March 10, 2000

Two CEPA sections now in effect

Section 9, of Part 1, and Section 54, of Part 3, of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) have been declared in effect as of February 2, 2000. The federal government placed a notice to this effect in the February 16 Canada Gazette, part II.

Section 9 under Part 1 (Administration) authorizes the Minister of Environment to negotiate and enter into agreements with other governments or aboriginal peoples concerning administration of CEPA. Provisions are included relating to the publication of negotiated (and final) agreements, comment periods, termination of agreements, and annual reporting. A final provision notes that no agreements established under this section will limit or restrict activities conducted for the adminstration or enforcement of CEPA, including inspections or investigations.

Section 54, dealing with objectives, guidelines and codes of practice (under Part 3, Information Gathering and Codes of Practice), requires the Minister to issue: environmental quality objectives, setting pollution prevention (P2) or environmental control goals or purposes (including those stated in quantitative or qualitative terms); environmental quality guidelines, including quantitative or qualitative recommendations aimed at supporting and maintaining particular uses of the environment; release guidelines recommending limits for the release of substances into the environment from works, undertakings or activities (including limits expressed as concentrations or quantities); and codes of practice for P2 or specifying environmental control procedures, practices or release limits for works, undertakings and activities during any stage of development and operation (including closure, dismantling, cleanup and subsequent monitoring).

This section is related to Part 4 of CEPA dealing with mandatory P2 plans for Schedule 1 toxics under the Act (it immediately precedes it), and could thus be of significance to business and industry operations. Section 54 also provides for consultation with affected interests regarding proposed objectives, guidelines and codes of practices as described.

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