Canadian Environmental Protection Act

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) provides for the gathering of information for research and the creation of inventories of data, which are designed for publication, and for the development and publishing of objectives, guidelines and codes of practice.

CEPA 1999 came into force on March 31, 2000 following an extensive parliamentary review. CEPA 1999 contains significant improvements for the protection of the environment over the former act. It establishes:
  • pollution prevention as the cornerstone of national efforts to reduce toxic substances in the environment;
  • processes to assess the risks to the environment and human health posed by substances in commerce;
  • timeframes for managing toxic substances;
  • a wide range of tools to manage toxic substances, other pollution and wastes;
  • the phasing out of most harmful substances or the ban of their release into the environment in any measurable quantity;
  • new provisions to regulate vehicle, engine and equipment emissions;
  • enforcement of the act and its regulations;
  • greater citizen input into decision-making; and
  • more effective cooperation and partnership with other governments and aboriginal peoples.

Page glossary

  • Decision
  • Pollution