation sources. The reporting requirements for industry will be established by 1992, with the first reports scheduled for public release no later than 1994."
The Green Plan

This report deals with the design of the data base for pollutants, called the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). The NPRI's benefits to the Canadian public, industry and governments will be to:

  1. identify priorities for action;
  2. encourage voluntary action to reduce releases;
  3. allow tracking the progress of release reductions;
  4. improve public understanding; and
  5. support targeted regulatory initiatives.

Since the fall of 1991, the NPRI Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (hereafter referred to as the Committee), has been developing an NPRI program for recommendation to the federal Minister of the Environment. The Committee is composed of representatives from industry, environmental groups, labour, provincial governments, Environment Canada and other federal government departments.


Environment Canada decided to use a consultative approach in designing the NPRI and, in September 1991, invited representatives of 10 stakeholders' groups to comment on the NPRI in general, and on the consultative approach under consideration. The stakeholders subsequently agreed to a consultative process for the design of the NPRI.

This was the origin of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee at the centre of the consultation process. Either directly or through work groups, the Committee dealt with the issues related to the NPRI design. Between December 1991 and September 1992, the Committee held five two-day meetings and approximately 17 work group meetings and conference calls.

The Committee issued its interim report in September 1992. This interim report, outlining the Committee's draft recommendations as well as issues it had yet to resolve, formed the basis for information sessions held in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Calgary and Vancouver. The Committee also received 12 briefs from stakeholder groups at this time.

Subsequent to the information sessions, the Committee met three times for a total of four days to consider public feedback and to formulate the recommendations in this report.


The Committee faced the challenge of reconciling members' differing viewpoints throughout its deliberations. Although it succeeded in achieving a large measure of consensus on the NPRI design, a number of issues remain either unresolved or require further work. Nevertheless, the Committee recommends that implementation of the NPRI begin in 1993, and continue in subsequent years. With this report, the Committee believes it has created the basis for an effective and efficient National Pollutant Release Inventory.


The substance of this report is organized into five main parts:

  • Chapters 2 and 3
    The agreed-upon purpose of the NPRI, and the principles underlying its design.

  • Chapter 4
    Consensus recommendations to the federal Minister of the Environment on the NPRI design for the 1993 reporting year.

  • Chapter 5
    Unresolved issues on which Committee members could not agree on a recommendation to the Minister of the Environment.

  • Chapter 6 and 8
    Consensus recommendations on issues requiring further study and the consultative mechanism by which work should be pursued.

  • Chapter 7
    Proposals for harmonizing the NPRI with other inventories.
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