Backgrounder

Joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Data Portal

On February 3, 2012, the Governments of Canada and Alberta announced the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring. The Joint Plan integrates and enhances environmental monitoring systems to assess the cumulative impacts of oil sands activity on water, biodiversity and air quality. This scientific undertaking, which is unprecedented in Canada, will monitor the impacts of oil sands activity over an area covering some 140,000 square kilometres.

Both governments committed to publicly release the monitoring data to ensure accessibility and transparency and to provide members of the public, stakeholders and the scientific community with access to data and information that will be made available through the Joint Plan. The Joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Data Portal (www.JointOilSandsMonitoring.ca) fulfills this commitment. The portal will enable interested parties to access data to allow independent scientific assessments and evaluations.

As the environmental monitoring program moves toward full implementation, the data portal will become more comprehensive, incorporating additional data and information as they become available. The time period from sample collection to data release varies depending on a number of factors, including sample type (e.g., water, animal, tissue), analysis (e.g. level of specific contaminant) and quality analysis/quality control of data.

In addition to providing information on the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring, the portal includes maps of the monitoring region, details of the monitoring sites, the most up-to-date data collected by scientists in the field, and scientific analysis and interpretation of the data and results.

The Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring, which calls for a multi-year phased implementation, will guide environmental monitoring efforts in the oil sands area. Full implementation will be reached by 2015.

To ensure transparency and accountability, the Oil Sands Monitoring Plan will be subject to scientific peer review.

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