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Backgrounder

Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan - Priority sites receiving funds

The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) is a long term federal program that provides funding to 16 different federal departments, agencies, and Crown corporations (called custodians) as well as expert knowledge support from four federal departments.

Today’s announcement provides $1 billion over three years (through to 2014) for remediation of approximately 1,100 of the highest priority contaminated sites as well as the assessment of about 1,650 sites. Ultimately, the remediation of federal contaminated sites reduces environmental and human health risks, and the associated federal financial liabilities.  

Under the FCSAP program, a project may comprise one or more individual contaminated sites. Examples of high priority projects can be found on the FCSAP Web portal, www.federalcontaminatedsites.gc.ca.

Activities over the last century have left an environmental legacy that includes toxic waste sites, abandoned mines, contaminated military installations, leaking fuel storage depots, and other hazards to human health and the environment.

Recognizing the need to take action, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and the Government of Canada negotiated a joint five-year National Contaminated Sites Remediation Program (NCSRP) in 1989. This program assisted in remediating orphaned high-risk contaminated sites (sites for which a responsible party could not be found, or where the property owner was unable or unwilling to finance remediation) while promoting Canada's environmental technology industry. A total of 45 contaminated sites across Canada were addressed under this program and additional 55 site developments and demonstrations of remediation technology projects were undertaken.

The 2002 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development concluded that the federal government had failed to address federal contaminated sites adequately. Criticisms included a lack of information on the number of federal contaminated sites in Canada; the failure to produce an action plan to deal with high-risk sites in a timely manner; and the need for stable, long-term funding to manage the problem.

Recognizing the need for a coordinated approach to address these concerns, the government responded. The Government of Canada has taken the following actions since 2006:

2006: The Treasury Board introduces its Policy on the Management of Real Property that integrates all policies related to the management of federal real property including contaminated sites.

2009: Under Canada’s Economic Action Plan (CEAP), the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan receives $245.5 million between 2009 and 2011. The funding includes $80.5 million in new CEAP funding and $165 million of existing funding.

2011: Budget 2011 includes an additional $68 million over two years for funding site assessments and program management. The Government of Canada will invest $1 billion over three years (through to 2014) to manage federal contaminated sites to support the second phase of the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan program (2011-2016).

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