Pollution prevention federal action strategy: chapter 5

Actions Based on Principles

The federal government's pollution prevention action plan is guided by a series of principles developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

  • All Canadians are individually and collectively responsible for the quality of the environment, and should be involved in pollution prevention wherever they have the opportunity to do so.
  • All jurisdictions should cooperate to harmonize their individual approaches to prevention.
  • Voluntary action, regulation and economic instruments all have important, often complementary, roles to play in pollution prevention. All approaches for prevention should be considered, so as to use the most effective approach, or combination of approaches. Voluntary actions will be encouraged.
  • Pollution prevention should be considered at the earliest possible point in the development of any concepts, plans, policies, products, projects or processes.
  • Pollution prevention planning should be a continuing process, incorporating opportunities for improvement on an ongoing basis, such as new scientific and technological developments.
  • Prevention should apply to the entire lifecycle of a product, from resource extraction to final disposal (i.e., from cradle to grave).
  • There should be an ongoing effort to ensure that prices better reflect the full cost of pollution, in order to understand the real benefits of prevention.
  • Full use should be made of pollution prevention to achieve greater domestic and international competitiveness.

In addition, the federal government's strategy respects the Precautionary Principle that was part of the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development. That principle states that, "When there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation".

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