Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Environnement et Changement climatique Canada
Department overview
Formed 1971
Type Department responsible for coordinating environmental policies and programs
Jurisdiction Canada
Employees ~6800[1]
Minister responsible
Deputy Minister responsible
  • Michael Martin
Child agencies
Website www.ec.gc.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada (or simply its former name, Environment Canada, or EC) (French: Environnement et Changement climatique Canada), legally incorporated as the Department of the Environment under the Department of the Environment Act (R.S., 1985, c. E-10 ), is the department of the Government of Canada with responsibility for coordinating environmental policies and programs as well as preserving and enhancing the natural environment and renewable resources. The powers, duties and functions of the Minister of the Environment extend to and include matters relating to: "preserve and enhance the quality of the natural environment, including water, air, soil, flora and fauna; conserve Canada's renewable resources; conserve and protect Canada's water resources; forecast daily weather conditions and warnings, and provide detailed meteorological information to all of Canada; enforce rules relating to boundary waters; and coordinate environmental policies and programs for the federal government."[1] Its ministerial headquarters is located in les Terrasses de la Chaudière, Gatineau, Quebec.[2][3]

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act[4] (CEPA 1999) (R.S., 1999, c. 33), Environment Canada became the lead federal department to ensure the cleanup of hazardous waste and oil spills for which the government is responsible, and to provide technical assistance to other jurisdictions and the private sector as required. The department is also responsible for international environmental issues (e.g., Canada-USA air issues). CEPA was the central piece of Canada's environmental legislation but was replaced when budget implementation bill (C-38) entered into effect in June 2012.[5]

Under the Constitution of Canada, responsibility for environmental management in Canada is a shared responsibility between the federal government and provincial/territorial governments. For example, provincial governments have primary authority for resource management including permitting industrial waste discharges (e.g., to the air). The federal government is responsible for the management of toxic substances in the country (e.g., benzene). Environment Canada provides stewardship of the Environmental Choice Program, which provides consumers with an eco-labelling for products manufactured within Canada or services that meet international label standards of (GEN) Global Ecolabelling Network.

Environment Canada continues (2005–present) to undergo a structural transformation to centralize authority and decision-making, and to standardize policy implementation.



Environment Canada is divided into several geographic regions:

The department has several organizations which carry out specific tasks:

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is an arms-length agency that reports to the Minister of Environment[16]

Parks Canada, which manages the Canadian National Parks system, was removed from Environment Canada and became an agency reporting to the Minister of Heritage in 1998. In 2003, responsibility for Parks Canada was returned to the Minister of the Environment.[17]


Environment Canada Enforcement Branch is responsible for ensuring compliance with several federal statues. The Governor-in-Council appoints enforcement officers and pursuant to section 217(3) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, enforcement officers have all the powers of peace officers.

There are two designations of enforcement officers: Environmental Enforcement and Wildlife Enforcement. The former administers the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and pollution provisions of the Fisheries Act and corresponding regulations. The latter enforces Migratory Birds Convention Act, Canada Wildlife Act, Species at Risk Act and The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.[18] All officers wear dark green uniform with black ties and a badge (appear on the right). Environmental Enforcement Officers only carry baton and OC spray whereas Wildlife Enforcement Officers are also equipped with firearm.[19]

The Minister may also appoint members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, fishery officers, parks officers, customs officers and conservation officers of provincial and territorial governments as enforcement officers and to allow them to exercise the powers and privilege of Environment Canada officers.

On March 4, 2009, a bill to increase the enforcement capabilities of Environment Canada was introduced into the House of Commons. The Environmental Enforcement Bill would increase the fines for individuals and corporations for serious offenses, give enforcement officers new powers to investigate cases and grants courts new sentencing authorities that ensure penalties reflect the seriousness of the pollution and wildlife offences.[20]

More information: EC Enforcement Branch

Enforcement of: Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR)

The Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) operates with a few basic premises, one of which being that electronic waste is either "intact" or "not intact". The various annexes define hazardous waste in Canada, and also deem any waste that is "...considered or defined as hazardous under the legislation of the country receiving it and is prohibited by that country from being imported or conveyed in transit" to be covered under Canadian regulation and therefore subject to prior informed consent procedures.[21][22]

The loophole in the regulations that allows tons of e-waste to be exported from Canada is the use of the definition of "intact" vs "functional". A non-functioning electronic device that is intact can be exported under the current legislation. What can't be exported without prior informed consent is a non-functioning but no longer intact electronic device (if the component pieces are deemed hazardous). The principal problem being, the non-functioning but intact electronic device is at high risk of being disassembled in some far away e-waste dumping ground. The Canadian government's use of a unique interpretation of the Basel Convention obligations "intact" and "not intact" opens the door to uncontrolled e-waste exports as long as the device is intact. See Canadian fact sheet and associated links.[23]

Since Canada ratified the Basel Convention on August 28, 1992, and as of August 2011, Environment Canada's Enforcement Branch has initiated 176 investigations for violations under EIHWHRMR, some of which are still in progress. There have been 19 prosecutions undertaken for non-compliance with the provisions of the EIHWHRMR some of which are still before the courts. Electronic waste by country

2012 Budget Bill C-38, the "Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act"

Bill C-38, (June 2012), replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 1992, 1999) with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, The National Energy Board Act, the Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Fisheries Act (for example, closing the Experimental Lakes Area) all underwent major changes under Bill-38. By placing the emphasis on jobs, growth and prosperity significant changes have been made to the federal environmental assessment regime (EA) and environmental regulatory framework. [24] [25]

Minister of the Environment and the Kyoto Accord

In December 2011, Ministry of the Environment (Canada) Peter Kent announced Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol one day after negotiators from nearly 200 countries meeting in Durban, South Africa at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference (November 28 - December 11), completed a marathon of climate talks to establish a new treaty to limit carbon emissions.[1] The Durban talks were leading to a new binding treaty with targets for all countries to take effect in 2020.

Environment minister Peter Kent argued that, "The Kyoto protocol does not cover the world's largest two emitters, the United States and China, and therefore cannot work." In 2010 Canada, Japan and Russia said they would not accept new Kyoto commitments. Canada is the only country to repudiate the Kyoto Accord. Kent argued that since Canada could not meet targets, it needed to avoid the $14 billion in penalties for not achieving its goals.[26] This decision drew widespread international response.[27] States for which the emissions are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol (the US and China) have the largest emissions, being responsible for 41% of the Kyoto Protocol. China’s emissions increased by over 200% from 1990 to 2009.[28]

Environment Canada administers and assists in the administration of nearly c. 24 acts through regulations and through "voluntary and regulated agreements with individuals or multiple parties in Canada and elsewhere to define mutual commitments, roles and responsibilities and actions on specific environmental issues."[29]

Bill C-38

Bill C-38 (2012)[30]

Canada National Parks Act

Canada National Parks Act

Canada Water Act

"Recognizing the need for better environmental management, the federal government passed the Canada Water Act in 1970 and created the Department of the Environment in 1971, entrusting the Inland Waters Directorate with providing national leadership for freshwater management. Under the Constitution Act (1867), the provinces are "owners" of the water resources and have wide responsibilities in their day-to-day management. The federal government has certain specific responsibilities relating to water, such as fisheries and navigation, as well as exercising certain overall responsibilities such as the conduct of external affairs."[31]

The Canada Water Act (proclaimed on September 30, 1970) provides the framework for cooperation with provinces and territories in the conservation, development, and utilization of Canada's water resources. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, completes the framework for the protection and of water resources. Environment Canada is the federal department (Ministry) in charge of conserving and protecting Canada's water resources. The Water Act (2000), a federal legislation, "supports and promotes the conservation and management of water, including the wise allocation and use of water.".[32] The provinces are responsible for administering the Water Act (2000). In Alberta for example, Alberta Environment and Water is responsible for administering the Water Act (2000) and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (2000). Provinces environmental ministries primarily lead Water for Life (2003) programs. Provinces also implement and oversee "regulation of municipal drinking water, wastewater, and storm drainage systems."[32]

Canada Wildlife Act

Canada Wildlife Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. W-9) Amended in June 2012 by Bill C-38[33] 'allows for the creation, management and protection of wildlife areas' to preserve habitats, particularly for at risk species and requires permits for specified activities in designated wildlife areas.[34]

Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1992, c. 37)

The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (2000) "supports and promotes the protection, enhancement, and wise use of the environment. The Act's individual regulations cover a wide range of activities, from beverage container recycling and pesticide sales, potable water, to wastewater and storm drainage."[32]

Fisheries Act (pollution prevention into fish bearing waters) (R.S., 1985, c. F-14)

Federal legislation such as the Fisheries Act (1985) have relevance for water management in the provinces.[32]

Migratory Birds Convention Act

Federal legislation such as the Migratory Birds Convention Act (2000) also have relevance for water management in the provinces.[32]

Weather Modification Information Act

Weather Modification Information Act

Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Inter-provincial Trade Act

Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Inter-provincial Trade Act

Aerospace Fleet

Until 2010 Environment Canada operated several different aircraft for their environmental studies. Although Environment Canada does not have a current fleet of aircraft it contracts other branches of the government to provide airborne research facilities.

Former Fleet:

See also


  1. 1 2 Environment Canada 2013.
  2. "Inquiry Centre." Environment Canada. Retrieved on February 4, 2011. "Inquiry Centre 351 St. Joseph Blvd. 8th Floor, Place Vincent Massey Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3" Address in French: "Informathèque 351, boul. St-Joseph 8e étage, Place Vincent Massey Gatineau (Québec) K1A 0H3."
  3. "Contact Us." Environment Canada. Retrieved on February 4, 2011. "Address: Environment Canada Inquiry Centre 351 St. Joseph Boulevard Place Vincent Massey, 8th Floor Gatineau, Quebec." Address in French: "Environnement Canada Informathèque 351, boulevard St-Joseph Place Vincent-Massey, 8e étage Gatineau (Québec)."
  4. "Environment Canada - Acts & Regulations - The Act". Ec.gc.ca. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  5. "Federal Government Releases Draft Legislation to Reform Federal Regulatory System."
  6. Canadian Wildlife Service 2002-2010.
  7. ''Msc''. Msc-smc.ec.gc.ca (April 30, 2012).
  8. Monitoring Archived May 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ''Predition''. Msc-smc.ec.gc.ca.
  10. Aviation & Ice Services Archived May 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. Environment Canada - Weather and Meteorology - Home. Ec.gc.ca (March 1, 2012).
  12. Climate Science Archived January 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ''Npri''. Ec.gc.ca (February 22, 2012).
  14. Environment Canada - Science and Technology - Wildlife Research & Landscape Science | Environment Canada. Ec.gc.ca (March 22, 2012).
  15. Environment Canada - Air - Air Science and Research Mobile Source Emissions Measurement and Research
  16. (''Ceaa''). Ceaa-acee.gc.ca (May 9, 2012).
  17. ''Parks Canada''. Pc.gc.ca (April 13, 2012).
  18. Environment Canada - Acts, Regulations and Agreements - Enforcement - Acts and Regulations. Ec.gc.ca (June 30, 2011).
  19. Canada's newest environment officers set to help turn the country green. .canada.com (July 24, 2007).
  20. New Enforcement Legislation Cracks Down on Environmental Offenders. Ec.gc.ca. Archived April 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. Laws-lois.justice.gc.ca (May 2, 2012).
  22. Environment Canada - Pollution and Waste - Basel Convention. Ec.gc.ca.
  23. Archived October 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. Shawn Denstedt Q.C.; Sander Duncanson (Apr 27, 2012). "Federal Government Releases Draft Legislation to Reform Federal Regulatory System". Osler. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  25. Alan Harvie; Richard King; Jean Piette; J.M. Madeleine Donahue (June 7, 2012). "Canada: Canadian Government Proposes Significant Changes To The Environmental Assessment And Regulatory Framework". Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  26. "Canada pulls out of Kyoto protocol". The Guardian. UK. December 13, 2011.
  27. CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/12/canadas-kyoto-withdrawal-draws-international-response.html
  28. The Economist (December 15, 2011). "O Canada". Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  29. "Environment Canada - Acts, regulations and agreements". Ec.gc.ca. 2013-08-28. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  30. "LEGISinfo - House Government Bill C-38 (41-1)". Parl.gc.ca. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  31. "Federal Policy and Legislation". Environment Canada. July 22, 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  32. 1 2 3 4 5 waterpolicy.ca nd.
  33. "Canada Wildlife Act". Laws-lois.justice.gc.ca. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  34. "Environment Canada - Enforcement - Canada Wildlife Act". Ec.gc.ca. 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2014-01-22.


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