Environment Canada
Environment Canada (French: Environnement Canada), legally incorporated as the Department of the Environment under the Department of the Environment Act
Department of the Environment Act
The Department of the Environment Act establishes Environment Canada as the federal agency in Canada responsible for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment. The Act specifies that the Department will be governed by the Minister of the Environment...

( R.S., 1985, c. E-10 ), is the department
Ministry (government department)
A ministry is a specialised organisation responsible for a sector of government public administration, sometimes led by a minister or a senior public servant, that can have responsibility for one or more departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions or other smaller executive, advisory, managerial or...

 of the Government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 with responsibility for coordinating environmental policies and programs as well as preserving and enhancing the natural environment and renewable resources.
(a) the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil quality;
(b) renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna;
(c) water;
(d) meteorology;
(e) the enforcement of any rules or regulations made by the International Joint Commission; and
(f) the coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada respecting the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment. Its ministerial headquarters is located in les Terrasses de la Chaudière, Gatineau
Gatineau is a city in western Quebec, Canada. It is the fourth largest city in the province. It is located on the northern banks of the Ottawa River, immediately across from Ottawa, Ontario, and together they form Canada's National Capital Region. Ottawa and Gatineau comprise a single Census...

, Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....


Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (R.S., 1999, c. 33), Environment Canada became the lead federal department to ensure the clean up hazardous waste and oil spill
Oil spill
An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is mostly used to describe marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters...

s for which the government is responsible, and to provide technical assistance to other jurisdictions and the private sector as required. The department is also responsible for international environmental issues (e.g., Canada-USA air issues).

Under the Constitution of Canada
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

, responsibility for environmental management in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 is a shared responsibility between the federal government and provincial/territorial governments. For example, provincial governments have primary authority for resource management including permitting industrial waste discharges (e.g., to the air). The federal government is responsible for the management of toxic substances in the country (e.g., benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

). Environment Canada provides stewardship of the Environmental Choice Program
Environmental Choice Program
The Environmental Choice Program is an ecolabelling scheme that was established by Environment Canada in 1988 with over 300 categories of products to help consumers identify services/products which are less harmful to the environment....

, which provides consumers with an eco-labelling for products manufactured within Canada or services that meet international label standards of (GEN) Global Ecolabelling Network
Global Ecolabelling Network
The Global Ecolabelling Network is a non-profit interest group composed of 25 ecolabel organisations throughout the world.It was established in 1994 and its precursor, the German Blue Angel was established in 1978...


Environment Canada continues (2005-present) to undergo a structural transformation to centralize authority and decision-making, and to standardize policy implementation.


  • Minister
    • Deputy Minister
      • Associate Deputy Minister
        • Assistant Deputy Minister
          • Associate Assistant Deputy Minister
            • Director General
              • Director
                • Managers
                  • Staff


Environment Canada is divided into several geographic regions:
  • Atlantic
    Atlantic Canada
    Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

    The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the...

     and Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

  • National Capital
    National Capital Region (Canada)
    The National Capital Region, also referred to as Canada's Capital Region, is an official federal designation for the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario, the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities....

  • Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

  • Pacific-Yukon
    Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     and Yukon
    Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

  • Prairie-Northern (Nunavut
    Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

    , NWT
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

     and Prairies
    Canadian Prairies
    The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

  • Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

The department has several organizations which carry out specific tasks:
  • Enforcement Branch
    • Environmental Enforcement
    • Wildlife Enforcement

  • Environmental Stewardship Branch
    • Canadian Wildlife Service
      Canadian Wildlife Service
      The Canadian Wildlife Service or CWS is a branch of the Department of the Environment, also known as Environment Canada, a department of the Government of Canada....

    • Chemical Sectors
    • Energy and Transportation
    • Environmental Protection Operations
    • Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
    • Strategic Priorities

  • Meteorological Service of Canada
    Meteorological Service of Canada
    The Meteorological Service of Canada , also known as "The Canadian Weather Service", is a division of Environment Canada, which primarily provides public meteorological information and weather forecasts and warnings of severe weather and other environmental hazards...

     (for weather forecasting
    Weather forecasting
    Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Human beings have attempted to predict the weather informally for millennia, and formally since the nineteenth century...

    ; climate
    Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

    , air quality and water monitoring)
    • Weather and environmental monitoring
      Environmental monitoring
      Environmental monitoring describes the processes and activities that need to take place to characterise and monitor the quality of the environment...

       (Climate Monitoring, Water Survey of Canada
      Water Survey of Canada
      The Water Survey of Canada is a scientific branch of Canada's Department of the Environment that is responsible for monitoring the nation's freshwater resources....

    • Weather and Environmental Operations (Regional Weather Operations)
    • Weather and Environmental Prediction and Services (Aviation and Defence Weather Services, Marine and Ice Services [(Canadian Ice Service )], National Weather Predictions, Weatheradio Canada
      Weatheradio Canada
      Weatheradio Canada, in French Radiométéo Canada, is a Canadian radio network that broadcasts weather information. Owned and operated by Environment Canada's Meteorological Service of Canada division, the network transmits in both official languages from 199 sites across Canada.In most locations,...

      , a national system of emergency weather broadcast transmitters)
    • Canadian Hurricane Centre
      Canadian Hurricane Centre
      The Canadian Hurricane Centre is a division of the Meteorological Service of Canada, an agency of Canada's Department of the Environment, which exists to advise Canadians on the threat of tropical cyclones such as hurricanes and tropical storms...

  • Science and Technology Branch
    • Atmospheric and Climate Science
    • National Water Research Institute
    • National Pollutant Release Inventory
      National Pollutant Release Inventory
      The National Pollutant Release Inventory , established in 1992, is the national Pollutant Release and Transfer Register of Canada. The publicly-accessible inventory is used to track and catalogue the release of pollutants, their disposal, or their transfer to recycling and other facilities across...

    • Wildlife and Landscape Science

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is the Government of Canada agency responsible for providing Canadians with environmental assessments. Environmental assessments are reports containing the anticipated environmental effects of a particular project...

is an arms-length agency that reports to the Minister of Environment

Parks Canada
Parks Canada
Parks Canada , also known as the Parks Canada Agency , is an agency of the Government of Canada mandated to protect and present nationally significant natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative...

, which manages the Canadian National Parks system, was removed from Environment Canada and became an agency reporting to the Minister of Heritage in 1998. In 2003, responsibility for Parks Canada was returned to the Minister of the Environment.


Environment Canada Enforcement Branch is responsible for ensuring compliance with several federal statues. The Governor-in-Council appoints enforcement officers and pursuant to section 217(3) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, enforcement officers have all the powers of peace officer
Peace officer
A law enforcement officer , in North America, is any public-sector employee or agent whose duties involve the enforcement of laws. The phrase can include police officers, prison officers, customs officers, immigration officers, bailiffs, probation officers, parole officers, auxiliary officers, and...


There are two designations of enforcement officers: Environmental Enforcement and Wildlife Enforcement. The former administers the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and pollution provisions of the Fisheries Act and corresponding regulations. The latter enforces
Migratory Birds Convention Act, Canada Wildlife Act, Species at Risk Act and The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. All officers wear dark green uniform with black ties and a badge (appear on the right). Environmental Enforcement Officers only carry baton
Baton (law enforcement)
A truncheon or baton is essentially a club of less than arm's length made of wood, plastic, or metal...

 whereas Wildlife Enforcement Officers are also equipped with firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...


The Minister
Minister of the Environment (Canada)
The Minister of the Environment is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing the federal government's environment department, Environment Canada...

 may also appoint members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

, fishery officers, parks officers, customs officers and conservation officers of provincial and territorial governments as enforcement officers and to allow them to exercise the powers and privilege of Environment Canada officers.

On March 4, 2009, a bill to increase the enforcement capabilities of Environment Canada was introduced into the House of Commons. The Environmental Enforcement Bill would increase the fines for individuals and corporations for serious offenses, give enforcement officers new powers to investigate cases and grants courts new sentencing authorities that ensure penalties reflect the seriousness of the pollution and wildlife offences.

More information: EC Enforcement Branch

Enforcement of: Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR)

The Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) operates with a few basic premises, one of which being that electronic waste is either "intact" or "not intact". The various annexes define hazardous waste in Canada, and also deem any waste that is "...considered or defined as hazardous under the legislation of the country receiving it and is prohibited by that country from being imported or conveyed in transit" to be covered under Canadian regulation and therefor subject to prior informed consent procedures.

The loophole in the regulations that allows tons of e-waste to be exported from Canada is the use of the definition of "intact" vs "functional". A non-functioning electronic device that is intact can be exported under the current legislation. What can't be exported without prior informed consent is a non-functioning but no longer intact electronic device (if the component pieces are deemed hazardous). The principal problem being, the non-functioning but intact electronic device is at high risk of being disassembled in some far away e-waste dumping ground. The Canadian government's use of a unique interpretation of the Basel Convention obligations "intact" and "not intact" opens the door to uncontrolled e-waste exports as long as the device is intact. See Canadian fact sheet and associated links.

Since Canada ratified the Basel Convention on August 28, 1992, and as of August 2011, Environment Canada's Enforcement Branch has initiated 176 investigations for violations under EIHWHRMR, some of which are still in progress. There have been 19 prosecutions undertaken for non-compliance with the provisions of the EIHWHRMR some of which are still before the courts. Electronic waste by country
Electronic waste by country
Electronic waste is becoming an increasing part of the waste stream and efforts are being made to recycle and reduce this waste.-Basel Convention:...

Related legislation

  • Canada National Parks Act
  • Canada Water Act
  • Canada Wildlife Act
    Canada Wildlife Act
    The Canada Wildlife Act specifies the requirements for a geographic area in Canada to be designated a National Wildlife Area by the Canadian Wildlife Service division of Environment Canada...

  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, S.C. 1992, c. 37 is an Act of Parliament that was passed by the Government of Canada in 1992...

     (1992, c. 37)
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act
    Canadian Environmental Protection Act
    The Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999 is "An Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health in order to contribute to sustainable development."...

  • Department of the Environment Act
  • Environment Week Act, Canadian
  • Fisheries Act (pollution prevention into fish bearing waters) (R.S., 1985, c. F-14)
  • International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (R.S., 1985, c. I-17)
  • International River Improvements Act
  • Lac Seul Conservation Act
  • Lake of the Woods Control Board Act
  • Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act
  • Migratory Birds Convention Act
    Migratory Birds Convention Act
    The Migratory Birds Convention Act is a Canadian law established in 1917 and significantly updated in June 1994 which contains regulations to protect migratory birds, their eggs, and their nests from hunting, trafficking and commercialization...

  • National Wildlife Week Act
  • Resources and Technical Surveys Act (R.S., 1985, c. R-7)
  • Species at Risk Act
    Species at Risk Act
    The Species at Risk Act is a piece of Canadian federal legislation which became law in Canada on December 12, 2002. It is designed to meet one of Canada's key commitments under the International Convention on Biological Diversity. The goal of the Act is to protect endangered or threatened...

  • Weather Modification Information Act
  • Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Inter-provincial Trade Act

See also

  • Environment of Canada
  • Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics
    Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics
    The Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics program was a Canadian program established in the early 1990s with the goal of using voluntary measures to reduce or eliminate harmful substances.-Formation:...

  • Alberta Hail Project
    Alberta Hail Project
    The Alberta Hail Project was a research project sponsored by the Alberta Research Council and Environment Canada to study hailstorm physics and dynamics in order to design and test means for suppressing hail. It ran from 1956 until 1985...

  • North American Game Warden Museum
    North American Game Warden Museum
    The North American Game Warden Museum is a museum in the International Peace Garden on the Canada–United States international border between the Canadian province of Manitoba and the U.S. state of North Dakota. The museum is located on the American side of the border...

  • Ernie Cooper
    Ernie Cooper
    Ernie Cooper was the first Wildlife Inspector in Canada. Currently he is a Director for the conservation organization WWF-Canada and the Canadian National Representative of TRAFFIC the global wildlife trade monitoring network...

External links

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