The Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA 1999) (S.C. 1999, c. 33)

The CEPA 1999, or the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999, modifies the former Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1988. It sets out a framework to manage and control toxic substances released from all stages of economic activities: from development, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, storage, use up to disposal.

This law is administered by the Environment Canada and to assess toxicity of substances or to develop associated regulations, objectives, guidelines and codes of practice the Ministry collaborates with the Health Canada. Among the list of toxic substances, the following GHGs are subject for regulation under this act: chlorofluorocarbon, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

Key changes made under the CEPA 1999 are as follows:
• Implementation of pollution prevention
• Introduction of new procedures to investigate and assess toxicity of substances
• Introduction of new procedures to set new requirements and controls for substances that the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health have determined to be toxic or capable of becoming toxic
• New provisions on animate products of biotechnology
• New provisions on fuels, international air and water pollution, motor emissions, release of nutrients into water that may cause excessive growth of aquatic vegetation and environmental emergencies
• New provisions to regulate the environmental impacts on government operations and to protect the environment on and in relation to federal land and aboriginal land
• New provisions on disposal of wastes
• New provisions on export and import of wastes
• Provision of new powers for enforcement officers and analysts appointed by the Minister of the Environment
• Specify criteria for courts to impose a sentence on an offender
• Encourage participation of citizens in making decisions on environmental matters: new rights to send written comments or notices of objection to the Minister of the Environment

This was later amended by the Bill C-33 (26 June 2008) to include period and comprehensive reviews of the environmental and economic impacts of biofuel production in Canada. This amendment bill is also known as Biofuel Bill, as it established a framework within which the government can regulate biofuels content. This includes the tracking of exports to make accurate calculations of the volume of renewable fuels as a percentage of the total fuel used in Canada, and the lifting of administrative burdens that would be placed on small producers and importers. The Biofuel Bill allows the federal government to implement regulations requiring 5% average renewable content in gasoline by 2010. Subsequent regulations will also require 2% average renewable content in diesel and heating oil by 2012 on successful demonstration of renewable diesel fuel use under the range of Canadian environmental conditions.

In addition, the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, has been regulating sections of the Environmental Protection Act which directly address climate change and the emission of GHG, including:
• Passenger Automobile and Light Truck GHG Emissions Regulations (2010), which establishes GHG emission standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2011-2016, and the new Regulations for Passenger Automobile and Light Truck GHG Emissions (2012), which establishes GHG emission standards for cars and light trucks of model years 2017 and beyond.
• Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-Fired Generation of Electricity Regulations (2012), which sets performance standards for carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity generation units.
• Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine GHG Emissions Regulations (2013), which establishes GHG emission standards for on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines (e.g. buses, tractors and refuse trucks).
• Renewable Fuels Regulations (2013), which aims to reduce GHG emissions by requiring an average 5% renewable fuel content in gasoline and 2% renewable content in diesel fuel.

Within the remit of this law, the Government announced the introduction of the clean fuel standard regulatory framework to achieve 30 megatonnes of annual reductions in GHG emissions by 2030, contributing to Canada’s effort to achieve its overall GHG mitigation target of 30% emission reduction below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Government further projects to introduce regulations on the reduction in the release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (upstream Oil and Gas Sector)

Back to legislation search