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Section 2: Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

2.1 Environment Canada's Program Activity Architecture

Environment Canada's 2006-2007 Program Activity Architecture

Environment Canada required amendments to its 2006-2007 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) to reflect new policy directions and priorities and to ensure that the Department's planning and reporting structure was aligned to respond to and support the evolving policy context. Work to help Canadians understand and adapt to the effect of climate change has been integrated with our weather and environmental predictions and services and our programs to reduce net emission of greenhouse gas emissions have been aligned with our work to protect Canadians from the effects of pollution and waste. This new Architecture has been applied in Environment Canada's 2007–2008 Report on Plans and Priorities and is adapted into reporting for Environment Canada's 2006-2007 Departmental Performance Report.

Environment Canada's 2007-2008 Program Activity Architecture

2006-2007 Resources by Program Activity

Operating Capital Grants and Contributions Subtotal: Gross Voted Expenditures Less: Respendable Revenue Total Net Expenditures
Biodiversity is conserved and protected
120.7 1.6 21.9 144.2 (0.7) 143.5
Water is safe, clean and secure
93.0 4.7 0.8 98.4 (2.7) 95.7
Canadians adopt approaches that ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes
51.9 0.3 7.5 59.7 (0.1) 59.6
Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making
142.6 11.5 0.5 154.7 (15.8) 138.9
Canadians are informed of, and respond appropriately to, current and predicted environmental conditions
169.2 7.2 6.2 182.6 (40.5) 142.1
Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced
219.8 7.9 6.9 234.7 (4.8) 229.8
Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches
24.9 1.2 3.6 29.7 (0.0) 29.7
Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced
23.8 0.3 0.3 24.4 (0.0) 24.4
Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects
4.7 0.1 0.1 4.9 (0.1) 4.8
Total Planned Spending
833.0 33.0 47.1 913.1 (74.7) 838.4
Actual Spending
850.6 34.8 47.9 933.3 (64.8) 868.4

Totals may differ between and within tables due to rounding of figures.

Strategic Outcome 1: Canada's natural capital is restored, conserved and enhanced

Strategic Outcome 1


What is the issue?

Natural capital includes the raw materials used in the production of manufactured goods, the land and water resources that anchor our quality of life and support economic activity, as well as living ecosystems that cleanse polluted air and water, reinvigorate soil, and contribute to a predictable and stable climate. Environment Canada works to conserve, restore and enhance Canada's natural capital by developing and implementing innovative strategies, programs and partnerships. The purpose of our work in this area is to ensure that Canada's natural capital is sustained for present and future generations.

Despite the apparent abundance of resources, Canada's natural capital is at risk. Human induced pressures are contributing to significant declines in many species of animals and plants. Urbanization, agricultural intensification, forest harvesting and other resource extraction industries are leading to increased habitat loss and fragmentation. The long-term effects of acid rain, expanded usage of pesticides and other toxic chemicals, and threats resulting from global climate change exacerbate this situation. Finally, increased international human movement and trade are contributing to the introduction of new diseases and invasive alien species, thus, increasing the threats to wildlife and their habitats. Addressing these issues requires an integrated approach involving federal agencies, provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal organizations and other stakeholders.

What are we doing about it?

Environment Canada's programs, services and initiatives to restore, conserve, and enhance Canada's natural capital involve the building of shared strategies and partnerships for conserving Canada's wildlife, ecosystems, freshwater and wetland resources. The protection of wildlife under federal jurisdiction, such as migratory birds and species at risk, contribute to the health of ecosystems. Additionally, the establishment of science and technology practices and partnerships contribute to the understanding of nationally significant ecosystems.

Are we succeeding?: Progress Against Priorities
The following is a summary of Environment Canada's progress against priorities commitments established in the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities:

  1. Developing and implementing a nationally coherent, ecosystem-based approach to planning and delivering initiatives.

    An Ecosystem Approach for Environmental Management was developed in 2006. The objective is to maintain a natural capital system that ensures a perpetual supply of ecological goods and services. These goods and services, as provided by Canadian ecosystems, sustain the health, economic prosperity and competitiveness of Canadians. The approach is being implemented through the department with the expectation that horizontality and interactions within the department will be strengthened. This approach will help Environment Canada to define and implement the programs, tools and systems required to improve the understanding, assessment, decision-making and actions required for the restoration, conservation and enhancement of Canadian ecosystems. The Ecosystem Approach is expected to increase the department's capacity to effectively sustain Canada's natural capital.

  2. From an ecosystem perspective, taking action to identify and begin addressing the critical knowledge gaps that limit integrated decision-making impacting on natural capital.

    The newly published Environment Canada's Science Plan (6) will bring forward a more integrated and collaborative approach to environmental science within the department and with its external partners. Within the context of the ecosystem sustainability outcome, the plan forges consensus on key challenges and priorities for moving forward.

    The Plan is expected to reaffirm Canada's need to improve its monitoring systems and develop the knowledge and data to promote environmental sustainability. Environment Canada must enhance its capacity to develop comprehensive and integrated policies to protect ecosystems. The Department also needs to increase its understanding of the cumulative effects of human impacts on the environment and to strengthen its science-based practices in areas such as species recovery and stewardship.

  3. Implementing the Species at Risk Act (SARA) through a transparent, consistent and harmonized policy and program framework that ensures stakeholder involvement and the inclusion of both ecological and socio-economic considerations.

    In order to support the implementation of the 1996 Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the federal government, provinces and territories have developed a National Framework for Species at Risk Conservation. The overarching policy document for the framework was completed in the summer of 2006 and it provides a set of common principles, objectives and overarching approaches for species at risk conservation. All participants will be able to share and work toward the framework in a collaborative manner. Endorsed by provincial and territorial Ministers at a joint meeting of the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers and Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment in October 2006, the framework establishes species conservation as a cycle that includes assessment, protection, recovery planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

    An interdepartmental evaluation of the Government of Canada's SARA programs was completed and approved in July 2006. Recommendations focused on governance and management and the subsequent Management Action Plan that was developed to respond to the recommendations is now being implemented.

  4. Implementing the Migratory Birds Convention Act by pursuing the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Action Plan and establishing a regulation for incidental take to ensure effective conservation of migratory bird populations while promoting sustainable economic growth.

    A North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) action plan has been proposed to the NABCI Council. The plan emphasizes the coordinated monitoring of bird populations as a first step in the Environment Canada Biodiversity Monitoring Strategy and the importance of completing Bird Conservation Region plans to guide consistent conservation activities for birds across Canada.

    In 2006-2007, the basis for a regulation on incidental take of migratory birds, the strategic approach, the consultation strategy and the resource scoping assessment were developed. Pre-consultation on the subject of incidental take of migratory birds was extended to NABCI Council, provincial and territorial wildlife directors and key stakeholder groups.

  5. Strengthen federal, provincial, territorial and international collaboration to address shared water priorities.

    Canada has the third-largest supply of fresh water in the world. Budget 2007 announced a series of new measures to preserve and protect Canada's rivers, lakes and oceans for future generations.  Over the next two years, the Government of Canada will invest $12 million to support the clean-up of Lake Simcoe, which has been affected by excessive amounts of phosphorus. In addition, over a two-year period, $11 million will be used to accelerate the clean-up of the Great Lakes, and $7 million will be used for the Lake Winnipeg Basin.

    Environment Canada is enhancing and expanding its work on aquatic ecosystems in collaboration with other federal departments, provinces and territories, science networks, non-governmental organizations, academia, and municipalities. The purposes are to share information, determine priorities for monitoring and research, and provide timely and integrated scientific information and advice to decision-makers with regards to the following items:

    • Impacts of pollution on aquatic ecosystems;
    • Water resource management through the promotion of sustainable water use in Canada, and
    • Building of the best management practices for sustaining efficient use of Canada's water
  6. Improving the department's ability to gather, integrate, use and disseminate information in order to support environmental assessment.

    The preliminary analysis and design for an Information Management Strategy for project environmental assessments was completed. Improved management of information will assist in the assessment and monitoring of ecosystem developments.

  7. Improving the management of protected areas and seek opportunities to enhance protected areas networks.

    In 2006, Environment Canada published the Canadian Protected Areas Status Report 2000-2005  (7). For the first time, the report brings together information related to all the protected areas networks, such as parks, migratory bird sanctuaries and ecological services, at the federal, provincial and territorial levels in Canada.

    Environment Canada has initiated an assessment of the status of the 51 National Wildlife Areas and the 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries which comprise Environment Canada's Protected Areas Network. The assessment deals with such issues as the ecological integrity of the protected areas and the facilities conditions. The assessment, which is to continue in 2007-2008, is based on Environment Canada's Protected Areas Manual. The manual establishes draft national policies for managing Canada's protected areas.

    Environment Canada, together with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Parks Canada Agency, are continuing to advance the establishment of a federal marine protected areas network that will contribute to the health of Canada's oceans as established and managed within an integrated oceans management framework. In addition, Budget 2007 announced resources for the creation of Environment Canada's first Marine Wildlife Area, the proposed Scott Islands Marine Wildlife Area off Canada's Pacific Coast and the proposed Sable Island National Wildlife Area off Canada's East Coast.

    Budget 2007 also announced $10 million over two-years for the protection of ecologically important land under the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy. Environment Canada currently sponsors three candidates for the National Wildlife Area under the strategy.


Program Activities

Financial Resources ($ millions)

Human Resources (FTEs)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending




Biodiversity is conserved and protected







Water is clean, safe and secure







Canadians adopt approaches that ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes














Note: Variations between the actual and planned number of FTEs are principally due to re-alignment of program activities.  For an overall outlook on the number of FTEs, please see Table 1 - Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (including Full-time Equivalents).

Program Activity: Biodiversity is conserved and protected

What is the issue?

The most significant threat to biodiversity rests in the loss, degradation and fragmentation of the habitats that animals and plants require for survival. While parks and protected areas help protect natural habitats, these are scattered throughout the country, and in some areas, with only limited natural linkages between them. There is a need to broaden the traditional role of protected areas in conservation with an emphasis on achieving ecosystem integrity. Beyond parks and protected areas, there is increasing recognition of the need to increase conservation efforts with regards to working landscapes such as agricultural land, recreational areas, and areas of high natural resource usage. Targeted habitat stewardship initiatives across the country are also critical in ensuring that habitats are conserved and remain as an integral part of the efforts to protect species at risk.

Invasive alien species, which includes plants, animals and other organisms (e.g. microbes) are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. In addition to environmental harm, these species can cause economic harm or harm to human health. Human actions are the primary means for the introduction of invasive species. With respect to invasive alien species, Environment Canada is progressing towards the following:

  • Working with other federal departments under the National Invasive Alien Species Strategy;
  • Seeking a broader engagement with Canada's marine industry;
  • Beginning work on an environmental and policy scan of the transportation sector; and
  • Providing advice to Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada regarding treatment technology related to shipping ballast water.

For nature conservation to be a success, Canada needs to broaden its focus from simply protecting areas of land and water to managing the full continuum of ecosystems. This continuum of ecosystems includes wilderness, parks, working landscapes and urbanized areas. In partnership with private and public land users on the landscape, governments can strengthen the habitat conservation efforts. More actions are required to influence a wider range of private and public lands by engaging networks of stakeholders in habitat conservation strategies.

Conserving biodiversity does not focus entirely on the healthy populations of wild species; it also includes the protection and recovery of species that have become threatened or endangered, and to achieve the sustainable usage of wildlife. Successfully conserving biodiversity in Canada also requires the assessment of the threats that wild species face throughout their natural range. Canada need to influence actions and activities beyond its national borders and to demonstrate its stewardship of global biodiversity. To secure the essential life support systems and Canada's economic prosperity, Canadians needs to ensure that the continued usage of the lands, waterways and oceans do not undermine the overall ability of ecosystems to function properly.

What are we doing about it?

Environment Canada's program activities in this area included the following:

  • Protection and recovery of species at risk;
  • Conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of significant habitats;
  • Conservation of migratory birds; and
  • Protection and regulation of species subject to international trade.

A primary vehicle for the achievement of results under these programs is the formation of strategic partnerships for the integrated management of Canada's natural capital, including the sustainable management of landscapes. The use of the best available science and the provision of regulatory certainty to stakeholders are key principles that support results under these programs.

The Department's main strategy is one of prevention – "keeping common species common." Once a species or ecosystem is in peril, efforts to reverse the problem are often more complicated and usually more costly. Canadians are able to maximize efficiencies by focusing on the prevention of problems–such as declining wildlife populations, the degradation or fragmentation of wildlife habitat, and threats to wildlife posed by international trade or releases of toxic substances into the environment. Environment Canada focuses on restoring, conserving, and enhancing natural capital through a holistic ecosystem approach that identifies, interprets and responds to environmental conservation concerns. The promotion and conservation of land, water, air and living resources are equally managed through the department's integrated strategy of prevention.

Specifically, the Department is working to achieve the following:

  • Forge agreement with provinces and territories on a national framework that sets out agreed upon objectives and outcomes. The agreements will contribute to the achievement of sustainable land management, conservation of biological diversity, and the maintenance of essential ecosystem goods and services;
  • Develop the knowledge, information, monitoring and assessment capacity in Canada to support integrated landscape management;
  • Create enabling conditions through new and innovative policy instruments and tools that engage Canadians on biodiversity issues, support participatory decision-making and foster stewardship related to wildlife and landscapes;
  • Focus efforts on the conservation and management of migratory bird populations and the recovery and stabilization of populations of species at risk. This can be achieved through the protection of key habitats, landscapes and ecosystems; and
  • Employ national and international collaborative partnerships to mitigate threats posed by international trade on wild species.

Are we succeeding?

In 2006, federal and provincial/territorial ministers endorsed the National Framework for Species at Risk Conservation. The framework is an innovative policy instrument providing the basis for a renewed federal vision for the Species at Risk Act, and for programs to support its implementation. The framework also outlines objectives and key guiding principles for each stage in the species at risk conservation cycle. Adaptive management principles ensure that significant external factors that affect land management, biological diversity conservation, and the maintenance of essential ecosystem goods and services are considered. Under the framework, recovery measures will be adjusted or adapted to reflect new or changed circumstances in the environment and ecosystems within which species live.

In 2006, also, a bilateral agreement between the federal government and Qubec was signed to ensure a collaborative approach to the development and implementation planning of the Species At Risk Act. This is the second such agreement to be signed (British Columbia was completed in 2005) and other similar bilateral agreements are near completion.

The Habitat Stewardship Program is a partnership-based conservation initiative that funds stewardship activities while seeking to engage Canadians. Activities under the program aim to protect and recover priority species at risk as recommended in Recovery Strategies, Action Plans and similar documents. In 2006-2007, the program supported 167 projects totalling $8.9 million. These projects have reduced threats to many species at risk; currently there are 120 Endangered, 84 Threatened and 92 of Special Concern. More detailed results will be made available in the Habitat Stewardship Program Annual Report 2006-2007.

In October 2006, the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers approved a Biodiversity Outcomes Framework for Canada. Developed jointly by federal, provincial and territorial governments, the framework provides an implementation and reporting framework for the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy and it will be used for identifying and linking conservation priorities, engaging Canadians in planning and implementing, and reporting on progress. As a first major deliverable under the framework, progress was made in identifying the parameters of a national report on Ecosystem Status and Trends.

Under the National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative, Environment Canada is developing national agri-environmental performance standards for air quality, biodiversity, pesticides, and water quality and conservation in agricultural landscapes. In 2006-2007, Environment Canada worked towards meeting its commitment to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada by developing the first series of draft environmental performance standards for pesticides, water, and biodiversity. Scientific findings were communicated to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, provincial governments, producer organizations, and other interested stakeholders to assist landowners and others in making decisions about agricultural landscapes management that supports the conservation and protection of biodiversity.

On March 14, 2007, the Government of Canada announced $225 million to conserve and protect ecologically sensitive land . These funds will help non-profit, non-government organizations purchase ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat.

Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, Environment Canada is scoping the development of a new regulatory framework that will provide for enhanced protection and conservation of migratory birds, while still allowing for a limited incidental take of birds and/or nests. In 2006-2007, several documents in support of this new regulatory approach to the management of the incidental take of migratory birds were developed. A draft discussion document was also circulated to the federal, provincial and territorial Canadian Wildlife Directors' Committee and to a forest industry stakeholder group.

Under the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, the long-term health of North America's native bird populations is ensured by increasing the effectiveness of new and existing bird conservation initiatives, enhancing coordination among the initiatives, and fostering greater cooperation among the continent's three national governments and their citizens. Two key accomplishments for 2006-2007 were the development of a North American Bird Conservation Initiative Council Action Plan which emphasizes the development of a species monitoring approach/framework and the completion of Bird Conservation Regions (BCR) plans. Conservation Plans for Bird Conservation Regions were also developed.

Canada long ago recognized the need to mitigate the threats posed by international trade on wild species and ensure existing trade is sustainable and was among the first countries to ratify the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1975. Environment Canada works with partners to ensure its obligations under the convention are met domestically through the implementation of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. Internationally, the department emphasizes influencing action and highlighting Canadian approaches to sustainable wildlife management. In 2006-2007, Canada co-chaired the development of the convention's Strategic Vision for 2008-2013, the vehicle through which countries will set their priorities for the convention. Canada also contributed to reviewing the need for the convention's controls on some wild cat species, underscoring the conservation and sustainable use measures taken in Canada.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Wildlife is conserved and protected

Activities: Using a holistic ecosystem approach to identify, interpret and respond to wildlife conservation concerns; implementing integrated approaches to the management of land, water, air and living resources that promote conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Initiatives and activities in this program area flow from the legal obligations under the Canada Wildlife Act (CWA), the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA 1994), the Species at Risk Act (SARA), the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999); and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA).

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Improvement in the status of threatened and endangered species

Some of the Species at Risk program achievements in 2006-2007 include the following:

  • In 2006, 44 new species were added to the List of Wildlife Species at risk under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), bringing the total number of species listed under SARA for numbers endangered, threatened or of special concern to 389;
  • Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada assessed or reassessed 85 species, subspecies or populations;
  • In October 2006, federal, provincial and territorial ministers agreed to a national policy framework that will help guide management and decision-making with respect to future policy directions for species at risk;
  • A Qubec Species at Risk bilateral agreement was signed and agreements with other provinces and territories are near completion or in progress. These agreements strengthen the coordinated actions between federal and provincial governments and are one of the key measures to support the legal protection, recovery and actions for all species listed under the Act;
  • Substantive agreement was achieved with industry on the SARA Incidental Effects initiative and a National Workshop on the Ecosystem Approach applied to species assessment was held;
  • Environment Canada led recovery planning for 92 species and participated in the planning efforts for 196 other species;
  • The Interdepartmental Recovery Fund fostered partnerships among federal organizations and other organizations interested in the recovery of species at risk. The fund provided support for 60 projects, totaling $1.59 million. Forty-two of these projects were recovery projects and 18 were surveys on federal lands;
  • Environment Canada, together with the World Wildlife Fund, contributed $699,291 to 54 projects through the Endangered Species Recovery Fund. The funds went towards high-priority research and education projects to assist in the recovery of extirpated, endangered and threatened Canadian species, and to prevent other species from becoming at risk;
  • Aboriginal Critical Habitat Protection Fund provided $1,625,430 to 46 projects aiming at the protection of important or critical habitats; Aboriginal Capacity Building Fund distributed $879,754 to 36 projects dedicated to capacity building; and
  • 6,700 CITES permits were issued under WAPPRIITA in order to regulate international trade and ensure it does not pose a threat to wild species.

Maintenance of healthy levels of migratory bird populations

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Specific population objectives have been established for specific migratory bird species listed or harvested species. International population objectives for most waterfowl species have also been established in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Of the waterfowl species for which objectives have been set, most are within a desirable range of the targets, except for two species, scaup and pintail, which are the focus of remedial conservation planning;
  • Successful hunting regulations have been established for the overabundance of snow geese in an effort to bring the population closer to the targeted number;
  • The status of waterfowl populations in Canada were evaluated through cooperative aerial, ground surveys and the Breeding Bird Atlas Programs;
  • The annual process to evaluate the effectiveness of the hunting regulations was completed, and recommended amendments to the annual hunting regulations were made into law on a timely basis;
  • Information on the distribution, abundance and population status of non-game species were tracked through volunteer-based programs such as the Forest Bird Monitoring Program and the second Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas;
  • Conservation priorities for waterfowl continued to be set and addressed continentally with Canadian and U.S. partners. Conservation plans are being developed for many other priority species through several of Canada's Bird Conservation Region plans;
  • Work is progressing on science-based population management objectives for priority migratory bird species;
  • Environment Canada continued to interact with the wind industry on applying the department's wind power guidelines for environmental assessment and monitoring protocols which were completed in September 2006;
  • Impacts of oil pollution on bird populations were assessed through Beached Bird Surveys on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and through other initiatives. Timely responses and wildlife expertise were provided during several oil spill emergencies involving migratory birds;
  • Impacts of specific disease (e.g. botulism, avian cholera and avian influenza) on target migratory bird species were assessed with national monitoring programs;
  • Amendments to the Migratory Birds Regulations and the Wildlife Area Regulations were developed to update the definition of non-toxic shot to include tungsten-iron-nickel-copper as an approved non-toxic shot alternative for the hunting of migratory game birds;
  • A risk management strategy was initiated to minimize the risk to waterbirds caused by the use of toxic sinkers and jigs in the recreational fishery through the formation of an industry working group;
  • New proposal is being developed for regulations regarding incidental take of migratory birds;
  • Management, conservation plans and regulations were developed with the Migratory Bird Flyway Councils for waterfowl and other species. The Greater Snow Goose Management Plan for the Atlantic Flyway Council and an international adaptive harvest management strategy for black ducks were part of the plans;
  • Partnerships such as the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna and the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative continued to affect international migratory bird conservation priority issues. Such issues include the decline of Ivory Gull population and international harvests of murres and eiders; and
  • Updating of Joint Ventures implementation and strategic plans are progressing based on the recommendations of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Continental Assessment Report (8)

For further information:

Environmental Acts and Regulations:

Canadian Biodiversity Information Network (CBIN):

Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS):

CEPA Environmental Registry:

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):

CWS Ecological Gifts Program:

CWS Enforcement Branch:

Environmental Damages Fund:

CWS Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk:

Formative Evaluation of Federal Species at Risk Programs:


Expected Result: Land and landscapes are managed sustainably

Activities: Protecting and conserving specific critical habitats; facilitating a national evolution toward systems of integrated landscape management.

Key Indicator

Progress in 2006-2007

Percentage of area (km2) of conserved wildlife habitat that is under direct Environment Canada protection or protected through departmental partnerships and influence*

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Environment Canada protected 11.8 million hectares in National Wildlife Areas or Migratory Bird Sanctuaries;
  • There were 69 donations of ecologically sensitive land completed under the Ecological Gifts Program in 2006-2007. This is an addition of 4,575 hectares of conserves to privately held land valued at $35 million; and
  • Habitat protection activities resulted in the legally binding protection of 17,000 hectares of habitat and in the non-binding protection of 200,000 hectares of habitat involving 1,200 landowners. Moreover, habitat improvement activities have improved 16,000 hectares of habitat as well as 230 kilometres of shoreline involving more than 2,000 people.

For further information:

National Wildlife Areas:

The Atlas of Canada – National Wildlife Area:

The Atlas of Canada – Migratory Bird Sanctuaries:

*More details for the Habitat Stewardship Program will be presented in the Habitat Stewardship Program Annual Report for 2006-2007.

Program Activity: Water is clean, safe and secure

What is the issue?

Water is emerging as a critical issue in the 21st century. While Canada is recognized around the world for its natural wealth in water resources, these resources are at risk. Despite significant reductions in point source discharges of contaminants, other key sources of pollution remain, including emerging chemicals, about which little is known. Approximately one trillion litres of primary or untreated sewage pour into our water every year. Losses of wetlands continue: 68% of original wetlands in southern Ontario, and 75% of those in south-western Manitoba have been converted from their natural state. Threats to water quality include the release, redistribution and bio-magnification of contaminants. Adopting an ecosystem or watershed management approach is important to maintaining healthy ecosystems and protecting human health (9).

Water is also an essential resource for important areas of Canada's economy such as agriculture, pulp and paper, oil and gas, electric power generation and transportation, as well as tourism and other recreational uses. Urban population growth has resulted in pressures on infrastructure for water, and economic development is creating competing sectoral demand for scarce water resources. Flooding in Canada has had an economic impact in the millions of dollars.

Environment Canada is monitoring water levels within the Great Lakes, with the latest data showing all are below seasonal averages, and Lake Superior experiencing record low water levels.

Environment Canada will be participating in an International Joint Commission initiative to study and update the Regulation Plan for Lake Superior and to investigate changes in St. Clair River and their impact on Lakes Huron / Michigan.

The annual Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (10) report released in November 2006 highlighted key findings on the current status of freshwater quality in Canada. The Water Quality Index, endorsed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, was the indicator used to summarize the extent to which water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life (e.g. plants, invertebrates and fishes) are exceeded in Canadian rivers and lakes.

Highlights of the 340 surface freshwater qualities across southern Canada are as follows:

  • 44% of the sites were rated as "good" or "excellent";
  • 34% of the sites were rated as "fair"; and
  • 22% of the sites were rated as "marginal" or "poor".

Freshwater quality ratings at 30 sites across northern Canada are as follows:

  • 67% of the sites were rated as "good" or "excellent";
  • 20% of the sites were rated as "fair"; and
  • 13% of the sites were rated as "marginal" or "poor".

What are we doing about it?

This program activity is designed to provide science and policy leadership with regards to water quality, quantity and usage. Sciences under this program are focused on monitoring and research to understand the changes and reasons to the aquatic ecosystems. By providing science-based tools to empower Canadians to take action, new developments in water policy and resource management include the following:

  • Announcement of measures to ensure clean and safe water for Canadians;
  • Enhancement of inter-jurisdictional relations and governance structures;
  • Improvement of federal water management across departments;
  • Identification of actions to restore and preserve Canada's water resources;
  • Promotion of wise and efficient water management practices; and
  • Protection of Canadian water related interests globally.

Are we succeeding?

Securing clean and safe water for people and ecosystems requires a shared vision. The actions to ensure clean water announced in Budget 2007 will assist to focus efforts to preserve and protect Canada's water resources. 

Canada has established multiple institutional arrangements that bridge areas of responsibility. International aspects of water management are led by the federal government while trans-boundary Canada-U.S. waters are managed through the International Joint Commission. Judicial interpretation of Canada's constitution has held that the provinces are the primary managers of water in Canada and are responsible for much of the environmental regulation and policies that affect water issues. Environment Canada is collaborating with provincial and territorial governments on environmental priorities of national concern.

Water bodies and watersheds frequently extend across provincial and national boundaries; as a result, Canada has established a number of institutional arrangements that help to address matters of shared jurisdiction pertaining to waters that span across provincial borders. These water bodies include the Prairie Provinces Water Board, the Lake of the Woods Control Board, the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, and the Mackenzie River Basin Board. Furthermore, all governments have policy and regulatory levers that can be deployed in support of water management. A central challenge of water management in Canada is to ensure that those levers are used in a harmonized and collaborative manner that is ecologically, socially and economically beneficial.

Federally, 19 departments are working together to strengthen the integration of efforts, continued development and application of an approach of enforceable national water quality guidelines, and effective handling of challenges in the management of federal facilities and lands.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected

Activities: Implementation of initiatives to ensure clean and safe water, water science and technology integration, water management performance promotion, water quality and aquatic ecosystem monitoring and reporting, research on hydrology and the impacts of human activities and the effects of contaminants and other substances of concern on aquatic ecosystems and water resources, research and development on the conservation and remediation of water resources, science and technology support to water activities and water education and engagement.

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Economic, social and environmental benefits accrue to Canadians through sustainable and productive use of water resources


Canadians have access to safe drinking water and human health is protected from water quality and quantity-related threats

Work conducted in this area during the planning period produced new scientific knowledge and understanding on the impacts of stressors on Canada's aquatic ecosystems and enhanced our capacity to develop actions to achieve results. Key accomplishments included:

  • Work on Lake Winnipeg and Red River watersheds was initiated: research and monitoring activities were initiated to address nutrient management issues; an agreement was negotiated with Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium to assist in the delivery of a science program and support was provided to the International Joint Commission for conducting parasite or pathogens surveys of Devils Lake, Red River Basin and Lake Winnipeg;
  • An Upper Great Lakes study to develop a sustainable outflow regulation plan for Lake Superior was announced and work initiated. Environment Canada provided input to the Government of Canada position on regulation criteria for the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study and the final report on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway;
  • The restoration of designated degraded sites within the Great Lakes Areas of Concern and the St. Lawrence River was advanced by supporting 58 habitat, contaminated sediments and municipal wastewater projects;
  • Environment Canada commitments to the First Nations Water Management Strategy. This includes the implementation of a turbidity monitoring project at Conne River First Nation in Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • In collaboration with Statistics Canada and Health Canada, Environment Canada continued implementation of a nationally integrated water quality monitoring network as based on the release of the water quality component of the second Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators report. In addition, Environment Canada negotiated with provinces and territories without water quality monitoring agreements and assisted in the development of the Status and Trends report on priority issues and areas of concern (e.g. National report on pesticides findings of Cycle one water surveillance project, environmental progress information provided for the Lakewide Management Plan, State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference and Great Lakes Bi-national Toxics Strategy Program), the enhancement of the Canadian Aquatic Biodiversity Information Network by the design and implementation of 110 aquatic bio-monitoring pilot reference sites in partnership with Parks Canada Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the development of a national training program for Environment Canada and partners;
  • An evaluation of the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program was launched by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Environment Canada to address interdepartmental issues and seek solutions to a comparison study between Canada and U.S. procedures conducted by the United States Food and Drug Administration;
  • New research on the impacts of contaminants and other substances of concern on aquatic ecosystems and water resources included:
    • Synthesis reports on Arctic contamination and effects; microbial source tracking; coordination of pharmaceuticals and personal care products research and monitoring across Environment Canada, and with other government departments and provinces; initiation of a research program on hazards of nano-materials and development of a suite of rapid toxicity assays for contaminants.
  • New scientific knowledge to improve understanding of impacts of the climate change or variability and land-use change on hydrology and ecology included:
    • Completion of a special issue of Advanced Nano-structured Surfaces for the Control of Bio-fouling –Climate Impacts on Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems and Fisheries;
    • Assessment of groundwater processes such as recharge, flow, and discharge within the Great Lakes region and the impact of climate and climate change on lake physics (e.g. heat, temperature, flux, heat content, hydrology, currents) and aquatic ecosystem components (e.g. water quality);
    • Research on new approaches for assessing the impacts of agricultural land use on the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems;
    • Improved understanding on watershed-scale assessments for sustainability of fluvial habitats and biodiversity; enhanced understanding of: watershed hydrologic processes and the development of improved hydrologic models, new approaches for assessing the status and impacts of northern development (e.g. oil and gas) on, water resources and new capability to assess and predict the effects of natural and anthropogenic changes on ecosystem productivity and services (e.g. development of a predictive model of minimal nocturnal oxygen concentrations in relation to habitat quality indices;
    • Enhanced understanding of the impacts of habitat alterations and fragmentation on aquatic ecosystem structure and function (e.g. influence of hydrology on water quality in the St. Lawrence River; Parasite communities in agricultural wetlands and the effects on habitat);
    • Development of a national invasive species research and monitoring strategy, including Dydimo; and
    • Determination of the effectiveness and the residual toxicity of various ballast treatment methods to control exotic or invasive species.
  • New research and techniques for the rehabilitation and conservation of water resources including: a national assessment of arsenic and perchlorate in groundwater; report on contaminant releases from mine waste; development of best management practices for storm-water management; demonstrated technologies such as re-circulating sand filter, pharmaceuticals and personal care product treatment; research on the characterization, assessment, remediation techniques and recovery evaluation for contaminated sediments; assessment of groundwater quality and improved remediation approaches for degraded groundwater; cost-effective urban wet weather pollution and wastewater treatment technologies and management; Lake-wide and coastal research for sustainable water quality, LaMPs, Areas of Concern, taste and odour, and cyanotoxins.

For further information:

International Joint Commission:

First Nations Water Management Strategy:

Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program:

Program Activity: Canadians adopt approaches that ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes

What is the issue?

In an effort to respond to unique environmental and sustainability issues of targeted ecosystems across Canada, Priority Ecosystem Initiatives (PEIs) have been developed. Through the application of an ecosystem approach, the objective of PEIs is to attain the highest level of environmental quality within these targeted ecosystems. The initiatives are means to enhance the health and safety of Canadians, the preservation of natural environments, and the optimization of economic competitiveness.

Integrated and informed planning enhance the efficiency of programs and enable activities to be aligned to a shared agenda comprising common priorities, goals, and objectives. Planning can also lead to increased co-operation and co-ordination of efforts between governments and partners. The activities of PEIs are implemented by a broad spectrum of partners and rely on measurable environmental results, collaborative governance mechanisms, sound and integrated science and monitoring, community and citizen engagements, sharing of knowledge and experiences, and informed planning and decision-making.

The key role of Environment Canada's Environmental Assessment Program is to contribute to the integration of ecosystems management within the decision-making processes. The number of complex and important projects that could potentially impact ecosystem sustainability has been increasing steadily. In 2006, Environment Canada experienced a six-fold increase in the assessments of these projects. In response to the Cabinet Directive on Implementing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Department is engaging in a series of initiatives designed to improve the predictability and efficiency of the Environmental Assessment process (e.g. Interim Scoping Approach) with other departments.

Environment Canada is seeking to increase its usage of the ecosystem approach to environmental management. In order to strengthen horizontality and interactions within the government, the development and implementation of an Environmental Assessment framework are required.

What are we doing about it?

Environment Canada is engaged in the following six Priority Ecosystem Initiatives: the Atlantic Canada Ecosystem and Communities Initiative, the Georgia Basin Action Plan, the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Initiative, the Northern Ecosystem Initiative (NEI), the St. Lawrence Plan, and the Western Boreal Conservation Initiative.

Environment Canada has implemented innovative approaches (e.g. adaptive management, cumulative effects assessments) and has leveraged partners' ecological monitoring data to provide decision-makers with a better understanding of the impacts at an ecosystem level. To increase the efficiency of the environmental assessment process, the Department has commenced the implementation of a program management framework.

Are we succeeding?

Priority Ecosystem Initiatives are working to restore and enhance elements of environmental quality in the targeted ecosystems. By using available resources, these initiatives produce sound sciences and contribute to the establishment of strong partnerships that operate collectively to address priority issues in these targeted areas. Each year, a variety of products, tools, and information are produced by these initiatives. The following are examples of collaborative works in 2006-2007:

  • Support for community-based efforts were continued for Atlantic Canada through 16 Atlantic Coastal Action Program organizations and five larger ecosystem-based coalitions. Environment Canada's investments were leveraged on an average of three to six times by the groups. The Northern Ecosystem Initiative partnered with other stakeholders to support 29 projects. Progress was also made with the 14 primary intervention zone community groups along the St. Lawrence River;
  • In March 2007, the Government of Canada completed the negotiation of a draft Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. Following a public comment period, a new Agreement came into effect at the end of June, renewing a 36-year commitment between the governments of Canada and Ontario to protect the Great Lakes. The Agreement encompasses the clean-up of the Areas of Concern, which includes the reduction of harmful pollutants, the improvement of water quality, the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, and the improvement of land management practices;
  • In 2006-2007, the Great Lakes Sustainability Fund supported 49 projects in the ten Canadian and five Canada-U.S. joint Areas of Concern designated pursuant to the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Total investment was $2.4 million. The projects supported the remediation of contaminated sediments, restoration of degraded habitat, and the reduction of harmful pollutants in rural and urban wastewater and storm water runoffs. These efforts contribute to meeting Canada's commitment to restoring environmental use impairments in the most degraded locations within the Great Lakes;
  • Environment Canada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other partners released a joint, trans-boundary environmental indicators report. Nine ecosystem indicators were examined to describe the stressors and human responses affecting the bi-national area of the Puget Sound in the U.S. and the Georgia Basin in Canada. The indicators in the Georgia Basin-Puget Sound Ecosystem Indicators Report (11) include the following: Population Health; Urbanization and Forest Change; Solid Waste and Recycling; River, Stream and Lake Quality; Shellfish; Air Quality; Marine Species at Risk; Toxics in Harbor Seals, and Marine Water Quality;
  • Active participation of representatives from the Council of Yukon First Nations, Dene Nation, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Labrador's Innu Nation in the NEI Steering Committee have broadened insights and understandings of community concerns; and
  • The Georgia Basin Action Plan PEI was evaluated during 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. The evaluation will provide recommendations at both the level of this PEI as well as more broadly across this approach.

An Ecosystem Approach to Environmental Management was introduced within the Department in 2006. This approach will help the department to define and implement programs, tools and systems required to improve the understanding, assessment, and actions required for the restoration, conservation and enhancement of Canadian ecosystems.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Integrated information and knowledge enable integrated approaches to protecting and conserving priority ecosystems

Activities: Management (e.g. development and management of agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs), policy development, partnership management, performance measurement and assessment, strategic communications supporting effective delivery of priority ecosystems).

Community engagement and capacity development (e.g. activities related to the development, support and coordination of community engagement and capacity development in order to support effective delivery of priority ecosystems).

Integration (e.g. implementation of an ecosystem approach for the Department, development of a Priority Ecosystem Management Framework, coordination of priority ecosystems to achieve better integration and effectiveness amongst various initiatives).

Action (e.g. integrated implementation of activities and programs that lead to the improvement of the state (environmental quality) of priority ecosystems across the country).

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Declassification of special areas (e.g. areas of concern, restricted fishing areas)

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Restoration of sector 103 of the Montreal Harbour advanced well with dredging of contaminated sediments to be finished during the summer of 2007 at a total cost to the four financial partners of $10 million;
  • Restoration of the mouth of the St. Louis River was carried out during the summer of 2006 at a cost of $8 million to the two financial partners;
  • Two areas in the Great Lakes (Severn Sound and Collingwood Harbour) are no longer on the list of Areas of Concern (AOC) and Spanish Harbour is now classified as an Area in Recovery;
  • Progress towards rehabilitating ecological systems in all remaining AOC's continues to be made. Work plans have been developed and priority actions have been identified. Implementation frameworks in priority AOC's were renewed and strengthened in 2006-2007;
  • Stage 2 RAP Updates were prepared for the St. Lawrence River and Niagara Rivers AOCs in 2006-2007, which identifies environmental impairments and remedial actions to rectify them;
  • A joint federal-provincial Sediment Decision Making Framework was approved for release; and
  • Biennial bi-national LaMP updates were produced for Lakes Superior, Erie and Ontario, and a bi-national Action Plan for Lake Huron was updated in 2006. A Canadian technical report assessing environmental conditions and the causes of degradation in Lake St Clair was produced. The development of a bi-national program for Lake St. Clair is underway.

Number of partnerships established and/or maintained

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Fourteen existing sites from the Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP) were maintained and two new partnerships from two new ACAP sites in Labrador were added;
  • Each Community Access Program sites nurtured partnerships with government departments, businesses, academia, community organizations, and local citizens;
  • Environment Canada partnered with two intergovernmental and regional-wide coordination bodies (Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee, Nova Scotia Sustainable Communities Initiative), three larger-scale ecosystem-based coalitions (Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability, Bras d'Or Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative), and three Department of Fisheries and Oceans-led Large Ocean Management Area Initiatives (Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Ocean Management, Gulf of St. Lawrence Integrated Management, Placentia Bay or Grand Banks Integrated Ocean Management);
  • For the St. Lawrence Action Plan, partnerships were maintained with federal and provincial partners, the 14 primary intervention zone community groups, and other organizations. In addition, two new and important partnership initiatives were set up: Provisory Integrated Management of the St. Lawrence Committee (17 partners) and the St. Lawrence Global Observatory Corporation (network of 30 partners);
  • The Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Initiative engages a large number of federal, provincial, state and municipal government agencies, Aboriginal participation, industry, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders in the processes of restoring, protecting and conserving the Great Lakes. Several Memoranda of Understanding were negotiated with long-time partners; these include conservation authorities to support local implementation structures for the St. Lawrence, Niagara, Toronto, Hamilton, Quinte and Detroit areas of concern and lakewide management activities. The Great Lakes Bi-national Toxic Strategy also calls on a large number of industrial partners to meet reduction goals;
  • Approximately 125 partnerships are established and/or maintained for the Western Boreal Conservation Initiative. These partnerships span provincial, territorial, federal and Aboriginal governments, non-governmental organisations, industry and academia, and together work to support sound decision-making, adaptive management and best practices for boreal conservation. Significant partnerships include Ducks Unlimited Canada, Sustainable Forest Management Network and the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Initiative, among others;
  • On the Pacific Coast, the ongoing partnerships with the Georgia Basin Action Plan include other federal, provincial signatory partners, the Coast Salish First Nations, local and regional governments, non-profit organizations, and other project level community groups. Additionally, through the Statement of Cooperation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is also an important partner; and
  • In Northern Canada, partnerships with Aboriginal organizations such as the Council of Yukon First Nations, Dene Nation, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Labrador's Innu Nation help to shape the priorities and direction of the Northern Ecosystem Initiative.

For Further Information:

Ecosystem Initiatives:

Atlantic Coastal Action Program:

St. Lawrence Plan:

Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Initiative:

Western Boreal Conservation Initiative:

Georgia Basin Action Plan:

Northern Ecosystem Initiative:


Expected Result: Assessment and decision-making support the health of the ecosystem

Activities: Information, assessment and understanding of the state of ecosystem sustainability support decision-making.

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

New management approaches in project environmental assessments and strategic environmental assessments are implemented

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Environment Canada engaged in the strategic approach to support the Cabinet Directive on implementing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Efforts were focused on the consolidation of the federal Environmental Assessment process;
  • Implemented Environment Canada's Interim Scoping Decision Framework in support of the Cabinet Directive on implementing the CEAA and the Interim Approach for Determining Scope of Project for Major Development Proposals with Specific Regulatory Triggers under the CEAA;
  • Environment Canada focused on the implementation of a program management framework that included mechanisms and procedures to improve the efficiency of the Environmental Assessment process;
  • Implemented an Adaptive Management Strategy between Environment Canada and the Vancouver Port Authority;
  • Implemented "A Strategy for Environment Canada's Environmental Assessment Follow-up Activities in Ontario"; and
  • Established a cumulative effects assessment approach to address water and species at risk concerns with regard to oil sands projects.

Establishment of strategic partnerships to advance ecosystem sustainability and decision-making

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • The Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network Coordinating office maintained a network of over 600 organizations and individuals involved in ecosystem monitoring in Canada;
  • Environment Canada negotiated its interests in New Brunswick's provincial guidelines to address potential environmental impacts associated with a proposed refinery project. This interim approach for determining the scope of project for major development proposals with specific regulatory triggers can be found within the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;
  • The Western Boreal Conservation Initiative, partnered with the Boreal Ecosystem Assessment for Conservation Networks (among others), continued to spearhead a premier effort to develop national-scale models that predict distribution and abundance of boreal birds in response to climate and habitat.;
  • The Western Boreal Conservation Initiative continued support of science to develop best practices for biodiversity management in boreal forests that are undergoing forest harvesting and other forms of development; and
  • Through the Western Boreal Conservation Initiative, Environment Canada continued support to the Sustainable Forest Management Network, a national science network of research institutions, forest industry, federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments across Canada. Projects supported included syntheses on climate change impacts on forest management in Canada, best practices for management of biodiversity in forests (including protected areas) and for management of water resources in forests, market incentives as tools for conservation, and policy design for integrated land management.

Increased capacity of Canadian monitoring organizations to implement effective, relevant ecological monitoring programs

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Continuing to facilitate community monitoring and citizen science to provide consistent data on key parameters; and
  • Facilitated by the Western Boreal Conservation Initiative, Environment Canada support continued for prototype development and launch of the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Initiative, a large scale, long-term, multi-partnered, biodiversity monitoring program across the province of Alberta.

For further information:

Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network:

Environmental Assessment Program:


Strategic Outcome 2: Weather and environmental predictions and services reduce risks and contribute to the well-being of Canadians and Strategic Outcome 4: The impacts of climate change on Canada are reduced


*Reporting on adaptation to the impacts of climate change is in this section because of the integrated nature of the work performed. Refer to PAA crosswalk for explanations regarding the Program Activity Architecture changes for 2007-2008.
**Reporting on the program activity of "Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced" has been relocated to Strategic Outcomes 3 and 4 of the document as a result of the integrated nature of the work performed.


What is the issue?

Weather affects virtually all Canadians. Environmental conditions such as extremes in temperature and precipitation, variable lake levels, floods, winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea ice, road icing, atmospheric turbulence or smog episodes touch on all aspects of Canadian well-being. These conditions can have serious effects on public safety, the environment and the economy. The majority of disasters in Canada have been weather related both in terms of lives lost and economic impacts (12).

A number of recent events demonstrate Canada's vulnerability to weather related events. Home, car and business insurers announced in April 2007 that companies are expecting to pay more than $135 million to help British Columbians recover from the storms that struck earlier in the winter. In 2005, Toronto and the surrounding area were hit with a severe rainstorm and tornadoes that led to the second-largest insurance payout in Canada's history (the largest being the ice storm at an estimated $1.9 billion in damages).

Other phenomena like the melting of permafrost and Arctic ice, shifts in rain and snow patterns, or changes in the range of pests and diseases may have an even greater impact on economic sectors like transportation, natural resources, agriculture or recreation, as well as on public health. Risks to human health and safety and environmental quality can come from afar since the earth's atmosphere and water systems can transport chemicals. Entire economic sectors, such as forestry and fisheries, and the regional economies they support, may already be affected by climate change.

Thus, Canadians, whether as individuals, business persons or decision-makers, need reliable, accurate information on the environment's past, present and, especially, future states. This information enables them to reduce the detrimental impacts of dangerous conditions and to adapt to long-term changes so they can safeguard their health and safety while preserving the environment and improving the productivity, efficiency and resilience of the economy.

This strategic outcome is largely about user-focussed services and the supporting science and monitoring activities. It is the largest operational component within the organization. It is also a unique national asset, in that there is no counterpart in any other part of the nation and every part of the nation relies on its services.

What are we doing about it?

Environment Canada provides services and information that aim to reduce the risks that weather and environmental conditions at all scales pose to the health, safety, economy and environment of Canadians. These services mainly consist of the production and delivery of warnings of severe weather and other hazardous conditions, daily weather forecasts, information about the past, present or future states of the environment and how these states can affect human beings.

Environment Canada's products and services support weather-sensitive sectors, such as transportation, energy, agriculture, fisheries or tourism to improve productivity and competitiveness, and assist these sectors in making their operations more environmentally sustainable. These services help Canadians factor the environment into their decisions and adapt to the changing environment in a manner that reduces risks and maximizes opportunities.

The Department provides the federal government and its public-sector partners with scientifically defensible weather and environmental information to help develop effective policies on key issues such as clean air, clean water, water management and climate change. Environment Canada's large and complex monitoring network forms the foundation for almost all other activities within the department.

Are we succeeding?

Environment Canada has continued to meet this challenge and address these issues. Under this business line, the Department continues to provide Canadians with world class meteorological and environmental information, predictions and services to ensure safety, ecosystem sustainability and enhanced economic activity.

There are a number of areas which illustrate how, over the past year, Environment Canada has been contributing to the economy, the environment and well-being of citizens.

These include:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador Weather Office - Following nine months of careful planning the office re-opened to better address the unique needs of this area;
  • Operation LANCASTER - This Department of National Defence operation exercise was significantly impacted by weather and was designed to contribute to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic; and
  • Detection of Xenon gas in the Arctic - An important contribution related to the North Korean nuclear test of October 9, 2006 in which a successful application of in-house dispersion models by the Emergency Response Section of the Canadian Meteorological Centre confirmed the source of nuclear test related Xenon gas originated in North Korea.

Progress Against Priorities

To follow through on this priority area for 2006-2007, Environment Canada focused on the priorities listed below:

  1. Ensuring mandated Environment Canada service commitments continue to be met and improved. (Ongoing)

    Environment Canada continued to serve Canadians 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide forecasts and other information about the weather, water quantity, ice conditions, Ultraviolet levels and air quality. In addition, the Department issues warnings regarding hazardous conditions whenever the situation warrants. For 2006-2007, approximately 1.5 million public weather forecasts, 444,000 aviation forecasts, 10,000 warnings of hazardous weather conditions (e.g. severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, heavy snowfall, freezing rain) were issued.

    In addition, the Department continues to collect weather and water information from more than 6,000 locations in Canada. Environment Canada maintains one of the largest archives in Canada. This climate archive consists of more than 200,000 new entries per day.

  2. Improving the accuracy, timeliness of, and response to predictions and warnings of environmental hazards. (Ongoing)

    Significant improvements were made to the computer models simulating the atmosphere through the improved usage of satellite data, higher resolution, and improved science. The quality of models developed by Environment Canada is considered to be of same quality as other G7 countries. These computer models are contributing to improvements in other services, such as emergency responses, disaster mitigation, supports to the National Defence and Coast Guard operations, NAVCANADA and air quality predictions.

    In 2006-2007, temperature forecasts were accurate within plus or minus 3 degrees 92% of the time on day one, and 86% for day two. A new generation, high resolution (33 km) Global forecast model was implemented on October 31 2006, replacing the existing 100 km forecast model. The Global model is used for production of forecasts for day three and beyond. Such a major improvement to the system leads to an overall improvement of forecast services and expands Environment Canada's capacity for environmental prediction to the benefit of policy and decision-makers in a wide range of applications.

    Improvements to the "Weather Office", and the media web sites, along with other technological advances, helped to improve the accuracy of warnings and related information available for users in a timely manner. For example, improvements to the "Weather Office" website (13) internal processing and display now allow users to access and move around the website efficiently with fewer slowdowns. In addition, improvements to the hazards web site allowed decision makers to improve their understanding of the vulnerabilities to high impact environmental events and reduce the risks by incorporating this information into their emergency plans. Although the hazard information is only available as a graphical tool for the province of Ontario, a national service is under development.

  3. Empowering Canadians by developing services, products and tools for better environmental and socio-economic decision-making.

    Two examples of the tools that Environment Canada develops for Canadians are the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and the North-American Ensemble Forecast System (NAEFS).

    Environment Canada completed the development of the AQHI in cooperation with Health Canada, provinces and municipalities. The AQHI provides a simple communication tool allowing Canadians to make decisions that minimize the potential impacts of air quality on their short-term health. Pilot tests of the index occurred in British Columbia and Nova Scotia in 2006 and one is now running in Toronto.

    The NAEFS, which combines numerical weather predictions from Environment Canada and the U.S. National Centre for Environmental Prediction was implemented on October 31, 2006. This combination increases the reliability and accuracy of the atmospheric models. Experimental probabilistic forecast products from the NAEFS, which give specialized users the probability that given conditions will or will not occur during a given period, were made available on the "Weather Office" web site.

  4. Leading, nurturing, and enhancing international and domestic partnerships, for improved leveraging of resources and access to new information sources, science, technology and expertise.

    Environment Canada recognizes that building effective partnerships increases the value of services delivered to Canadians and improves the global contribution to science. The Department has developed partnerships with universities, the media, the private sector, emergency and civil defence authorities and all levels of government. Additionally, as the atmosphere does not respect political boundaries, active participations as a respected member of the World Meteorological Organization and other international partners ensure benefits from the cooperation and daily exchange of data with countries around the world.

    Various examples of partnerships include the following:

    • The Ninjo Consortium-a cost-effective way to develop future workstations and other tools for forecasters, where the cost of development is shared between several countries;
    • Environment Canada entered into partnership agreements with Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to integrate aircraft ice reconnaissance with surveillance of marine pollution. This partnership allowed a 10% cost reduction in aircraft costs for services to the marine industry, while increasing capabilities for both environmental protection and ice information support to the marine shipping community. At the same time, it also allowed for the development of an innovative enhancement of domestic marine security patrols. Finally, it provides the on scene immediate airborne response to incidents detected by the Environment Canada Integrated Satellite Tracking of Pollution (ISTOP PROGRAM). Together, these programs have successfully detected numerous marine oil pollution incidents and have resulted in one court conviction;
    • Partnerships with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the International Joint Commission in atmospheric, hydrologic and environmental domains have been beneficial. Sharing knowledge and expertise has increased the pace of progress in applied science, and broadened the quality and quantity of information. This has resulted in better information and services for Canadians;
    • Environment Canada works with the meteorological private sector to enhance the delivery of specialized products and services. This support and collaboration has resulted in a healthy and diverse meteorological private sector with over 50 companies; and
    • Volunteers continued to provide quality climate observations.
  5. Ensuring policy developers and decision-makers have timely environmental data and information and expert advice to support decision-making (through integrated monitoring, understanding and prediction of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and their interactions wit the underlying physical and biological surface.)

    Policy makers in other departments who are working on issues such as the Northern Strategy (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada), sovereignty (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada) and assessment of marine shipping (Transport Canada), have been provided with assessments of present and future Arctic ice conditions in a changing climate. This will help them assess what effects climate change will have on their policies and programs.

    Climate data (e.g. historical weather conditions) are becoming more accessible to Canadians as a result of Climate Archive Online (14). The website had 1.4 million user sessions in 2006-2007, continuing a steady 20% annual increase. Environment Canada has undertaken a project to improve and expand the management of the observational data. This will ensure that all data collected by government and all quality data contributed by partners are securely archived and easily accessible for the future. Environment Canada has also developed several atmospheric impacts and adaptation studies targeting the needs of municipal and sector decision-makers.

  6. Service improvement and quality management where the service is clearly based on the needs of users.

    The Department has begun to implement an initiative to ensure that its meteorological services operate under a formal quality system compliant with the ISO 9001 standard. This system is expected to increase customer focus and develop a culture of continuous improvement across the Meteorological Service. Quality management certification is an increasing requirement of international organizations, particularly in civil aviation.

    Increased contact and consultation with various economic sectors (e.g. hydro sector), largely through the new National Service Offices, has allowed the department to better understand the needs of its users, with the goal of translating this understanding into services more responsive to users' needs.

  7. Increasing capacity across the department for environmental prediction to address priority issues.

    Environment Canada is working on integrating knowledge of all aspects of the environment (e.g. physical, chemical and biological), to produce integrated environmental predictions with broad applications for clients and partners. A framework for Environmental Predictions is under development. In 2006-2007, a sampling of interest across Environment Canada and other departments was completed, and the approach to the framework strategy has been approved. This work involves interaction with client sectors in order to define the services which will be truly useful to clients.

    A prototype modeling system for prediction of the transport and dispersion of hazardous materials in the urban environment was developed under a CRTI project, a multi-departmental initiative (15).


Program Activities

Financial Resources ($ millions)

Human Resources (FTEs)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending




Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making







Canadians are informed of, and respond appropriately to, current and predicted environmental conditions














Note: Variations between the actual and planned number of FTEs are principally due to re-alignment of program activities.  For an overall outlook on the number of FTEs, please see Table 1 - Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (including Full-time Equivalents).

Program Activity: Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making

What is the issue?

Every day, communities, governments, industry and citizens must make short-term and long-term decisions affecting their health, their wealth and the quality of the environment. The availability of timely observational data and information is essential for generating knowledge and information for weather and environmental prediction, air quality forecasts, analyses of water quality and supply, and in the development of policy and regulations (e.g. climate change policy and building codes). Environmental prediction sciences deliver credible, relevant, integrated and usable environmental predictions, knowledge, advice and decision making tools on existing and emerging issues. Data and science help citizens, industry, communities and governments understand their vulnerabilities to conditions or threats, and enable them to take protective action for themselves and the environment, and to maximize their economic opportunities.

What are we doing about it?

Environmental prediction science and monitoring activities are used to detect hazardous conditions and to understand changes in the atmosphere (e.g. weather, climate, air quality and ultraviolet radiation), hydrosphere (e.g. water) and cryosphere (e.g. ice and snow).

Environment Canada monitors the environment, forecasts meteorological and other environmental conditions 24 hours a day, every day for local, regional and national regions. As part of an international effort to monitor and predict the state of the environment, the Department operates, across Canada, an extensive network of facilities to systematically observe the weather (e.g. surface and upper-air), water levels and flow, climate, lightning, air quality and more. In addition to the traditional observing sites, Canada operates a network of Doppler weather radars over the densely populated regions and a lightning network for most the country. While Canada has satellite reception stations, it is reliant on access to imagery from foreign-government-owned satellite systems. Data are exchanged with the international community through the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization and the success of this exchange is very dependent on Canada contributing its share, especially from the Arctic. The Department augments its data and observations with a number of partner organizations in Canada and abroad. These data and observations are the foundation of Environment Canada products and services, policy decisions, and international obligations.

Knowledge of the environment not only means measuring what is happening to it, but also understanding the reason, a key factor in being able to forecast how the environment will evolve over time and the potential risks and opportunities due to the changing environment. To that end, the department is also extensively involved in atmospheric science. This science has permitted the development of sophisticated computer models which are a key tool for producing useful weather, climate and other environmental forecasts for Canadians.

Environment Canada's science is now expanding towards integrating knowledge of all aspects of the environment (e.g. physical, chemical and biological), making possible integrated environmental predictions with much broader applications. At the same time, with domestic and international science partners, the Department is working to provide decision-makers with science-based adaptation solutions that they need to risk-manage the impacts and vulnerabilities and optimize the opportunities as a result of the changing environment.

A key benefit of this program is to provide Canadians with improved knowledge, information, and tools on weather and environmental conditions. Examples include a better understanding of the causes of severe weather, the mechanisms which transport chemicals through the atmosphere, the impacts of human activity on the atmosphere, and atmospheric science-based models. These benefits will support the development of policy as well as the delivery of environmental services.

Are we succeeding?

Weather conditions continued to be monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through national networks of surface observation stations, radar stations, lightning detection sensors, ships and buoys, and an upper air network. Canada, a world leader in using automated observing equipment, also has one of the most cost-efficient observing programs in the world. Environment Canada is currently assessing its capacity to maintain and manage these programs in light of emerging technologies and cooperatives (e.g. federal, provincial, territorial) and international initiatives.

In partnership with the territories, the Water Survey of Canada, within Environment Canada, successfully added seventeen new hydrometric stream gauges in the Baffin Region of Nunavut. The data collected will be used to determine the feasibility of establishing some hydroelectric projects on Baffin Island which would allow power generation to be converted from diesel to a cleaner renewable form. Although these stations have a shorter life cycle and are more costly to operate, this type of information is critical to environmental, economic and sovereignty decisions especially in Canada's north.

Though more work is required to ensure Environment Canada meets its targets, Environment Canada has modernized or replaced 175 monitoring stations since the inception of its vital modernization plan. Furthermore, as a part of its network of off-shore monitoring buoys, Environment Canada has mounted seven beacons on drift-ice in the Arctic in support of the International Polar Year.

Environment Canada's Canadian Meteorological Centre maintained a constant capacity for dispersion forecasts in case of nuclear releases (as per the Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan, and as a Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre for the World Meteorological Organization) and volcanic ash in the atmosphere (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre for the International Civil Aviation Organization).

High quality observations of Ultraviolet (UV) irradiance and the state of the stratospheric ozone layer are necessary to inform Canadians about their exposure to UV radiation (through the UV Index). Environment Canada provides data through a national network of Brewer Spectrophotometers. Canada was invited to participate in the SAUNA (Sodankyl Total Column Ozone Intercomparison) comparisons to validate the quality of global ozone observations, including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Calibration Centre for Europe in 2006 and 2007. The results of these two campaigns validated that the agreement between the WMO World and Regional Standards has been maintained to better than 1%.

The Department's scientists have made significant contributions to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fourth Assessment Report on climate change science. Created in 1988, the IPCC has been charged to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the best available scientific, technical and socio-economic information on climate change from around the world. Drawing on the works of experts worldwide, a series of publications, including the Fourth Assessment Report, have become standard works of reference, used worldwide by policy- and decision-makers, scientists, and other experts.

To support the development of green energy in Canada and around the world, Environment Canada scientists developed a national wind atlas and a state-of-the-art modeling and forecasting tool used for wind energy prospecting. Canada is now one of the few large-area countries in the world to have a comprehensive Wind Energy Atlas across its entire territory. The wind atlas software has been installed on the Chinese Meteorological Administration's supercomputer so that China can develop a country atlas to assist in the achievement of its ambitious target in wind power capacity of 30,000 megawatts by 2020.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Environmental monitoring allows Environment Canada to identify, analyze and predict weather, air, water and climate conditions

Activities: Ensuring the acquisition, transmission, archiving and accessibility of weather, climate, hydrometric and other environmental observations essential to providing users with consistent, reliable data and information in a timely fashion

Key Indicator

Progress in 2006-2007

Integrity of monitoring networks and of their operations (sustainable and affordable networks)

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Plans for life cycle management and published standards exist and have largely been met. The network density and life cycle management is undergoing evaluation due to emerging technology and current capacity;
  • The number of water gauging stations in the Ontario portion of the network increased in response to additional provincial funding;
  • Liabilities associated with previously closed stations were alleviated through clean-up and decontamination efforts;
  • Data was made available to all users in real time;
  • The Data Management Framework projects progressed towards the goal of strengthened data management and improved integrated data access for the Meteorological Service of Canada data sets; and
  • A renewed strategic evaluation and design effort was begun to ensure that monitoring networks will meet evolving user needs.

For further information:

Water Survey of Canada:

Meteorological Services of Canada:


Expected Result: Science supports weather and environmental predictions and services, departmental decision-making and policy development

Activities: Delivering credible, relevant, integrated and usable environmental predictions, environmental knowledge, advice, decision-making tools and information

Key Indicator

Progress in 2006-2007

Science-driven improvements to quality and utility of weather and other environmental services, as expressed by accuracy and timeliness of forecasts and the degree to which environmental science influences policy development and decision-making

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • More accurate numerical weather (e.g. global medium range; 2.5 km Limited Area Model) and environmental prediction systems (e.g. data assimilation techniques, land-surface modelling, watershed studies in all regions);
  • Studies on stratospheric chemistry with a fully coupled dynamical-chemical 4 dimensional-variation data assimilation system nearly completed through the European Space Agency contract;
  • Development of a Regional Atmosphere-Ocean-Ice forecast system for the St. Lawrence Estuary. This is accomplished through partnerships with Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Universit du Qubec Rimouski;
  • Research support desk in the Edmonton storm prediction centre;
  • Landmark paper published on anthropogenic climate change detection at continental scales;
  • A new program of research, development and implementation of operational coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice assimilation and prediction system for Canada (Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Department of National Defence, Mercator Ocan Consortium). This is also the backbone of the Research and Development contribution to Environment Canada's Environmental Prediction Strategy;
  • Updated and improved version of the global ensemble prediction system with an improved assimilation system;
  • Contributing directly to Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences funded networks (e.g. Fluxnet, Canadian Carbon Program) and to international scientific organizations (e.g. International Polar Year, Arctic HYDRA, Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction Experiment) and international IJC board activities;
  • Operated the World Meteorological Organization-World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Center archive for the collection and dissemination of UV and ozone data throughout the world;
  • Significant contribution to International Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report – Canadian lead authors and Canadian model results prominent; Working Group I (Science of Climate Change – four lead authors) released February 2007;
  • Improved representations of climate processes affecting energy, water and carbon fluxes implemented in climate models;
  • Developed new instrumentation and methods to obtain a better understanding of atmospheric chemistry and solar spectral resources for air quality and technological applications;
  • New insights into the ability of climate models to simulate extremes;
  • Long term data sets for Green House Gases (GHG), isotopes and aerosols publicly available through the World Meteorological Organization Global Data Centre for GHGs; and
  • High resolution databases of winds and waves for the North Atlantic and Beaufort Sea and climate trend and variability analyses, including a North Atlantic online atlas.

For further information:

Atmospheric and Climate Science Directorate:

Canadian Wind Energy Atlas:

Strategic Plan 2003-2012:

International Polar Year:

Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction Experiment:

Program Activity: Canadians are informed of, and respond appropriately to, current and predicted environmental conditions and Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects

What is the issue?

While no one can prevent severe weather and other environmental events from happening, effective planning for the range of possible hazards and advance notice of impending dangerous conditions can significantly reduce the risks to Canadians and their businesses.

Weather and environmental information is used in making policy and business decisions, particularly in weather-sensitive sectors such as transportation, construction, energy and agriculture. It is not surprising; therefore, that demand is strong for public services. Public opinion research (16) indicates that the vast majority of Canadians consult weather forecasts every day, for their safety and day to day decisions (e.g. to plan travel and recreation). Increasingly, Canadians, governments at all levels, and private industries are seeking other types of environmental information, for example, on air quality or UV radiation. The Department must respond to this demand.

What are we doing about it?

This program activity consists of making available relevant, science-based information and knowledge on past, present and future conditions of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere, in response to the needs of Canadians, such as policy or decision-makers, business owners or individuals. Under this program activity, information on the state of the environment is produced and disseminated by means of various services, products and tools allowing Canadians to understand their risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities, safeguard themselves, their property and business against high impact environmental events and to help them make better informed socio-economic and environmental decisions.

For the Canadian public, Environment Canada's "Weather Office" web site remained the most popular federal site with about one third of all Government of Canada traffic. In 2006-2007, the "Weather Office" web site received 240 million visits, a 21%, increase over 2005-2006. Weather and climate related public feedback rose from an annual total of 16,000 to 17,000 in 2006-2007, a 6% rise in activity. The increasing level of interest and activity demonstrates the need of Canadians for essential weather and climate information.

In addition, Environment Canada maintains a national radio broadcast covering 95% of the population providing weather information and warnings. These services are further complimented by our automated and one-on-one telephone services which answer approximately 33 million calls a year.

Environment Canada also partners with key stakeholders such as the media to ensure that weather, environmental and atmospheric information reaches all that need and use it. In support of this key partner, Environment Canada maintains a National Service Office dedicated to the media as well as such tools as a dedicated web site.

Environment Canada works with partners where there is mutual interest. These partnerships, often conducted on a cost-recovery basis, yield benefits to all parties: the partners can access Environment Canada's expertise in producing and disseminating forecasts, while the department can maximize the use of its infrastructure while getting access to additional data and resources. The best known partnerships are with NAV CANADA, the provider of air navigation services, and the Department of National Defence, for services to the military, including overseas missions, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to ice services. Another important partnership is with the organizing committee of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, for the provision of meteorological support to the games, which leads to improved knowledge of meteorological processes in a marine, coastal environment.

Warning Preparedness Meteorologists (WPMs) made 1,100 contacts with Emergency Measures Organizations (EMOs), including training on how to use environmental prediction information and 8,477 media contacts during high impact environmental events. WPMs provided support to the media and EMOs during flood episodes (Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Qubec), heavy rains and high winds in British Columbia, heat waves in Montral, tropical storm Florence in Atlantic Canada and other summer severe weather events. Efforts by WPMs have resulted not only in weather information being now included in EMOs' emergency response plans, but also in EMOs now being able to use an expanded media web site to access weather information in priority.

The public accesses historical climate information on the Climate Archive Online, a component of the web site. Public traffic on the site continues to increase at an annualized rate of 15% (1.4 million individual user sessions in 2006-2007). In response to various requests from the engineering sector, Environment Canada has formed or joined Task Groups with the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and the National Building Code Task Group on Climatic Loads to plan and coordinate updates of climatic information for the design of the physical infrastructure (e.g. stream flow and short term rainfall statistics for flood control structures, wind and snow loads buildings).

Information alone is not sufficient to empower Canadians to take action to preserve and protect ecosystems or species at risk: active engagement and outreach approaches are also essential. Through community-based funding, capacity support programs and education initiatives, Environment Canada encourages citizens to take action in their own communities to reduce waste, enhance the natural environment, and reduce air and water pollution.

Are we succeeding?

For the Canadian public, Environment Canada's "Weather Office" web site remained the most popular federal site with about one third of all Government of Canada traffic. While the "city page" forecast and observation information continue to be the top draw, improvements to the radar pages and other new products such as ensemble, model data output, and full radar imagery are also seeing increasing numbers.

Telephone consultation services for meteorological information delivered to weather sensitive clients (such as media, agriculture, forestry, energy, marine, and construction) have been consolidated into a single 1-900 platform. In addition to extending the hours of service, this has improved operational efficiencies and increased the range, equality, and consistency of services offered to Canadians. Over 30,000 calls were handled by weather experts. Weather sensitive clients have stated that direct access to consultation is critical for decision making when their safety or economy is at risk.

In addition, Environment Canada receives roughly 30 million calls annually on its automated telephone answering devices, which provide recorded weather information. Environment Canada is currently assessing the implementation of a national 511 system to improve this service.

Another sign of the importance that Canadians attach to weather and the environment consists of the approximately 17,000 enquiries received in 2006-2007 via the Department's sites on weather and meteorology, a 6% increase from one year earlier. In spite of that growth, over the year the average response time has improved from 6.6 to 4.5 business days, as a result of the establishment of a dedicated enquiry response team. The Department aims to further reduce response times in coming years.

Ongoing support also continues to be provided to the military in Afghanistan. The Weather Service Centre in Trenton, Ontario, produces daily aerodrome forecast support to a Canadian Air Force forward operating base located in Southwest Asia used for re-supply missions into Kandahar and Kabul in support of the NATO Afghanistan operations.

With more than 60 countries participating in the International Polar Year, Environment Canada is doing its part to help ensure the safety of field researchers in the Canadian North and the success of scientific investigations. For example, a suite of new logistical support products such as charts and Ice Hazard Bulletins for field operations has been developed and made available to the scientific communities.

Dispersion modeling was provided to regional and national Environment Canada Environment Emergency Coordinators in response to various environmental emergencies (e.g. chemical fires in Ontario during the summer of 2006, a January chemical fire in Montreal, a chemical spill in Surrey, British Columbia in February and summer of 2006 Prairie forest fires).

In addition to the Air Quality Health Index developed in cooperation with Health Canada, provinces and some municipalities, an air quality forecast and warning program called Info-Smog, which is a federal-Qubec government partnership, became a year-round program in 2006 and was expanded to new areas within Qubec.

Municipalities now recognize the need to become more resilient so they can more effectively withstand and quickly recover from high impact environmental events. To this end, municipalities and other decision-makers, in response to Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, downloaded some 230,000 pages of Environment Canada's information on the frequency and extremes of high impact environmental events. Municipalities in Qubec also downloaded 200,000 pages of information needed in response to the Qubec Civil Security Act. Finally, in an effort to prepare for high impact events in the longer term, decision-makers and policy makers downloaded 350,000 pages of information from the climate change scenarios web site.

An example of developing adaptive strategies for climate change is the Environment Canada led study of sea-level rise and climate change impacts on the coastal zone of south-eastern New Brunswick. This study assessed potential impacts of flooding, coastal erosion, and damage due to forced sea ice movement caused by storm surge in the winter, as was the case with the benchmark storm of January 2000. The end results of the whole project are tools that will allow residents, government and industry to make informed decisions on how they plan to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Environmental forecasts and warnings are produced to enable the public to take action to protect their safety, security and well-being

Activities: Identifying, predicting and informing all Canadians of changes in the atmospheric environment and of potential high-impact meteorological situations or events that have consequences for their safety and well-being

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Quality and lead times of warnings

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Continuous improvement of the automated routine forecast production tool to allow forecaster to focus on high impact weather; and
  • Consistent performance measures for warnings across all Regions are being developed and will be made available on a quarterly basis.

Accuracy of forecasts

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Temperature forecasts were accurate within +/-3 degrees 92% of the time on day one and 86% for day two; and
  • Canada typically ranks within the top five in the world when performance scores of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are compared against those of other major NWP Centres.

Public satisfaction with quality as measured in surveys

In a public opinion survey done in March 2007, 84% of Canadians were satisfied or very satisfied with the accuracy of weather information and services provided by Environment Canada.

For further information:

The Weather Office:

Meteorological Services of Canada:

National Climate Data and Information Archive:


Expected Result: Canadians are better informed through improved weather and environmental services and leveraged partnership opportunities

Activities: Providing better access to and delivery of information; measuring performance; leveraging partnerships; and expanding the application of environmental prediction and information

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Level of satisfaction of public and weather-sensitive industries

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • In a public opinion survey done in 2007, 84% of Canadians were satisfied or very satisfied with the accuracy of weather information and services provided by Environment Canada; and
  • The National Inquiry Response Team (NIRT) uses four categories to monitor client satisfaction. From the total volume, about 60% were inquiries, 23% were complaints, 6% were comments and 2% were suggestions. The NIRT also measures appreciative comments and positive feedback received after delivering a response or about services in general, and found that 10% of all public feedback is positive.

Improvements to key services for weather-sensitive industries

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Consolidation of a single 1-900 platform to serve the over 30,000 calls to Environment Canada weather experts for specific information for weather sensitive industries;
  • Technical and content improvements to weather office web page such as ensemble forecasting, current data, model output and full radar imagery made available to allow users to tailor information to their industry specific needs;
  • Outreach material and workshops have been conducted with targeted economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, surface transportation, to increase awareness and determine requirements for probabilistic forecasts; and
  • Establishment of Agriculture (in Regina) and Marine (in Gander) National Service Offices finalized.

Level of access and enquiry for Environment Canada's products and services

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Weather and climate related public feedback channelled through the National Inquiry response Team (NIRT) rose from an annual total of 16,000 to 17,000 in 2006-2007, a 6% rise in activity. This is consistent with the continued growth of Environment Canada's "Weather Office" web site; and
  • NIRT's quality objective is to provide a response to client feedback within two business days. For service delivery the average lag time for clients to receive a response from the NIRT system averaged 6.6 days at the start of 2006-2007 and improved by 32% to 4.5 days by year's end.

Level of access to international monitoring data through initiatives such as the Global Earth Observation (GEOSS) initiative

Access to new data from international sources gained, including from MetOp-A (Europe), COSMIC (Taiwan and U.S.) and other satellite systems. Accessibility to global data maintained and enhanced through existing relationships with the World Meteorological Organization, U.S. (National and Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA), Europe (European Space Agency and EUMETSAT), and China (Chinese Meteorological Administration).

For further information:

Weather observations, forecasts and warnings:

Meteorological Service of Canada:

Air Quality Services:

Climate Services:


Expected Result: Canadians benefit from the creation and use of meteorological and environmental information by Environment Canada and partners in support of programs of common interest

Activities: Providing partners with quality environmental information that allows them to improve the safety of their operations and maximize their efficiency

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Level of satisfaction of partner and client organizations

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Agreements with three British Columbia Ministries have been completed to allow for interagency data sharing and for observation network development in support of 2010;
  • Weather Services to the Olympics are still in the developmental stage, but progress is apparent. In Media interviews, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has expressed a very high level of satisfaction with weather services provided to date by Environment Canada; and
  • As the primary client of the Environment Canada Canadian Ice Service program, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard continues to express complete corporate satisfaction with ice products and services provided by the Department under the "Ice Information Services Partnership Agreement". In addition, Canadian Coast Guard ship commanding officers routinely provide unsolicited, positive feedback, e.g. (CIS services) "allowed me to make routing/planning decisions that resulted in an efficient and safe transit and also to maximise the program that we were able to deliver."

Accuracy and timeliness of services measured against performance benchmarks

Initial validation of practice forecasts provided for the 2010 Olympics during the 2007 winter season (January to March) indicates a very high level of skill in forecasts of temperature and humidity for outdoor venues.

While there is reasonably good skill on forecasts of precipitation and wind, there is room to improve:

  • Critical weather element thresholds for outdoor sports have been established; and
  • A Canadian Ice Service Performance Measurement Program has been designed together between Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Coast Guard based on Canadian Coast Guard (or main client) requirements under the "Ice Information Services Partnership Agreement". After initial implementation in the summer of 2005, several refinements were put in place over the reporting period. These include the production of two different Monthly and Seasonal standardized reports. These include, but are not limited to metrics such as delivery time, resources, and support by the Ice Reconnaissance Program, Satellite images usage, Communication usage, CIS web site usage, Informatics support and performance and any special Canadian Coast Guard requests.

For further information:

Validation study for Winter of 2007, Internal Report, Pacific and Yukon Region, Meteorological Service of Canada * Significant Weather Thresholds for Sport – PowerPoint presentation *

* Available from Meteorological Services Canada: Pacific and Yukon Regions


Expected Result: Environmental information and services empower Canadians to take action on environmental priorities

Activities: Reaching out to Canadians with Environment Canada's science, knowledge and information in order to build their awareness; to inform and educate them about environmental issues, including actions they may need to take and influence others to take

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Extent to which Canadians are able to use a variety of environmental data and information in their decision-making and have the motivation and tools to take action and to influence others to do so

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • A repositioning strategy and business plan for the Biosphere focused on the establishment of a unique Canadian Environmental Museum and the creation of a National Centre of expertise for Environmental Education and Engagement;
  • A Public Reporting Strategy on the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and the Criteria Air Contaminants Comprehensive Emissions Inventories based on a series of recommendations is being implemented. The information products with integrated contextual information, targeted to NPRI's audiences, respond directly to advice from NPRI clients;
  • An integrated Education and Engagement (E&E) specialists' working group produced an inventory and analysis of departmental E&E products outlining best practices and proposed investment areas to coordinate development of new products and tools; and
  • A review of Community Funding Programs and a Community Funding Program Umbrella Logic Model with performance indicators and specific tools was completed to improve alignment with departmental results, increase efficiency, and improve service to clients. Implementation will begin over 2007-2008.

For further information:


National Pollutant Release Inventory:

Formerly reported on under "Strategic Outcome 4: The impacts of climate change on Canada are reduced", work on the adaptive strategies to address the impact of climate change result was re-aligned to fall under "Strategic Outcome 2: Weather and environmental predictions and services reduce risks and contribute to the well-being of Canadians". It was felt that this particular research activity would benefit most from being closely associated with the climate and atmospheric science program, and the emerging environmental monitoring and prediction science initiative.

This follows from the fact that in order to research adaptive strategies to address the impacts of climate change, a very good knowledge of the characteristics and applicability of climate change science and scenarios is a key prerequisite. A good knowledge of climate and environmental trends is also needed, and again, this is mostly under the purview of the Weather and Environmental Services program area. A strong integrated service component is also required to deliver the information to a community of stakeholders which, for the most part, is captured by the clientele of the Weather and Environmental Services program area, and made easily accessible through its dissemination channels. Finally, most of the impetus for climate change science and impacts and adaptation science is given by programs closely linked to the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), and the programs it has set up, such as the IPCC and the World Climate Research Program.

Expected Result: Adaptive strategies to address the impact of climate change are developed and implemented for the benefit of Canadians and the environment

Activities: Focusing on the science and science capacity supporting the rapidly growing need for science-based adaptation advice that allows decision-makers to understand and risk-manage the impacts of a changing and variable climate and to optimize the opportunities, in natural, socio-economic and ecological systems

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Level of awareness and understanding by economic sectors, OGD's and other levels of government of their vulnerability to atmospheric change enhanced

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Provided information to members of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers expert teams on infrastructure design for changing climate;
  • Published six peer-reviewed papers on the impacts and vulnerabilities of a changing and variable climate on public infrastructure; and
  • Expanded regional hazards information.

Canada's adaptation deficit reduced as measured by:

  • Reductions in the vulnerability to the built environment, human health and ecosystems
  • Reductions in the vulnerability and increased opportunities for economic competitiveness

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Achieved international climate science commitments with four Environment Canada staff representing Canada as Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Lead authors on Working Group II (Adaptation). Report released in April 2007;
  • Met international climate and sustainability commitments by participating in and making presentations to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Expert Teams, WMO World Climate Conference III, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Gulf of Maine Governors, and providing leadership on international Canadian International Development Agency projects;
  • Provided adaptation decision-support to provinces, municipalities, stakeholder associations, and others; and
  • Published on impacts and adaptation issues relevant to the Okanagan, Prairies, Great Lakes, Qubec Region and Atlantic Region).

For further information:

Atmospheric Hazards:

Climate Change Scenarios Network:

Adaptation and Impacts Research Group:


Strategic Outcome 3: Canadians and their environment are protected from the effects of pollution and waste and Strategic Outcome 4: The impacts of climate change on Canada are reduced

Strategic Outcomes 3 and 4

*Reporting on the greenhouse gas emissions reduction activity is in this section because of the integrated nature of the work performed. Refer to the PAA crosswalk for explanations regarding the Program Activity Architecture changes for 2007-2008.
**Reporting on the program activity of "Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects" has been relocated to Strategic Outcomes 2 and 4 of the document as a result of the integrated nature of the work performed.

During 2006-2007, Environment Canada undertook a new approach to protect Canadians and their environment from the effects of pollution and waste. Through this new approach, which is reflected in our Program Activity Architecture for 2007-2008; the Department seeks to accomplish the following:

  • Reduce the risks to Canadians, their health and their environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances;
  • Ensure Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches; and
  • Reduce the risks to Canadians, their health and their environment from air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

To reflect this new approach, reporting for Strategic Outcomes 3 and 4 is presented together in this section. The reporting of the Program Activity on Adaptation to Climate Change is presented in "Strategic Outcome 2: Weather and environmental predictions and services reduce risks and contribute to the well-being of Canadians".

Strategic Outcome 3: Canadians and their environment are protected from the effects of pollution and waste


What is the issue?

Scientific research shows that human activities (particularly the use of fossil fuels and the clear-cutting of forests) are accelerating the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As a result, the earth's average temperature is getting warmer. This could have far-reaching environmental, social and economic consequences.

There are strong links between air pollution (smog) and health problems - especially for the elderly, children and for those with respiratory and cardiac problems. A large number of studies show that air pollution can lead to premature death, increased hospital admissions, more emergency room visits and higher rates of absenteeism.

There is evidence that some potentially hazardous chemicals are accumulating in humans and in our ecosystems-in lakes, rivers, wildlife and in the North.

What are we doing about it?

Environment Canada is taking strong regulatory action to protect Canadians and their environment from the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and toxic substances.

The Government's environmental regulatory agenda will focus primarily on the development and implementation of regulations limiting allowable emissions from each of Canada's major industrial sectors, as well as from transportation activities and some consumer products. Industrial emitters are responsible for a significant proportion of Canada's overall air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Similarly, the Chemicals Management Plan will result in the effective regulation and prevention of risks to the environment and health from the use of toxic substances.

Are we succeeding? Progress Against Priorities

In 2006-2007, two significant programs were announced as part of the Government's broad environmental agenda. They were as follows:

  • The Chemicals Management Plan; and
  • The Clean Air Regulatory Agenda.

The Chemicals Management Plan

The Chemicals Management Plan will improve the degree of protection against hazardous chemicals. It includes a number of new, proactive measures to make sure that chemical substances are managed properly.

Taking action now will significantly reduce future costs associated with water treatment, clean-up of contaminated sites, and treating illnesses related to chemical exposure. It will improve Canadians' quality of life, and better protect our environment. There are also chemical substances that have been identified as requiring further assessment in future years. The Government is committed to assessing all of the substances that have been identified through categorization via successive rounds of assessment and, where necessary, regulatory action. Continuously improved information on the uses and effects of chemical substances will help establish these next rounds of priorities. This plan includes the investments needed to get this work started, and to keep Canada at the forefront of chemicals management globally.

Managing chemicals safely also relies on strong stewardship from Canadian industry. The government is working with key sectors to develop and codify comprehensive sound management practices that will protect Canadians and the environment. The federal government will also work to ensure that information about chemical substances, their hazards and also practices for their safe management is available to Canadians.

The Clean Air Regulatory Agenda

The Clean Air Regulatory Agenda consists of the following, all of which were announced through a Notice of Intent in fall of 2006:

  • the Regulatory Framework for Industrial Air Emissions, including targets, proposed compliance mechanisms, and an initial assessment of impacts of the framework on the health of Canadians, on the environment, and on the economy;
  • Regulatory and other action for transportation sources;
  • Regulatory and other actions for consumer and commercial products;
  • The Regulatory Framework for Improving Indoor Air Quality;

Subsequent to the Notice of Intent to Regulate, the Government of Canada consulted on the development of the overall regulatory framework for key industrial sectors including fossil-fuel fired electricity generation, upstream oil and gas, downstream petroleum, base metal smelters, iron and steel, cement, forest products, and chemicals production.

In April 2007, the Federal Government announced Turning the Corner, an action plan for reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution, and made public the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions. The Framework identifies measures to reduce emissions from industrial sources, transportation, and consumer and commercial products; more stringent energy efficiency standards; and address sources that affect indoor air quality.

For industrial emissions, the Framework sets a 2010 implementation date for emission reduction targets, as well as fixed emission caps for air pollutants that will enter into force as soon as possible between 2012 and 2015.  The Framework contains compliance mechanisms intended to provide industry with flexibility in meeting its regulatory obligations. It also requires rigorous monitoring and reporting in order to ensure compliance assessment and transparency.

Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from all sources are expected to begin to decline as early as 2010 and no later than 2012. Thereafter, absolute emissions will continue to decline. The Government is committed to reducing Canada's total emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020 and by 60% to 70% by 2050.

For air pollutants, Canada will set national air pollutant emissions targets that will produce tangible health and environmental benefits.

A national, long-term regulatory strategy gives industry the certainty, flexibility and opportunity to achieve real emission reductions while promoting Canadian competitiveness by encouraging technological innovation. Coordinating requirements within a multi-pollutant approach allows firms to make cost-effective decisions to maximize synergies in reducing their emissions.

The following is a summary of Environment Canada's progress against priorities established in the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities:

  1. Advancing priority actions for air quality and substances of concern including:
    1. Developing a Clean Air Act as the basis for a comprehensive clean air strategy
      • Tabling of the Clean Air Act in Parliament (October, 2006)
    2. Developing a comprehensive regulatory agenda on air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions
      • "Notice of Intent to develop and implement regulations and other measures to reduce air emissions" (October, 2006);
      • Coordination of the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions (April, 2007); and
      • Regulatory progress to reduce emissions including work on the following:
      • Final Amendments to the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations (published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on November 15, 2006). These Amendments maintain alignment with new requirements introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for 2006 and later model year motorcycles, including: more stringent emission limits for smog-forming emissions compared to previously regulated levels; and expanding the scope to cover small motorcycles (e.g. scooters and mopeds) having an engine displacement of less than 50 cubic centimetres;
      • The proposed Marine Spark-Ignition Engine and Off-road Recreational Vehicle Emission Regulations (published in Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 30, 2006 for public consultation). Publication of final regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II, is anticipated for fall of 2007; and
      • Amendments to the Off-Road Compression-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations. Development of the proposed amendments is on-going with an anticipated publication in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in fall of 2007.
    3. Developing and implementing a comprehensive agenda, in conjunction with Health Canada, for the sound management of chemicals following the completion of the categorization mandate under Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 1999:
      • On December 8, 2006, the government unveiled Canada's Chemicals Management Plan, which takes immediate action to regulate chemicals that are harmful to human health or the environment. The plan makes Canada a world leader in assessing and regulating chemicals that are used in thousands of industrial and consumer products. It includes realistic and enforceable measures which will improve our environment and protect the health and safety of Canadians;
      • Canada became the first country to categorize its entire inventory of "chemicals in commerce" (23,000 chemicals - completed in September 2006), which, until now, had not undergone scientific assessment. The result has been: decisive actions on "chemicals in commerce" have been taken; the establishment of clear priorities concerning these chemicals; and the creation of a new Chemicals web site (17); and
      • As a result of the Chemicals Management Plan announcement, a series of initiatives began in December 2006, one of which challenges stakeholders to provide the government with information on approximately 200 chemical substances that were identified as high priorities for action. Information regarding their current presence or use will be assessed, to: determine further actions required to protect Canadians' health and environment; improve knowledge; and identify best practices. The challenge program began with the publication in the Canada Gazette of the first list of 15 priority substances on February 3, 2007 and will continue on a quarterly basis over the next three years.
    4. Strategically managing and ensuring the effectiveness of existing and forthcoming environmental protection regulations and the federal contaminated sites program:
      • Environment Canada co-leads with the Treasury Board Secretariat; provides the expertise to departments on ecological risk assessments; and provides secretariat services for the $3.5 billion Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) program. The FCSAP provides funding to 15 federal departments, agencies and to consolidated crown corporations for addressing the problem of contamination of federal lands from historical activities. In 2006-2007, the second year of implementation of the program, $376 million was approved for assessment and remediation of more than 2,500 sites across the country, bringing the total amount that has been approved to $565 million (as of April 2006, 1,371 sites have been assessed and 45 sites have been cleaned up). The FCSAP program will be evaluated in 2007-2008.
    5. Developing regulations for effluent from wastewater systems (municipal and wastewater systems on Aboriginal land and federal land):
      • Working with provinces and territories, through the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME), the Department is on-track to develop a Canada-wide Strategy for the management of municipal wastewater effluents. It is hoped that this approach will lead to a collectively agreed-to risk management framework for the wastewater sector and the subsequent development of a wastewater effluent regulation under the Fisheries Act (a key element of the CCME Strategy to institute performance measurement and governance).
    6. Improving information and reporting on pollution:
      • The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), which provides information on pollutant releases and transfers, continues to be expanded, thus making data available to Canadians and for decision-making purposes. The quality of data in the NPRI, and in the Comprehensive Emission Inventories for Air Pollutants, Heavy Metals and Persistent Organic Pollutants, continues to be improved through collaboration with industry and governmental experts.
    7. Approval of a stewardship policy governance structure for biotechnology; and developing and implementing a strategy to identify and address risks from nanotechnology:
      • Environment Canada and Health Canada continued to work with other federal departments to develop a stewardship policy / governance structure for products of biotechnology and emerging technologies, including nano-materials. These frameworks will result in the appropriate management of new products of biotechnologies and emerging technologies by the most suitable department, and under the proper federal legislation.
  2. Implementation of key strategic shifts to improve the effectiveness of program approaches including:
    1. Using sectoral approaches for risk assessment and risk management, where possible:
      • Environment Canada has made a commitment to work with specific industry sectors to achieve reductions in pollutant emissions and to forge stronger relationships with sectoral stakeholders. As part of this commitment, Environment Canada reorganized the Environmental Stewardship Branch to more effectively address risk management for all pollutants across media (e.g. air, water, soil) as well as within a particular sector.
    2. Using equivalency agreements and other federal, provincial or territorial partnership approaches to achieve national targets:
      • Approval through the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME) of a Canada-wide Standard (CWS) for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants (by 2010 - 45% reduction of mercury emissions from existing plants, relative to 2003 emissions);
      • Future consideration for the development of agreements in the domain of air emission regulation for the electricity sector;
      • Establishment of a leadership role in the development of strategies to review and determine Air Quality Objectives;
      • A four-year joint science assessment of trans-boundary particulate matter, published in 2004, concluded that further reductions in trans-boundary air pollution, including particulate matter, would help Canada and the U.S. achieve their respective air quality and acid rain goals. Based on this research, Canada and the U.S. announced, in April 2007, their intention to pursue the negotiation of an annex to the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement which would address particulate matter and other issues of concern (such as acid rain and visibility in the Canada-U.S. border region); and
      • Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are working collaboratively, through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to develop efficient and effective North American-wide strategies to preserve and improve the quality of our shared air sheds. Initial work aimed at enhancing North American Air Quality Management will result in the development of comparable and synchronized emissions inventories and monitoring systems. Data and analyses from these systems, as well as data, information and knowledge, from our other shared program (such as Border 2012), will inform our strategies and initiatives for our air quality and emissions work in 2010-2015.
    3. Effective use of public education and engagement, including risk communication:
      • National coordination of Clean Air Day;
      • Coordination of the Clean Air Online (CAOL) web site;
      • Development of an Environment Canada Clean Air Outreach Strategy;
      • Development and implementation of Community-based clean air outreach activities including:
      • Support for municipal and community activities (e.g. Car-Free day, Toronto Smog Summit); and
      • Coordination of communications and outreach activities under the Border Air Quality Strategy;
      • Contribution Agreements to seven programs operated by local grassroots organizations across Canada. An example would include the voluntary accelerated on-road vehicle program (also known as the vehicle scrappage program), which is designed to improve air quality by permanently removing older, high-emitting vehicles from the roads. In 2006-2007, more than 3,700 vehicles were scrapped by their owners in exchange for an incentive such as: a transit pass, a rebate toward the purchase of a new or newer vehicle or a rebate toward the purchase of a new bicycle; and
      • Dissemination of information to educate industry on environmental issues related to industrial combustion and benefits of cogeneration and variety of outreach activities to educate the public and Aboriginal communities regarding the effective use of residential wood burning appliances.
  3. Establishing a clear and predictable environmental protection regime by developing and implementing a quality management system for decision-making with respect to pollutants.
    1. By developing and implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) for its regulatory programs, Environment Canada will help ensure that decision-making processes are: clear, integrated, efficient, transparent, implemented consistently, continually assessed, improved, and supported by sound document and information management practices. Environment Canada has adopted a modular approach to QMS by focusing first on the risk assessment and risk management of existing substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Development of this first module is close to completion and includes the following:
      • Process and approvals flowcharts to depict the overall process and the various risk management measures;
      • Quality Manual for the risk assessment and risk management program; and
      • The development of communication, collaboration, integration, and tracking tools to aid in implementing a QMS while supporting regulatory program activities.


Program Activities

Financial Resources ($ millions)

Human Resources (FTEs)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending




Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced







Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches














Note: Variations between the actual and planned number of FTEs are principally due to re-alignment of program activities.  For an overall outlook on the number of FTEs, please see Table 1 - Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (including Full-time Equivalents).

Program Activity: Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced

What is the issue?

Toxics and other harmful substances pose considerable threats to the health and well-being of Canadians and have significant negative impacts on air, water and land. Under this program area, environmental and human health threats posed by toxic substances and other substances of concern are understood and communicated in terms of their release rates. Appropriate risk management measures thus prevent, reduce or eliminate their effects. These substances may exert a direct or indirect harmful effect on animals, plants or humans and depending on their volume, nature and manner of release, may pose long-term risks to the environment.

In 2006, as part of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative, air quality indicators were reported upon in combination with National Air Pollutants Surveillance data, to provide information on trends, in population exposure, for two key components of smog and two of the most common and harmful air pollutants - ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations. Reported findings included the following:

  • At the national level, from 1990 to 2004, the population weighted seasonal average ground-level ozone values showed year-to-year variability with an average increase of 0.9% per year;
  • In 2004, ground-level ozone values were the highest at monitoring stations in southern Ontario, followed by Qubec and eastern Ontario. Southern Ontario has exhibited an increasing trend in the population weighted, seasonal average value since 1990, while other regions showed no noticeable increase or decrease; and
  • The highest levels of PM2.5 were found in southern Ontario, although some areas in eastern Qubec also showed high levels. There was no discernible national trend for the population weighted PM2.5 during the period 2000 to 2004.

What are we doing about it?

This program activity revolves around reducing risks to the environment and to human health posed by pollutant releases related to human activities. Environmental and human health threats, posed by toxic substances and other substances of concern, are understood in terms of: their fate; their effects; their prevention; their reduction; their elimination; or other management measures. These substances may exert a direct or indirect harmful effect on animals, plants or humans and depending on their volume, nature and manner of release, may pose long-term risks to the environment.

Are we succeeding?

Since the early 1990s, Canada and other industrialized nations have had processes in place to assess health and environmental risks associated with new substances (e.g. chemicals, polymers and biotechnology materials) before they are allowed to enter the marketplace. These processes have been backed up by regulatory and other measures to manage inherent risks posed by these new substances.

However, in Canada, as in other industrialized countries, large numbers of substances, which were in use prior to 1990, have been allowed to remain in commercial use, pending their assessment for potential health and /or environmental effects. In Canada, this amounts to some 23,000 substances that were used commercially in the mid-1980s, prior to the promulgation of Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 1999.

Pursuant to CEPA 1999, the Government was required to undertake a comprehensive review, called "categorization," of these un-assessed substances to identify:

  • Those that were inherently toxic to humans or to the environment and that might be persistent (e.g. taking a long time to break down) and/or bio-accumulative (e.g. collect in living organisms and end up in the food chain); and
  • Those to which people might have the greatest potential for exposure.

CEPA 1999 requires that substances identified through this process require further evaluation to determine their precise health and environmental risks, and how those risks should best be managed.

As a result of having completed the categorization mandate in the fall of 2006, Canada is the first country in the world to have concluded a comprehensive review of all its substances in commerce. This initial categorization resulted in the identification of approximately 4,300 substances which will require assessments, by Environment Canada and Health Canada scientists, to determine their precise health and environmental risks and how those risks should be managed.

In December 2006, the Government announced that it would invest $300 million in a new Chemicals Management Plan that sets out a process to address the majority of these substances by 2020.

The Chemicals Management Plan consists of four interrelated components:

  1. Risk assessment to evaluate whether the substances pose a threat to the environment and human health.
  2. Risk management to develop appropriate control strategies and instruments to mitigate or eliminate the risks.
  3. Research to generate the science-based information to inform risk assessment and management.
  4. Monitoring and surveillance to collect and generate human health and environmental data to better inform decision-making and measure the effectiveness of control actions.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Air quality is improved

Activities: Regulatory development and implementation addressing air quality issues such as smog and acid rain

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Ambient air quality levels as measured by the National Air Pollution Surveillance Program (NAPS)

In 2006, Environment Canada expanded the monitoring network to 186 air monitoring instruments (an investment of approximately $2.6 million) to enhance the capacity to measure ambient levels of particulate matter, ozone (ground-level) and other criteria air contaminants, as well as to replace aging equipment. Currently, 326 monitoring stations are reporting to the NAPS database.

While ambient levels of some pollutants like total volatile organic compounds (VOC), fine particulates (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOX) have been steady or decreasing over the years, everyday levels of ozone have been increasing. Studies indicate that even with low ambient concentrations of ozone and PM2.5, adverse human health effects can still occur. Consequently, the risk of health effects to the Canadian population from exposure to ozone may have increased, while for PM2.5 there may have been no improvements. Because SO2, NOX, and VOC are precursors of PM2.5, and NOX and VOC are precursors to ozone, actions are needed to further reduce emissions of the precursors in order to reduce the ambient levels of ozone and secondary PM2.5.

For further information:

Clean Air Online:

National Air Pollution Surveillance Network (NAPS):

Expected Result: Risks to Canadians and their environment posed by pollutants or other harmful substances are assessed

Activities: Risk Assessment – categorization exercise of commercial chemicals

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Number of categorized commercial chemicals

The categorization exercise was completed as planned in September 2006. Approximately 4,000 substances meet the criteria while an additional 300 have also been identified as priorities.

For further information:

Chemicals web site:

Expected Result: Risks to Canadians and their environment posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances are managed

Activities: Risk management of toxics substances of concern through various instruments, such as: regulations; pollution prevention planning; environmental emergency planning; environmental codes of practice; and CEPA guidelines

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Quantity of releases or concentration of substance(s) of concern in the ambient environment

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • Together, pollutant inventories—such as the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and Criteria Air Contaminant (CAC) Emissions Inventory—and ambient monitoring programs—such as the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) Network—allow governments and the public to assess progress in reducing pollutant releases and ambient concentrations of substances of concern in the environment. A summary of trends based on NPRI, CAC Inventory and NAPS data is provided below:
  • Total reported releases of most CEPA Schedule 1 toxic substances decreased between 2000 and 2005—the latest year for which reviewed NPRI data are available. Examples of such decreases for this time period include Benzene (-47%); Dioxins and Furans (-30%); and Mercury (-16%);
  • However, total reported releases of some CEPA Schedule 1 substances have increased. These include formaldehyde (+15%); and ammonia (+39%);
  • Emissions of criteria air contaminants (CACs)*—key pollutants contributing to acid rain, smog and/or poor air quality—decreased between 1995-2005. Examples include total particulate matter (-22%); sulphur oxides (-21%); volatile organic compounds (-17%); and nitrogen oxides (-4%);
  • However, total particulate matter (TPM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ammonia emissions are projected to increase in the future. Moreover, while CAC emissions in Ontario have decreased in recent years, emissions in Alberta have increased, principally due to expanding oil and gas and oilsands production.

Number of preventative or control measures (e.g. regulations or voluntary instruments) in place which address substances of concern


Publication in Canada Gazette, Part I, of the following:

  • Proposed amendments to Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2005 to add four new fluorotelomer-based substances (Perfluorinated Carboxylic Acids (PFCAs) precursors);
  • Proposed Perfluorooctane sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations (PFOS);
  • Proposed Polybrominated Diphenyl ethers Regulations (PBDEs);
  • Proposed Polychlorinated biphenyls Regulations (PCBs);
  • Interprovincial Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable materials Regulations;
  • Proposed amendments to the Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS)Regulations, 1998; and
  • Proposed amendments to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations.

Publication in Canada Gazette, Part II, of the following:

  • Regulations amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2005 (to add 2-Methoxyethanol, Pentachlorobenzene and Tetrachlorobenzene);
  • Amendments to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations; and
  • Amendments to the 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations.


Environmental Performance Agreements

Published Environmental Performance Agreements on refractory ceramic fibres, paints and coatings and locomotive emissions. Initiated consultation on Environmental Performance Agreement to reduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from aluminium smelting.

Published a proposed Environmental Performance Agreement on the use of tin stabilizers in the vinyl industry.


Pollution Prevention Plans

Published a proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice for Mercury Switches in End of Life Vehicles Processed by Steel Mills, and a Final Notice for specific substances released from Base Metal Smelters, Refineries and Zinc Plants.

In 2006, the New Substances Program (NSP) received and assessed notifications on new chemicals, polymers, products of biotechnology and substances contained in products controlled under the Food and Drugs Act. During the year, the NSP received approximately 400 notifications for chemicals, polymers and products of biotech and approximately 40 notifications for substances contained in products controlled under the Food and Drugs Act. Three conditions and eight Significant New Activity notices for new substances suspected of being toxic under CEPA 1999 were published in theCanada Gazette, Part I.

For further information:

CEPA Environmental Registry:

National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI):

Criteria Air Contaminants Emissions Inventory (CAC) :

*Compiled in Canada's Criteria Air Contaminant Inventory, excluding open sources such as forest fires and road dust.

Program Activity: Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches

What is the issue?

The generation, collection and reporting of environmental and pollution information is crucial for educating Canadians about the connection between their actions and environmental, health and economic outcomes. It is also essential for encouraging them to adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches; for supporting risk assessment and risk management activities; for assessing progress; and for enabling key decision-makers, including investors, consumers and companies to make quality decisions in support of Canada's long-term competitiveness and the health of our citizens and our environment.

Providing publicly accessible information on chemical substances and their associated risks is a means through which the Department can promote the use of environmental information in market based decisions. Advancing more sustainable consumption and production is fundamental in developing a sustainable economy. The central challenge in this endeavour is to incorporate environmental and social aspects into decision-making previously dominated by economic considerations.

What are we doing about it?

This program activity provides a focus for the Department's longer term efforts to reduce the cost of unsustainable consumption patterns and to shift industry towards more sustainable forms of production. Another key component of this activity is the provision, to Canadians and decision-makers, of high-quality and timely information on pollutant "releases" through user-friendly tools and products. Underlying this is the creation of a clear and predictable environmental protection regime, designed to encourage and enable sustainable production and consumption.

Are we succeeding?

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and its administration must be reviewed by Parliament every five years. This parliamentary review provides the Government of Canada with an opportunity to assess the contribution of CEPA 1999 to the goals of: pollution prevention; sustainable development; and federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal cooperation. The parliamentary review also provides an opportunity for Canadians to provide feedback on how well they feel the Act is protecting their environment and health. The CEPA 1999 review was launched in May 2006 by two Parliamentary Committees, one in the House of Commons and the other in the Senate. The House of Commons review by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development has heard from over 30 organizations including environmental groups, industry representatives and academics. The House Standing Committee tabled its report in May 2007. The Senate Standing Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources is still pursuing its review which should be completed in fall of 2007.

Information on pollutant releases and transfers, available for Canadians and decision-makers, continues to be improved through expansion of the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). Data in the NPRI and in the Comprehensive Emission Inventories for Air Pollutants, Heavy Metals and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) continues to be enhanced through engagement and collaboration with industry and governmental experts.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: Canadians are informed of environmental pollution and are engaged in measures to address it

Activities: Data collection, inventory compilation, quality improvement, and public reporting

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Quantity and quality of information reported to and contained in the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and the Criteria Air Contaminant (CAC) Emissions Inventory

Progress for this indicator include the following:

  • During 2006-2007, the NPRI collected and made publicly available information from 8,400 industrial facilities on their 2005 releases, disposals and recycling of 341 pollutants. For 2005 reporting, 18 substances were added and the mining exemption was removed. The requirements for 2006 reporting, including additional requirements for reporting of: dioxins, furans, polycyclic tic hydrocarbons, and total reduced sulphur were published. 2006 Reporting changed with the removal of the exemptions for road dust, pits and quarries;
  • The Criteria Air Contaminant (CAC) Comprehensive Emissions Inventory, including emission trends and projections (1990-2015) was compiled and published. Reporting obligations under various Protocols to the UNECE LRTAP Convention were met through submission of Canada's country report on 2005 emissions of air pollutants, heavy metals and POPs; and
  • NPRI and the CAC Inventories have initiated an intensive data quality improvement program for air pollutants and other key substances of concern. The approach involves collaborating with key industrial sectors to develop better guidance and tools for reporting facilities, to standardize reporting protocols, and to better characterize emissions of priority pollutants from key industrial processes. Efforts to improve data quality, by simplifying reporting requirements, incorporating guidance and quality control checks in reporting software, and improving quality control activities after data is submitted, continued in 2006-2007.

For further information:

National Pollutant Release Inventory:

Criteria Air Contaminants:

Expected Result: Sector-based and other approaches promote sustainable consumption and production

Activities: Strategic analyses, policy approaches for promoting sustainable consumption and production practices

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Strategic approach and policy options for sustainable production and consumption are developed

A strategic approach to sustainable consumption and production was developed in order to focus and coordinate departmental efforts and to facilitate interdepartmental collaboration. Priority areas identified for action include green procurement, corporate environmental innovation (with an initial focus on the financial sector), analysis and risk management of products with harmful effects or ingredients, and greening supply chains (with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises).  

Strategic Outcome 4: The impacts of climate change on Canada are reduced


What is the issue?

In order to reduce the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change on Canada, action needs to be taken on two fronts: first, by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and second, by strengthening the understanding of the impacts of climate change, and taking steps to adapt to its effects.

Established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that the emission of GHGs into the atmosphere is causing the climate to behave in increasingly unnatural and unpredictable cycles. In order to address this issue, global actions are required to reduce GHG emissions.

What are we doing about it?

In April 2007, the Government released Turning the Corner, which takes an integrated approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. Turning the Corner includes the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions, which establishes short, medium and long-term reduction targets for industrial and other emission and pollution sources that will benefit both the health of Canadians and Canada's environment.

The real reductions in emissions that will be driven by the Government's new regulations, coupled with the impacts of both the non-regulatory actions and ambitious new initiatives being taken by provincial and territorial governments, mean that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from all sources are expected to begin to decline as early as 2010 and no later than 2012. Thereafter, absolute emissions will continue to decline.

On behalf of the federal government, Environment Canada is engaging large emitters from developed and developing countries to participate in the United Nations (UN) climate change process. By engaging internal and external members of the UN, the objective is to achieve a long-term agreement for post 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's emissions targets expire, to limit the emission of GHGs that are contributing to climate changes. Environment Canada is actively participating in all areas where the nature of a long-term framework is being discussed, and the Department is working to develop an agreement that is environmentally effective and is reflective of Canada's national circumstances.

Are we succeeding?

On the domestic front, a Notice of Intent to regulate air emissions was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in October 2006. Following its publication, consultations were held with provinces and key stakeholders on elements that would make up the regulatory framework for air emissions. The Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions, released in April 2007, includes measures to reduce GHGs and air pollutants from industrial, transportation, consumer, and commercial sources. The reductions in emissions that are expected to result from the Regulatory Framework will have an important positive impact on Canada's environment and on the health of Canadians.

Canada's domestic approach will also demonstrate its commitment to acting on climate change to the international community. Canada has been working as a part of multilateral efforts to ensure effective international cooperation on climate change. These included discussions with G8 partners to seek consensus on a post-Kyoto approach in reducing GHGs. Future international cooperation that meets Canada's goals would result in significant reductions in global GHG emissions from major emitting countries; the maintenance of the competitiveness of Canadian enterprises; and the generation of significant environmental co-benefits.

Canada is an active participant within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. In addition to the UN process, the Department is also participating in discussions such as the G8 and Gleneagles Dialogue. Through these engagements, the Government of Canada is assisting countries to arrive at a set of common principles for the development of a more effective global agreement.

Progress Against Priorities

The following is a summary of Environment Canada's progress against priorities established in the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities:

  • The sources of GHG emissions and common air pollutants, as well as the action required to reduce them, are often the same. Efficient strategies should be pursued that address both clean air and climate change in an integrated manner; and
  • Canada intends to work with its international partners to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Canada is prepared to work within all multilateral efforts to ensure effective international cooperation on climate change.

The Regulatory Framework for Industrial Air Emissions provides a strong motivation for regulated industries to take into account the cost of air emissions as a part of business decisions.  In addition, the Government recognizes that technology will play an important role in reducing GHGs. As a part of the Regulatory Framework, a climate change technology fund will spur investments in the technologies that are required to make deep and long-term reductions in GHGs. Moreover, the emissions trading system being put in place will reward companies that take action to reduce GHG emissions beyond the regulated targets.

Canada has been working as a part of multilateral efforts to ensure effective international cooperation on climate change. This includes discussions with the G8 members to seek consensus on a post-Kyoto approach to reducing GHGs. Canada is seeking an international approach to climate change that includes all major emitters and that is in-line with Canada's long-term goals for reducing GHG emissions.

The regulatory framework for air emissions includes a coordinated approach to reducing both GHGs and air pollutants. As GHGs and air pollutants share many common sources, the coordination of reduction requirements will permit regulated industry to take a synergistic approach in reducing their emissions.

The Government is committed to reducing Canada's total emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020 and by 60% to 70% by 2050.


Program Activities

Financial Resources ($ millions)

Human Resources (FTEs)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending




Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced







Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects














Note: Variations between the actual and planned number of FTEs are principally due to re-alignment of program activities.  For an overall outlook on the number of FTEs, please see Table 1 - Comparison of Planned to Actual Spending (including Full-time Equivalents).

Program Activity: Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced

What is the issue?

In order to combat climate change, as well as demonstrate leadership internationally, and drive research and innovation in low-emission technology, Canada must act to reduce its domestic greenhouse gases.

The status of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada was reported by Environment Canada in the 2006 Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators report and the greenhouse gas inventory prepared for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The reports indicated that in 2005, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions reached an estimated 747 mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, up 25.3% from 1990. According to these results, Canada had already exceeded its Kyoto Protocol targeted emissions level (18). This shows that Canada's 2005 emissions were 32.7% above the Kyoto Protocol target of a 6% reduction from 1990 by 2008-2012.

What are we doing about it?

The Government is committed to reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in order to combat the effects of climate change. The Government has developed Turning the Corner, a plan that balances the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable economic growth. It employs mandatory regulations to ensure reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and uses market-based approaches to ensure that these reductions are achieved at a reasonable cost. The Plan also promotes innovation by stimulating the development and deployment of clean energy and clean transportation technologies. Along with this, the Government has invested in a series of eco-ACTION program measures that will also help reduce Canada's GHG emissions.

The Government is committed to taking effective and realistic action that will ensure a long-term absolute reduction in Canada's GHG emissions without negatively impacting the economy could be manageable over a reasonable period of time, with an appropriate range of regulatory and market-based instruments to provide Canadian firms and individuals with the right incentives. Under such an approach, and given a longer timeframe, firms and individuals could adopt currently available technologies that emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions, as well as implement new technologies with limited costs as existing facilities and equipment wear out and are replaced.

The measures to be implemented to address greenhouse gas emissions will be closely aligned and coordinated with action to reduce air pollutants, as described in the previous section under the Program Activity "Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced" and in the Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions. The sources of GHG emissions and common air pollutants, as well as the actions required to reduce them, are often the same. Efficient strategies are being pursued that address both clean air and climate change in an integrated manner.

Canada intends to work with its international partners to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and is prepared to use all multilateral efforts to ensure effective international cooperation on climate change. Key factors within the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include the scale and timing of global emission reductions through to 2050 and perhaps beyond, the use of the most up-to-date science, and an understanding of the impacts of climate change. Any future international agreement must also include all major emitters.

Canada has evolved its approach, to addressing climate change, continuously since the signing of the UNFCCC in 1992. However, a number of areas require more focus to achieve long term, realistic and effective reductions in GHG emissions. This will include: reducing air pollutant and GHG emissions from industrial and transportation sectors; supporting the development of new technologies needed to address air quality and climate change for the long term; improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy; helping citizens and communities take action; and working through the United Nations process and other multilateral approaches, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Are we succeeding?

Canada is a constructive participant in the long-term climate change dialogue under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As well as participating actively in other complimentary forums which are involved in climate change, Canada is working to form an effective long-term agreement, which engages all large emitters, while taking national circumstances into consideration.

The Government has set out an ambitious yet realistic target for the reduction of both GHGs and air pollutants.   The Government's new regulations, coupled with non-regulatory actions and initiatives from Canada's provinces and territories will help the Government achieve its commitment to reducing Canada's total emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020 and by 60% to 70% by 2050.

Major programs and initiatives

Expected Result: The climate change plan is implemented

Activities: Policy and framework development; strategic analyses; and consultations with industry, NGO's and other levels of government

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Emissions from large industries are reduced

A regulatory framework was announced in spring of 2007 that will lead to significant reductions from large industries starting in 2010.

Emissions trading infrastructure is developed

As part of the regulatory framework, an emissions trading system is under development. Consultations were held with key stakeholders in the spring and summer of 2007.

Increased integration with Clean Air objectives

The regulatory framework requires reductions of both greenhouse gases and air pollutants. The regulations will be coordinated so that firms can maximize synergies in reducing air emissions from common sources.

Public education and awareness of consumer options increased

National coordination of Clean Air Day

Coordination of the Clean Air Online (CAOL) web site (19)

Development of an Environment Canada Clean Air Outreach Strategy

Development and implementation of Community-based clean air outreach activities including:

  • Support for municipal and communities action (e.g. Car-Free day, Toronto Smog Summit); and
  • Coordination of Communications and outreach activities under the Border Air Quality Strategy.

For further information:

Clean Air Online:


Expected Result: The long-term global climate change regime is consistent with Canadian interests


  • Advance Canada's interests by participating in negotiating sessions within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process;
  • Promote Canada's climate change interests internationally in bilateral and multilateral for a outside of the UNFCCC Process; and
  • Participate in the development of projects that promote the development, deployment and diffusion of existing and emerging cleaner, more efficient technologies and that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Key Indicators

Progress in 2006-2007

Progress achieved at UN meetings towards the approach to global action on climate change reflects Canadian position and national situation

Canada participated actively both inside and outside the United Nations, and advanced the principles that the next generation long-term climate change agreement for the post-2012 period needs to include all major emitters and consider national circumstances in the determination of future commitments.

For further information:

Environment Canada: