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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 restore, conserve, 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:
1. Biodiversity is conserved and protected
2. Water is safe, clean and secure
3. Canadians adopt approaches to ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes
|Biodiversity is conserved and protected||125.6||818||102.5||779||102.3||779|
|Water is safe, clean and secure||59.7||467||54.5||468||54.5||468|
|Canadians adopt approaches to ensure the sustainable use and management of natural capital and working landscapes||80.9||551||77.9||551||72.4||535|
Totals may differ in and between tables due to rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||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.
|Land and landscapes are managed sustainably||% of area (km2) of conserved wildlife habitat 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||
Economic, social and environmental benefits accrue to Canadians through sustainable and productive use of water resources.
Canadians have access to safe drinking water and human health is protected from water quality and quantity-related threats.
|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.||
Declassification of special areas (e.g. areas of concern, restricted fishing areas).
Number of partnerships established and/or maintained.
|Information, assessment, and understanding of the state of ecosystem sustainability support decision-making.||
New management approaches in project EAs and Strategic EAs are implemented.
Establishment of strategic partnerships to advance ecosystem sustainability and decision-making.
Increased capacity of Canadian monitoring organizations to implement effective, relevant ecological monitoring programs.
Over the next three years, Environment Canada plans to pursue the following plans and priorities.
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, increasing human population combined with increasing demand for goods and services is resulting in the over exploitation 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 is such a way that human activities do not undermine the overall ability of the ecosystem to function. 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, restore and rehabilitate significant habitats; and conserve migratory birds. 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.
Initiatives and activities in this program area flow from the legal obligations under the Canada Wildlife Act (CWA), the Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA), the Species at Risk Act (SARA), the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA); 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. We are able to maximize efficiencies by directing most of our energies on 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 – an approach to the integrated management of land, water, air, and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. 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 environmental change can take place over a long period of time and the impact and consequences of some landscape-based decisions may not become apparent until some future point. It is possible that some impacts, once they are realized, cannot be easily remediated or the natural capital loss restored.
Failure to ensure the conservation of migratory bird species 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.
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.
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. Losses of wetlands continue: 68% of original wetlands in southern Ontario, and 75% of those in southwestern Manitoba have been converted from their natural state. Threats to water quality include the release, redistribution, and biomagnification of contaminants. 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, transportation, 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 scare water resources. Millions of dollars of economic impacts have resulted from flooding in Canada. Canadian business earned $1.4 billion from water-related environmental goods and services in 2000. Upwards of $1.25 billion worth of hydroelectricity is generated on the St. Lawrence system.
This program area is designed to provide policy and science leadership on water quality, quantity and use. The implementation of water policy, management, performance promotion and education and engagement will focus on strengthening federal, provincial, territorial, and international collaboration with a view to identifying benefits and incentives for the sustainable use of water, and ensuring that Canadian water related interests are protected globally. Science under this program will be focused on monitoring and research to understand what is changing in aquatic ecosystems and why, and on providing scientific information and tools to empower Canadians to take action.
Securing clean, safe and secure water for people and ecosystems requires a domestically and internationally shared vision for governments. 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 provides leadership in setting of overall direction for the management of water resources, the examination of existing arrangements and agreements, and identifying and managing areas of mutual concern. Canada has in place a number of institutional arrangements that help address matters of shared jurisdiction pertaining to waters that span provincial and national borders including the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, a number of domestic water control boards and the International Joint Commission. Furthermore, all governments have major policy and regulatory levers to deploy in support of water management. Ensuring that these levers are used in a harmonized, collaborative, and ecologically, socially and economically beneficial manner is a central challenge of water management in Canada. Within the federal government at least 19 federal departments are in some way implicated in the management of water. This provides a significant horizontal management challenge.
Environment Canada is recognized as the lead for water science in Canada. The Department works in collaboration with other federal departments, provinces and territories, science networks related to work on the environment, as well as the public (including non-governmental organizations, academia and municipalities) to determine priorities for monitoring and research in order to provide timely and integrated scientific information and advice to decision-makers on the status and trends in water quality and aquatic ecosystems, an assessment and determination of the impacts of stressors on aquatic ecosystems and water resources and best management practices for sustaining efficient use of Canada's water.
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, 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.
Priority Ecosystem Initiatives have been developed in an effort to respond to the unique environmental and sustainability issues of targeted ecosystems. They are a key tool to promote and implement ecosystem management in Canada and to get action and results in ecosystems of national importance. Current Priority Ecosystem Initiatives include:
This program area will develop and implement a nationally-coherent, ecosystem-based approach to planning and delivering initiatives. It will facilitate comprehensive departmental action on ecosystems by aligning science and policy expertise and enhancing collaborative governance and decision-making mechanisms. A further feature of this program area will be to take action to identify and begin addressing, from an ecosystem perspective, the critical knowledge gaps that limit integrated decision-making, impacting on natural capital.
The goal of this work is to help decision-makers better understand the impact of their decisions on ecosystem sustainability by shifting from an emphasis on individual elements toward a more holistic consideration of ecological functions and services. Innovative tools will provide decision-makers with a better understanding of ecosystem changes; adaptive management processes will be implemented and supported; and the effectiveness of Environment Canada partner science in reaching decision-makers will be enhanced.
Environment Canada recognizes that an ecosystem approach, based on scientific diagnostic and analysis, will provide a place-focused, analytical planning framework that deliberately integrates environmental, economic, and social objectives, within ecological scales and timeframes. Considering the implications on overall ecosystem sustainability, through innovative approaches (e.g., cumulative effects assessments, integrated ecosystem monitoring), will significantly improve the knowledge base upon which community planning and decisions affecting the ecosystem are made.
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 the priority ecosystems. Plans and priorities include:
Without the application of an ecosystem approach 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. We will also be hampered in progressing towards greater integration of work with other departments and partners.
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.
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:
|Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making||121.8||1,141||121.5||1,146||117.1||1,145|
|Canadians are informed of, and respond appropriately to, current and predicted environmental conditions||151.0||1,342||143.7||1,317||141.0||1,318|
Totals may differ in and between tables due to rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||Indicators|
|Improved knowledge and information on weather and environmental conditions influences decision-making||Environment Canada has the environmental monitoring capability that allows it to identify, analyse and predict weather, air, water and climate conditions||Integrity of monitoring networks and of their operations (sustainable and affordable networks).|
|Science is produced to support weather and environmental services, 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 and enquiry for Environment Canada's products and services.
Level of access to international monitoring data through initiatives such as the Global Earth Observation (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.|
Over the next three years, Environment Canada plans to pursue the following plans and priorities.
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) enables the detection and prediction, in real time, of 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), as well as enabling 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.
Environmental prediction science delivers credible, relevant, integrated, and usable environment predictions, environmental knowledge, advice, and 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.
This program area consists of environmental science and monitoring activities 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 to conduct, throughout Canada, consistent, on-going measurements of basic parameters. A key benefit of the results under this program will be to provide improved knowledge, 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 these 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, strategic investments in new monitoring technologies and strategies to move towards an appropriate mix of in-situ, remote, airborne and satellite-based monitoring systems are required. 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 (higher resolution and accuracy), better exploiting data and improving observing 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 reliable observational data not being available 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 quality improvements.
Timely warnings of changing weather and environmental conditions that threaten the life and health of Canadians form the raison d'être of this program area. Globally, about 85% of life-threatening hazards are hydrometeorological in nature. Furthermore, public opinion research 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 UV 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 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.
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). This is in response 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, Coast Guard icebreaking). 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 of 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 information and services, and so that they can be delivered in a manner that is sustainable in the long-term. Currently in its fourth year, this five-year 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.
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 how environmental changes affect economic sectors like transportation or tourism. Other changes expected for the future include improved services to Canadians, including education and engagement activities, modern dissemination systems (e.g. "http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca, " the Canadian Government's most popular Web site with some eight billion visits annually), and performance management. Also, activities worthy of future investments include the international GEOSS initiative (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) 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 many win-win partnerships that allow optimum use of its infrastructure and successful delivery of its services. 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 is an excellent example. 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.
Environment Canada will 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 designing service improvements for the media and operating a web site dedicated to media use. Outreach and warning preparedness officers will liaise with media outlets to improve the quality of the services provided and the priority they give to weather warnings, thus improving 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.
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 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 datasets 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 telecommunication bandwidth, supercomputing power and mass storage. A strategic plan 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 system failure or a termination by a supplier – are mitigated by using multiple sources of data. Effective business resumption planning and systems mitigate 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 supply, and by securing access to models from other countries (USA, Europe).
Reliance on information technology (IT) through automated systems increases the risk of systems failures. Diligence in defining robust service level agreements and in designing and testing contingency plans will be paramount to mitigating these risks. Increases in IT security threats also pose a risk to the continuous (24 hours, seven days) critical operations. This risk is minimized by implementing Treasury Board guidelines on IT security, implementing increased security zones, and ISO certification considerations to increase system reliability.
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 two program areas:
1. Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced.
2. Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches:
|Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced||238.5||1,658||224.4||1,647||224.5||1,646|
|Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches||26.5||184||26.5||185||24.9||185|
Totals may differ in and between tables due to rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||Indicators|
|Risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced||Air quality is improved||Ambient air quality levels as measured by the National Air Pollution Surveillance Program (NAPS).|
|Risks to Canadians and their environment posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances are assessed||Number of categorized commercial chemicals.|
|Risks to Canadians and their environment posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances are managed||
Quantity of releases or concentration of substance(s) of concern in the ambient environment.
Number of preventive or control measures (e.g. regulations or voluntary instruments) in place which address substances of concern.
|Canadians adopt sustainable consumption and production approaches||Canadians are informed of environmental pollution and are engaged in measures to address it||Quality of information reported to and contained in the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) and the Criteria Air Contaminant (CAC) Emissions Inventory.|
|Sector-based and other approaches promote sustainable consumption and production||Strategic approach and policy options for sustainable production and consumption are developed.|
Environment Canada plans to pursue the following plans and priorities over the next three years:
1. Advance priority actions for air quality and substances of concern including:
2. Implement key strategic shifts to improve the effectiveness of program approaches, including:
3. Establish a clear and predictable environmental protection regime by developing and implementing a quality management system for decision-making with respect to pollutants.
Pollutants and other harmful or dangerous substances pose considerable threats to the health and well-being of Canadians and have significant negative impacts on air, water, and land. Air pollution, for example, has significant negative impacts on human health, the environment and our society and economy. A recent Health Canada study estimated that 5,900 people in 8 Canadian cities die prematurely each year as a result of air pollution. Acidified lakes are not recovering, toxics are bio-accumulating, and biodiversity is reduced. Air pollution is also resulting in agriculture and forestry losses, reduced productivity, health system costs, and infrastructure damage.
In order to protect the health of Canadians and the environment from the risks posed by pollution, waste, and substances of concern, those risks must be assessed, understood, and managed taking into account the full management cycle including the disposal or recycling of products containing toxic substances. Building this understanding involves considering the risks posed by the legacy of unassessed substances to which we and our environment are exposed each day; avoiding the creation of other such legacies by assessing and managing new chemicals and products of biotechnology before they enter our economy and environment; effectively managing the risks associated with chemicals that are already in our economy and environment; developing scientific tools and technologies important for identifying, measuring, assessing and managing risk; reporting on how well we are doing in delivering on current risk management strategies and tools (e.g., CEPA 1999 instruments such as regulations); ensuring that waste, when it is generated is managed in an environmentally sound manner and looking forward to identify emerging risks with the aim of understanding and managing those risks before they put our health, our environment, or our prosperity at risk. Such knowledge is critical to ensuring that resources and efforts from governments, industry, and individual Canadians are used to maximum advantage in support of our long-term competitiveness, the health of our citizens, and that of our environment.
This program area consists of reducing risks to the environment and to human health posed by pollutant releases related to human activities. Under this program area, environmental and human health threats posed by toxic substances and other substances of concern are understood in terms of their fate and effects and are prevented, reduced, or eliminated through appropriate risk management measures. These substances may exert a direct toxic 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.
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. Work to improve air quality will focus on developing an integrated sector-based approach; strengthening international cooperation (particularly with the U.S.); and promoting science-based approaches to inform the development of new standards and regulations
A Made-in-Canada plan for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions will focus on realistic and effective reductions in emissions for the long term. It will:
Greenhouse gases and air pollutants share common sources. An integrated approach to regulating air pollution and greenhouse gas 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 mitigation of both issues.
Regulatory approaches that meet or exceed standards in the U.S. or other key industrialized countries are an important element of the plan. For example, while Canada's emission standards for many classes of on-road vehicle and engines and off-road engines are currently aligned with those of the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to implement more stringent emission requirements for some classes of vehicle and engines, and Canada's emissions standards need to keep pace.
Since the early 1990's, Canada and other industrialized nations have had in place processes to assess health and environmental risks associated with new substances before they are allowed to enter the marketplace, backed up by regulatory regimes and other measures to manage those risks so as 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-1980's, prior to the promulgation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).
CEPA 1999 required that the Government undertake a comprehensive review of the legacy of unassessed substances to identify whether they potentially present hazards that require further in-depth evaluation to determine their precise health and environmental risks, and how those risks should best be managed. Canada is the first country in the world to have completed a comprehensive review of all substances in commerce This initial categorization resulted in the identification of substances that may pose a concern for human health or the environment, and that therefore now must be evaluated and potentially be subject to some form of risk management measure. This will be accomplished through a new management approach coordinated by Environment Canada and Health Canada.
Delivering on these challenges will require integrated information about our environment and increasingly sophisticated risk assessment methodologies and technologies to ensure that risk assessments, which form the basis for risk management responses, are as complete and thorough as possible.
Internationally, Canada's emissions per capita and per GDP are among the highest of the OECD countries. The 2005 report, The Maple Leaf in the OECD: Comparing progress toward sustainability, showed that out of the 30 OECD countries, Canada ranked 28th overall, based on 29 environmental indicators. Canada's showings include 26th in greenhouse gas emissions, and 27th in pollution from sulphur oxides. In the longer-term, domestic environmental performance could affect Canada's ability to seek international reductions of pollutants that would bring benefits to Canada. There is a risk that Canada's access to international markets may be hampered, potentially affecting its competitive position in the international community.
In order to meet our CEPA 1999-mandated obligations, 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.
The generation and collection 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 production and consumption approaches; for supporting risk assessment and risk management activities; for assessing progress; and for enabling decision-makers to make quality decisions in support of Canada's long-term competitiveness and the health of our citizens and our environment. Work in this area will help the Department deliver on its legislative mandate by creating a more systematic approach to the Department's decision-making concerning the assessment, management and prevention of the risks of pollution using a mix of instruments under CEPA, 1999 and the Fisheries Act, as well as non-legislative tools. Legislative approaches will be complemented by developing new approaches that engage more of society and infuse environmental considerations more fully through the production cycle and value chain of products.
Work to promote sustainable consumption and production will improve Environment Canada's decision-making criteria and processes for managing the risks of harmful substances and ensure that the Department has a strong but flexible legislative basis for action. We will seek opportunities to develop more holistic approaches to reducing risks and improving environmental quality by promoting corporate behaviour that contributes to environmental protection, including improved product stewardship and other approaches to sustainable consumption and production.
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. Much of the activity will be centered around large sector-based approaches to enable collaborative and informed decision-making on environmental objectives. We will also initiate work with small and medium-sized enterprises and the financial sector. Underlying this will be the creation of a clear and predictable environmental protection regime, designed to encourage and enable sustainable production and consumption.
Consistent application of key principles in risk assessment and risk management decision-making will be improved through the development and implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) for Environment Canada's regulatory responsibilities related to protecting Canadians and their environment from the effects of pollution and waste. This work will focus on improving the clarity of decision-making criteria, processes, and engagement with respect to decisions pertaining to the legislative responsibilities under CEPA and the Fisheries Act. The initial focus will be on risk assessment and risk management, particularly determining priorities for both as well as establishing risk management strategies. This will seek to clarify the application of key principles including the precautionary principle and the use of Schedule 1 of CEPA, 1999. Once these policy issues are clarified, the processes will be documented. Further, Environment Canada will demonstrate leadership in application of principles, government-wide, on regulatory decision-making and work closely with other departments, especially in the area of biotechnology.
Environment Canada has begun to develop an approach for certain aspects of sustainable consumption and production, such as Pollution Prevention Plans, Extended Producer Responsibility approaches, Life Cycle Management and other environmental management systems, corporate sustainability reporting, investor recognition of the benefits of reduced environmental risks, and work with communities on an ad-hoc basis. This work will need to be considered in a holistic way to optimize the Government's leverage to promote sustainable consumption and production as an integrated approach. Upcoming work will examine best practices in product stewardship policy, environmental design, corporate sustainability reporting, and other cutting edge sustainable consumption and production tools to assess their applicability within the Canadian context. By increasing departmental knowledge and engagement on the business value of corporate environmental performance, departmental activities could help support market decision-making, including by companies, the financial sector and consumers, in support of Canada's environmental priorities.
This work will result in longer-term strategies to support key governmental and departmental priorities including innovation and smart regulation to promote early action by industry to reduce risks to health and the environment. While our current risk assessment and risk management processes are directed towards meeting the global challenge associated with the backlog of unassessed existing substances in Canada, environmental sustainability requires a larger societal shift towards sustainable production and consumption practices that do not release harmful substances or result in substantial energy or material waste at any stage in the product cycle. For example, eighty percent of the environmental and economic costs associated with production are predetermined at the product design stage; therefore, encouraging innovation in product design should be a critical aspect of Government support for sustainable production. Concurrently, encouraging market shifts towards more environmentally-friendly products can have immediate environmental results as well as stimulate longer-term innovation in sustainable production.
In the area of generating and collecting environmental and pollution data, the focus will be on improving data quality and harmonizing and integrating reporting. Improvements to the quality of data collected and generated will allow increased confidence in its value to guide decision-making and set priorities. 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 pollutant 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. Information on air releases from all sources in Canada (including industrial, transportation and residential sources) is only available for certain criteria air contaminants (pollutants that contribute to smog and acid rain), heavy metals (mercury, cadmium and lead) and persistent organic pollutants (dioxins and furans, PAHs). In order to appropriately understand and 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 (for example, ambient air quality and economic) will allow a more comprehensive picture of pollution in Canada which will better assist with targeting actions and supporting decision-making.
Almost one-third of Canada's GDP 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 devastated by further climate change. The BC forest fires (2003), the Prairie drought (2004), and the Eastern Ontario/Quebec ice storm (1998) all demonstrate how vulnerable Canada is to climate variability and severe weather events. 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 on two fronts: first, by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; and second, by strengthening our understanding of the impacts of climate change and taking steps to adapt to its effects.
As such, Environment Canada's work in this area is organized under two program activities:
Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced:
Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects:
Greenhouse gases and air pollutants share common sources. An integrated approach to regulating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is
|Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced||32.6||194||10.6||184||13.0||166|
|Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects||1.9||8||1.9||8||1.3||8|
Totals may differ in and between tables due to rounding of figures.
|Program Activity||Expected Results||Indicators|
|Net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced||Made-in-Canada plan for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions is developed and implemented||
Emissions from large industries are reduced.
Emissions trading infrastructure is developed.
Increased integration with Clean Air objectives.
Public education and awareness of consumer options increased.
|Long-term global climate change regime is consistent with Canadian interests||Progress achieved at UN meetings towards the approach to global action on climate change reflects Canadian position and national situation.|
|Canadians understand the impacts of climate change and adapt to its effects||Adaptive strategies to address the impacts of climate change are developed and implemented for the benefit of Canadians and the environment||
Level of awareness and understanding by economic sectors, OGD's and other
levels of government of their vulnerability to atmospheric change enhanced.
Canada's adaptation deficit reduced as measured by:
Taking effective and realistic action to reduce GHG emissions for the long term will help build a competitive and sustainable Canadian economy. Investors are already putting a value on environmental sustainability. As the world moves to address climate change, those economies and companies that build environmental considerations into their decisions will ultimately have a competitive advantage. We also need to work towards an inclusive long-term international approach to climate change that is consistent with Canadian interests.
The measures to be implemented to address greenhouse gas emissions will be closely aligned and coordinated with action on clean air as described in the previous section under program activity 3A (risks posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances in the environment are reduced). This plan for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions will focus on realistic and effective reductions for the long term.
This program area provides a focus for the Department's activities aimed at reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions as well as those aimed at helping to build a future approach that balances economic prosperity and societal needs with emissions reductions.
The sources of GHG emissions and common air pollutants, as well as the action required to reduce them, are often the same. Efficient strategies should be pursued that address both clean air and climate change in an integrated manner.
Canada intends to work with its international partners to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Canada is prepared to work within all multilateral efforts to ensure effective international cooperation on climate change. Future international cooperation that meets Canada's goals would result in significant global reductions in GHG emissions by all major emitting countries, maintain competitiveness of Canadian enterprises, and generate significant environmental co-benefits.
The approach to addressing climate change in Canada has evolved continuously since the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. However, a number of areas require a more focussed approach to achieve realistic and effective reductions in GHG emissions for the long term. This approach will include: reducing air pollutant and GHG emissions from industrial and transportation sectors; supporting the development of new technologies needed to address air quality and climate change for the long term; improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy; helping citizens and communities take action; and working with the United States and other countries, through the United Nations process and other multilateral approaches, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Actions to reduce GHG emissions are integral to any strategy for sustainable production and use of energy. The reductions in GHG emissions which will be required in the future can only be achieved if action leading to short-term reductions is balanced with the investment in actions that will pay off on a longer-term time line.
Effectively addressing climate change requires collaboration between many countries with widely varying national circumstances. Canada will continue to be an active participant in the UN process, the G8 + 5 Climate Change Dialogue and is also considering participation in the Asia Pacific Partnership. We will continue to participate in research and technology partnerships that enhance our ability to reduce GHGs domestically while furthering technological development that will benefit the developing world.
Climate change impacts are real. Changes are already occurring, as documented scientifically and from long-term changes derived from paleo evidence, earth observations, and indigenous communities. The adaptation deficit is growing exponentially, domestically and internationally, as measured, for example, by 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 programming will focus on science capacity supporting the rapidly growing need for developing science-based adaptation advice that allows decision-makers to understand and risk-manage the impacts of climate change by:
To manage the risks and optimize the opportunities associated with weather and climate change, Canada must strengthen its capacity to develop and implement, through partnerships, science-based adaptation solutions at the community, regional and national levels.
Building on Environment Canada's work to reduce the impact of weather and related hazards, this program area is focused on understanding and minimizing the negative effects of climate change, developing adaptive strategies, and helping partners implement solutions. This knowledge and information will be provided to policy developers and decision-makers as advice on adaptation to changing weather and climate. Science leadership includes identifying benefits and incentives to guide the development of sound mitigation and adaptation strategies for Canadians. On the international front, Canada will develop synergies with multi-lateral environmental agreements, especially the three United Nations Conventions on sustainable development (Climate, Desertification, and Biological Diversity).
Environment Canada has a long history, credibility and is the recognized source for impacts and adaptation science, methodologies and tools, and interpreting climate and weather data. As a result, Environment Canada is one of the few federal departments to work with more than the typical sector adaptation approach (e.g. issues, sectors, and regions) and to help partners implement adaptation solutions in Canada. Examples of work to date include advice and information on developing Heat Alert systems, water management planning, responding to disaster management legislation (e.g. Bill 148 in Ontario (http://www.hazards.ca/) and the Civil Securities Act in Québec), and developing new winter maintenance by-laws (e.g. city of Ottawa).
Despite the potential impact on Canada's economy, society, environment, and quality of life, adaptation solutions have not been developed for many issues. This program area proposes to develop those solutions using a solid foundation of impacts and adaptation science coupled with strong partnerships including with decision-makers and multi-disciplinary networks. Scientific expertise is needed to identify and prioritize impacts and risks while additional scientific and infrastructure expertise is needed to develop and implement adaptation solutions.
noted that the range and availability of species of polar bear, walrus, seals and caribou are already beginning to change and infrastructure is beginning to fail. Unless we understand the vulnerabilities and impacts of a changing climate, and effectively help to implement adaptation solutions, the Canadian economy, society and ecosystems will be strongly impacted, adding to the pressures pushing against sustainability, and increasing the existing "adaptation deficit." To achieve sustainability, the adaptation deficit, which is already increasing exponentially, must be reduced.
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 including 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), resilience in natural ecosystems and biodiversity.