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Part II: Canada's Draft National Action Plan on Unintentionally Produced Persistent Organic Pollutants

8. Education, Training and Awareness Building

Stakeholder consultation processes, which are prescribed by Canadian government policy, apply to the development of new management instruments. Accordingly, these processes build early awareness among the affected sources and public stakeholders. The Canada-wide Standards for Dioxins and Furans process employed sector specific multi-stakeholder advisory groups (MAGs) in the development of the standards and associated activities (e.g., Pollution Prevention Strategies). MAGs included representatives of industry, environment and health non-government organizations, labour groups, and governments (provincial, territorial and federal). Additionally, several National Multi-stakeholder Meetings have been held on the Dioxins/Furans Canada-wide Standards process, further building awareness and engaging those interested.

Public awareness of the human health and environmental effects of toxic substances in general and dioxins/furans, HCB and PCBs in particular is developed through fact sheets and information materials prepared by federal and provincial/territorial health and environment agencies as well as industry, industry associations, manufacturers, consumer organizations, and environmental and health non-government organizations.

Information on dispersed sources such as open burning and residential combustion has been developed by various governmental, and non-governmental organizations. For example, in 2002, Natural Resources Canada launched an education campaign to promote "smarter" wood burning and published a number of fact sheets. Organizations may apply for a licence from Natural Resources Canada to use the "Burn it Smart!" educational material and the graphic identifier to publicize the value of the project.

In addition to the efforts of governments, regional actions of the private sector are helping focus public attention on wood burning stove technologies and practices. For example, a pilot, voluntary wood stove Changeout program in Ontario sponsored by the Hearth Products Association of Canada with support from governments has resulted in positive environmental benefits. This experience was used to develop an education campaign called Operation Burn Clean to encourage woodburning consumers to purchase or upgrade to safer, cleaner-burning, certified US Environmental Protection Agency and Canadian Standards Association B415.1-00 wood burning appliances.

In British Columbia, the Ministry of Water, Air and Land Protection has established regional burning "hotlines" that persons can call to find out about burning restrictions. Municipalities can use the hotlines to get information to form their own backyard burning guidelines, especially if they have backyard burning bylaws.

A list of information sources, such as those noted above, is included in Appendix C to the NAP. (Note - the list is not exhaustive, but serves to provide examples of available information sheets and ongoing education and awareness efforts).

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