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Part I - Canada's Draft National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention

Chapter 6: Measures to identify and manage stockpiles and wastes

6.1 Summary of Obligations

Article 6 of the Convention relates to:

  • chemicals in Annex A and B (POPs that are intentionally produced); and
  • wastes (including products and articles upon becoming wastes) that consist of contain or are contaminated by chemicals listed in Annex A and B, and Annex C (POPs that are unintentionally produced).

It obligates Parties to:

  • develop appropriate strategies for identifying stockpiles, wastes and products and articles in use;
  • identify, to the extent practicable, stockpiles consisting of or containing chemicals listed in Annex A or B, on the basis of the above strategies;
  • manage stockpiles, as appropriate, and in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner:
  • apply environmentally sound handling, collection, transport, storage and disposal measures to wastes and articles and products upon becoming waste; and
  • develop appropriate strategies for identifying sites contaminated by POPs, and if remediation is undertaken, perform it in an environmentally sound manner.

6.2 Identifying Stockpiles and Wastes and Managing Stockpiles

Parties to the Convention are required to develop and implement strategies to identify stockpiles and to manage those stockpiles in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner until they are deemed to be wastes.

Specifically, Article 6 states that Parties are obligated to:


  1. Develop appropriate strategies for identifying:
    1. Stockpiles consisting of or containing chemicals listed either in Annex A or Annex B; and
    2. Products and articles in use and wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with a chemical listed in Annex A, B or C;
  2. Identify, to the extent practicable, stockpiles consisting of or containing chemicals listed either in Annex A or Annex B on the basis of the strategies referred to in subparagraph (a);
  3. Manage stockpiles, as appropriate, in a safe, efficient and environmentally sound manner. Stockpiles of chemicals listed either in Annex A or Annex B, after they are no longer allowed to be used according to any specific exemption specified in Annex A or any specific exemption or acceptable purpose specified in Annex B, except stockpiles which are allowed to be exported according to paragraph 2 of Article 3, shall be deemed to be waste and shall be managed in accordance with subparagraph (d);

6.2.1 Current Actions to Identify and Manage Stockpiles and Wastes

6.2.1.1 Pesticides

Canada has no stockpiles of POPs pesticides. None of the nine pesticides were ever manufactured in Canada, and their use has been discontinued for many years, through the withdrawal of registrations. Any stocks which existed at the time that registration was withdrawn were to be sold, used or disposed of (between 1981 and 1995, depending on the chemical), after which their sale or use became a violation of the PCPA. Therefore, there is no commercial reason to maintain stockpiles. Post-registration monitoring and compliance programs have been established to ensure compliance with federal and provincial legislation. Although there is no Convention obligation to do so, federal, provincial and territorial hazardous waste programs address small quantities of retired material in the possession of consumers, and have collected and safely disposed of pesticide products which are no longer registered.

An example of a pesticide collection program is Operation CleanFarm, initiated by CropLife Canada, which collects unwanted pesticides in agricultural regions across Canada. Operation CleanFarm is a collaboration of government, industry and the agricultural community with the twin goals of environmental and health protection. All programs involve multi-stakeholder implementation teams with representatives from provincial environmental and agricultural ministries, as well as agri-retailers, producer groups and the agri-chemical industry.

Information from these programs has not identified substantial quantities of banned POPs that would be considered stockpiles, nor are any such stockpiles expected to exist.

6.2.1.2 PCBs

PCBs were never manufactured in Canada, but they were imported for use and have been used in a wide range of products. The use of PCBs has been prohibited for many years under the federal Chlorobiphenyls Regulations, except, namely, for specified existing equipment. Federal and provincial strategies and initiatives to deal with PCB stockpiles and wastes began in the late 1970s, with federal regulations and a CCMEAction Plan to phase out PCBs from service and to develop national codes for storage, handling and destruction of PCBs. Environment Canada is currently developing a renewed PCB regulatory framework under which all stored PCBs will be considered to be wastes and not stockpiles and will have to be destroyed by specific deadlines.

The CCMEhas published annual National Inventories of PCBs in Use and PCB Wastes in Storage in Canada 17 since 1989. This joint federal/provincial/territorial inventory identifies and classifies (i.e., by high or low concentration levels) amounts of PCBs in-use in equipment, in storage, and destroyed. PCB owners are required by federal and provincial regulations to supply information on PCB wastes in storage, and will be required to report on the amounts of PCBs in use in electrical equipment (supplemented by compliance inspections under the Chlorobiphenyls Regulations). Information on amounts of PCBsdestroyed is supplied by operators of commercial PCB treatment and destruction systems to provincial and territorial authorities.

The 2002 Annual Report of the National Inventories of PCBs in Use and PCB Wastes in Storage in Canada (Appendix "B") indicates that nationally, between 1992 and 2002, PCB items in use declined by one-third to 9,647 tonnes; PCBs stored in waste declined by 30 percent to 99,190 tonnes. The national declines started in earnest in 1995, when the Swan Hills Waste Treatment Centre in Alberta began operations. Some provinces and territories use this facility to dispose of PCB wastes, as it is the only stationary high level PCB disposal facility currently operating in Canada.

Regulations under CEPA 1999 that address stockpiles and wastes of PCBsinclude Federal Mobile PCB Treatment and Destruction Regulations, PCB Waste Export Regulations, Storage of PCBMaterial Regulations and Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations (EIHWR).

Although there has been no import to date under the EIHWR, PCB waste imports are permitted in Canada for environmentally sound disposal. The PCB Waste Export Regulations allow the export of PCB waste only on a limited basis for certain types of environmentally sound management.

Through the CCME, Canada has established guidelines related to hazardous waste storage and disposal, including guidelines for the management of waste containing PCBs, for mobile PCB destruction systems, for mobile PCB treatment systems, for PCB transformer decontamination and for the landfilling of hazardous wastes (including standards and codes of practice).

Under the Basel Convention, Canada led the development of general technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs and the technical guidelines on the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with PCBs, PCTs and PBBs. These two technical guidelines will be presented to COP-1 of the Stockholm Convention. These guidelines specify that destruction or irreversible transformation is the preferred management option for POPs. However, the guidelines also specify that, where destruction or irreversible transformation does not represent the environmentally preferable option, disposal methods such as disposal in an engineered landfill can be considered.

Provinces and territories ensure the proper collection, storage and disposal of PCB wastes through regulations and approvals. Provincial/territorial governments issue approval licenses for PCB storage sites and conduct regular inspections to ensure that material is secure and not entering the environment. Under provincial/territorial legislation, the owner of the PCBs, or PCB contaminated material, is responsible for their proper use, storage or disposal and is subject to enforcement measures if they are not properly managed.

6.2.2 Proposed Actions or Processes to Consider Future Actions to Identify and Manage Stockpiles and Wastes

Canada does not maintain stockpiles of POPs listed under the Convention. Future actions with respect to managing POPs that are in storage (primarily PCBs) are considered to be actions related to wastes.

As noted in Chapter 3, Environment Canada is currently revising its PCBregulatory framework. The proposed revisions will:

  • prohibit the storage of PCB material after December 31, 2009;
  • prohibit long term storage of additional PCB material;
  • prohibit the storage of PCB material in sensitive locations; and
  • require reporting on PCBs in use, in storage and destroyed.

Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments continue to address hazardous waste issues through the CCMEHazardous Wastes Task Group. The group focuses on national hazardous waste issues including national policy and environmentally sound management.

6.3 Environmentally sound handling, collection, transport, storage and disposal

Under Article 6, Paragraph (d) of the Convention, each Party is required to "take appropriate measures" so that wastes containing POPs, including products and articles upon becoming wastes, are:


  1. Handled, collected, transported and stored in an environmentally sound manner;

  2. Disposed of in such a way that the persistent organic pollutant content is destroyed or irreversibly transformed so that they do not exhibit the characteristics of persistent organic pollutants or otherwise disposed of in an environmentally sound manner when destruction or irreversible transformation does not represent the environmentally preferable option or the persistent organic pollutant content is low, taking into account international rules, standards, and guidelines, including those that may be developed pursuant to paragraph 2, and relevant global and regional regimes governing the management of hazardous wastes;
  3. Not permitted to be subjected to disposal operations that may lead to recovery, recycling, reclamation, direct reuse or alternative uses of persistent organic pollutants; and
  4. Not transported across international boundaries without taking into account relevant international rules, standards and guidelines;

Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) is defined in the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal as "taking all practicable steps to ensure hazardous wastes and other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against adverse effects which may result from such wastes." It refers to the way in which hazardous wastes are managed from their point of generation, through storage, transport, treatment, re-use, recycling, recovery and ultimate disposal.

Over the years, the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention has adopted technical guidelines for specific wastes streams, including those related to POPs.

6.3.1 Current Actions to Apply Environmentally Sound Measures to Wastes

6.3.1.1 Handling and Disposal

Hazardous waste management facilities in Canada are primarily a provincial and territorial responsibility. Provinces and territories regulate the management and control of treatment facilities and disposal operations, including landfill sites. As part of the federal export and import of hazardous waste regime, the provinces and territories provide consent for the disposal or recycling of imported hazardous wastes within their jurisdiction. Most provinces and territories have established programs to control or restrict the storage, use and disposal of hazardous substances in an environmentally sound manner. The provinces and territories also grant authorizations (i.e., permits, licenses, and certificates) for carriers that transport hazardous wastes. The federal government works together with the provincial/territorial governments in developing the national hazardous waste management system and establishing national objectives and standards.

PCBs are the primary POP of concern for hazardous waste management in Canada. There are federal regulations to address storage of PCB material and, for federal departments, boards, agencies etc., requirements for decontamination and destruction. Provincial and territorial regulations and CCMEguidelines specifically address the proper handling, storage and treatment and disposal of PCB wastes in an environmentally sound manner. Canada also cooperates with the U.S. and Mexico under the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC) North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) for the Management of PCBs, which is consistent with international and domestic obligations for sound environmental management of PCB wastes.

6.3.1.2 Transboundary Movement (Export and Import)

Canada's domestic regulations regarding import and export of hazardous wastes are instrumental in meeting its obligations under a number of international instruments, for example, the United Nations Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989 (ratified by Canada in 1992); the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Decision of Council on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations, C(2001)107/Final,; and the Canada-U.S.A. Agreement on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes, 1986 (as amended in 1992). The Stockholm Convention contains waste provisions that are consistent with the Basel Convention. Canada complies with its international obligations under the Basel Convention to ensure that any hazardous wastes imported and exported are handled and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

The export and import of hazardous wastes are controlled and tracked in Canada through the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations, and POPs-containing wastes are controlled when they exhibit a hazardous characteristic. Transboundary movement of other POPs are more generally categorized and controlled as (organic and chlorinated) hazardous waste.

6.3.2 Proposed Action or Processes to Consider Future Actions to Apply Environmentally Sound Measures to Wastes

6.3.2.1 Handling and Disposal

Canada is an active participant in international efforts to develop environmentally sound management criteria for hazardous wastes. The federal government works with the provinces, territories, industry and non-governmental organizations, in the development of standards that will encourage continuous improvement, by Canadian business and industry, in the safe handling and processing of hazardous waste.

The Conference of Parties of the Stockholm Convention is required to co-operate closely with the appropriate bodies of the Basel Convention in developing criteria and strategies to address POPswastes. Canada is actively participating in this process. In particular, Canada has led the development of the Basel Convention Technical Guidelines on PCBs, polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) (which includes recognition of the Stockholm waste provisions) and the development of the UNEP Framework technical guidelines on POPs as wastes. They were adopted at the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention in October 2004 and are being edited and translated in 2005. The disposal practices recommended in the UNEP Framework technical guidelines on POPs and the Basel Technical Guidelines on PCBs will be promoted and used in Canada.

6.3.2.2 Transboundary Movement (Export and Import)

Proposed revisions to the Export and Import of Hazardous Wastes Regulations under CEPA 1999 will require that the exporter or importer of hazardous wastes notify whether the wastes to be exported or imported contain POPs in excess of the low POP content referred to in Article 6, paragraph 2(c) and defined in paragraphs 28 and 29 of the Basel Convention's General technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs (UNEP/CHW.7/8/Add.1 /Rev.1) including notification of their quantity and concentration.

6.4 Identifying and Managing Contaminated Sites

Under Article 6, paragraph (e) parties to the Convention agree to:

Endeavour to develop appropriate strategies for identifying sites contaminated by chemicals listed in Annex A, B or C; if remediation of those sites is undertaken it shall be performed in an environmentally sound manner.

6.4.1 Current Actions to Identify and Manage Contaminated Sites

The identification and management of contaminated sites has been underway in Canada for decades. Regulation and management of contaminated sites in Canada is primarily a provincial/territorial responsibility; the federal government is primarily responsible for federal lands.

In 1992, the CCMEpublished a National Classification System for Contaminated Sites. The system is a method for evaluating contaminated sites according to their current or potential adverse impact on human health and the environment. It was developed to establish a rational and scientifically defensible system for comparable assessment of contaminated sites across Canada. The 12 POPs under the Stockholm Convention would be classified as high concern contaminants.

In addition to the classification system and a number of other technical and scientific documents, in 1997 the CCMEpublished a comprehensive Guidance Document on the Management of Contaminated Sites in Canada. The Guidance Document sets out a strategy for contaminated site management, including contaminated site identification and assessment, and development and implementation of remediation action.

In 1999, A Federal Approach to Contaminated Sites was also released by the Contaminated Sites Management Working Group (CSMWG). This document along with several other guidelines and best practices have been developed to provide a common federal approach to managing contaminated sites under federal custody.

Examples of provincial/territorial legislation and management actions related to contaminated sites include:

  • British Columbia's Special Waste Regulation and the Contaminated Site Regulation contain a Protocol for the management of PCB wastes. Throughout these regulations, a quality assurance/quality control program is used which includes analysis of duplicate samples to ensure proper disposal methods and sound environmental procedures depending on concentrations of PCBs.
  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has published a Management Document on Contaminated Sites and between 1994 and 2004, the numbers of PCB contaminated sites under provincial jurisdiction were reduced from 56 to 8.

The Government of Canada has also established the Federal Contaminated Sites Management Framework, an integrated package of policies and best practices advisories that have as their objective, the establishment of a consistent approach to the management of federal contaminated. The Framework includes the Treasury Board Federal Contaminated Sites and Solid Waste Landfills Inventory Policy released on July 1, 2000, followed in June 2002 by the introduction of the Contaminated Sites Management Policy and the Policy on Accounting for Costs and Liabilities related to Contaminated Sites.

In 2003, the federal government, through Treasury Board, established the Federal Contaminated Sites Accelerated Action Plan (FCSAAP). This program was specifically established as an environmental "federal house in order" initiative. Since its inception, some 114 high risk federal sites have been assessed, with approximately half being funded for risk management/remediation. Sites contaminated with POPs, particularly PCBs, are among the sites being funded for risk management/remediation.

Additional information on policies and activities related to contaminated sites is available in the 2005 Update to the CCME's Strategic Implementation Framework for International Commitments on Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs).18

6.4.2 Proposed Actions or Processes to Consider Future Actions to Identify and Manage Contaminated Sites

In 2005, the CCMESoil Quality Guidelines Task Group will update the National Classification System for Contaminated Sites. Further actions with respect to the identification and management of contaminated sites will be taken in accordance with jurisdictional action plans and policies.

6.5 Mandate of the Conference of the Parties

Article 6, Paragraph 2 of the Convention states:


The Conference of the Parties shall cooperate closely with the appropriate bodies of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal to, inter alia:

  1. Establish levels of destruction and irreversible transformation necessary to ensure that the characteristics of persistent organic pollutants as specified in paragraph 1 of Annex D are not exhibited;
  2. Determine what they consider to be the methods that constitute environmentally sound disposal referred to above; and
  3. Work to establish, as appropriate, the concentration levels of the chemicals listed in Annexes A, B and C in order to define the low persistent organic pollutant content referred to in paragraph 1 (d)(ii).

As Party to both the Stockholm and Basel Convention, Canada will continue active participation in working groups tasked with providing guidance on ensuring consistency between the two Conventions. Under the Basel Convention, Canada led the development of

  • the General Technical Guidelines on the environmentally sound management (ESM) of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with POPs; and
  • the Technical Guidelines for ESM of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Polychlorinated Terphenyls (PCT) or Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB).

Parties to the Basel Convention are currently developing technical guidelines on the ESM of wastes consisting of, containing or contaminated with dioxins and furans, another one on pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, HCB, mirex and toxaphene) and one on DDT. Furthermore, the group may also develop one solely on HCB.


17 Annual National Inventories of PCBs in Use and PCB Wastes in Storage in Canada available at Environment Canada's Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) Web section.

18 Note that the Framework will be available on the website in 2005 and, at that time, the NIP will include links to the CCMEwebsite and the updated Framework.

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