Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment

June 27, 2005 13:47 ET

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment: Focus On Environmental Sustainability Will Increase Canada's Competitiveness

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - June 27, 2005) - Federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers released a draft statement on environmental sustainability today aimed at enhancing the health and well-being of Canadians, conserving and protecting the environment, and improving Canada's long-term competitiveness through intergovernmental cooperation.

"We are committed to work towards a shared vision of national outcomes in Canada through collaboration and equal partnerships among governments," said Nova Scotia Environment Minister Kerry Morash, who chaired the meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). "We also recognize that all Canadians share responsibility for protecting the environment," he said.

The statement, supported by initiatives in a number of specific areas, will form a new framework for collaborative actions by governments on environmental sustainability. Governments will increase their efficiency and effectiveness by recognizing each other's jurisdictions, by collaborating to achieve shared outcomes, and streamlining approaches for Canadians. The statement is expected to receive final approval at the fall 2005 CCME meeting.

Ministers identified three priority areas where increased collaboration will lead to concrete results. They are Science/Technology & Research; Monitoring, Modelling and Information Management; and Streamlined Regulatory, Compliance Promotion, and Enforcement. Ministers emphasized the need to focus on human health considerations, and will undertake initiatives and cooperate in all of these areas.

As mercury has been linked to many health problems in both children and adults, ministers accepted in principle a draft Canada-wide standard (CWS) that would significantly reduce mercury emissions from the coal-fired electric power generation (EPG) sector. The draft CWS would reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired EPG plants by 58% from 2003-04 levels by 2010.

Governments will conduct public consultations on the draft standard as appropriate. Ministers anticipate final endorsement of the CWS at their fall 2005 meeting.

Ministers received a report on progress in achieving existing CWSs for mercury emissions (from hazardous waste, sewage sludge, municipal waste, medical waste incineration and base metal smelting), mercury-containing lamps, and mercury for dental amalgam waste. Significant reductions in mercury releases to the environment have been made in many of these sectors.

Ministers received a presentation on climate change adaptation. They agreed to take on a championship role on adapting to the effects of climate change, which are already being felt throughout Canada. They also committed to work together as Canada prepares for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference 2005 -- Montreal, which will be held from November 28 to December 9, 2005.

Minister Morash will also chair the next meeting of the CCME in Nova Scotia in the Fall.

The following information is also available:

- Draft Commitment Statement on Environmental Sustainability in Canada

- Backgrounder on Initial Areas for Action towards Environmental Sustainability

- Draft Canada-wide standard on mercury emissions from coal-fired electric power generation plants

- Backgrounder on Canada-wide standards for mercury emissions

CCME is the major intergovernmental environment ministers' forum in Canada for discussion and joint action on environmental issues of national and international concern. The CCME Business Plan and a progress report on three existing mercury CWSs are available on the CCME website at www.ccme.ca

Contact Information

  • CCME
    Carl Hrenchuk
    Executive Director
    (204) 948-2172
    or
    Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour
    Bill Turpin
    Director of Communications
    (902) 424-2575