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

Chapter 9: Report on NIP Consultations and Summary

9.1 Report on NIP Consultations

On May 17, 2004, Canada's Environment Minister announced the coming into force of the Stockholm Convention and urged continued vigilance. Anticipating entry into force of the Convention, in late 2003 Environment Canada formed a small advisory team, including members from federal government agencies and stakeholders, to assist with planning for multistakeholder consultations. In January 2004, a discussion document was prepared and made publicly available. In February and March, 2004, Environment Canada hosted day long meetings in Edmonton, Alberta and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A meeting in Gatineau, Quebec spanned a day and a half, with more detailed explanation of the Convention's obligations. Meetings were announced on Environment Canada's Green Lane (POPs website) and invitations and the discussion document were sent to aboriginal organizations, organizations focusing on women and children's health, industrial associations and businesses, environmental nongovernmental organizations, and other levels of Canadian government. Stakeholders were invited to provide written comments and suggestions, in addition to their participation in workshops or if they were unable to attend any of the three sessions. Over 80 individuals from the public, private and nonprofit sector attended the sessions. In addition to comments received during face-to-face sessions, six written comments were submitted for consideration.

In general, stakeholders acknowledged that Canada had played and continues to play an important role in the Stockholm Convention and that northern aboriginal representatives and traditional knowledge were a key contributor to that success. They also agreed that substantial progress had been made in reducing POPs originating in Canada. Stakeholder meetings and subsequent written comments addressed the nature of implementation plans and what level of analysis is required by countries, including Canada, to assess implementation needs. Canada was encouraged to submit an early NIP for discussion among the parties and to maintain stakeholder involvement in its development.

Based on comments received during consultations, Canada produced a draft National Implementation Plan. The plan was discussed through interdepartmental, intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder fora and was released for public consultation in early February 2005. The draft NIP was also posted on Environment Canada's Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Registry. Stakeholders with particular knowledge, interest and expertise in the Stockholm Convention and/or persistent organic pollutants were invited to a focussed consultation session in Ottawa, Ontario, held on February 14, 2005. Stakeholders were informed that the February 2005 consultation draft would be shared with participants at the first Conference of the Parties (COP-1) in May 2005 and that comments received during the February 2005 consultations, along with those resulting from sharing the NIP with the Conference of the Parties, would be considered in developing the Final NIP, to be delivered to the COP by May 17, 2006. Approximately 25 stakeholders participated and provided comments during that meeting, and additional written comments were delivered to Environment Canada by March 18, 2005. Reports on the 2004 and 2005 consultations are attached to this NIP as Appendices "D", "E" and "F".

9.2 Summary

Canada has been a leader on every front in the battle against POPs. Canadian scientists did much of the original research that showed how POPs were disseminated in the environment, as well as their environmental and health effects. Canada was one of the first countries to ban or restrict their manufacture, use and release. In addition, a Canadian led the negotiations for the Stockholm Convention. Canada also provided a $20 million Canada POPs Fund, administered by the World Bank to help developing countries build their own capacities regarding POPs. Canada was also the only country to make a financial commitment of this kind during the critical negotiating period of the Convention.

POPs are of concern to all regions of Canada, because of the propensity of some POPs to accumulate over a lifetime and to be passed on from one generation to the next, mainly through breast milk. They are of particular concern in Canada's North, where they are trapped in the "Arctic sink". The geographic location and socio-economic activities of Aboriginal Northerners make them particularly susceptible because they eat country food that may contain POPs. Early research in Canada demonstrated the impacts of POPs on the environment and human health and catalyzed Canadian action in international fora, including active involvement in the negotiations leading up to the Stockholm Convention and early signing and ratification of the Treaty.

Canada has federal, provincial and territorial legislation in place and pending that will be used to implement the Stockholm Convention. The federal government has adopted a Toxic Substances Management Policy that guides the management of toxic substances dependent upon their relative risk. Cooperative relationships between the federal and provincial/territorial governments have led to the adoption of Canada Wide Standards for a number of the unintentionally produced POPs under the Convention. In addition to federal and provincial initiatives, Canada's northern aboriginal organizations, municipalities, environmental nongovernmental organizations, industry associations and other groups are engaged in activities that are consistent with the obligations and intent of the Convention.

When Canada signed and ratified the Stockholm Convention, programs were already in place or planned that would enable Canada to meet its obligations under the Stockholm Convention. Canada has already taken action to prohibit and/or take the legal and administrative measures necessary to eliminate the production, use, import and export of all of the intentionally produced chemicals under the Stockholm Convention. The pesticidal registration of all POPs under the Convention either never applied or was discontinued by the late 1990s. HCB, Mirex and PCBs as industrial chemicals are prohibited under CEPA 1999. CEPA 1999 prohibits the use of PCBs, except in specified equipment as allowed under the Convention. Canada's Toxic Substances Management Policy, CEPA 1999 and the Pest Control Products Act guide the assessment of existing and proposed chemical substances and provide for their assessment against criteria of persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity. Canada is currently categorizing its inventory of existing substances (some 23,000) using these criteria, and will conduct further screening level assessments for substances that meet persistence and bioaccumulation criteria that are roughly equivalent to those under the Stockholm Convention. Health Canada's Pest Management Review Agency (PMRA) conducts periodic and regular review of pesticides that are currently registered and assesses them against TSMP criteria. The combination of the CEPA 1999 categorization/screening project, PMRA reviews and the assessment of chemicals and pesticides newly proposed for introduction to Canada will ensure that persistent organic pollutants are further reduced over time in Canada or not introduced at all.

Management of unintentionally produced POPs in Canada has focussed largely on releases of dioxins and furans. Reductions in HCB are expected to parallel reductions in dioxins/furans emissions. Significant strides in the reduction and virtual elimination of dioxins and furans have been achieved to date in Canada. Reduction and elimination strategies are based on a mix of management tools including regulations, guidelines, environmental codes of practice, and other tools, such as education programs. Many of these instruments are based on the application of best available techniques and best environmental practices.

As a result of actions taken from the 1970s through the 1990s, there are no stockpiles of POPs pesticides in Canada. 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 except for specified existing equipment. 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. Environment Canada is currently revising its PCB regulatory 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 National Action Plan (NAP) on unintentionally produced Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is attached to this NIP as Part II. It identifies Canada's plans for meeting the obligations under Article 5 of the Stockholm Convention on POPs, namely, measures to reduce or eliminate releases from unintentional production of polychlorinated dibenzo-para-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, hexachlorobenzene and polychlorinated biphenyls. The NAP presents information on current release inventories, laws and policies, and the strategies that Canada has adopted in its domestic programs consistent with the Convention.

As a party to the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions, Canada complies with international standards related to environmentally sound management and prior informed consent regarding POPs under the Stockholm Convention. PCBs are the primary POP of concern for hazardous waste management in Canada. 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.

Canada makes environmental and human health information on POPs available to the public, and has existing labeling and consumer awareness measures. There is a wide range of information provided, from scientific journal articles and workshop proceedings to the transparent processes of substance assessments under CEPA 1999. Public information on POPs is available through a variety of sources, including federal, provincial and territorial Internet sites. As the federal government moves forward with its government-on-line initiative, this will likely facilitate the availability of even broader amounts of public information in the future.

Canada has a number of domestic programs dealing with research, development and monitoring of POPs, which contribute to international knowledge. In addition, Canada participates directly in international POPs research and monitoring activities, including assisting capacity building in countries and countries with economies in transition.

During negotiations leading up to the Convention's entry into force, Canada has shared information with other countries and has responded to requests for information from them, and from the interim Secretariat, and will continue to do so. In 2000, Canada established the five-year $20 million (Cdn) Canada POPs Fund, administered by the World Bank, to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition to build their capacities to deal with POPs and to implement their obligations under the Convention. In addition, Canada will continue its participation in the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the interim funding mechanism for the Convention.

Canada will maintain programs that are consistent with its obligations under the Convention and, as the Convention comes fully into force, will participate in decision-making concerning reporting, effectiveness evaluation and the addition of new substances to the Convention and will implement those decisions in accordance with domestic policy.

Looking to the future, Canada intends to maintain its active contributions to the Stockholm Convention and to continue improvements to domestic policies and programs that reflect the obligations and intent of the Convention and the transparency and public involvement that was instrumental to the development of the Convention. The major activities will include:

  • continuing assessment of new and existing chemicals for their persistence, bioaccumulation and inherent toxicity, and consulting on potential candidate POPs
  • contributing to evaluation of the effectiveness of the Convention through participation in global monitoring programs and through national reporting mechanisms
  • reviewing the national implementation plan and the national action plan on unintentional POPs on a regular basis.
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