About the Environmental Emergencies Program

Who We Are

The Environmental Emergencies Program protects Canadians and their environment from the effects of environmental emergencies through the provision of science-based expert advice and regulations.The primary role of Environment Canada’s National Environmental Emergencies Centre (NEEC) is to provide the Department’s unique technical and scientific environmental advice and assistance to the lead agency in the event of an environmental emergency. A lead agency is generally described as the governmental authority that regulates or has authority over the activity from which the emergency originated.  Environment Canada helps to identify the environmental protection priorities and provide advice on ways to reduce the pollution’s impact on the environment.  This advice can include weather forecasts, location of wildlife and sensitive ecosystems, and expertise on spill countermeasure and remediation options.

The Environmental Emergency Regulations (E2 Regulations) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) require relevant industries to develop environmental emergency plans. These emergency plans help industry to better prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from an environmental emergency. The Environmental Emergencies Program assesses which substances and under what conditions, should be regulated.  When a facility is using a regulated substance, they must notify Environment Canada, and may have to prepare emergency plans when they have certain quantities or concentrations of the substance at a particular site.

The Environmental Emergencies Program also provides expert advice during the environmental assessment process of large development projects to improve mitigation measures that prevent accidents from occurring, and improve emergency response plans so that effective and timely actions can be taken when accidents occur.