Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

Version of section 2 from 2002-12-31 to 2023-06-12:

Marginal note:Duties of the Government of Canada

  •  (1) In the administration of this Act, the Government of Canada shall, having regard to the Constitution and laws of Canada and subject to subsection (1.1),

    • (a) exercise its powers in a manner that protects the environment and human health, applies the precautionary principle that, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation, and promotes and reinforces enforceable pollution prevention approaches;

    • (a.1) take preventive and remedial measures to protect, enhance and restore the environment;

    • (b) take the necessity of protecting the environment into account in making social and economic decisions;

    • (c) implement an ecosystem approach that considers the unique and fundamental characteristics of ecosystems;

    • (d) endeavour to act in cooperation with governments to protect the environment;

    • (e) encourage the participation of the people of Canada in the making of decisions that affect the environment;

    • (f) facilitate the protection of the environment by the people of Canada;

    • (g) establish nationally consistent standards of environmental quality;

    • (h) provide information to the people of Canada on the state of the Canadian environment;

    • (i) apply knowledge, including traditional aboriginal knowledge, science and technology, to identify and resolve environmental problems;

    • (j) protect the environment, including its biological diversity, and human health, from the risk of any adverse effects of the use and release of toxic substances, pollutants and wastes;

    • (j.1) protect the environment, including its biological diversity, and human health, by ensuring the safe and effective use of biotechnology;

    • (k) endeavour to act expeditiously and diligently to assess whether existing substances or those new to Canada are toxic or capable of becoming toxic and assess the risk that such substances pose to the environment and human life and health;

    • (l) endeavour to act with regard to the intent of intergovernmental agreements and arrangements entered into for the purpose of achieving the highest level of environmental quality throughout Canada;

    • (m) ensure, to the extent that is reasonably possible, that all areas of federal regulation for the protection of the environment and human health are addressed in a complementary manner in order to avoid duplication and to provide effective and comprehensive protection;

    • (n) endeavour to exercise its powers to require the provision of information in a coordinated manner; and

    • (o) apply and enforce this Act in a fair, predictable and consistent manner.

  • Marginal note:Considerations

    (1.1) The Government of Canada shall consider the following before taking any measure under paragraph (1)(a.1):

    • (a) the short- and long-term human and ecological benefits arising from the environmental protection measure;

    • (b) the positive economic impacts arising from the measure, including those cost-savings arising from health, environmental and technological advances and innovation, among others; and

    • (c) any other benefits accruing from the measure.

  • Marginal note:Action not limited

    (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to prevent the taking of any action to protect the environment or human health for the purposes of this Act.

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