Planning for a Sustainable Future: Health Canada's 2011-2014 Sustainable Development Strategy - 2012-13 Performance Report

October 2013

Cat.: H129-13/1-2013E-PDF
ISSN: 2292-4027
Pub.: 130409

Internet Component

This Internet component linked from Health Canada's 2012-13 Departmental Performance Report is intended to supplement Health Canada's performance against the 2011-2014 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy - 2012-13 Update.

Health Canada

Table of Contents

Introduction

The  Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA) requires that any Minister whose department is named in Schedule 1 of the Financial Administration Act prepare a Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).

Health Canada's 2012-13 DSDS Performance Report reports on performance against commitments made in Health Canada's 2012-13 Sustainable Development Strategy, which was published in May 2012. It outlines the Department's commitments and achievements in support of the  Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). It also complements Health Canada's 2012-13 Departmental Performance Report (DPR).

Health Canada is reporting on implementation strategies in three of the four FSDS thematic areas:

  • Theme 1: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality;
  • Theme 2: Maintaining Water Quality and Availability; and
  • Theme 4: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint of Government (also known as Greening Government Operations).

1. Health Canada and Sustainable Development

The fundamental link between human health and sustainable development was a principle in the preamble of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It states that "human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature." Consistent with these concepts, Health Canada is committed to supporting and contributing to the FSDS by delivering on its vision:

Health Canada is committed to improving the lives of all of Canada's people and to making this country's population among the healthiest in the world as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.

Implicit in this vision is the recognition that social, economic and environmental conditions play an important role in determining the state of human health, for both present and future generations.

2. Managing Sustainable Development at Health Canada

Health Canada integrates sustainable development in its policies and operations through:

  • its internal management structure (2.1);
  • its expenditure, planning and reporting system (2.2);
  • the application of analytical techniques, (2.3), and
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (2.4).

2.1 Internal Management Structure on Sustainable Development

Decisions about sustainable development and how such decisions are applied in the context of Health Canada's mandate are brought to Health Canada's senior executive committees for consideration and approval.

Health Canada offers training to support employees in the application of analytical tools that consider sustainable development principles. The objective of such training is aimed at promoting effective policy and planning decision-making that accounts for social, environmental, and economic factors inherent to sustainable development. Health Canada contributes to the federal approach to sustainable development by participating in standing and ad hoc interdepartmental working groups and committees related to the FSDS.

2.2 Integration with Health Canada's expenditure, planning and reporting processes

As part of the Government of Canada's reporting requirements under the FSDS, Health Canada has integrated its sustainable development achievements in the Departmental Performance Report and in this document, Health Canada's DSDS Performance Report. Health Canada outlines its commitments in its annual DSDS and the Report on Plans and Priorities.

FSDS implementation strategies that Health Canada leads or supports are fully integrated into the Department's Management Resources and Results Structure. As a basis for reporting, Health Canada measures and monitors its progress against FSDS commitments as follows:

  • Goals and Targets
    At the government-wide level, under the FSDS, various environmental performance measures, otherwise known as indicators, have been established to assess progress against the FSDS goals and targets. These are presented in the FSDS. Some indicators that address the goals and targets for Themes 1, 2 and 3, (air and climate change, water, and nature), have been developed by the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators initiative, with additional indicators coming from implicated federal departments. Health Canada identified specific indicators for some of its targets within the FSDS.
  • Implementation Strategies
    FSDS implementation strategies are generally more detailed and departmentally-focused. As a result, specific Health Canada departmental performance measures have been used to monitor Health Canada's progress in achieving its FSDS commitments.
  • Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government
    This involves government-wide targets for reducing the government's environmental footprint. Health Canada has established implementation strategies and developed methodologies to measure progress in this area. Details of Health Canada's Greening Government Operations (GGO) achievements are available in Health Canada's Departmental Performance Report and are also outlined in Annex E of this report.

2.3 Application of Analytical Tools and Techniques

Successful integration of sustainable development into policies, plans and programs is supported by the use of analytical tools and management practices that consider, compare and incorporate environmental, social and economic objectives with the aim of preserving similar benefits for future generations.

The tools most commonly identified and used to inform decision-making and to manage risk include: cost-benefit analysis; public surveys; workshops; risk assessment; advisory committees; and literature and case analysis. Risk management is embedded into Health Canada's evidence-based decision-making processes and provides reasonable assurance that policy objectives and desired outcomes will be achieved. Health Canada's approach to risk management is informed by Health Canada's Integrated Risk Management Framework. Health Canada's approach to risk management is also guided by the precautionary principle. This principle is identified in the preambles of two pieces of legislation and in the body of another for which Health Canada is responsible: the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the Pest Control Products Act.

2.4 Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, requires that policies, plans and programs requiring ministerial or Cabinet approval and that may have important environmental effects, require a  Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The Guidelines for Implementing the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals were revised in October 2010 and reflect the requirement to consider FSDS goals and targets when undertaking SEAs.  As a means of supporting these revised guidelines, Health Canada has:

  • continued to strengthen the application of SEA at Health Canada by considering the Government's environmental goals when developing Health Canada policies, plans and programs;
  • achieved full compliance with the Cabinet Directive for all Health Canada-led proposals seeking Cabinet approval, and
  • continued to pursue best practices on public reporting of SEA results linked to the FSDS goals and targets, to support the principle of making environmental decision-making more transparent. 

3. Health Canada's Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy: An Overview of Progress

Health Canada's DSDS provides an essential link between its programs and activities and the FSDS. Health Canada's DSDS supports the FSDS in three thematic areas:

  • Theme 1: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality;
  • Theme 2: Maintaining Water Quality and Availability; and
  • Theme 4: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint of Government.

Health Canada contributes to the FSDS by addressing environmental risks to human health and by seeking to shrink its environmental footprint.

With the exception of the GGO targets in Theme 4, Health Canada's contribution to the FSDS goals, targets and implementation strategies is achieved as part of its regular business.

The following provides an overview of the commitments Health Canada has made and its progress in meeting them. Refer to Annexes A to E for more detailed information on these commitments and their corresponding FSDS implementation strategies. The program performance status column of the "table of achievements supporting FSDS goals" includes a header of "ongoing" where the Implementation Strategy continues beyond this reporting cycle.

3.1 FSDS Theme 1: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality

As part of Theme 1, Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality, Health Canada continued work aimed at advancing knowledge and communications about health risks to Canadians regarding climate change and indoor and outdoor air pollutants. Included in these strategies were initiatives for improved performance through the development of guidelines, regulations for industrial emissions, chemicals management requirements for key pollutants and risk management of harmful substances.

Health Canada's work to address climate change and air quality is outlined in Annexes A: Climate Change; B: Air Quality; and D: Chemicals Management. As part of its DSDS, Health Canada committed to the continued pursuit of scientific research, risk assessment, monitoring and reporting of climate change impacts and air quality factors that affect human health. This information supported Health Canada and other Government of Canada bodies in developing protection, mitigation and response initiatives including: legislative and regulatory compliance; development of new regulations, policies and programs; and monitoring of and compliance with international agreements to which Canada is a signatory.

With respect to climate change (Annex A: Climate Change), Health Canada continued to provide guidance and expert advice to public health and emergency management professionals in the development of heat alert and response systems, as well as training tools for health professionals to reduce the vulnerability of communities to extreme heat. Health Canada also worked with First Nations and Inuit communities in northern Canada to complete research projects to address climate change and health adaptation.

With respect to air quality, Health Canada continued to pursue efforts to address both indoor and outdoor air quality (Annex B: Air Quality). Existing and new chemical substances are assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan for potential human health risks. (Annex D: Chemicals Management). Health risk and benefit assessments were completed to develop indoor and outdoor air quality guidelines and standards to guide risk management measures to protect human health, including regulations to reduce air emissions from transportation.

In addition, Health Canada communicated the risks to health from air pollutants to Canadians through the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and outreach activities. Health Canada also collaborated with other international and federal government departments to support international agreements for reducing health risks. Such international initiatives include efforts to address transboundary air pollution under the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement (1991), and the Gothenburg Protocol under the UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP).

Health Canada's activities on air quality conducted under the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda and climate change adaptation activities also supported Health Canada's sustainable development goals and targets in Annexes A and B as part of the Clean Air Agenda (CAA) as described in Annexes F and G.  Financial information on actual expenditures under the CAA for 2012-13 is available on Health Canada's website.

3.2 FSDS Theme 2: Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

As part of Theme 2, Addressing Water Quality and Availability, Health Canada continued to work with partners (provincial, territorial, federal, as well as international organizations) to develop and share guidelines and expert scientific advice on water quality. Health Canada also advanced knowledge and information concerning the management of chemicals to protect health with respect to water quality. Work was aimed at increasing the percentage of First Nations communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings. Health Canada's role continues to involve supporting increased capacity among First Nations.

Health Canada, as outlined in Annex C: Water, continued to help protect the health of Canadians by developing and updating health-based drinking water guidelines/guidance documents in collaboration with provinces/territories, which are used by all jurisdictions in Canada as a basis for their regulatory requirements. In addition, the Department updated the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality. Health Canada continued to maintain/update an interdepartmental guidance document for departments that have responsibilities for producing and/or providing safe drinking water in areas of federal jurisdiction. The Department also supported international organizations by sharing and disseminating scientific risk assessments on drinking water contaminants.

Health Canada collaborated with First Nations communities and other federal departments to continue to enhance First Nations communities' capacity to protect public health through access to personnel for monitoring drinking water quality.

In addition, under the Chemicals Management Plan, Health Canada continued to work with Environment Canada to reduce health risks to Canadians posed by potentially harmful chemicals. As identified in Annex D: Chemicals Management, Health Canada continued to assess priority existing substances and new chemical substances for which Environment Canada has been notified by industry of their intended manufacture, use or import.

3.3 FSDS Theme 4: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint of Government

As part of Theme 4, Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government, Health Canada has shown progress on a number of initiatives in support of minimizing the government's environmental footprint. A sampling of Health Canada's GGO initiatives include: the assessment of buildings and the implementation of actions to bring its facilities in line with industry-recognized standards; reducing on-road fleet related greenhouse gas emissions; and making more efficient use of printing resources.

Annex E: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint of Government provides additional information on how Health Canada supports GGO. It includes the three-year federal commitments, a brief description of Health Canada's 2012-13 achievements, and a link to detailed implementation tables.

4. Annex Outline

In support of the FSDS themes, Health Canada has organized its implementation strategies by program in recognition that some implementation strategies may support more than one theme (e.g., Chemicals Management).

Theme One: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality is supported by the following programs:

  • Climate Change (Annex A)
  • Air Quality (Annex B); and
    • Target 2.1 - Air Pollutants, and
    • Target 2.2 - Indoor Air Quality
  • Chemicals Management (Annex D)
    • Target 2.3 - Chemicals Management

Theme Two: Maintaining Water Quality and Availability is supported by the following programs:

  • Water (Annex C)
    • Target 3.10 - Drinking Water Quality - Increase the percentage of First Nation communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings by 2013
    • Target 3.11 - Drinking Water Quality - Help protect the health of Canadians by developing health-based water guidelines
  • Chemicals Management (Annex D)
    • Target 3.12 - Chemicals Management

The targets and associated Implementation Strategies information for Themes One and Two have been organized as follows:

  • Brief description of Health Canada's activities under FSDS Target
  • Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture
  • Relationship between the FSDS Target and the Implementation Strategy;
  • Description of the Implementation Strategy and the activities undertaken by Health Canada to support it; and
  • Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals, including links to the Clean Air Agenda

Theme Four: Greening Government Operations is supported by Health Canada's Internal Services.

  • Shrinking the Environmental Footprint of the Government (Annex E)
    • Targets 8.1-8.11

Theme Four information provided in this Report includes a description of the FSDS Implementation Strategies and key 2012-13 performance highlights. A link to Health Canada's 2012-13 DPR and the GGO Supplementary Information Tables has been provided.

Clean Air Agenda

Annexes F and G provide performance and achievements reports on Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) and Adaptation themes. A link to the financial information related to planned and actual expenditure on the CARA theme is available on Health Canada's Sustainable Development website.

  • Clean Air Regulatory Agenda Theme (Annex F)
  • Adaptation Theme (Annex G)

Annex A: Climate Change

1. Goal: Climate Change

Reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to mitigate the severity and unavoidable impacts of climate change.

1.1 Target: Climate Change Mitigation

Brief Description of Health Canada's Activities under this FSDS Target

Health Canada's climate change and health program assists public health and emergency management decision makers to address the health impacts of climate change (e.g. extreme weather events) through the identification of risks and vulnerabilities as well as providing support to enhance adaptive capacity.

Climate change and health activities support FSDS implementation strategies under the following theme:

  • Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality

Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture

Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality, Target 1.1 - Climate Change Mitigation relates to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture as follows:

Strategic Outcome 2: Canadians are informed of and protected from health risks associated with food, products, substances and environments, and are informed of the benefits of healthy eating.

  • Program 2.3: Environmental Risks to Health
  • Sub Program 2.3.1: Climate Change
Relationship between the FSDS Target and the Implementation Strategy - Target 1.1
Theme FSDS Target Implementation Strategy CAA Theme Link
1 1.1

Relative to 2005 emission levels, reduce Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020.

1.1.5

Undertake and deliver scientific research and reporting in support of regulatory and other programs, including data analysis, inventory development, monitoring, modeling and assessment of the effectiveness of efforts as well as research on options, costs and benefits, and technology assessments. (Environment Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada)

Adaptation/Heat Alert and Response Systems

Description of Implementation Strategy

1.1.5 - Undertake and deliver scientific research and reporting in support of regulatory and other programs, including data analysis, inventory development, monitoring, modeling and assessment of the effectiveness of efforts as well as research on options, costs and benefits, and technology assessments. (Environment Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada)

By preparing Canadians for extreme heat events, Health Canada is strengthening Canada's adaptive capacity to reduce the health impacts of our changing climate. While Health Canada's Heat Alert and Response System (HARS) supports adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, they do not contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Heat alert and response systems centre on efforts to alert health authorities and the public when hazardous conditions arise, provide advice on how health risks can be minimized, and offer assistance to those in need during emergency situations.

Climate change is expected to increase the risks to human health in a number of areas including air and water quality, extreme weather events, and infectious diseases. The extent of these effects depends on how quickly our climate changes, and on how well we adapt to the new environmental conditions and risks to health.

Extreme heat poses a growing risk to the health and well-being of Canadians as climate change is expected to produce a greater intensity, frequency and duration of extreme heat events. Public health and emergency management officials in several Canadian communities are already taking actions to reduce their vulnerability to heat-health risks. Communities and individuals are seeking information about the most effective ways to protect themselves, their families and those most at risk.

Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals

The climate change and health program provided guidance and expert advice to public health and emergency management professionals in the development of HARS, as well as training tools for health professionals to reduce the vulnerability of communities to extreme heat.

Building on the successful completion of the pilot HARS in four Canadian communities in 2011 and the release of a Best Practices Guide in Developing HARS in 2012, Health Canada continued to support the expansion of HARS to at-risk regions in Southern Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. Additionally, an accredited extreme heat and health e-learning course that provides continuing education credits for health professionals was successfully launched in the fall of 2012.

Table of Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals
Implementation Strategies Performance Indicators Program Performance Targets Program Performance Status
1.1.5 Increased application of heat alert and response systems by Canadian communities. By 2015, up to three new communities have implemented heat alert and response systems (HARS). On Schedule and ongoing:

Expansion of the City of Windsor HARS to the adjoining Essex County including the ongoing development of a province-wide HARS in Manitoba. Partnerships are being formed with public health representatives from targeted communities: Regina, London-Middlesex, Oxford County, Chatham-Kent, Ottawa, York Region and the Province of Alberta.

Annex B: Air Quality

1. Goal: Air Pollution

Minimize the threats to air quality so that the air Canadians breathe is clean and supports healthy ecosystems.

Under Goal 2, Health Canada supports two FSDS Targets, 2.1 Air Pollutants, and 2.2 Indoor Air Quality.

2.1 - Target: Air Pollutants

Brief Description of Health Canada's Activities under this FSDS Target

As a means of addressing outdoor air quality risks to human health, Health Canada's air quality program conducts research and assessments on the impacts of outdoor air pollutants on human health to support the development of regulations, standards, guidelines and other risk management actions.

Health Canada's activities under Target 2.1 support FSDS implementation strategies under the following theme:

  • Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality

Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture

Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality, Target 2.1 - Air Pollutants relates to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture as follows:

Strategic Outcome 2: Canadians are informed of and protected from health risks associated with food, products, substances and environments, and are informed of the benefits of healthy eating.

  • Program 2.3: Environmental Risks to Health
  • Sub Program 2.3.2: Air Quality
Relationship between the FSDS Target and the Implementation Strategy - Target 2.1
Theme FSDS Target Implementation Strategy CAA Theme Link
1 2.1

Reduce air pollutants in order to maintain or improve air quality across the country and achieve the emission targets which are currently under development, in consultation with provinces, territories and stakeholders.

2.1.2

Undertake scientific research and reporting in support of regulatory and other programs delivered, including data analysis, inventory development, monitoring, modeling and assessment of the effectiveness of efforts as well as research on options, costs and benefits including economic and social and technology assessments. (Environment Canada, Health Canada, National Research Council of Canada)

Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) - Science Integration, Accountability and Benefits of Action;
CARA - Atmospheric Pollutant Policy;
CARA - Atmospheric Research, Monitoring and Modeling; and
CARA - Health and Environmental Impacts of Atmospheric Pollutants
2.1.3

Communicate outdoor air pollution health risks to Canadians through the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI): Continue development of the AQHI and support implementation into additional census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The AQHI provides current and forecast air quality information and advice on health risks in order to assist Canadians in making decisions on how to reduce their level of exposure. (Health Canada, Environment Canada)

CARA - Data Collection and Reporting of Atmospheric Pollutants
2.1.8

Continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to develop and implement a coherent approach to managing air quality, including national ambient air quality standards and national industrial emissions requirements for key pollutants. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

CARA - Atmospheric Pollutant Policy;

CARA - Science Integration, Accountability and Benefits of Action; and

CARA - Data Collection and Reporting for Atmospheric Pollutants

2.1.31

Work with the United States to reduce transboundary emissions under the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

CARA - Atmospheric Pollutant Policy
2.1.35

Participate in negotiations for revisions of the Gothenburg Protocol under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

N/A

Descriptions of Implementation Strategies

2.1.2 - Undertake scientific research and reporting in support of regulatory and other programs delivered, including data analysis, inventory development, monitoring, modeling and assessment of the effectiveness of efforts as well as research on options, costs and benefits including economic and social and technology assessments. (Environment Canada, Health Canada, National Research Council of Canada)

This activity supports improvements to air quality and associated human health risks through research and assessment of the health risks posed by substances Canadians may be exposed to from ambient air and by supporting the development of ambient air quality standards.

Under the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA), Health Canada plays an important role in improving ambient air quality and protecting the health of Canadians through a broad range of activities. Research studies are conducted to determine what substances Canadians may be exposed to from ambient air. Health risk assessments on these and other substances are carried out in order to develop ambient air quality standards that are used by public health professionals and regulators to better manage air quality. Conventional fuels and their alternatives, as well as fuel emission management technologies, are assessed for any potential adverse health impacts from their use or introduction into the Canadian marketplace. Economic research supports the development of cost-benefit analyses for proposed government options to control air pollution sources.

2.1.3 - Communicate outdoor air pollution health risks to Canadians through the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI): Continue development of the AQHI and support implementation into additional census metropolitan areas. The AQHI provides current and forecast air quality information and advice on health risks in order to assist Canadians in making decisions on how to reduce their level of exposure. (Health Canada, Environment Canada)

Through the development and implementation of the AQHI, Health Canada provides Canadians with a tool to assess their potential risk associated with air pollution in real time on a daily basis and advice on how Canadians can reduce their exposure to air pollution.

The AQHI is a tool designed to help Canadians make decisions to protect their health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting their activity levels during increased levels of air pollution. It also provides advice on how Canadians can improve the quality of the air they breathe. This tool has been developed by Health Canada and Environment Canada, in collaboration with the provinces and key health and environment stakeholders.

This Index pays particular attention to people who are sensitive to air pollution and provides them with advice on how to protect their health during air quality levels associated with low, moderate, high and very high health risks.

2.1.8 - Continue to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to develop and implement a coherent approach to managing air quality, including national ambient air quality standards and national industrial emissions requirements for key pollutants. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

This activity ensures a coherent approach to managing air quality through Health Canada's provision of research, assessments and guidelines to provinces and territories. Health Canada's assessment of the potential adverse impacts of conventional fuels and their alternatives and fuel emission management technologies, as well as cost-benefit analyses for proposed government options to control air pollution sources support the development of national industrial and transportation emissions requirements for key pollutants.

Health Canada, along with Environment Canada, worked with the provinces and territories and other key stakeholders, to develop a national framework to manage air quality including developing new health-driven Canadian ambient air quality standards, local air zone management and emissions reduction requirements for major industrial sectors. Health Canada research and assessments provide the health basis and guidance for developing actions to reduce the health risks from outdoor air pollutants. Economic research supports the development of cost-benefit analyses for proposed government options to control air pollution sources.

2.1.31 - Work with the United States to reduce transboundary emissions under the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

A significant level of air pollution in certain areas of Canada can be directly attributed to United States industrial sources. Additionally, some Canadian industrial facilities contribute to air pollution in the United States. This Implementation Strategy relates to the FSDS target of providing a forum in which shared air quality strategies can be addressed and agreements to reduce emissions can be reached.

Health Canada collaborates with its partners (US Environmental Protection Agency, other federal departments, provincial and municipal governments, industry and business interests, non-government organizations, health professionals and academics) to identify and assess the negative impacts of transboundary air pollution on human health and contribute to the development of a framework for coordinated air shed management.

Under the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, Health Canada is involved in the development of a comprehensive air quality system which will lead to reductions in industrial air emissions and provide the basis for negotiating a Particulate Matter Annex to the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement.

In addition, Health Canada conducts health science assessments in support of regulations to reduce air pollutant emissions from industrial sectors; and coordinated science activities as part of the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement.

2.1.35 - Participate in negotiations for revisions of the Gothenburg Protocol under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

The Convention on LRTAP was signed in 1979 to address major environmental problems in the UNECE region through scientific collaboration and policy negotiations. The Gothenburg Protocol was added to the Convention in 1999.

Health Canada, as a member of the UNECE LRTAP Health Effects Task Group, provided advice and guidance into World Health Organization and European Union air quality initiatives, including the Gothenburg Protocol.

The Gothenburg Protocol will set emission ceilings for 2020 for four pollutants: sulphur, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and ammonia. These ceilings were negotiated on the basis of scientific assessments of pollution effects and abatement options. Some discussions are underway to incorporate black carbon (in the context of particulate matter) into the protocol. Other LRTAP protocols include persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals.

Target 2.1 Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals

The air quality program's research and assessment activities provided the basis for continued actions in 2012-13 to reduce health risks from air pollutants. In 2012-13, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) agreed to implement a new national Air Quality Management System (AQMS), which includes new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for particulate matter and ozone.

Development of these new standards was guided by the findings of the Canadian Smog Science Assessment completed by Health Canada and Environment Canada in 2011.  New health risk assessments have also been drafted, or are in the process of being drafted, for other air pollutants to guide future actions to improve outdoor air quality, including possible new ambient air quality standards.  Health Canada also participated in an international working group that guided the development of a World Health Organization (WHO) report on the "Health Effects of Black Carbon".

Significant new research studies were also initiated: (1) baseline monitoring to assess the impact of new marine fuel regulations on air quality in Halifax, (2) winter monitoring of exposure to air pollutants while using different transportation (cars, buses, trains) in Vancouver, (3) impact of ultrafine particles on cardiovascular health, (4) difference between pollutant levels measured at fixed monitoring sites and the levels to which people are actually exposed.

The AQHI continues to be expanded and is now available in all 10 provinces with 74 locations providing 63% of Canadians with access to daily and forecasted air quality information. Achievements regarding air health indicators (AHIs) also advanced, and in particular supported further refinement to the ozone and particulate matter indicators and associated cardiopulmonary mortality risk ratings.

Table of Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals
Implementation Strategies Performance Indicators Program Performance Targets Program Performance Status
2.1.2 Trend data shows improvements in air quality and health benefits. Baseline for air quality and health benefit improvements to be set in 2013-14. Following that, air quality and health benefit improvements will be reported every three years, by percentage change over the period.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2014

On Schedule and ongoing:

Baseline to be set in 2013-14 with reporting on results in 2016-17.

The air health indicators (AHIs) for ozone and fine particulate matter were further refined, including determination of trends in cardiopulmonary mortality risk nationally, regionally, by age and by gender. A summary report on these achievements was prepared for Environment Canada's Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative. Additional work included ongoing development of morbidity-based AHIs for ozone and fine particulate matter with a focus on national and city-specific risk estimates for cardiopulmonary disease, and a breakdown by age and by gender. The AHIs also provide some of the input to inform the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and the Air Quality Benefits Assessment Tool (AQBAT).

2.1.2
2.1.8
2.1.31
Number of planned regulations, standards and guidelines developed in support of risk management strategies, leading to improvements in air quality. Publish one particulate matter and one ozone ambient air quality standard in Canada Gazette Part I.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed and ongoing:

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) agreed to implement a new national Air Quality Management System (AQMS) which includes new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for particulate matter and ozone.

2.1.2 Number of assessments and studies in support of standards and guidelines by product type (assessment, study). Complete draft assessments for two criteria air pollutants and one multi-pollutant assessment in support of regulations, standards and guidelines for ambient air.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Behind Schedule and ongoing:

Health risk assessments for carbon monoxide and coarse particulate matter (criteria pollutants) underwent external peer review and a draft assessment for sulphur dioxide was completed.

A multi-pollutant assessment of Canadians' exposure and the associated health risks of air pollution related to emissions from individual industrial sectors is ongoing.

2.1.2 Number of assessments and studies in support of standards and guidelines by product type (assessment, study). Complete one health impact assessment of a selected fuel or transportation- related initiative to support policy and risk management actions.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed and ongoing:

Health impact assessments were completed for proposed regulations (published in Canada Gazette, Part I) to (1) limit greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from light duty vehicles (cars and trucks), and (2) for new marine fuel regulations.
Notification of the Biodiesel health impact assessment was published in Canada Gazette Part I.

2.1.2 Number of assessments and studies in support of standards and guidelines by product type (assessment, study). Complete three research studies to provide information on health effects of indoor and outdoor air pollutants.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed and ongoing:

Health Canada scientists completed and published articles in scientific publications for a number of research studies (7) on air pollutants and health.

2.1.2 Knowledge generated as needed on health impacts of air pollution using the Air Quality Benefit Assessment Tool. Air Quality Benefit Assessment Tool is successful in providing information on benefits of proposed air quality management options in support of objectives, standards and regulations.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed:

The AQBAT was successfully used to generate estimates of health benefits valuation associated with new regulations for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light-duty vehicles (cars and trucks) and a new marine fuel regulation and to guide development of new Canadian ambient air quality standards and new industrial emission requirements.

2.1.2
2.1.8
Number of knowledge transfer activities (e.g. citations, workshops, posters, peer reviewed publications, etc.) by:
area of focus (water, air, climate change); and target group.
Seven air quality knowledge transfer activities and provision of advice to internal decision-makers on a yearly basis for air quality.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed and ongoing:

CARA research projects produced 46 knowledge transfer activities, including 11 peer-reviewed publications, 14 conference presentations and 21 other activities that included client meetings, reports and the provision of research advice to internal decision-makers.

2.1.3 Percent increase in the number of Canadians with access to the AQHI. 10% increase per year in the number
of Canadians with access to the AQHI
(up to a total of 90% coverage)

Date to achieve target: 60% coverage by 2012-13

Behind ScheduleTable 1 footnote 1 and ongoing:

The AQHI is now available to 63% of Canadians in 10 provinces and 74 locations. Continued discussions to expand AQHI to Northern communities in Yellowknife, Yukon and Iqaluit.

2.1.8 Trends in air quality-related health outcomes. Baseline for air quality and health benefit improvements to be set in 2013-14. Following that, health outcomes and changes in benefits from actions to improve air quality will be reported every three years, by percentage change over the period.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2014

On Schedule:

Baseline to be set in 2013-14 with reporting on results in 2016-17.

The Air Health Indicators (AHIs) for ozone and fine particulate matter were further refined, including determining trends in cardiopulmonary mortality risk nationally, regionally, by age and by gender. A summary report on these achievements was prepared for Environment Canada's Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative. Additional work included ongoing development of morbidity-based AHIs for ozone and fine PM with a focus on national and city-specific risk estimates for cardiopulmonary disease, and a breakdown by age and by gender. The AHIs also provide some of the input to inform the AQHI and the AQBAT.

2.1.35 Participate in meetings of LRTAP working groups and provide advice, as needed, to LRTAP Protocol science assessment process for pollutant emissions. Participate in discussions to establish an emission level for black carbon component of particulate matter.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed:

Health Canada participated in LRTAP working groups on black carbon. Following from discussions held in 2012, the World Health Organization recommended that black carbon be used in risk management of traffic related air pollution, but no specific emission targets were set.

Table 1 footnote 1

In 2011-12, 60% of Canadians already had access to the AQHI.

Return to table 1 footnote 1 referrer

2.2 - Target: Indoor Air Quality

Brief Description of Health Canada's Activities under this FSDS Target

Health Canada's air quality program includes an indoor air quality component. Health Canada research and assessment activities support nation-wide outreach to improve air quality in residential and federal buildings. Health Canada scientists assess the exposure of Canadians to indoor air pollution; investigate the health effects of air pollution through research studies; and review scientific studies on the health effects of air pollution to assess health risks. Health Canada also leads in the development of standards and guidelines to reduce health risks, usually in collaboration with other federal departments and/or with provincial and territorial governments. Finally, it informs the Canadian public about health risks from indoor air pollution such as radon and mould and provides recommendations on how to reduce these risks.

Health Canada's activities under the indoor air quality target supports FSDS implementation strategies under the following theme:

  • Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality

Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture

Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality, Target 2.2 - Indoor Air Quality relates to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture as follows:

Strategic Outcome 2: Canadians are informed of and protected from health risks associated with food, products, substances and environments, and are informed of the benefits of healthy eating.

  • Program 2.3: Environmental Risks to Health
  • Sub Program 2.3.2: Air Quality

  • Program 2.6: Radiation Protection

Strategic Outcome 3: First Nations and Inuit communities and individuals receive health services and benefits that are responsive to their needs so as to improve their health status.

  • Program 3.1: First Nations and Inuit Primary Health Care
  • Sub Program 3.1.2: First Nations and Inuit Public Health Protection
  • Sub Sub Program 3.1.2.2: First Nations and Inuit Environmental Health
Relationship between the FSDS Target and the Implementation Strategy - Target 2.2
Theme FSDS Target Implementation Strategy CAA Theme
1 2.2

Help protect the health of Canadians by assessing indoor air pollutants and developing guidelines and other tools to better manage indoor air quality.

2.2.1
Conduct exposure and risk assessments and source identification studies to support guideline development on priority indoor air contaminants. (Health Canada)
CARA - IAQ Management - Biological and Chemical Contaminants
2.2.2
Create a database of indoor radon concentrations, map areas of high radon potential in Canada, test for radon in federal buildings in high-risk and radon-prone areas. The strategy includes a radon awareness program. (Health Canada)
CARA - IAQ Management - Radioactive Contaminants
2.2.3
Implement the health promotion campaign on mould as part of the National Strategy to Address Mould in First Nations Communities. (Health Canada)
N/A

Descriptions of Implementation Strategies

2.2.1 - Conduct exposure and risk assessments and source identification studies to support guideline development on priority indoor air contaminants. (Health Canada)

Under this activity, Health Canada develops guidelines and standards to better manage indoor air quality and provides advice to public health professionals and Canadians on how exposure to air pollutants can be reduced.

Health Canada plays an important role in improving indoor air quality and protecting the health of Canadians through a broad range of activities. Research studies are conducted to determine what substances Canadians may be exposed to in their homes or other indoor environments. Health risk assessments on these and other substances are carried out in order to develop indoor air quality guidelines that are used by public health professionals and regulators to better manage air quality. Communications products are developed for the general public and public health professionals and include recommended actions aimed at improving indoor air quality.

2.2.2 - Create a database of indoor radon concentrations, map areas of high radon potential in Canada, test for radon in federal buildings in high-risk and radon-prone areas. The strategy includes a radon awareness program. (Health Canada)

Testing for radon in federal buildings, raising public awareness of risks and health impacts and disseminating information to mitigate the risk of radon exposure are activities that Health Canada is undertaking to support improved indoor air quality.

The Implementation Strategy is comprised of two primary components:

  1. Testing of radon in federal buildings located in high risk radon-prone areas. By testing for radon in approximately 10,000 federal sites located in known and/or potentially high-risk radon areas, it is expected there will be increased knowledge of risks, health impacts and mitigation strategies related to radon.
  2. Radon education and awareness program. Through the design, implementation and coordination of a broad-based public awareness and education campaign, the Department aims to improve public awareness of health risks and causes of elevated radon, and inform Canadians of strategies to reduce their risk. The Health Canada radon awareness program focuses on raising awareness of radon and the potential health risks from exposure, as well as encouraging Canadians to test their homes and to reduce radon levels, if necessary.

In addition, a database of indoor radon concentrations will be developed and will be updated as new information is acquired from residential surveys, radon measurement service providers and members of the public.

2.2.3 - Implement the health promotion campaign on mould as part of the National Strategy to Address Mould in First Nations Communities. (Health Canada)

Health Canada considers mould growth in residential buildings to be a potential health hazard. People living in buildings where mould grows are more likely to suffer from health problems, especially symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and headaches. Asthmatics are especially at risk as mould may trigger asthma attacks. People respond to mould in different ways depending on the amount of exposure and the person's overall health. While this issue can impact the health of all Canadians, Health Canada has a specific role with respect to First Nations communities.

First Nations residents who are better informed about mould are able to take appropriate actions to prevent mould growth, remediate as needed, and minimize the potential risks to their health and that of their family members.

In order to enhance public awareness and knowledge of mould issues and increase the confidence of First Nations residents in their ability to do simple actions to prevent, or remediate mould in their homes, Health Canada develops and distributes mould communication products as part of the health promotion campaign on mould.

Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals

In 2012-13, Health Canada continued to increase awareness about the health risks of indoor air pollutants, and to provide science-based guidance for actions to reduce them.

Health Canada assessed the risks of indoor air pollutants and published two new Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for benzene and naphthalene to go along with previously published guidelines on toluene, fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide (CO), ozone, formaldehyde and mould.  In 2011-12, a new methodology was developed to more rapidly assess the health risks of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a large and diverse family of indoor air pollutants.  This new method was applied to 20 individual VOCs to produce indoor air reference levels that can serve as a health basis for the development of standards to limit VOC emissions from products.

Indoor air quality continued to be a main focus of Health Canada communications activities through the Hazardcheck campaign, the new Our Health, Our Environment: A Snapshot of Environmental Health in Canada and the National Radon Awareness Campaign.

In addition to the 2,000 buildings tested in 2011-12, an additional 2,600 high priority federal buildings in high-risk, radon-prone areas were tested for radon levels in 2012-13 bringing the total to 4,600 buildings over two years. Since the start of the program in 2007, 12,000 high priority federal buildings have been tested for radon. In support of the National Radon Awareness Campaign, a radon proactive media relations campaign was successfully executed resulting in an increase in national media pick up and coverage in 2012-2013 compared to the previous year.  Radon brochure distribution increased by 100%, visits to the radon web pages increased by over 100% and radon public inquiries increased by 43% as compared to 2011-2012. Health Canada also published two new radon videos: Radon Testing- The Only Way to Know and Reducing Radon in your Home.

Two targets related to Implementation Strategy 2.2.2 that were reported as behind schedule in 2011-12, namely, the development of a protocol for mapping radon potential using numerous data parameters, and a map of radon potential in southern Ontario using this protocol are nearing completion.  Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), which has expertise in geological mapping not possessed by Health Canada, had been the lead on these projects, and has produced a draft of the southern Ontario map with a final version in preparation. This map publication will include a detailed description of the protocol NRCan developed for radon potential mapping.

An assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the health promotion campaign under the National Strategy to Address Mould in First Nations communities was delayed. The assessment was to be a joint collaboration between Health Canada and the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC), with the CMHC as the lead. The CMHC is rethinking its approach and the activity has been postponed to 2013-14.

Table of Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals
Implementation Strategies Performance Indicators Program Performance Targets Program Performance Status
2.2.1 Number of planned regulations, standards and guidelines developed in support of risk management strategies, leading to improvements in air quality. Publish at least two indoor air guidelines in Canada Gazette, Part I, for consultation. Completed and Ongoing:

Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for naphthalene and benzene were published for public comment in Canada Gazette, Part I.  A final Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline for fine particulate matter was also published.

Number of planned risk management strategies incorporated in building codes, and communicated through targeted information products, thereby reducing risks to health.

Develop at least two communication products to inform Canadians.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Indoor air quality continued to be a main focus of communications activities through, for example, the Hazardcheck: Hazards in Your Home campaign, a new publication, titled, Our Health, Our Environment: A Snapshot of Environmental Health in Canada.

Number of assessments and studies in support of standards and guidelines by: product type (assessment, study). Complete three assessments in support of guidelines and other risk management strategies for indoor air.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed and ongoing:

Twenty individual volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were assessed in 2012-13.   These assessments can serve as a basis for the development of standards to limit VOC emissions from products.

2.2.2 Number of federal buildings tested for radon by 2012-13. 2,000 federal buildings tested by 2012-13. Completed:

2,600 federal buildings were tested in 2012-13.

Number of hits on Health Canada radon web page

10% increase over each previous year. Date to achieve target: Ongoing (data to be assessed on an annual basis) Completed:

Over 100% increase in page views (102,123) to the radon web pages.

Number of public inquiries

43% increase in public inquiries (1,022 public inquiries).

Number of downloads of Radon: A Guide for Canadian Homeowners

Radon: A Guide for Canadian Homeowners was discontinued by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in 2012-13. It is being replaced by a new Health Canada guide in 2013-14.

Number of brochures and fact sheets distributed.

100% increase in radon brochure distribution (>920,000 radon brochures and factsheets were distributed).

Percent of data inputted into database.

100% of data received inputted by end of fiscal year.

Completed and ongoing:

100% of data received or generated for the National Radon Program has been inputted into the database of indoor radon results.

2.2.3 Health Canada will conduct an evaluation to assess the campaign's success in meeting its objectives.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Behind Schedule:

The assessment was to be a joint collaboration between Health Canada and CMHC with CMHC as the lead. The CMHC is rethinking its approach and the activity is postponed to 2013-14.

Annex C: Water

3. Goal: Water Quality

Protect and enhance the quality of water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems.

3.10 - Target: Drinking Water Quality - Increase the percentage of First Nation communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings by 2013

Brief Description of Health Canada's Activities under this FSDS Target

Health Canada works with First Nations communities with the aim of ensuring that drinking water quality monitoring programs are in place in their communities. The review, interpretation and dissemination of water test results as well as the sharing of information products with First Nations communities are aimed at increasing the capacity and confidence of First Nations residents concerning the safety of their water supply.

Drinking water quality activities support FSDS implementation strategies under the following theme:

  • Theme 2 - Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture

As First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan funding was originally only available until 2011-12, the Implementation Strategy did not extend for the entire three years of the FSDS. Budget 2012 has since identified an extension of this programming until March 31, 2014.

Theme 2 - Maintaining Water Quality and Availability, Target 3.10 - Drinking Water Quality relates to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture as follows:

Strategic Outcome 3: First Nations and Inuit communities and individuals receive health services and benefits that are responsive to their needs so as to improve their health status.

  • Program 3.1: First Nations and Inuit Primary Health Care
  • Sub Program 3.1.2: First Nations and Inuit Public Health Protection
  • Sub Sub Program 3.1.2.2: First Nations and Inuit Environmental Health
Relationship between the FSDS Target and the Implementation Strategy - Target 3.10
Theme FSDS Target Implementation Strategy
2 3.10

Increase the percentage of First Nations communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility risk ratings by 2013. (Health Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada)

3.10.3 - Work with First Nations communities to increase the frequency of testing drinking water quality. (Health Canada)
3.10.6 - Continue to enhance capacity to monitor drinking water quality in First Nations communities to protect public health:
  • 3.10.6.1 - Support all First Nations communities in ensuring access to a trained Community-Based Water Monitor (CBWM) or Environmental Health Officer (EHO). (Health Canada)
  • 3.10.6.2 - Support all First Nations communities in monitoring drinking water quality as per the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ). (Health Canada)
3.10.8 - Continue to provide First Nations with communications products to enhance public awareness and knowledge as well as increase the confidence of First Nations residents about the safety of their drinking water supply. (Health Canada)

Descriptions of Implementation Strategies

3.10.3 - Work with First Nations communities to increase the frequency of testing drinking water quality.

There is an indirect relationship between this Implementation Strategy and the target. Over time, by working with First Nations communities to identify challenges with meeting recommended testing frequencies, and to implement appropriate actions, Health Canada will increase the frequency of drinking water quality testing at tap. Regular testing of drinking water quality offers timely identification of potential problems with drinking water quality, minimizing potential risks to public health and therefore contributing to increasing the percentage of First Nations communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility ratings.

Health Canada assists First Nations communities in establishing drinking water quality monitoring programs. This includes:

  • verification monitoring of the overall quality of drinking water at tap, and reviewing, interpreting and disseminating results to First Nations;
  • providing advice, guidance and recommendations for First Nations communities about drinking water safety and safe disposal of onsite domestic sewage; and
  • reviewing water and wastewater infrastructure project proposals from a public health perspective.

Health Canada aims to ensure that drinking water quality in First Nations communities is tested as per the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ). The latest edition of the GCDWQ set out the basic parameters all drinking water systems should strive to achieve in order to deliver clean, safe and reliable drinking water at tap. Although the overall frequency of drinking water quality testing as per the GCDWQ in First Nations distribution systems has increased over the last few years, not all distribution systems are tested at the frequencies recommended in the GCDWQ.

In order to increase the frequency of drinking water quality testing, Health Canada continues to work with First Nations communities to identify challenges with meeting recommended testing frequencies and implementing appropriate actions.

3.10.6 - Continue to enhance capacity to monitor drinking water quality in First Nations communities to protect public health:

3.10.6.1 - Support all First Nations communities in ensuring access to a trained Community-Based Water Monitor (CBWM) or Environmental Health Officer (EHO). (Health Canada)

3.10.6.2 - Support all First Nations communities in monitoring drinking water quality as per the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ). (Health Canada)

Over time, by continuing to enhance capacity to monitor drinking water quality in First Nations communities, Health Canada will increase the frequency of drinking water quality testing at tap. Regular testing of drinking water quality offers timely identification of potential problems with drinking water quality, minimizing potential risks to public health and therefore contributing to increasing the percentage of First Nations communities with acceptable water and wastewater facility ratings.

In First Nations communities, EHOs and CBWMs share responsibility for drinking water quality monitoring at tap as per the GCDWQ. EHOs monitor drinking water quality for bacteriological, chemical, physical and radiological parameters, interpret drinking water quality results, disseminate results to First Nations authorities and maintain quality assurance. CBWMs are First Nations community members trained by an EHO. They are responsible for monitoring bacteriological water quality and disseminating results.

Capacity to monitor drinking water quality as per the GCDWQ in First Nations communities is supported by Health Canada through the provision of funding to Chief and Council for drinking water monitoring through the CBWM program, and training of CBWMs to monitor the drinking water for potential bacteriological contamination as a final check on the overall safety of the drinking water at tap. EHOs and CBWMs are the primary service providers with respect to drinking water quality monitoring, and it is therefore important to provide them with the support necessary to perform their duties effectively to better protect the public health of First Nations residents.

3.10.8 - Continue to provide First Nations with communications products to enhance public awareness and knowledge as well as increase the confidence of First Nations residents about the safety of their drinking water supply. (Health Canada)

Health Canada's commitment to this Implementation Strategy was reported "completed" as part of the 2011-12 DSDS PR.

Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals

In 2012-13, Health Canada secured access to monitoring personnel (CWBMs or EHOs) for all First Nations communities. Also, 59.3% of distribution systems (Public Water Systems) were monitored weekly as recommended by the GCDWQ. This monitoring compliance percentage excludes communities in Saskatchewan where the environmental public health services have been transferred to a First Nations community. Although the target is behind schedule, the overall trend is positive, given that the current compliance rate is 35% higher than the 44% compliance rate in 2009-10.

Table of Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals
Implementation Strategies Performance Indicators Program Performance Targets Program Performance Status
3.10.3
3.10.6.2
Percent of distribution systems meeting the testing frequency recommended in the GCDWQ. By March 2013, a 10% increase from 2010-11 baseline levels of 58% in the number of distribution systems with five or more connections that meet the testing frequency recommended in the GCDWQ. Behind Schedule:

In March 2013, 59.3% of distributions systems met the weekly testing frequency recommended in the GCDWQ. There is an overall trend toward greater compliance over the last year. 

3.10.6.1 Percent of First Nations communities that have access to a trained CBWM or an EHO. In 2012-13, all First Nations communities will have access to a trained CBWM or EHO. Completed and Ongoing:

By March 2013, 100% of First Nations communities had access to a trained CBWM or an EHO.

3.11 - Target: Drinking Water Quality - Help protect the health of Canadians by developing health-based water guidelines

Brief Description of Health Canada's Activities under this FSDS Target

Health Canada's water quality program, in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, develops and promotes the application of water quality guidelines and guidance documents (including emergency drinking water guidance values), as well as strategies and tools, in support of safe drinking water.

Drinking water quality activities support FSDS implementation strategies under the following theme:

  • Theme 2 - Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture

Strategic Outcome 2: Canadians are informed of and protected from health risks associated with food, products, substances and environments, and are informed of the benefits of healthy eating.

  • Program 2.3: Environmental Risks to Health
  • Sub Program 2.3.3: Water Quality
Relationship between the Implementation Strategy and the FSDS Target - Target 3.11
Theme FSDS Target Implementation Strategy
2 3.11

Help protect the health of Canadians by developing health-based water guidelines. (Health Canada)

3.11.2

Update "Guidance for providing safe drinking water in areas of federal jurisdiction." (Health Canada)

3.11.7

Develop up to five guidelines and guidance on water quality (i.e. drinking water, recreational water and water re-use) in collaboration with provinces/territories, supported by technical documents, as a basis for their regulatory requirements. (Health Canada)

3.11.10

Support provinces and territories and internationally by sharing and disseminating scientific risk assessments on drinking water contaminants. (Health Canada)

Descriptions of Implementation Strategies

3.11.2 - Update "Guidance for providing safe drinking water in areas of federal jurisdiction." (Health Canada)

Health Canada provides scientific guidance and advice so that federal departments can meet their responsibilities for providing safe drinking water in a manner that is based on the multi-barrier approach and health-based water quality guidelines. The multi-barrier approach recognizes the inter-relationship of health and environmental issues, and encourages the integration of efforts to improve public health with those that also protect the natural environment.

The Department develops and updates the document entitled "Guidance for Providing Safe Drinking Water in Areas of Federal Jurisdiction". This document is aimed at federal departments that have or share responsibilities for producing and/or providing safe drinking water in areas of federal jurisdiction, including federal lands (e.g. national parks), federal facilities (e.g. military bases) and First Nations communities. The document is produced by the Interdepartmental Working Group on Drinking Water, for which Health Canada provides the scientific secretariat. Health Canada provides scientific guidance and expertise for the document, which is updated as needed and is based on a multi-barrier approach to providing safe drinking water. It complements the GCDWQ as the federal standard for safe drinking water.

3.11.7 - Develop up to five guidelines and guidance on water quality (i.e. drinking water, recreational water and water re-use) in collaboration with provinces/territories, supported by technical documents, as a basis for their regulatory requirements. (Health Canada)

Health Canada develops guidelines that are based on health risk assessments in collaboration with provinces and territories so that specific challenges in each region are addressed.

The GCDWQ are used by all jurisdictions (i.e. federal, provincial and territorial) as the basis for establishing their regulatory requirements for drinking water quality. Guidelines for recreational water quality and for household reclaimed water are also developed, and collaboration is undertaken on developing standards for drinking water materials. Research related to drinking water is also directed and supported by this activity. Partnerships are established with stakeholders to address key challenges to drinking water safety, including small community drinking water supplies.

3.11.10 - Support provinces and territories and internationally by sharing and disseminating scientific risk assessments on drinking water contaminants. (Health Canada)

Health Canada provides scientific risk assessments of the impact of drinking water contaminants on human health in support of developing GCDWQ.

The development of health risk assessments for microbiological and chemical contaminants supports the development of guidelines for drinking water quality. These assessments are used by all provinces and territories as the basis for establishing their regulatory requirements for drinking water quality. Guidance and guidelines on water quality are published on Health Canada's website and are available to international partners. As a Collaborating Centre for the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Canada supports the development of WHO drinking water guidelines, including by sharing risk assessments and peer-reviewing their documents.

Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals

In 2011-12, Health Canada developed/updated four water quality guidelines/guidance documents. The Department also continued to expand, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Network of Public Health Intelligence's drinking water application (CNPHI DWA), to identify threats to the safety of drinking water.

Building on this work, in 2012-13, Health Canada developed/updated five water quality guidelines/guidance documents. In addition, a Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicator (CESI) was developed. This indicator, which will also be used as part of the FSDS 2013-2016, focuses on the root causes of advisories from a water quality perspective.

Table of Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals
Implementation Strategies Performance Indicators Program Performance Targets Program Performance Status
3.11.2
3.11.7
3.11.10
Number of water quality guidelines/guidance documents approved by federal/provincial/territorial committees by product type (guideline, guidance document). Five guidelines/guidance documents approved by federal/provincial/territory committees annually.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Completed and ongoing:

Five guidelines/guidance documents have been approved by the F/P/T Committee on Health and Environment.

This includes:

  • Drinking water guidelines for turbidity and vinyl chloride;
  • Guidance documents on the use of the microbiological drinking water quality guidelines and on waterborne bacterial pathogens; and
  • Guidelines for recreational water quality.

Annex D: Chemicals Management

2.3 and 3.12 - Target: Chemicals Management

Brief Description of Health Canada's Activities under this FSDS Target

Working collaboratively with Environment Canada under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), Health Canada assesses chemical substances for potential human health risks and develops risk management measures to protect Canadians from those substances determined harmful to human health.

Health Canada's chemicals management program contributes to the FSDS through its activities aimed at reducing threats to the health of Canadians from harmful chemical substances.

CMP supports FSDS implementation strategies under the following two themes:

  • Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality
  • Theme 2 - Maintaining Water Quality and Availability

Link to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture

Theme 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality and Theme 2 - Maintaining Water Quality and Availability, Target 2.3 and 3.12 - Chemicals Management relates to Health Canada's Program Alignment Architecture as follows:

Strategic Outcome 2: Canadians are informed of and protected from health risks associated with food, products, substances and environments, and are informed of the benefits of healthy eating.

  • Program 2.3: Environmental Risks to Health
  • Sub Program 2.3.4: Health Impacts of Chemicals
Relationship between the FSDS Target and the Implementation Strategy - Targets 2.3 and 3.12
Theme FSDS Target Implementation Strategy
1 and 2 2.3 and 3.12

Reduce risks to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by harmful substances as a result of decreased environmental concentrations and human exposure to such substances.

2.3.4 and 3.12.4

Assess 100% of existing commercial substances as identified under the Chemicals Management Plan for risks to human health and/or the environment (100% of total of 4300 by 2020). (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

2.3.5 and 3.12.5

Assess 100% of new substances, for which Environment Canada has been notified by industry of their intended manufacture or import, to determine if they are suspected of being toxic within the timelines in the regulation or established services standards. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

2.3.8 and 3.12.7

Ensure at least one risk management measure is in place within the legally mandated timeframes for 100% of substances added to the List of Toxic Substances. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

Descriptions of Implementation Strategies

2.3.4 and 3.12.4 - Assess 100% of existing commercial substances as identified under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) for risks to human health and/or the environment (100% of total of 4300 by 2020). (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

Health Canada activities include risk assessments of existing (post-market) substances and developing risk management strategies, policies and regulations for substances determined as harmful to human health, as a complement to Environment Canada's review of environmental impacts. These activities seek to reduce health risks to Canadians by identifying those substances that may be harmful and taking appropriate steps to reduce these risks.

Health Canada is in the process of assessing existing substances as priorities identified under the CMP, both to determine whether they are harmful to human health due to their inherent properties, and the level of exposure to the Canadian public. Health Canada's research on the nature of existing substances and Canadians' exposure to them supports the scientifically grounded, risk-based approach used to assess the impact of chemical substances on Canadians' health and to guide risk management or regulatory actions for substances determined to be harmful to human health.

2.3.5 and 3.12.5 - Assess 100% of new substances, for which Environment Canada has been notified by industry of their intended manufacture or import, to determine if they are suspected of being toxic within the timelines in the regulation or established services standards. (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

Health Canada activities include assessing and managing potential health risks associated with new (pre-market) substances, including products of biotechnology. For new substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, the Department also assesses potential harm to the environment. These activities seek to reduce health risks to Canadians by identifying those substances that may be harmful and taking appropriate steps to reduce these risks.

Health Canada assesses substances and products of biotechnology that are new to the Canadian market both to determine whether they are harmful to human health due to their inherent properties and the level of exposure to the Canadian public. Health Canada's research on the nature of new commercial substances and the products of biotechnology and Canadians' exposure to them support a scientifically grounded, risk-based approach used to assess the impact of chemical substances on Canadian health and to guide risk management or regulatory actions for substances determined to be harmful to human health.

2.3.8 and 3.12.7 - Ensure at least one risk management measure is in place within the legally mandated timeframes for 100% of substances added to the List of Toxic Substances (Environment Canada, Health Canada)

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Department in cooperation with Environment Canada, develops and implements risk management strategies, policies and regulations to manage the potential risks posed by substances that are assessed to be harmful to human health. This Implementation Strategy relates to the FSDS targets by ensuring that timely risk management measures are put in place to mitigate human exposure and reduce the risk to Canadians posed by harmful substances.

It is directly through the risk management actions above that Health Canada contributes to decreases in environmental concentrations and human exposure to harmful substances.

Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals

Building on the achievements in 2011-12, the planned 2012-13 chemicals assessment and management activities under the CMP were largely on track. This included a total of 83 substances that were assessed across the Legacy, Challenge and Petroleum initiatives during 2012-13. Rapid screening was also completed for 119 substances as planned. In 2012-13, screening assessments for 202 of 227 (89%) substances planned for assessment were completed. At the end of 2012-13, approximately 18% of the goal of assessing 1,500 substances between 2011 and 2016 was reached. Significant work was undertaken to prepare for the publication of assessments under the  groupings initiative, scheduled to start in 2013-14.

Targeted risk management activities were published for Challenge substances, and one Legacy substance. The mandated timeframe for publishing the proposed risk management instruments is within 24 months of publication of the final risk assessments. Publication of the final risk management instruments is mandated within 18 months following publication of a proposed risk management instrument. For Challenge and Legacy substances, these mandated timelines were met for 21 out of 23 (92%) substances. Four proposed risk management instruments and four final risk management instruments were published for Challenge Substances. One proposed risk management instrument (Environmental Performance Agreement for Refractory Ceramic Fibre) was published as well. Targeted risk management activities were published for 74% (69 of 93) of Petroleum Sector Stream Substances by March 2013.

All 474 new substance notifications received in 2012-13 have been assessed. Of the 474 substances, 368 were chemicals and polymers, 24 were products of biotechnology, 13 were nanomaterials, and 69 were substances regulated as Food and Drugs Act products. A revision of the 'In Commerce List' (substances in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act that were in Canadian commerce between January 1, 1987 and September 13, 2001) has been completed.  During the preparation of the revised list, all 1,922 nominations received from external stakeholders were reviewed, bringing the total number of substances on the 'In Commerce List' to approximately 3,400.

Other important achievements include the release of two Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) Cycle 1 publications (phthalates and dioxins) and the establishment of baseline levels in human blood for substances of concern based on Cycle 1 of the CHMS (mercury, lead, cadmium, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE 47)).

Table of Achievements Supporting FSDS Goals
Implementation Strategies Performance Indicators Program Performance Targets Program Performance Status
FSDS Target 2.3 and 3.12 as reported in Health Canada's 2012-13 Departmental Performance Report

Reduce risks to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by harmful substances as a result of decreased environmental concentrations and human exposure to such substances.

(Environment Canada and Health Canada)

2.3.4
2.3.5
3.12.4
3.12.5
Level of exposure to substances of concern. Targets related to level of exposure to substances of concern - baseline to be established by June 30, 2012 based on 2010 Canadian Health Measures Survey baseline data. Completed:

Based on Cycle 1 of the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), baseline levels in human blood for substances of concern were established:

  • Mercury is 0.69  micrograms (µg) per liter (L) of blood;
  • Lead is 13.4 µg per L of blood;
  • Cadmium is 0.35 µg per L of blood; and
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE 47) is 0.06 µg per L of blood plasma.

Targets to be determined based on established baseline data.

 Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI)

2.3.4
3.12.4
Percent of targets/service standards met for existing substances; for 'In Commerce List' substances; and for new substances by:

type of regulatory action taken; and result of regulatory action.

100% of service standards are met for assessing targeted substances both "in commerce" and "new".

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

On Schedule:

In 2012-13, 100% of new substance notifications that were received have been assessed, as per the service standard.

A revision of the 'In Commerce List' has been completed.

2.3.4
3.12.4
Efficiency of key Regulatory System Services:

Number and percent of existing substances under the Chemicals Management Plan assessed for risk to human health within targets set.

100% of existing substances under the Chemicals Management Plan are assessed within targeted/regulated timelines.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

Behind Schedule and ongoing:

In 2012-13, screening assessments of 202 out of 227 (89%) substances planned for assessment were completed.

2.3.4
3.12.4
2.3.8
3.12.7
Percent of substances assessed to be harmful to human health for which at least one risk management instrument was developed within mandated timeframes. 100% of substances assessed to be harmful to human health have at least one risk management instrument developed within mandated timeframes.

Date to achieve target: March 2013

Behind Schedule and ongoing:

Of the Challenge and Legacy substances assessed to be harmful to human health, 21 out of 23 (92%) met the mandated timeframe of publication of proposed risk management instruments within 24 months following publication of the final risk assessments and publication of final risk  management instruments, and  within 18 months following publication of proposed risk management instrument.

2.3.4
3.12.4
Report on level of exposure in humans of substances of concern by substance. Canadian Health Measures Survey report published every three years (next report to be published in 2013). On Schedule and ongoing:

Two CHMS Cycle 1- Journal Publications were issued:

  1. "Biomonitoring of phthalate metabolites in the Canadian population through the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2009)" was published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, and;
  2. "PCDD/F and PCB concentrations in sera from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) from 2007-2009" was published in the Environment International Journal.
2.3.5
3.12.5
Efficiency of key Regulatory System Services:

Number and percent of new substances for which Health Canada has been notified by industry of their manufacture or import that are assessed within regulated timelines or established service standards to determine if they are suspected of being harmful to human health or the environment.

100% of new substances for which Health Canada has been notified by industry of their manufacture or import are assessed within targeted/regulated timelines.

Date to achieve target: March 31, 2013

On Schedule and ongoing:

100% of planned and mandated timelines have been met for new substance notification assessments (total of 474 substances).

Annex E: Shrinking the Environmental Footprint of Government

The following is the list of  Greening Government Operations targets of the FSDS.

  • Theme 4 - Greening Government Operations (GGO)

Minimize the environmental footprint of government operations

  • 8.1 Target: As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, new construction and build-to-lease projects and major renovation projects will achieve an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance.
  • 8.2 Target: As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, existing crown buildings over 1000 m², will be assessed for environmental performance using an industry-recognized assessment tool.
  • 8.3 Target: As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, new lease or lease renewal projects over 1000 m², where the Crown is the major lessee, will be assessed for environmental performance using an industry-recognized assessment tool.
  • 8.4 Target: As of April 1, 2012, and pursuant to departmental strategic frameworks, fit-up and refit projects will achieve an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance.
  • 8.5 Target: The Government of Canada will take action now to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, to match the national target of 17% below 2005 by 2020.
  • 8.6 Target: By March 31, 2014, each department will reuse or recycle all surplus electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) in an environmentally sound and secure manner.
  • 8.7 Target: By March 31, 2013, each department will achieve an 8:1 average ratio of office employees to printing units. Departments will apply target where building occupancy levels, security considerations, and space configuration allow.
  • 8.8 Target: By March 31, 2014, each department will reduce internal paper consumption per office employee by 20%. Each department will establish a baseline between 2005-06 and 2011-12, and applicable scope.
  • 8.9 Target: By March 31, 2012, each department will adopt a guide for greening meetings.
  • 8.10 Target: As of April 1, 2011, each department will establish at least three SMART green procurement targets to reduce environmental impacts.
  • 8.11 Target: As of April 1, 2011, each department will establish SMART targets for training, employee performance evaluations, and management processes and controls, as they pertain to procurement decision-making.

In 2012-13, the Department made progress in a number of areas. The following bullets highlight the Department's key GGO achievements:

  • As per Target 8.1-8.4, in 2011-12 Health Canada developed and put into effect a Green Buildings Strategic Framework which set the stage for the assessments of all custodial facilities. As per Target 8.2, Health Canada conducted an assessment of its buildings using the BOMA BESt standard where four out of a total of six buildings achieved BOMA BESt Level 1Footnote 1 in 2011-12. In support of the 100% assessment target against the BOMA BESt standard, the final two buildings were assessed in 2012-13.  One building achieved BOMA BESt Level 1 and one building achieved Level 2. As per Target 8.4, three fit-up and refit projects achieved three Green Globes (out of four) under the Green Globes rating systemFootnote 2;
  • As per Target 8.5, Health Canada continued to decrease its on-road fleet-related green house gas emissions by 16% from the 2005-06 baseline year, and in so doing so, Health Canada continues to surpass its commitment of an overall 10% reduction target by 2020-21;
  • As per Target 8.6, in 2011-12 an Implementation Plan for Managing Surplus Electronic and Electrical Equipment was developed and 11% of Health Canada locations had a documented process in place.  In 2012-13, the percentage of locations that have a documented process in place had increased to 66%; 
  • As per Target 8.7, in 2011-12 Health Canada developed a Printer Reduction Strategy and established a baseline ratio of 3:1 employees to printing units.  In 2012-13, Health Canada was able to achieve of a ratio of 7.5:1 employees to printing units.  Health Canada fell slightly short of the 2012-13 government wide 8:1 ratio, but is well positioned to achieve this target by the end of 2013-14;
  • As per Target 8.8, Health Canada reported that in baseline year 2010-11, 7,823 sheets of paper were used per office employee. Trends indicate a steady decrease since 2010-11 baseline. While the departmental target for 2012-13 was a 10% reduction to 7,000 sheets per office employee, Health Canada reduced paper use to 4,717 sheets per office employee. This represents an overall reduction of 40%;
  • As per Target 8.10, Health Canada,
    • increased the percentage of environmentally friendly information technology hardware purchases to 92% from baseline of 29% in 2009-10;
    • increased to 53% the percentage of specified purchases of office supplies identified as having environmental features. This puts Health Canada on track to achieving the self-selected target of 60% in 2013-14; and
    • increased to 64% the percentage of vehicles purchased that were right-sized for operational needs; deemed to be the most fuel efficient vehicle in their class (as per Health Canada Fleet Standard), and/or are an alternative fuel vehicle up from 48%, as reported in 2011-12.

A link to the performance details of Health Canada's GGO achievements is available in the Departmental Performance Report.

Annex F: Health Canada Clean Air Agenda (CAA) - Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) Theme Performance Report (2012-13)

Health Canada Report on Activities under the CARA 2012-13

Protecting the health and environment of Canadians is a key Government priority. Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants threaten the health of Canadians, degrade the environment, contribute to climate change and smog and adversely affect the economy. CARA provides the coordinated framework for Government efforts to reduce GHGs and air pollutant emissions. Collectively, the work undertaken as part of CARA cuts across several Government departments - Environment Canada, Health Canada and the National Research Council. Health Canada's role is to provide leadership and expertise on actions to address the health impacts of air pollutants.

With respect to air quality, the Government is working in collaboration with the provinces and territories to implement a new national Air Quality Management System (AQMS) in order to further minimize threats to Canadians and their environment from pollution. This system includes new health-driven ambient air quality standards, local air zone management and emissions requirements for major industrial sectors and for mobile sources

CARA also supports the related scientific, modelling, monitoring, reporting and economic analysis necessary for policy and regulatory development and to ensure that the measures taken are based on sound science and achieve their intended effects.

Under CARA, Health Canada will continue to take action to improve indoor air quality, including promoting awareness of the need to test for radon in homes, and promote positive behavioural change among Canadians to reduce their exposure to air pollutants by extending the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI).

The following report provides a summary of Health Canada's CARA program and achievements for 2012-13. A link to the financial information on planned and actual expenditures under the CARA theme for 2012-13 is available on Sustainable Development section of the Health Canada website.

CARA 1.1 - Atmospheric Research, Monitoring and Modelling
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to Health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

A key objective of CARA was to establish a new national framework for managing air quality called the Air Quality Management System (AQMS). The AQMS is being implemented collaboratively between federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. The AQMS will include new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS), local and regional air quality management and requirements for key sources of industrial emissions for mobile sources.

To support the AQMS, Health Canada uses a multi-pollutant approach to assess the health risks posed by the range of pollutants emitted by individual industrial sectors. This information is used to inform the development of more efficient sector specific emissions regulations and non-regulatory actions by federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions. It informs decision-making at all levels related to the sector management of multi-pollutant emissions and supports industry in optimizing their efforts to reduce air pollutants.

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Conduct exposure and health risks assessments from selected industrial sectors;
  • Conduct studies on health effects of emissions from selected industrial sectors, including laboratory toxicology research; and
  • Provide federal, provincial jurisdictions and industry with information regarding multi-pollutant health impacts.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

In the first stage of the multi-pollutant risk assessments, models were used to estimate the levels of air pollutants to which people would be exposed at different distances and directions from the point of release. The second stage involved assessing the risks to health from exposure to the mixture of pollutants. The risk assessment process has been more complicated than anticipated given the large number of pollutants and possible health outcomes. The assessment for the first sector (base metal smelting) is nearly complete and will serve as a model for completing the remaining sectors (aluminium, pulp and paper, cement, coal-fired electricity, iron and steel) in 2013-14.

Program Lessons Learned

A sector-based approach is challenging from a technical and scientific point of view due to the complexity of assessing the impacts of multiple pollutants at once.

CARA 1.2 - Health and Environmental Impacts of Air Pollutants
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to Health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

The transportation sector is a major contributor to air pollution, particularly in urban areas, and fuel emissions have been clearly linked to negative health outcomes in the general population. Health Canada will conduct health risk assessments and health-benefit studies of new fuels, technologies and transportation-related policies and will also conduct research on health impacts of pollutant emissions from transportation. These activities support the establishment of effective and efficient transportation and fuel regulations and management strategies to reduce emissions of GHGs and air pollutants from regulated sectors while maintaining competitiveness in those sectors.

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Conduct health risk assessments and health-benefit studies in support of the development of regulations related to transportation; and
  • Conduct exposure study on emissions from transportation.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

In 2012-13, a Health Canada analysis of health benefits to be achieved from reductions in marine vessel air pollutant emissions was used to support proposed new marine fuel regulations. Health Canada also completed baseline monitoring for a multi-year study (started in 2011-12) on marine emissions in Halifax to assess the impact of these new regulations.

Health Canada also evaluated the additional benefits to health associated with new regulations on GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles (cars and trucks), as was done previously for regulations on GHG emissions from heavy-duty trucks and from coal-fired electricity generation. A notification of the Biodiesel Health risk assessment, completed in 2011-12, was published in Canada Gazette Part I.

Health Canada also began a study to measure air pollutant emissions associated with shale gas exploration and production, in collaboration with the province of New Brunswick and Environment Canada.  Other significant research undertaken in 2012-13 included monitoring of air pollutant levels associated with different modes of transportation (car, bus, train) in Vancouver during winter, with summer sampling to follow next year.

Program Lessons Learned

The early engagement of stakeholders and partners is essential to ensuring efficient and effective support of the regulatory development process.

CARA 1.3 - Science Integration, Accountability and Benefits of Action
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to Health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

Health Canada currently makes extensive use of economic valuation estimates in supporting the development of air quality and other regulations. However, the scientific understanding of the health impacts of environmental pollution is rapidly changing, with new impacts being discovered such as those on birth outcomes and childhood development. Research to identify and quantify the relationship between air pollution and negative health impacts will be carried out to better predict the health benefits from improved air quality. These actions will assist in the development of more effective and efficient regulations and air quality strategies that better reflect the health and social impacts of air quality on Canadians, while maintaining competitiveness in those sectors.
Scientific and economic research will also be used to update analytical tools such as the Air Quality Benefits Assessment Tool (AQBAT), which is used to monetize the health and economic impacts of changes in air quality.

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Conduct research to identify and quantify the socio-economic impacts of air pollution exposure;
  • Improved analytical tools to assess the impact of current or proposed air quality strategies and regulations (e.g. AQBAT); and
  • Conduct health benefit analysis of ongoing and planned air quality regulatory or policy actions, as required.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

In 2012-13, Health Canada's Air Quality Benefits Assessment Tool was used to assess the potential health benefits associated with new regulations for GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles (cars and trucks) and a new marine fuel regulation. Health benefit analysis was also used to guide the development of new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards and new industrial emission requirements.

Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, is using census data to study the impact of long-term exposure to air pollution on health in the largest study of its kind in Canada. Results of this study may allow for best measurement of the impact of air pollution on health in Canada. New studies conducted by Health Canada are also investigating potential links between air pollution and health impacts beyond respiratory and cardiac problems. These studies may allow for a more accurate accounting of the health benefits to be had from actions to reduce air pollution.

Program Lessons Learned

By working closely with regulatory partners, health benefits assessments can be initiated early and can help guide policy development.

CARA 2.2 - DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING FOR Atmospheric pollutants - Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) Program
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to Health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

Canada is an international leader by being the first country to have developed an index to communicate the health risks associated with a mixture of air pollutants and to provide air quality forecasts with health advice to help reduce that risk. Health-based communication tools such as the AQHI are vital given that regulatory action alone cannot completely eliminate the health risks from air pollution. The AQHI is now available to more than 17 million Canadians. In the coming years, Health Canada and Environment Canada will expand the AQHI to additional communities, promote the index widely in order to gain acceptance and understanding, and ensure that the science underpinning the index is kept current.

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Agreement with provincial and municipal public health programs to support local and regional implementation and to promote the AQHI to the general population and vulnerable groups;
  • Marketing partnerships and targeted outreach to promote AQHI; and
  • Targeted research to study the associations between the AQHI and health outcomes.

The objectives of this program are to implement a national, health-based communications tool for current and forecasted local air quality and to increase Canadians' knowledge of actions to take to protect their health and to reduce pollution.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

As of 2012-13, approximately 63% of Canadians had access to the AQHI through 74 locations in all 10 provinces, up from 65 locations in 2011-12. Discussions are ongoing with Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut regarding the expansion of AQHI to Northern communities. In addition, the partnership with The Weather Network to promote the AQHI was renewed. Over 6,000 health professionals (e.g. physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, asthma educators) have now received information and training on how to use the AQHI to help protect health through courses, presentations and direct conversations with stakeholders through a "Train the Trainer" program and an e-learning course offered by the University of British Columbia.

In 2012-13, a comprehensive review was undertaken to re-examine the AQHI formulation, to ensure it is up to date with current science and research. The review is expected to be completed by fall 2013. Support for the AQHI formulation was provided by research undertaken in the previous year that found that on days with high AQHI there were increased emergency room visits for stroke, asthma and other cardiac issues.

Program Lessons Learned

Successful implementation of the AQHI program requires collaboration between provincial and local governments and non-governmental organizations.

CARA 3.2 - Atmospheric Pollutant POLICY
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to Health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

A key element of the Air Quality Management System (AQMS) is the establishment of new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for targeted air pollutants that will drive the management of source emissions to improve health and environmental benefits. Health-based risk assessments of air pollutants are used to develop CAAQS for particulate matter and ozone and for additional priority pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. This program seeks to develop CAAQS that are endorsed by all jurisdictions who in turn undertake actions to ensure the standards are met.

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Complete draft health risk assessments for outdoor air pollutants to support and develop proposals for CAAQS; and
  • Conduct exposure and health effects studies for air pollutants to support additional CAAQS development and review.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

In 2012-13, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) agreed to implement a new national AQMS which includes CAAQS for particulate matter and ozone, completing the development process which was initiated in 2010. The AQMS was developed in collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial governments, industry and non-governmental health organizations. Health risk assessments for other air pollutants including carbon monoxide, coarse particulate matter and sulphur dioxide were drafted and sent for external review by experts in the field. The final result of these assessments will be used to guide the development of new CAAQS in the future.

Health Canada also undertook research to guide the development of future standards including assessing the impact of ultrafine particles on cardiovascular health, and investigating the difference between pollutant levels measured at fixed monitoring sites and the levels to which people are actually exposed.

Program Lessons Learned

The aim of the CAAQS is to drive continuous improvement in air quality and provide the basis for management of local air quality by provinces.  In the longer-term, the CAAQS will be reviewed on a five-year cycle to decide if they should be made more stringent in an effort to drive further improvements in air quality and the associated health benefits.

CARA 5.1 - Indoor Air Quality Management - Radioactive Contaminants Health Canada PAA 2.6.1 Radiation Protection

Program Description and Expected Achievements

A large number of air pollutants are found in Canadian homes, often at much higher levels than found outdoors. Poor indoor air quality is known to cause or exacerbate a wide range of health effects, such as asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases, especially in sensitive populations such as children and those with pre-existing health conditions. Certain indoor pollutants are known or suspected carcinogens. Radon, which is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is the second leading known cause of lung cancer, after smoking. Exposure to elevated levels of radon occurs primarily indoors and results in approximately 3,000 deaths in Canada each year.

Further understanding of the health effects of indoor air contaminants, such as radon, is vital given that people in Canada spend 90% of their time indoors. People have significant individual control over their indoor air quality, through how a home is built or maintained, the products brought into the home and their activities indoors. Yet, they often lack the information needed to take steps to improve indoor air quality and protect their health.

Health Canada will focus on communicating solutions and developing resources to be made available to homeowners and builders with the intent to help Canadians reduce negative health impacts associated with indoor exposure to radioactive air contaminants. 

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Develop a communication plan and protocols to increase public awareness and education about radon;
  • Encourage action by Canadians that will reduce their exposure to radon by making use of social media, conferences and events to disseminate information and distribute communication material;
  • Develop a National Radon Awareness Campaign and continue with National Radon Program outreach activities;
  • Coordinate testing of 2,000 federal buildings for radon to facilitate government compliance with the Canada Labour Code;
  • Launch the Canadian Radon Certification Program; and
  • Organize regional workshops and webinars to inform regional radiation specialists of the new certification

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

Activities under Health Canada's communication plan continued from efforts in 2011-12 and included a proactive national media campaign, targeted stakeholder engagement, collaborative outreach programs, development of a radon web banner and use of social media such as tweets, attendance at home shows and stakeholder conferences across Canada.  In addition, Health Canada's Radiation Protection Bureau, in partnership with the National Research Council, hosted a workshop on the application of radon protective measures in Canada and worldwide. The workshop was led by two experts in the radon mitigation field, one from Canada and the other from the United Kingdom.

Health Canada tested radon levels in 2,600 high priority federal buildings in high-risk, radon-prone areas in 2012-13. Since the program's inception in 2007, 12,000 high priority federal buildings have been tested for radon. In support of the National Radon Awareness Campaign, awareness related to radon risks, health impacts and mitigations strategies were raised through a proactive media relations campaign that resulted in increased national media pick up and coverage in 2012-13 over the previous year. Radon brochure distribution increased by 100% and radon web activities and public inquiries increased by 100% and 43%, respectively, in comparison with 2011-12. Health Canada also published two new radon videos: Radon Testing - The Only Way to Know and Reducing Radon in your Home. As part of the National Radon Program, all regions successfully engaged with stakeholder partners to deliver outreach activities, such as, community presentations and media events to encourage action to reduce radon exposure at home and at work.

Building on the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2011, Health Canada worked with the United States-based National Environmental Health Association National Radon Proficiency Program (NEHA-NRPP) to launch the new Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP) for radon measurement and mitigation professionals and analytical testing laboratories in April 2012.  Health Canada provided guidance and support in the development of the training curriculum and Canadian examinations for this Program and will continue to provide expertise and support where needed.

Program Lessons Learned

Early engagement of other departments, provincial/territorial governments, and non-governmental organizations is important for implementing and coordinating public awareness and education outreach programs as well as ensuring efficient and effective support of the education and awareness activities.

CARA 5.2 - Indoor Air Quality Management - Biological and Chemical Contaminants
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to Health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

Further understanding of the health impacts of exposure to indoor air contaminants is vital given that Canadians spend 90% of their time indoors. Individuals, with adequate knowledge and tools, can make substantial improvements to their indoor air quality. Program activities will support measures to reduce the health risks posed by indoor air contaminants, through the development of: guidelines and guidance documents; codes of practice; product standards; and communications products. The objective of these activities is to decrease risks to health. This objective is expected to be achieved through tools to improve indoor air quality, as well as promoting increased knowledge among individual Canadians, business and governments of the health risks posed by indoor air pollutants and the appropriate actions to reduce these risks.

Health Canada's expected achievements:

  • Publication of residential indoor air quality guidelines for priority pollutants and technical documents addressing key indoor air sources or issues;
  • Communications to raise awareness of health risks and to encourage adoption of risk management activities; and
  • Assessment of interventions to improve indoor air quality and research on the exposure to and health impacts of indoor air pollutants

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

After undergoing public comment in 2011-12, the final Guidance for Fine Particulate Matter in Residential Indoor Air was issued and made available to public health officials and the general public. Two new Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for naphthalene and benzene were developed and published for public comment in Canada Gazette, Part I. In addition, a new, more rapid methodology to determine health-based, indoor air reference levels (concentration levels below which there are no or very minimal risks to health over the long-term), for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a diverse family of indoor air pollutants, was applied to 20 individual VOCs.

Indoor and outdoor air quality continued to be a main focus of communications activities through, for example, the Hazardcheck: Hazards in the Home campaign, and the Our Health, Our Environment: A Snapshot of Environmental Health in Canada.

A new research study was initiated to evaluate ways to reduce the impact of attached garages on indoor air quality. The study will be conducted over two years to assess the potential benefits of having exhaust fans in garages and improved sealing between garages and homes.

Program Lessons Learned

Actions to address indoor air pollutants require support and cooperation from federal/provincial partners, industry stakeholders, NGOs and the general public. Ensuring early engagement of partners and stakeholders in the processes, including identification of priorities, and sharing of information, increases the success of any actions to improve indoor air quality.

Annex G: Health Canada Clean Air Agenda (CAA) - Adaptation Theme Performance Report (2012-13)

Health Canada Report on Activities under the CAA Adaptation Theme 2012-13

The Adaptation Theme supports initiatives across various sectors that are essential for adapting to the impacts of climate change. These initiatives seek to reduce risk to communities, infrastructure and the health and safety of Canadians, while also building capacity to adapt through planning and taking action.

Health Canada plans to address the health impacts of climate change by continuing to provide guidance and expert advice to public health and emergency management in the development of heat alert and response systems, as well as training tools for health professionals to reduce the vulnerability of their community to extreme heat.

Health Canada also developed and delivers the Climate Change and Health Adaptation in Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities Program. The objectives of the program are to: (1) "Enable Northern First Nations and Inuit communities to identify and assess key vulnerabilities and health impacts related to climate change"; and (2) "Develop innovative and culturally sensitive human health risk management plans and tools to adapt to climate change".

The following sections provide a summary of Health Canada's CARA program and achievements for 2012-13. A link to the financial information on planned and actual expenditures under the CARA theme for 2012-13 is available on the Sustainable Development section of the Health Canada website.

Adaptation 1 - Heat Resiliency Program
Health Canada PAA 2.3 Environmental Risks to health

Program Description and Expected Achievements

To support the Government's ongoing commitment to helping Canadians adapt to a changing climate and formulating guidance on adaptation measures to reduce potential risks to health and safety, Health Canada will enable individuals and communities to increase their resiliency to extreme heat events by providing science-based information to health professionals, public health and emergency management institutions. Activities to support the delivery of the Heat Resiliency Program include:

  • Development of community-based heat alert and response systems in highly vulnerable regions and communities;
  • Development and dissemination of health professional interventions and training, including guidance for healthcare workers on clinical diagnosis and interventions;
  • Develop, in collaboration with key partners (e.g. Canadian Medical Association), accredited training materials for public health professionals;
  • Guidelines and strategies for health professionals and emergency management on implementing Heat Alert and Response Systems (HARS);
  • Collaboration with key stakeholders and partners to assess and reduce vulnerabilities to extreme heat; and
  • Scientific research on health impacts of extreme heat to support evidence based decision-making.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

The Heat Resiliency Program achieved the following in 2012-13:

Increased awareness of risks

  • A series of webinars were held to inform public health and emergency management officials and urban planners on research methods and best practices on adaptation to extreme heat;
  • Workshops on extreme heat and health were held in Toronto and Regina; and
  • An extreme heat event table top exercise was held in Oxford County, Ontario.

Increased availability/access to information and products

  • The release of three guidance documents to support public health professionals regarding extreme heat events in 2011-12 served to improve awareness with partners and stakeholders. A distribution strategy to enhance the reach of materials for targeted stakeholders across Canada was prepared in 2012-13.
  • An outreach strategy utilizing print and social media tools to communicate heat-health risks to the public was launched.
  • The Best Practices Guide for developing HARS developed in 2011-12 was officially released in 2012-13 and made available on the Health Canada website.
  • Produced, in partnership with The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, 14 vignettes (90 seconds in length) on heat and human health continued to be aired on both networks (7 English and 7 French) during summer 2012.

Tools, Processes, and Systems

  • Continued to support the expansion of the Windsor-Essex HARS as well as the ongoing development of a province-wide HARS in Manitoba. 
  • Discussions were held throughout 2012-13 with public health representatives in Alberta and Saskatchewan about heat resiliency and the implementation of HARS.
  • Health Canada is working with Oxford County, Chatham-Kent and York Region (Ontario) public health units to develop HARS.
  • Health Canada is also working with the City of Ottawa and Middlesex-London public health units to strengthen their existing HARS.

Information, Decision-support Tools and Training

  • A course developed to support accreditation of health professionals regarding heat and health in 2011-12, was successfully launched in the fall of 2012.

Program Lessons Learned

Differences in the capacity of the four pilot communities resulted in each community progressing at different speeds during the development of their HARS. Cooperation with local public health and community/emergency social services was essential for the coordination of the HARS project.

Adaptation 2 - Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program in Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities

Program Description and Expected Achievements

Health Canada's Program for Climate Change and Health Adaptation in Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities is unique among the adaptation programs in that it focuses on northern community adaptation and human health. Its purpose is to build capacity by funding community-based participatory research in cooperation with Aboriginal associations, academics, governments and agencies. This will enable communities to develop health-related adaptation plans and communication materials that will help in adaptation decision-making at the community, regional, national and circumpolar levels with respect to human health and a changing environment.

Since the launch of the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program in 2008, Health Canada has funded 52 community-based projects across Canada's North that focus on relevant health issues caused by climate change. In addition, the program supported capacity-building workshops for Northerners, as well as a Pan-Arctic Results workshop to bring communities together to showcase the results of their research.

Through these efforts, communities have increased their knowledge and understanding of the health effects related to climate change, and have developed local adaptation strategies. Examples include: films and photo-voice products available on the web to engage youth and elders; community-based ice monitoring, surveillance and communication networks; and information products on land, water and ice safety, drinking water and food security and safety, and traditional medicine.

The Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program set a high standard with regard to program delivery and there is an expectation by Aboriginal organizations and northern communities to meet and exceed this standard. The program will continue to focus on building Northerners' capacity to gain the knowledge and experience needed to design, lead and implement community-driven climate change and health research projects and conduct community vulnerability and risk assessments. As well, the program will continue to promote the importance of this type of research and continue to work with community partners to ensure that this program is continually meeting the needs of northern community members.

Program Achievement / Performance Summary

The Climate Change Program received Treasury Board approval in the fall of 2011 and was not able to support any projects under the tight timelines. Therefore, the program transferred most of its grants and contributions to the 2012-13 funding year which would be more beneficial to the communities. As a result, in 2012-13 the program achieved the following:

  • Distributed new 2013-14 Funding Application Guide;
  • Released the 2013-14 Call for Proposals;
  • Organized two virtual proposal review processes with a First Nations Selection Committee and an Inuit Selection Committee;
  • Presented the program to interested northern communities;
  • Worked with interested community members to support the development of proposal submissions; and
  • Developed a complete draft Summary Report of the community projects funded in 2008-2011 (for release in 2013).

Program Lessons Learned

The Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program attributes the majority of the success it has achieved over the past five years to the important relationships and partnerships that have been built with northern stakeholders. This is a program for Northerners, and the program wishes to ensure that the final decisions on who receives funding should be decided by Northerners. Engaging the program's northern stakeholders fosters transparency, builds networks, and greatly improves the overall delivery and effectiveness of the program.

Another valuable lesson is that engaging First Nations and Inuit at the community level in designing, evaluating and implementing climate change adaptation initiatives for their communities is essential. For example, the First Nations and Inuit Selection Committee members have not only provided essential expertise and advice while reviewing proposals, many promote the program in their communities, in their region and abroad. The intention of the program is to support the many First Nations and Inuit voices in conducting climate change and health research.

The lessons learned have enabled many in the communities to gain knowledge and grow in a way to better meet the needs of Northerners in research and improve community preparedness in a changing climate. The program is expected to continue to reach others through strong partnership, respect, and support.

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