Environment Canada

Environment Canada

August 06, 2009 12:04 ET

Minister Prentice Announces Tough New National Regulations to Protect Canada's Water Resources

SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - Aug. 6, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, today announced new regulations for managing municipal wastewater. The proposed regulations will set national performance standards, timelines and monitoring and reporting requirements, and are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in December 2009.

The Minister made the announcement at a speech delivered to the Saint John Board of Trade, where he reaffirmed the Government's strong commitment to ensuring that Canada's precious water resources are preserved and protected now and in the future.

"This Government is taking real action to ensure that all Canadians have access to clean and safe water," said Minister Prentice. "The proposed regulations will ensure that, across the country, the release of wastewater effluents does not pose unacceptable risks to human and environmental health and fishery resources."

The new regulations deliver on the Government's commitment to implementing the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Municipal Wastewater Strategy. They will be developed under the Fisheries Act for more than 4,000 wastewater treatment facilities.

"We recognize the key role that provinces, territories and municipalities play in the management of the wastewater sector and we are working in partnership with these jurisdictions and other stakeholders through the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment to improve wastewater effluent quality," said Minister Prentice.

Minister Prentice outlined the Government's commitments to protecting Canada's water resources. "We have put in place a strong, comprehensive approach to ensure that our water resources are used wisely, both economically and ecologically. Through this approach, we are making investments in regulating and enforcing laws, monitoring, science, and cleaning up of problem areas, as well as building partnerships to protect our fresh water."

Under the Action Plan for Clean Water, the Government of Canada committed $96 million to restore Lake Winnipeg, Lake Simcoe and several areas of concern in the Great Lakes. The Action Plan complements a number of other initiatives, such as the St. Lawrence Plan, which has allowed the Government to invest $323 million over the past 20 years on priorities such as water conservation and protection.

Further commitments to protect Canada's water resources include:

- Accelerating First Nations' infrastructure projects, focusing on schools and water through $515 million under Canada's Economic Action Plan;

- Investing in infrastructure through the $33-billion Building Canada Fund to help municipalities and First Nations communities across Canada upgrade their wastewater treatment facilities;

- Regulating specific industries like metal mines and pulp and paper to reduce the toxicity of their effluents; and

- Investing $2.5 million over five years to support the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Global Environment Monitoring System GEMS/Water.

"As stewards of the third largest supply of freshwater in the world, it is essential that we preserve and protect our major watersheds for future generations," said Minister Prentice. "Through this comprehensive approach on water, this Government is taking action to help Canadians become better stewards of our precious water resources."

For more information, please visit www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=9C4881EA-1 and www.science.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&n=70FE597E-1


BACKGROUNDER

MAKING WATER STEWARDSHIP A TOP PRIORITY:

The Government of Canada's Comprehensive Approach on Water

The Government of Canada has a strong, comprehensive approach to ensure Canadians continue to enjoy the social, economic and environmental benefits of our water resources. In collaboration with stakeholders, the federal government has taken concrete and measurable actions in conservation, assessing water availability, reducing levels of water nutrients and assessing water quality.

Under its Action Plan for Clean Water, the Government is investing up to $96 million in clean-up funding to restore Lake Winnipeg, Lake Simcoe and several areas of concern in the Great Lakes, such as Hamilton Harbour, Niagara River, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River, in addition to the St. Lawrence River. The Action Plan complements a number of other initiatives, such as the St. Lawrence Plan, which has allowed the Government to invest $323 million in such priorities as water conservation and protection.

Cleaning up these major ecosystems will greatly improve the health of our magnificent inland seas. Healthy ecosystems are the basis of a healthy economy and will provide economic benefits to each region.

Implementing the Strategy

The Government is also committed to implementing the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Municipal Wastewater Strategy by developing regulations under the Fisheries Act for more than 4,000 wastewater facilities. These regulations will ensure that, across the country, the release of wastewater effluents does not pose unacceptable risks to human and environmental health and fishery resources.

These regulations will set national performance standards, timelines and monitoring and reporting requirements. The proposed regulations are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, in December 2009. After feedback is reviewed, the regulations will be revised and finalized in 2010.

As water is a shared responsibility between federal, provincial and municipal governments, the implementation of the wastewater strategy will be a significant achievement in ensuring that Canada's stewardship of fresh water remains vigilant.

Further commitments to protect Canada's water resources include:

- Under Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government announced new spending initiatives that include $515 million for First Nations infrastructure projects, focusing on schools, water and critical community services. Through the $33-billion Building Canada Fund, the Government is also investing in infrastructure so municipalities and First Nations communities across the nation can properly upgrade wastewater treatment facilities to keep our waterways clean and pollution-free.

- We are also committed to protecting Canadians and their environment from chemicals. On December 8, 2006, the Prime Minister of Canada announced $300 million over four years to implement Canada's new Chemicals Management Plan. The Plan, which regulates chemicals that are harmful to human health or the environment, is making Canada a world leader in assessing and regulating chemicals used in thousands of industrial and consumer products.

- Investing $2.5 million over five years to support the United Nations Environment Programme's Global Environment Monitoring System GEMS/Water. Through this investment, we will leverage this global expertise to better understand inland water quality issues.

With its comprehensive approach to water, this Government is ensuring that all Canadians have access to clean, safe and healthy water and is taking action to help Canadians become better stewards of our precious water resources.

(Egalement offert en francais)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca