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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. This work has been organized into three program areas:
|$ M||FTE||$ M||FTE||$ M||FTE|
|Biodiversity is conserved and protected||126.0||878||118.6||873||116.3||844|
|Water is safe, clean and secure||80.0||940||80.8||943||76.7||908|
|Canadians adopt approaches to ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes||30.8||237||30.1||236||28.6||224|
Totals may differ within and between tables due to the rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||Key Indicators|
|Biodiversity is conserved and protected||Wildlife is conserved and protected||
Improvement in the status of threatened and endangered species
Maintenance of healthy levels of migratory bird populations
No Canadian species are threatened from international trade.
|Land and landscapes are managed sustainably||Percentage of conserved wildlife habitat area (km2) that is under direct Environment Canada protection or protected through departmental partnerships and influence|
|Water is safe, clean and secure||Aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected||
Accrued economic, social and environmental benefits to Canadians through
sustainable and productive use of water resources
Access for Canadians to safe drinking water and protection of human health from water quality and quantity-related threats
|Canadians adopt approaches to ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes||Integrated information and knowledge enable integrated approaches to protecting and conserving priority ecosystems.||
Improvement in environmental indicators for priority ecosystems
Establishment and/or maintenance of shared governance mechanisms.
|Information, assessment, and understanding of the state of ecosystem sustainability support decision-making.||
Implementation of new management approaches in project environmental
assessments and strategic environmental assessments
Availability of relevant and reliable information to assess ecosystem status and change
Over the next three years, Environment Canada will pursue the following plans and priorities for its Natural Capital Strategic Outcome and related Program Activities.
Our land, fresh water and oceans, and the diversity of life they support, provide the basis for our health and our economy. They provide a vast array of services to human society—including life-supporting natural processes that clean the air, purify the water, pollinate plants, absorb carbon dioxide, recycle nutrients, process wastes, prevent floods, control pests and replenish soils. The services provided by natural capital are often very expensive to replace or are irreplaceable.
However, a rising human population combined with increasing demand for goods and services is resulting in the overexploitation of land and water, compromising the long-term viability of ecosystems and threatening to eliminate the services they provide. To secure our essential life support systems and our economic prosperity in Canada, we need to ensure that the continued use of our lands, waterways and oceans is done in such a way that human activities do not undermine the overall ability of the ecosystem to provide ecological goods and services. We need to ensure that viable populations of species—key elements in the maintenance of ecosystem function—are maintained and used sustainably. For landscape management and sustainability to be a success in Canada, we need to broaden our focus from simply protecting areas of land and water to managing the full continuum of ecosystems—from wilderness, parks and working landscapes, to urban centres.
Environment Canada's work in this program area consists of activities to protect and recover species at risk; conserve migratory birds; conserve, restore and rehabilitate the habitats needed by these species to survive; and protect species from the risks posed by international trade. A primary vehicle for the achievement of results under this program is the formation of strategic partnerships for the integrated management of Canada's natural capital, including the sustainable management of landscapes. A key principle in support of results under this program is the use of best available science. The ultimate goal is to ensure the protection of biodiversity within healthy ecosystems, for the benefit of present and future generations of Canadians.
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).
Environment Canada's main strategy is one of prevention—"keeping common species common." Once a species or ecosystem is in peril, it is more complicated and usually more costly to take measures to reverse the problem. Therefore, efficiency is maximized by directing most of our energies to the prevention of problems—whether they be population declines, degradation or fragmentation of habitat or releases of toxic substances into the environment. This strategy focuses our work on restoring, conserving and enhancing natural capital through a holistic ecosystem approach that identifies, interprets and responds to environmental conservation concerns. Such an approach entails the integrated management of land, water, air and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.
To assess how the new Species at Risk Act (SARA) was working, as well as the federal government's progress in delivering the agreed outputs and achieving the anticipated results of this legislation, an evaluation of the federal species at risk programs was completed in 2006. This formative evaluation was carried out by Environment Canada's Audit and Evaluation Branch in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada, its delivery partners. While the species at risk program evaluation demonstrates important progress by all three core implementing departments, it did identify significant outstanding challenges. A comprehensive plan of management actions to respond to this evaluation's recommendations was drafted and its implementation is being closely tracked to ensure that appropriate adjustments are made.
Specifically, the Department is working to:
Human impacts on ecosystems are affecting the capacity of nature to continue to provide all of the essential assets and services that are needed now and for future generations. One risk is that since environmental change can take place over a long period of time, the impact and consequences of some landscape-based decisions may not become apparent until some future point. Therefore, once some impacts occur, it may be difficult to remediate them easily or to restore the natural capital loss.
Failure to ensure the conservation of migratory bird species, species at risk and species subject to international trade, or to address issues associated with wildlife disease and invasive species could lead to population declines and impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health. From a program perspective, impacts on biodiversity could result in additional listings under the Species at Risk Act, resulting in additional processes, legal requirements and the need to develop recovery strategies. Robust monitoring and research programs are required to detect declines in populations of wildlife, understand the factors causing those declines, and take steps to mitigate potential problems.
Further details on activities related to biodiversity:
|Program Area: 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).|
|Partners: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, National Defence, Health Canada (Pest Management Regulatory Agency), Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada (Canadian Forest Service), Science and Engineering Research Canada, Parks Canada, Transport Canada, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, other governments|
|For further information:
Environmental Acts and Regulations: http://www.ec.gc.ca/EnviroRegs/ENG/Default.cfm
Canadian Biodiversity Information Network (CBIN): http://www.cbin.ec.gc.ca/index.cfm
Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS): http://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/index_e.cfm
CEPA Environmental Registry: http://www.ec.gc.ca/CEPARegistry/default.cfm
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): http://www.cites.ec.gc.ca/eng/sct0/index_e.cfm
CWS Ecological Gifts Program: http://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/egp-pde/default.asp
CWS Enforcement Branch: http://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/enforce/index_e.cfm
Environmental Damages Fund: http://atlantic-web1.ns.ec.gc.ca/edf/
CWS Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk: http://www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/hsp-pih/
|Program Area: Land and landscapes are managed sustainably|
|Activities: Protecting and conserving specific critical habitats; facilitating a national evolution toward systems of integrated landscape management.|
|Partners: Aboriginal peoples, other government departments, provinces and territories, industry and industry associations, environmental and non-environmental non-government organizations.|
Water is emerging as a critical issue of the 21st century. While Canada is recognized around the world for its natural wealth in water resources, these resources are at risk.
The maintenance of sufficient quantities of high-quality water is necessary for human and ecosystem health. Despite significant reductions in point source discharges of contaminants, other key sources of pollution remain, including emerging chemicals, about which little is known. About 1 trillion litres of primary or untreated sewage pour into our water every year. Threats to water quality include the release, redistribution and biomagnification of contaminants. Losses of wetlands continue: 68 percent of original wetlands in southern Ontario, and 75 percent of those in southwestern Manitoba have been converted from their natural state. A changing climate will have profound impacts on the quantity, availability and quality of water resources and will alter ecosystem productivity as well as the habitats and overall biodiversity of aquatic, terrestrial, estuarine and marine ecosystems. Adopting an ecosystem or watershed management approach is important to maintaining healthy ecosystems and protecting human health.
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.
This program area is designed to help restore, conserve and enhance Canada's aquatic natural capital by ensuring that Canada's water is clean, safe and secure and that aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected. Environment Canada works in collaboration with other federal departments, provinces and territories (individually as well as through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment), science networks related to work on the environment, as well as the public (including non-governmental organizations, academia and municipalities). This collaborative work allows Environment Canada to share information; determine priorities for monitoring and research; provide timely and integrated scientific information and advice to decision-makers; build best management practices; and promote sustainable water management in Canada for the efficient use of Canada's water.
Securing clean, safe and secure water for people and ecosystems requires that governments hold a domestically and internationally shared vision. Provinces are generally the primary managers of water in Canada and are responsible for much of the environmental regulation and policy making that affects water issues. However, water bodies and watersheds frequently extend across provincial and national boundaries.
Environment Canada is working to set overall direction for the management of water resources by enhancing inter-jurisdictional relations and governance structures; improving federal water management across departments; improving water quality and aquatic ecosystem health monitoring and information; enhancing the understanding of the impacts of human activities on water resources and aquatic ecosystem health; establishing actions to restore and preserve Canada's water resources; and promoting wise and efficient water management and use.
There is a risk that decision-makers and resource managers will not have adequate or sufficient science-based advice on the impacts and risks to water quality, quantity and sustainable use, including long-term infrastructure costs and those related to urban growth and economic development in Canada. To mitigate this risk, Environment Canada is working in collaboration with its partners to share information, promote sustainable water use and build best management practices in Canada.
Securing interdepartmental, intergovernmental and sectoral cooperation, support and strategic partnerships is a significant challenge. Environment Canada and interdepartmental committees are looking at ways to improve the integration of federal work related to water.
Further details on activities related to water:
|Program Area: Aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected|
|Activities: National Water Strategy implementation, 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|
|Partners: Federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments; other federal departments (approximately 20 federal departments and agencies have interests in water); Aboriginal peoples; non-governmental organizations; the International Joint Commission; industry; academia; domestic and international water-related networks|
|For further information: http://www.environmentandresources.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=2B589A09-1|
Ecosystems provide essential goods and services for Canadians (e.g. clean water, biodiversity, flood control). Decisions made by governments, industry, and individuals determine how natural capital is used and managed, which can affect the health of the ecosystem and its ability to provide these goods and services. Effectively communicating integrated science and policy expertise and working in partnership with decision-makers will influence the potential impacts of their choices on the ecosystem.
Priority Ecosystem Initiatives have been developed in an effort to respond to the unique environmental and sustainability issues of targeted ecosystems. They are results-based multi-stakeholder initiatives that promote and implement ecosystem management to maintain Canada's natural capital.
The environmental assessment process is a planning tool for government decision-making to promote the sustainable use and management of our natural capital. The number of proposals for large natural resource development projects is forecast to increase significantly. These large projects, considered collectively, could substantially impact ecosystem functions and natural capital reserves.
This program area will oversee the development and implementation of an ecosystem approach for environmental management. It will facilitate comprehensive departmental action on ecosystems by aligning science, monitoring, on-the-ground action and policy expertise as well as enhancing collaborative governance and decision-making mechanisms.
The goal of this work is to effectively generate and communicate integrated knowledge of ecosystems and influence decision-making and actions to ensure that our ecosystems maintain their capacity to produce ecological goods and services.
A strategic vision will be developed to define the scope and mandate of Priority Ecosystem Initiatives, including the principles for determining relative priorities for each of these ecosystems. Plans and priorities include:
Preparation to renew Priority Ecosystem Initiatives will be undertaken during the next year and efforts will be made to ensure a more homogeneous and coherent renewal process. Communities play a key role in the Ecosystem Initiatives and efforts will continue to foster capacity building and strengthen community involvement.
While environmental assessments can be conducted on a project-by-project basis, Environment Canada will enhance its ability to consider the effects of multiple projects within the ecosystem through cumulative effects assessments and regional environmental assessments.
If an ecosystem approach is not applied to departmental initiatives, we may lose the opportunity to increase the efficiency of our programs in responding to the environmental and sustainability issues of targeted ecosystems. It may also be more difficult to further integrate work with other departments, other governments and partners.
Further details on activities related to natural capital and landscapes:
|Program Area: 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 program that lead to the improvement of the state (environmental quality) of priority ecosystems across the country).
|Indicator: An improved health of priority ecosystems
Indicator: An improved implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to insure the conservation and protection of the natural capital provided by Canada's ecosystems:
|Partners: Other federal departments; provinces and territories, municipalities, International Joint Commission (IJC), U.S. federal and state governments, community groups, First Nations and Inuit organizations, conservation authorities, environmental non-governmental organizations, industry, academia, science institutions and programs, as well as research and science networks.|
|For further information:
Ecosystem Initiatives: http://www.ec.gc.ca/ecosyst/backgrounder.html
Atlantic Coastal Action Program: http://atlantic-web1.ns.ec.gc.ca/community/acap/
St. Lawrence Plan: http://www.planstlaurent.qc.ca
Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Initiative: http://www.on.ec.gc.ca/greatlakes/
Western Boreal Conservation Initiative: http://www.pnr-rpn.ec.gc.ca/nature/ecosystems/wbci-icbo/
Georgia Basin Action Plan: http://www.pyr.ec.gc.ca/georgiabasin/index-eng.htm
Northern Ecosystem Initiative: http://www.pnr-rpn.ec.gc.ca/nature/ecosystems/nei-ien/index.en.html
|Program Area: Information, assessment and understanding of the state of ecosystem sustainability support decision-making|
|Activities: Consolidated environmental assessments; monitoring and assessment of biodiversity and natural capital trends|
|Partners: Other federal departments; provinces and territories; EMAN Network (the public, environmental non-governmental organizations, academia)|
|For further information:
Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network: http://www.eman-rese.ca/eman/
Environmental Assessment: http://www.ec.gc.ca/ea-ee/home/home-eng.asp
Canadians are affected by environmental and weather conditions such as extremes in temperature and precipitation, variable lake levels, winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, smog, sea ice conditions, road icing and aircraft turbulence. These conditions can affect our health and safety, our property, our businesses, the economy and the environment.
Almost one-third of Canada's gross domestic product is affected by climate and weather. Important regional economies and entire economic sectors, such as forestry, agriculture and fisheries, are already being affected and could be severely affected by further climate change. Canada's northern communities and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable and impacts, including melting permafrost and shrinking sea ice cover, are already being observed. In order to reduce the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change on Canada, action needs to be taken to strengthen our understanding of the impacts of climate change and steps need to be taken to adapt to its effects.
Environment Canada works to provide Canadians with world-class meteorological and environmental information, prediction and services to ensure safety, ecosystem sustainability and enhanced economic activity. Environment Canada's work in this area is organized under two program activities:
|$ M||FTE||$ M||FTE||$ M||FTE|
|Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making||126.2||1,066||125.5||1,050||127.8||1,048|
|Canadians are informed of, and respond appropriately to, current and predicted environmental conditions||156.8||1,462||147.3||1,472||152.1||1,480|
Totals may differ within and between tables due to the rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||Key Indicators|
|Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making||Environmental monitoring allows Environment Canada to identify, analyse and predict weather, air, water and climate conditions.||Integrity of monitoring networks and of their operations (sustainable and affordable networks)|
|Science supports weather and environmental predictions and services, departmental decision-making and policy development.||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|
|Canadians are informed of, and respond appropriately to, current and predicted environmental conditions||Environmental forecasts and warnings are produced to enable the public to take action to protect their safety, security and well-being||
Quality and lead times of warnings
Accuracy of forecasts
Public satisfaction with quality as measured in surveys
|Canadians are better informed through improved weather and environmental services and leveraged partnership opportunities||
Level of satisfaction of public and weather-sensitive industries
Improvements to key services for weather-sensitive economic sectors
Level of access to and demand for Environment Canada's products and services
Level of access to international monitoring data through initiatives such as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) initiative
|Canadians benefit from the creation and use of meteorological and environmental information by Environment Canada and partners in support of programs of common interest||
Level of satisfaction of partner and client organizations
Accuracy and timeliness of services measured against performance benchmarks
|Environmental information and services empower Canadians to take action on environmental priorities||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|
|Adaptive strategies to address the impacts of climate change are developed and implemented for the benefit of Canadians and the environment.||
Enhanced level of awareness and understanding by economic sectors, other
government departments and other levels of government of their vulnerability
to atmospheric change
Reduction of Canada's adaptation deficit as measured by:
Over the next three years, Environment Canada will pursue the following plans and priorities for the Weather and Environmental Predictions and Services Strategic Outcome and related Program Activities:
The availability of timely observational data and information is critical to generating knowledge and information for environmental prediction, air quality forecasts, water quality and supply analyses, climate change and ecosystem sustainability. In particular, monitoring (the systematic measurement of various parameters of the environment, such as winds, temperatures or water levels) makes it possible to detect and predict, in real time, hazardous environmental conditions; these activities are critical for reducing risks and contributing to the health and well-being of Canadians. The resulting data and information are used in the development of policy and regulations (e.g. climate change policy and building codes) and contribute to advances in environmental literacy. Observational information is also needed to quantify the impact of policy decisions.
Monitoring activities are directed at ensuring the acquisition, transmission, archiving, and accessibility of observations pertaining to weather, climate (past weather), water levels and flows, and other environmental matters. These observations are essential to making consistent, reliable data and timely information available to users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Activities fundamental to achieving these results include: monitoring relevant parameters; establishing, maintaining and inspecting the monitoring infrastructure; providing horizontal leadership in environmental monitoring; data stewardship; and reporting on those basic parameters.
Prediction research activities range from numerical weather and chemical prediction to water cycle prediction. Analysis activities are extremely important in the areas of cloud physics, ice research and climate modeling. Climate trends and atmospheric-science-based assessments assist research scientists to develop a better understanding of the global climate picture, thereby providing a strong basis for advice to Canadians. The research-based advice will guide Canadians in changing their energy usage patterns to help improve climate conditions over the long run.
Environmental prediction science delivers credible, relevant, integrated and usable environmental predictions, environmental knowledge and advice as well as decision-making tools and information on existing and emerging issues. Environment Canada's environmental prediction science helps industry, citizens, communities and governments understand their vulnerabilities to conditions or threats related to health, safety, security, the economy or the environment. This science also provides them with knowledge, predictions, advice, decision-making tools and information that enable them to prevent the preventable, optimize opportunities and risk-manage the rest. Environment Canada recognizes the need for an emerging environmental prediction strategy stemming from our Science Plan, which clearly identifies the need for a system to integrate environmental monitoring and environmental prediction. Environment Canada will take the lead in the development and implementation of this system that will meet the needs of the evolving environmental agenda.
This program area consists of environmental science and monitoring to detect hazardous conditions, to understand what is changing in the atmosphere (weather, climate, air quality and ultraviolet radiation), hydrosphere (water) and cryosphere (ice and snow), and why. To achieve this, it is necessary throughout Canada to conduct consistent, ongoing measurements of basic parameters. A key benefit of the results under this program will be to provide improved knowledge, predictions, information and tools on weather and environmental conditions (e.g. a better understanding of the causes of severe weather, the mechanisms that transport chemicals through the atmosphere, the impacts of human activity on the atmosphere, and models based on atmospheric science). These benefits will support the development of policy as well as the delivery of environmental services.
The continuous operation of observational networks, including an increasing role for remote and space-based monitoring systems (e.g. Earth Observation satellites), is critical to enable Environment Canada to provide essential environmental predictions. Environment Canada's observational information and data are relied upon to support policies and programs in the following areas: forecasting weather, floods and droughts; conducting informed environmental assessments; assessing the impacts of climate change and the effectiveness of adaptation responses; designing buildings and infrastructures; managing and protecting natural resources, including water; and forecasting and managing air quality.
To increase data coverage in a cost-effective way, it will be necessary to make strategic investments in new monitoring technologies and strategies to move towards an appropriate mix of in-situ, remote, airborne and satellite-based monitoring systems. In addition, the current mix of data acquisition, transmission, archiving and dissemination processes is being optimized to ensure efficiency and data integrity. Finally, effective systems for managing the Department's environmental information and making it readily available to researchers and decision-makers—like the data management framework currently under development—are also critical to delivering high-quality data products and services in a manner that is convenient and timely for the clients. Together, the actions undertaken will allow the Department to better respond to growing demands for more accurate, comprehensive and timely environmental information and predictions.
From a scientific perspective, current priorities focus on improving scientific models (e.g. achieving higher resolution and accuracy), better exploiting data and improving observation systems, shifting to probabilistic outputs (by combining several predictions), and transferring technology and scientific information to operational applications.
Implementing the proposed monitoring approach requires people with very specialized scientific and technological backgrounds. This is particularly important to deliver the scientific information required to address key environmental issues over both the short term and long term (on climate change and the North, or in key sectors such as the social, security, and financial sectors).
Environment Canada will develop and implement an up-to-date formal succession plan and aggressive career development plan to address the very high retirement rate anticipated over the next five years for technical and professional staff and to ensure that appropriately trained employees are available (three to five years of training is required).
Failures of automated data collection systems could result in a lack of reliable observational data to forecast meteorological and environmental hazards. Effective maintenance and inspection programs with contingency plans for all networks minimize such risks. In particular, Quality Management System certification (ISO 9001) for data collection networks is being pursued to enhance the integrity of operations and contribute to improvements.
Further details on weather and environmental knowledge and information activities:
|Program Area: Environment Canada has the environmental monitoring capability that allows it 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|
|Expected Results: Environment Canada has the
environmental monitoring capability that will allow it to identify, analyse
and predict weather, air, water and climate conditions and to consolidate
its systematic meteorological, climatological and hydrometric monitoring
activities, creating the foundation for national leadership in promoting key
|Partners: World Meteorological Organization; GEOSS; other government departments (National Defence, Parks Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Space Agency); other levels of government (provinces/territories and municipalities); NAV CANADA; U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; U.S. Geological Service; European Space Agency; Canadian Cooperative Programs|
|Program Area: 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|
|Partners: Other government departments (National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, National Resources Canada, Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Space Agency, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Parks Canada); other levels of government; international research agencies (U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, International Ice Patrol, International Ice Charting Working Group, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Global Climate Modelling Centres)|
Timely warnings of changing weather and environmental conditions that threaten the lives and health of Canadians form the raison d'être of this program area. Globally, about 85 percent of life-threatening hazards are hydrological or meteorological in nature. Furthermore, public opinion research(4) indicates that the vast majority of Canadians consult weather forecasts every day, for their security and decisions they make in everyday life (e.g. travel planning and recreation). Weather and environmental information is used in making policy and business decisions, particularly in weather-sensitive sectors such as transportation and agriculture. Increasingly, Canadians, governments at all levels, and private industries are seeking other types of environmental information, for example, on air quality or ultraviolet radiation.
Accessible and understandable information about the changing physical and chemical environment is a key element to help ensure the health and safety of Canadians. Information on the past, present and future states of the environment is now an important factor in business decisions, particularly in the context of a just-in-time, globally competitive economy. More and more, being able to anticipate how the environment will affect business locally or globally is a key element of competitiveness.
Environment Canada produces weather and environmental forecasts, warnings and information for the health and safety of Canadians, 24 hours a day, every day. It also produces air quality forecasts, and information products for emergency response, such as forecasts of concentrations of hazardous substances like volcanic ash, pollutants or radioactive material. Information is very useful, but, by itself, it is generally 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.
Scientific studies have stated that the impacts of climate change are already evident, and the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change attributes these impacts, with over 90 percent certainty, to human activities. Such scientific studies document long-term changes—from prehistoric times to present-day observations such as first-hand experiences in Canada's northern Aboriginal communities. The economic cost of these impacts, both domestically and internationally, has become evident through, for example, insured and uninsured losses. These early climate and atmospheric impacts are dramatically increasing demands on all levels of government to act within their areas of responsibility. Impacts and adaptation programs will focus on science capacity to support the rapidly growing need for science-based advice on adaptation. This will allow decision-makers to understand and risk-manage the impacts of climate change.
This program area consists of producing and making available relevant knowledge and information on past, present and future physical and chemical conditions of the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water) and cryosphere (ice and snow). Building on Environment Canada's work to reduce the impact of weather and related hazards, this program area also focuses on understanding and minimizing the negative effects of climate change, optimizing opportunities of climate change for Canadians, developing adaptive strategies and helping partners to implement solutions. This responds to the assessed needs of Canadians—be they policy- or decision-makers, business people or individuals, or others who require this information to deliver on departmental or federal responsibilities and obligations (e.g. National Defence, NAV CANADA, and the Canadian Coast Guard). Under this program area, information on the state of the environment is produced by integrating environmental data (weather, ice cover, water levels, pollutant releases and transport, etc.) and scientific knowledge into a wide variety of products and services. These products and services aim to empower Canadians to safeguard themselves and their property against environmental hazards like dangerous weather or poor air quality and to help them make better-informed decisions, be they of a social, economic or environmental nature. By properly taking the past, present and future states of the environment into account, Canadians can make informed decisions for the mutual benefit of the economy and the environment. Partnerships, domestic and international, are critical to the success of these endeavours.
The production of Environment Canada's meteorological forecast services has been extensively restructured over the past few years to respond effectively to the ever-increasing demands for improved meteorological information and services, and to deliver the latter in a manner that is sustainable in the long term. Now entering the final year of a five-year plan, this transition aims to increase the efficiency of production and develop a coherent quality management system while ensuring that environmental information is properly understood and used to its fullest potential, through activities such as outreach to major clients and stakeholders, public opinion research and analysis of feedback.
In the future, Environment Canada intends to broaden its services to include other forms of environmental predictions. Traditional weather prediction services will expand to include new areas such as the evolution of key ecosystems affected by climate change, or the impacts of environmental changes on economic sectors like transportation or tourism. Other expected changes include improved services to Canadians, for example, education and engagement activities, modern dissemination systems (e.g. Environment Canada's weather information website "http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/canada-eng.html," the Canadian government's most popular website with almost 900 million page views annually) and performance management. Also, activities worthy of future investments include the international Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) initiative, which will permit continued leveraging of international monitoring and science activities, thus leading to better environmental prediction services.
Environment Canada cannot achieve its results without the many win-win partnerships that help to optimize the use of its infrastructure and successfully deliver its services. An excellent example of such a partnership is the introduction of the new 511 telephone services to be offered in partnership with Transport Canada, provincial and territorial governments, the Canadian Urban Transit Association and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada. The objective is to offer to all Canadians free bilingual access to current weather information including warnings of high impact weather events as well as travel information, such as road conditions.
The Department participates in other partnerships to deliver its programs in a cost-effective manner. For example, Environment Canada's ice service will work with the Canadian Space Agency and other government users to develop and implement policies for sharing the federal government's $445 million pre-purchase of data from RADARSAT-2. (RADARSAT is a satellite that carries radar equipment, providing the data that are used extensively by Environment Canada for ice monitoring. RADARSAT-2 is the second such satellite.) The partners will negotiate, as a coherent federal team, a fair contract that will meet all federal needs. RADARSAT-2's enhanced technology will permit improvements in ice monitoring capabilities, resulting in safer navigation, while fostering scientific innovation in Canada.
Environment Canada will continue to strengthen its links with the media, who not only want and need access to its information and services for their programming, but also represent the single most effective conduit for getting forecasts and warnings to the public—a key aspect of the Department's mandate. A special National Service Office is dedicated to maintaining and improving services for the media and operating a website dedicated to media use. Outreach and warning preparedness officers liaise with media outlets to improve the quality of the services provided and to increase the priority they give to weather warnings, thus extending the reach of this essential service while obtaining feedback from the media sector. Likewise, work with partners like public safety agencies and emergency measures organizations is crucial to assist them in planning how to mitigate and respond to emergencies, and to fulfill the Department's mandate of informing and protecting Canadians.
Another good example of partnerships to help others fulfill their mandate is the Marine Aerial Reconnaissance Program (MARP) for ice, pollution and marine security. A partnership formed in 2005 with Transport Canada to use aircraft for ice reconnaissance and pollution patrol, the MARP will be expanded to serve the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group (Transport Canada Marine Security and National Defence). The expanded MARP will mean that almost all marine surveillance missions are multi-tasked and will carry out the following: marine security reconnaissance (to provide data about ships navigating Canadian waters); pollution surveillance and enforcement of regulations regarding the marine environment, which will also help "ground-truth" satellite-based surveillance; and ice reconnaissance to support commercial navigation and the ice-breaking operations of the Canadian Coast Guard (Fisheries and Oceans Canada). In addition to providing important data for government operations, this expanded program will allow Canada to have, by the end of 2007–2008, a national coordination strategy for aerial reconnaissance. It will also result in significant economies of scale through increased productivity (of both staff and equipment).
Information and data about the state of Canada's environment and how it is affected as a result of human activities (for example, by releases of pollutants into the air or water) may, in some cases, be difficult for citizens to understand. Environment Canada intends to put additional emphasis in the coming years into improved public reporting and contextualization of this type of information to enable individuals, businesses and other decision-makers to take specific action to improve and protect the environment and make better-informed decisions.
Rapid scientific and technological advancements pose a challenge to environmental prediction activities with respect to the acquisition of data and the production and dissemination of forecasts. For example, new generations of satellites are being launched and will provide increasingly voluminous and useful data sets that Environment Canada needs to use for environmental predictions. These volumes of data will require the modernization of ground receiving stations, as well as additional telecommunications bandwidth, supercomputing power and mass storage. A strategic plan currently under development will address these issues and set a long-term strategy for refits and modernization. Risks related to a sudden loss of data—due to a system failure or a termination of service by a supplier—are mitigated by using multiple sources of data. Effective business continuity planning mitigates the risk of loss of weather and environmental forecasts and planning.
Forecasting is increasingly done using numerical environmental-prediction models that can only be run on the very fastest computers available, making a major failure of the Department's supercomputer a significant risk. This is mitigated by ensuring a robust and reliable supercomputing facility with systems such as uninterruptible power supplies, and by securing access to models from abroad (e.g. United States, European countries).
Adaptation solutions currently do not exist for many issues and can only be developed using a solid foundation of impacts and adaptation science coupled with strong partnerships that include decision-makers and multi-disciplinary networks. Canada must accept the challenge of developing a strong adaptation science capacity and providing the science-based solutions needed by all levels of government, economic sectors and society. Such a capacity would initially reduce the adaptation deficit in four key areas: technology (e.g. Canada's critical public infrastructure), human health (e.g. heat alert and air quality warning system), economic competitiveness (e.g. agri-environmental standards for Canadian farmers) and resilience in natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
Reliance on automated information technology (IT) systems increases the potential impact of systems failures. In order to mitigate these risks, Environment Canada:
designs, tests and implements highly resilient and robust systems, through the use of redundant components where practical;
develops and maintains service level agreements to ensure appropriate levels of service, in particular to services and systems required on a 24/7 basis, and
develops, tests and maintains continuity plans to mitigate the impact in the event of failures.
Security threats can also present a real risk to the 24/7 operations of the Department. This risk is mitigated through the implementation of Government of Canada policies, industry standards and best practices as well as vigilant monitoring of the Department's IT infrastructure.
Further details on activities related to informing Canadians:
|Program Area: 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|
|Partners: Other government departments (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, Health Canada, National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Privy Council Office); provinces and municipalities; media; the general public; private sector; international organizations (World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Civil Aviation Organization, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Global Earth Observation); the U.S. and other G8 countries.|
|Program Area: 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|
|Partners: Other government departments (National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Health Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Industry Canada, Canadian International Development Agency, Canadian Space Agency, Parks Canada); other levels of government; private sector; weather-sensitive industry; media; academia; international meteorological community|
|Program Area: Canadians benefit from the creation and use of meteorological and environmental information by Environment Canada and federal/provincial/territorial 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|
|Expected Results: Environment Canada supports the weather-sensitive operations of its major government and government-mandated partners by providing them with quality environmental information that allows them to improve the safety of their operations and maximize their efficiency, for the overall betterment of the Canadian economy, the environment and Environment Canada's meteorological programs|
|Partners: Other government departments (Transport Canada, National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Coast Guard (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Canadian Space Agency, Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (Natural Resources Canada), Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada); funding programs (e.g. SAR-New Initiatives Fund; Program of Energy Research and Development, Technology and Innovation); the WMO; international meteorological community; aviation industry, including airlines and airport authorities; U.S. Department of Defense; International Olympic Committee; sporting federations; municipal governments|
|Program Area: 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|
|Partners: EcoAction, Biosphere, other government departments, schools, media, NGOs, National Pollutant Release Inventory, industry associations, academia|
|Program Area: Adaptive strategies to address the impacts of climate change are developed and implemented for the benefit of Canadians and the environment|
|Activities: Research and development functions, undertaken in collaboration with academia and international agencies, on the effects of atmospheric change on various segments of Canadian society, and on how to mitigate, or adapt to, these effects. These functions support sound policy development and service improvements|
|Partners: Other government departments, provinces, territories, municipalities, universities and the private sector|
4. National Survey on Meteorological Products and Services, Decima Research May 2002 (surveyed residents of the ten provinces); Attitudes Toward Weather Information in the North, Environics Research Group, August 2005 (surveyed residents of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Nunavik).
Environment Canada protects the health of Canadians and the environment from the effects of pollution and waste by developing and implementing innovative strategies, programs, and partnerships. Our work in this area has been organized into three program areas:
|$ M||FTE||$ M||FTE||$ M||FTE|
|Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances are reduced.||181.0||970||160.1||969||162.0||960|
|Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches||26.5||194||23.5||194||24.1||194|
|Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment from air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced||130.5||707||125.3||723||128.9||750|
Totals may differ within and between tables due to the rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||Key Indicators|
|Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances are reduced.||Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances are assessed.||
Number of new and existing commercial chemicals assessed
Information generated that leads to risk mitigation
|Risks to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances are managed.||
Development of risk management strategies and instruments (e.g. regulations
and performance agreements) for assessed commercial chemicals
Development of risk mitigation measures (e.g. compliance promotion, environmental emergency plans)
|Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches.||Canadians are informed of environmental pollution and are engaged in measures to address it.||
CEPA Environmental Registry is maintained and up-to-date
CEPA Annual Report is published
|Sector-based and other approaches promote sustainable consumption and production.||Development and implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) to ensure that decision-making under key environmental protection statutes such as CEPA 1999 is as consistent, transparent and predictable as possible|
|Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment from air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.||Risks from pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are managed by a regulatory system for industrial sectors.||Creation of a framework to guide development of industrial sector regulations|
|Risks from air emissions are managed by regulatory systems for transportation and other sectors.||Development of regulations to reduce air pollution from vehicles and engines in alignment with U.S. standards|
|Regulatory monitoring and reporting informs Canadians and decision-makers about air pollutants and greenhouse gas risks and trends.||
Information-sharing agreements with provinces and territories are developed
Quality of information reported to and contained in the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and the emission inventories for air pollutants and greenhouse gases
|International collaboration on air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions is consistent with Canadian interests.||International cooperation, particularly with the U.S., is strengthened|
Over the next three years, Environment Canada, in collaboration with Health Canada where required, plans to pursue the following plans and priorities for the Protecting Canadians Strategic Outcome and related Program Activities:
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 rate and effects, and are prevented, reduced or eliminated through appropriate risk management measures. These substances may exert a direct or indirect harmful effect on animals, plants or humans or, due to the volume, nature and manner of release, may pose an immediate or longer-term risk to the environment and human health.
In order to protect the health of Canadians and the environment from the risks posed by toxic and other harmful substances of concern, those risks must be assessed, understood, and managed, throughout the full life cycle of the substance, including the disposal or recycling of products containing them. The identification of priorities of priorities and planning of this work involves:
Since the early 1990s, Canada and other industrialized nations have had in place processes to assess health and environmental risks associated with new substances (chemicals, polymers and biotechnology materials) before they are allowed to enter the marketplace. These processes have been backed up by regulatory regimes and other measures to manage those risks in order to prevent unhealthy exposures and ensure effective protection.
However, in Canada, as in other industrialized countries, large numbers of substances that were already in use before new substance review processes were established have been allowed to remain in commercial use, pending their ultimate assessment for potential health and/or environmental effects. In Canada, this amounts to some 23,000 substances that were in commerce in the mid-1980s, prior to the promulgation of CEPA 1999.
Pursuant to CEPA 1999, the Government was required to undertake a comprehensive review, called "categorization," of these unassessed substances in commerce to identify:
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 that 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:
For the first three years, one focus will be on assessing the 200 priority substances that present the greatest potential for risk to human health and the environment given that they are still in commercial use. For those that are not in commerce, actions will be taken through the Significant New Activity provisions of the New Substances Program to review substances prior to their re-entry into commerce.
Of the 200 priority substances to be assessed over the next three years, the majority are expected to require some form of risk management. To address this challenge, significant resources will be focused on developing and implementing a broad range of risk management strategies and instruments at an unprecedented rate. These include:
For more information, visit the Chemical Substances site at: http://www.chemicalsubstances.gc.ca.
Looking forward, the Department will consider emerging potential risks such as those posed by nanomaterials or animal biotechnology by identifying, assessing and managing risks before they put human health and the Canadian environment in jeopardy.
For more information on the New Substances Program, visit: http://ec.gc.ca/substances/nsb/.
Environment Canada will continue to coordinate the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, a government-wide federal program to assist federal departments, agencies and consolidated Crown corporations to remediate their federal contaminated sites. Environment Canada will continue to manage its own contaminated sites in accordance with its Contaminated Sites Management Plan. For more information, visit the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/fcsi-rscf/home-accueil.aspx?Language=EN&sid=wu21171214277.
In order to meet our obligations, as mandated by CEPA 1999, Environment Canada's mitigation strategy is to evaluate priorities on a yearly basis and focus on "must do" activities. Rigorous priority setting and leveraging of new opportunities must be accompanied by re-investment in infrastructure, capital and highly qualified personnel to ensure the continued effective and efficient program delivery from Environment Canada's research and science capacity.
Further details on activities related to reducing risks to Canadians from toxic and other harmful substances:
|Program Area: Risks to Canadians, their health and their environment posed by toxic and other harmful or dangerous substances are assessed|
|Program Area: Risks to Canadians and impacts on the environment posed by toxic and other harmful substances are managed|
Number of assessed substances for which control measures (e.g. regulations or performance agreements) are in place
Number of permits issued
Progress in remediation of contaminated sites by custodial departments
New technologies advanced and deployed for reducing pollutants
Level of the regulated communities' compliance with CEPA 1999 regulations and other risk management tools
|Partners: Other government departments (e.g. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, National Defence, Transport Canada, Industry Canada); other levels of government; Aboriginal governments and organizations; industry; environmental, health and other non-governmental organizations; international organizations; academia|
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 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.
This program area 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. Underlying this will be the creation of a clear and predictable environmental protection regime, designed to encourage and enable sustainable consumption and production.
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/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 and academics.
The Senate review by the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources has heard from approximately 20 stakeholders and is examining the successes and shortcomings of CEPA 1999 by way of case studies:
Their work will result in two separate reports with advice on how to improve the Act. Upon receipt of the reports, expected in 2007, the Government will have 120 days to table its response to the House of Commons Committee and 150 days to table its response to the Senate Committee. If the Government Response calls for changes to the legislation, Environment Canada and Health Canada will carry out a bill phase. This final phase will result in amendments to CEPA 1999.
Environment Canada also continues to advance sustainable consumption and production through initiatives that focus on helping Canadians, companies, investors and other market actors integrate environmental considerations into their decision-making.
In the area of generating and collecting data on greenhouse gases, air pollutants and criteria air contaminants, the focus will be on the continued improvement of emission estimation techniques and data quality as well as the harmonization and integration of reporting. Improvements to estimation techniques and the quality of data collected and generated will increase confidence in their use in guiding decision-making, setting priorities, ascertaining compliance and meeting various domestic and international reporting requirements (e.g. the Greenhouse Gases National Inventory Report, Canada-wide Standards for Particulate Matter and Ozone, Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement).
The harmonization and integration of reporting will reduce the efforts required for industry to report and governments to collect the data, as well as ensuring consistency in the data being used and published by different jurisdictions. Together, these efforts will allow the Department to become an authoritative source of information on pollution.
Challenges regarding pollutant information are to provide more comprehensive estimates of releases for more pollutants, and to undertake greater analysis of pollutant release data alongside other related data sources. Through the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), information on releases from large industrial sources is currently available for over 300 pollutants. Comprehensive inventories of air releases in Canada (including industrial and commercial sources, transportation, residential and natural sources) are available for certain pollutants: criteria air contaminants (pollutants that contribute to smog and acid rain), heavy metals (mercury, cadmium and lead) and persistent organic pollutants (dioxins and furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hexachlorobenzene). In order to understand and appropriately manage pollution, it is important to have a more comprehensive view of non-industrial sources and releases to media other than air. Greater analysis of pollutant release data alongside other information sources (e.g. ambient air quality and economic information) will provide a more comprehensive picture of pollution in Canada, thus helping to target actions and support decision-making.
Further details on activities related to sustainable consumption and production:
|Program Area: Canadians are informed of environmental pollution and are engaged in measures to address it|
|Activities/Expected Results: Information about pollution is collected and made available to Canadians to inform them about the connection between their actions and environmental, health and economic outcomes|
|Program Area: Sector-based and other approaches promote sustainable consumption and production|
|Activities/Expected Results: The benefits of enhanced
environmental performance is promoted to the corporate sector
Key market players are engaged in integrating sustainability into their decision-making and operations
|Indicators: Corporate sector understands business and financial benefits associated with strong environmental and sustainability performance and reporting|
|Partners: Other government departments (e.g. Health Canada), other levels of government, North American Free Trade Agreement partners, small- and medium-sized enterprises, financial community, multilateral organizations, industrial sectors, etc.|
Air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, or air emissions, come from a variety of sources, some of the most important being the combustion of fossil fuels from industries, transportation and heating. Emissions from these types of sources are not only a problem where they originate. Air pollutants released in one place can travel long distances, and consequently, can have an impact on communities hundreds and even thousands of kilometres away. Greenhouse gases, emitted into the atmosphere, contribute to the global phenomenon of climate change.
Canadians consistently rank air pollution among their main environmental concerns. They say that the quality of the air they breathe is an important factor in their quality of life—especially in our major cities. In fact, a good proportion of Canadians live in places with air pollutant levels above standards.
Until recently, smog has been mostly a summer problem. But now it is also becoming a more serious concern in the winter when stagnant conditions can allow a build-up of pollutants in the air. Recent health studies indicate that smog and poor air quality continue to be directly responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year in Canada and for hundreds of thousands of hospital admissions and emergency visits. Particularly at risk are children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions that are exacerbated by air pollutants.
Canadians are also concerned about their changing environment. Greenhouse gas emissions are altering the climate. Global temperature averages have risen 0.6°C over the last 100 years and a panel of international scientists has projected that average global temperatures could rise by as much as 1.4°C to 5.8°C by the end of the 21st century. In Canada, average temperatures could rise by as much as 5°C to 10°C in some regions.
Reducing the emissions that cause climate change is a matter of national concern. Harmful air emissions affect our health, our environment and our economy as well as our quality of life.
Previously, air pollutants and GHGs were treated separately despite the fact that they often come from the same sources. Innovative strategies, programs, and partnerships are required to protect the health of Canadians and the environment from the harmful effects of air pollution. Despite progress in addressing clean air issues and reducing transboundary and international emissions and emissions from major industrial, transportation and other sectors, continued action is needed. The three climate change program evaluations that were conducted in 2006–2007 identified broad themes of lessons learned. These included the need for clearer alignment between the tools and approaches used and the desired outcomes, as well as the need for overall certainty and coordination when implementing initiatives.
An integrated approach to regulating air pollution and GHG emissions is important in order to reduce emissions and pollution in a way that achieves the best possible outcomes. An integrated approach can also increase opportunities for formulating goals that take into account potential problems and conflicts, and increase the possibility of finding an optimal solution for the mitigation of both issues.
This program area consists of reducing risks to the environment and to human health from air pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under this program area, environmental and human health threats posed by air pollutants and GHG emissions are managed through the regulation of industry, transportation and consumer products.
In the fall of 2006, the Government began launching a series of initiatives to ensure clean air for Canadians. In October 2006, the Government tabled Canada's Clean Air Act (Bill C-30) as the foundation of an agenda to reduce air pollution and GHG emissions in Canada. Canada's Clean Air Act would strengthen the legislative basis for taking action on air pollution and GHG emissions. It contains three key elements:
The Act would create a new clean air section in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) to strengthen the government's ability to take action to reduce air emissions. It would authorize the government to regulate indoor and outdoor air pollutants and GHGs, and require the ministers of the Environment and Health to establish national air quality objectives, as well as to monitor and report publicly on their attainment. It would also amend CEPA 1999 to enable the government to regulate the blending of fuels and their components.
It would amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act to enhance the Government of Canada's authority to regulate vehicle fuel efficiency. Setting mandatory fuel consumption standards would help ensure reduced GHG emissions from vehicles purchased in Canada.
It would expand authorities under the Energy Efficiency Act to allow the government to set energy efficiency standards and labelling requirements for a wider range of consumer and commercial products. Achieving the same comfort and convenience for less energy is one of the most sensible and effective ways of reducing emissions and saving money.
The Government subsequently issued a Notice of Intent to Regulate which committed to the establishment of short-, medium- and long-term industrial air pollution targets and marked the launch of the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda. The first step in this process is 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 December 2006, the Government announced it would regulate an annual average renewable content of 5 percent in gasoline by 2010 and a 2 percent requirement for renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2012. To complement this measure, the Government will invest $345 million to assist farmers and rural communities seize new market opportunities in the agricultural bioproducts sector.
In early 2007, the Government also announced a series of significant initiatives that will complement the clean air legislative and regulatory agenda, including the following:
the $1.5-billion Eco-Trust and Clean Air Fund will help provinces and territories finance major projects to cut GHG emissions and pollutants by encouraging technology development and energy efficiency (contingent on approval of Budget 2007)
an investment of $2 billion in a series of ecoEnergy initiatives to promote the development and use of renewable energy sources and smarter energy use across all sectors of society
a series of ecoTransport initiatives to promote more environmentally friendly transportation choices
For more information, visit the Clean Air Online site at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/cleanair-airpur.
The Clean Air Regulatory Agenda is a major regulatory initiative, larger than any previous regulatory action taken by the federal government. Timelines set to achieve outcomes under this agenda are demanding and will require sustained and intensive efforts in consultations, regulatory policy development and related activities. Other key challenges include:
ensuring Canada's long-term competitiveness and building on our environment and economic policy framework;
implementing a regulatory system that will achieve short-, medium- and long-term emission reductions;
developing an approach that will provide clarity to industry while avoiding regulatory overlap with provincial and territorial regulations;
addressing key technical/engineering and financial challenges; and
ensuring that Environment Canada's internal capacity is best organized to provide government-wide leadership on the issue.
Further details on activities related to reducing risks from air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions:
|Program Area: Risks from air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are managed by a regulatory system for industrial sectors|
|Program Area: Risks from air emissions are managed by regulatory systems for transportation and other sectors|
|Program Area: Regulatory monitoring and reporting informs Canadians and decision-makers about air pollutants and greenhouse gas risks and trends|
|Program Area: International collaboration on air pollutants and GHG emissions is consistent with Canadian interests|
|Activities/Expected Results: Strengthening international cooperation, particularly with the U.S.|
|Indicators: Bilateral or multilateral agreements with other countries|
|Partners: Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Industry Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Transport Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, other levels of government, international bodies (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Organization for Standardization, United Nations Environment Programme), academic institutions, environmental non-governmental organizations and industry associations|