Canada has some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world. To ensure your business is compliant, it’s important to understand the various standards and regulations that apply. In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key environmental regulations you should be aware of in Canada.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act
At the federal level, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is the primary law governing the protection of the environment. CEPA protects air, water and land from pollution and waste, and sets standards for the management and disposal of toxic substances. It also regulates the import and export of hazardous materials, and establishes rules for the reporting and management of spills and releases. The CEPA is legislation that was enacted in 1999 to protect the environment and human health from the potential risks posed by certain toxic substances. The Act sets out the federal government’s responsibilities for preventing pollution and managing toxic substances, as well as giving the Minister of the Environment the power to take action against those who do not comply with the Act. CEPA covers a wide range of activities that can potentially harm the environment and human health, including the import and export of toxic substances, their manufacture, use, storage and disposal. The Act also sets out specific requirements for the assessment of new substances and the management of existing substances. For example, the Minister must assess the risks of any new substances that are imported, manufactured, or used in Canada. If the risks are found to be significant, the Minister can take action to reduce or eliminate the risks. In addition, the Act requires that existing substances be managed in a way that will protect the environment and human health. In addition to these requirements, the Act also sets out specific provisions to protect the Canadian environment. These include provisions that prohibit certain activities, such as releasing or disposing of certain toxic substances into the environment, as well as provisions that set out the requirements for environmental impact assessments and the enforcement of environmental laws. For More on the legislation: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-15.31/
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) also falls under the federal government’s jurisdiction. CEAA requires an environmental assessment for any proposed project that could potentially have an adverse effect on the environment. This assessment must consider the potential effects of a project on the environment, and the project must be approved or rejected based on the results of the assessment. The CEAA is a federal law which sets out the process for evaluating the environmental impacts of proposed projects and other activities that require federal approval. The goal of the Act is to protect the environment and ensure the responsible management of natural resources. The Act requires that the environmental effects of a proposed project or activity be assessed before any federal decision is made. The CEAA applies to areas of federal responsibility, such as energy, transportation, forestry, fisheries, and species at risk protection. The Act also applies to projects or activities on First Nations lands, as well as some projects that may have an impact on Aboriginal peoples. The environmental assessment process includes a number of steps, beginning with the identification of potential environmental effects and followed by the evaluation of those effects. If a proposed project or activity is deemed to have significant adverse environmental effects, the CEAA requires that the responsible federal department or agency consult with the public, Indigenous peoples and other interested parties. The Act also requires that the responsible department or agency consider the comments received in the consultation process in making its decision. The CEAA is an important tool for ensuring the responsible management of Canada's environment. For More on the legislation: https://www.canada.ca/en/impact-assessment-agency/services/policy-guidance/canadian-environmental-assessment-act-overview.html At the provincial level, each province has its own environmental regulations and standards. For example, Ontario has the Environmental Protection Act, which sets standards for air and water quality, as well as hazardous waste disposal. It also sets standards for the storage, transportation and handling of hazardous materials. In addition to the federal and provincial regulations, many cities and towns have their own environmental regulations. These may include local bylaws governing waste disposal, water conservation and air quality. It’s important to become familiar with the environmental regulations that apply to your business. Doing so will help ensure that you’re in compliance with the law, and that you’re taking steps to protect the environment.