National Pollutant Release Inventory for Canada: final report, chapter 8


HARMONIZATION OF INVENTORY ACCESS AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The Committee believes that the NPRI should harmonize reporting requirements for a wide variety of emission inventories. In fact, harmonizing federal and provincial release inventories with the NPRI would lead to significant cost savings for industry and governments. It would also facilitate public access to release information.

There are technical and jurisdictional barriers to harmonization, but the Committee believes they can be overcome. The Committee recognizes the efforts made to harmonize inventories to date, and trusts that work in this direction will continue.

The Committee was particularly interested in the harmonization of inventories for nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulates. Provincial environment agencies currently collect information on these releases and forward it to Environment Canada. The Committee believes that such a harmonized, one-window system could save time and money for both reporters and governments.

Creating such a system will require new data-collection arrangements between the federal and provincial governments, and the Committee urges that these arrangements be put in place as soon as possible. Also, since these inventories collect far more detailed information than the NPRI, modifications will be required in order to achieve harmonization.

7.1. HARMONIZING INVENTORY REPORTING

The Committee recommends an evaluation of the degree to which data collection by Environment Canada and other federal and provincial agencies could be consolidated in the NPRI. To this end, the Committee proposes three steps:

  1. Identify all current and planned requests by all levels of government for release inventory data.
  2. Develop appropriate mechanisms with the provinces to harmonize provincial and federal requests, preferably within the NPRI. As part of this step, the Committee recommends that, starting in 1994, inventory reporting follow a common annual cycle. Thus, facilities would receive all inventory reporting requests, including that of the NPRI, at the same time.
  3. Where harmonization is not possible, inform stakeholders of the reasons.

7.2. FACILITATING ACCESS TO INVENTORY DATA

The Committee recommends that efforts toward harmonization should also facilitate access to inventory data. Ideally, the NPRI should contain information on releases collected through other inventories, thus offering the public "one-stop shopping."

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