Mercury – performance measurement evaluation

Mercury is a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Mercury takes many forms and moves from one place to another, through air, water and soil. Natural sources account for roughly 60% of the mercury deposited in Canada each year, and industrial and other human activities account for the remaining 40%.

The risk management objective for mercury is to protect the health of Canadians and their environment from risks associated with mercury by minimizing, and where feasible, eliminating mercury releases from human activities. Two supporting objectives were also developed:

  1. minimize human exposure to mercury
  2. minimize emissions and releases of mercury to the environment from human activities

A multitude of risk management measures have been undertaken by the federal government over the last 50 years to reduce the risks created by releases of mercury (the performance measurement evaluation provides details on specific measures).

The performance measurement evaluation found that the risk management measures that have been implemented contributed to the overall objectives of protecting Canadians and their environment, notably:

Additional risk management actions and ongoing performance measurement and monitoring activities are essential to further protect Canadians and their environment from the harmful effects of mercury.

The performance measurement evaluation determined that continued sustained action on mercury will help make further progress toward the risk management objectives. The Government of Canada will focus its efforts in 4 main areas:

  1. biomonitoring and environmental monitoring
  2. managing risks associated with mercury, with a particular focus on mercury-containing waste
  3. communicating with the public
  4. engaging internationally

Complete details on the performance measurement evaluation for mercury can be found in the Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Risk Management Measures for Mercury.

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