Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME)


St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – October 20, 2010 –  Federal, provincial and territorial Environment  Ministers are moving  forward with a new collaborative air management approach  to better  protect human health and the environment.       

“Air  pollution has a huge impact on the environment, human  health and the economy,”  said the Hon. Charlene Johnson, Newfoundland   and Labrador’s Minister of Environment and  Conservation, and CCME  president.

A study  released by the Canadian Medical Association in 2008  calculated that the costs  of illness caused by air pollution exceeded  $8 billion annually in Canada.  Air pollution also has adverse effects  on  aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, reduces agricultural and  forestry production  and damages building surfaces.

“This new  management approach is comprehensive, and will improve  air quality in Canada.  This initiative builds upon existing federal,   provincial and territorial actions to manage air quality,” said Minister   Johnson.  “Setting clear standards will ensure  closer links between  strong economic development and a sustainable, healthy  environment.”

The proposed  new air quality management system would include more  ambitious Canadian air  quality standards and consistent industrial  emissions standards across the  country. The nature of provincial and  territorial participation in the system  will be subject to individual  jurisdictional approval.  It would establish regionally coordinated   airsheds and air zones within individual provinces and territories.   Under the new system, Canadians would have  ready access to information  about air quality through new public reporting,  modeling and  monitoring mechanisms.  This  system would facilitate discussions with  the United States on air pollution  that crosses the Canada-US border.

Ministers  have established milestones for progress and initiated  work on the first steps  of the new system. They committed to a  collaborative process and will continue  to engage stakeholders.  The  Ministers  directed officials to develop the major elements of the  system in 2011.  Implementation will begin in 2013.  The system is based  on a proposed model  developed by a committee of experts from  governments, non-government  organizations and industry.  Ministers   acknowledged the excellent work of the multi-stakeholder committee over  the  last two years and thanked all participants. 

Ministers  also approved a Water Action Plan that will begin in  January 2011. The three-year  plan sets deliverables and outcomes under  five strategic goals adopted by  ministers at their last meeting.  These  goals  will help ensure that Canadians have access to clean, safe and  sufficient water  to meet their needs in ways that also maintain the  integrity of ecosystems.  Initial activities under the Water Action Plan  include developing:

  • A  Canada-wide framework for sustainable management of  groundwater;
  • Guidance  documents on sharing of ground and surface water data,  climate change  vulnerability assessments for watersheds and assessing  water monitoring  networks for climate change adaptation; and
  • Canada-wide  principles for Integrated Water Resource Management  and sharing best management  practices.

Ministers  also announced the completion of a new country-wide  standard for compostable products  and packaging developed by the Bureau  de normalisation du Québec, a standards  organization.  Under this  voluntary  program, manufacturers will be able to use a special  “Compostable” logo on  their products to indicate they can be composted  in participating municipal or  industrial facilities.  The standard sets  out criteria that products and  packaging must meet to prove that the  material is compostable.

CCME is the primary minister-led intergovernmental forum for  collective  action on environmental issues of national and international  concern.



Michael Goeres
           Executive Director
           CCME Secretariat
           (204) 948-2172

Melony O'Neill
           Director of Communications,
           NL Department of Environment and Conservation
           (709) 729-2575