Current Canadian Environmental Issues

Canada's vision is to see a country where people make responsible decisions about the environment, and where the environment is sustained for the benefit of present and future generations. Since birds, air, water, forests, animals and ecosystems transcend national boundaries, Canada is actively working with other countries to ensure a clean, thriving planet for everyone.

Canada Working with the World for a Healthier Environment

Canada, as a part of the UN family of nations, as a G8 economic power, and as a member of organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), believes it is important to take part in the environmental activities of international institutions.

The world looks to Canada to play a role on the international stage, to contribute to international environmental policy dialogue and to work collaboratively to achieve global results.

Canada and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

With the Honourable David Anderson P.C., M.P., in the UNEP President role for the next two years, Canada has a unique opportunity to show influence and leadership on key environmental issues.

These issues include agreements on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are essential to protecting Canadian ecosystems (the Arctic in particular) from chemicals used in developing countries. UNEP, as host organization to many international environmental conventions (CITES, Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Convention on Biological Diversity, etc.) is a constant player in many of Canada's international activities.

Canada is Already Active in Global Environmental Protection

Mountain ranges, wildlife, rivers, birds and winds sweep through continents, affected by the quality of the environment they pass through. Canada is actively working with other countries to seek solutions to complex environmental issues that transcend national boundaries.

Canada has signed bilateral agreements with 18 countries dealing with issues ranging from Watershed Management (Canada-Brazil) to an Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Canada-Japan). There are also 19 multilateral agreements in place dealing with issues as diverse as an Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears to the Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). The Secretariats for Biodiversity Convention and the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol are located in Montreal.

Canada continues to participate in international science fora, particularly the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), established by the World Meteorological Organization, the International Council for Science and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO; and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. The IPCC is assessing the state of our understanding of the climate system and the environmental impacts, response options, and social and economic aspects of climate change. Canadian scientists have contributed to the WCRP's and IPCC's groundbreaking work and will continue to do so in future.

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 29 January 2000 in Montreal, Quebec. Canada played an important role in facilitating discussions and encouraging flexibility on the part of all nations. The agreement will help protect the environment and ensure the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. The protocol is designed to ensure that trade in living modified organisms does not have a negative impact on biodiversity and the world's ecosystems.

Canada Provides Environmental Leadership

With Canada's vast forests, lakes, rivers, oceans and plains, the country has experience managing the complex relationships between healthy economic activity and stewardship of the environment. Other countries look to Canada both for models of best practices and for ways to avoid environmental degradation.

Canada has been a world leader in chemicals management. The country played a pivotal role in the conclusion of the Conventions on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and on Prior Informed Consent procedures related to the international movement of hazardous chemicals. Canada announced funds to support the implementation of the POPs convention and Canadian industry developed the Responsible Care principles for chemicals management adopted by 46 countries, encompassing 85 to 90 percent of worldwide chemical production.

Canada's Oceans Act (1997) responds to key oceans management issues addressed in Agenda 21, and reflects the international consensus on the importance of sustainable management of marine resources.

Canada has been very successful in its adoption of the ecosystem approach, developed through the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes Action Plan. This approach has now been expanded and adapted for other ecosystems.

Canada's Model Forest Program, established in 1992, has grown to cover more than 6 million hectares and represents the diverse ecologies of the major forest regions of Canada.

The Arctic Council, launched in Ottawa in 1996, is a high-level intergovernmental forum for promoting circumpolar cooperation among Arctic States on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

Canada was the first country to legislate the oversight of the performance of government departments against sustainable development goals. The creation of the Office of the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development was an important step in the integration of sustainable development considerations into government decision-making.

Current Environmental Issues

Current Global Environmental Issues

Guatemala Environmental Issues

Urbanization, Environmental Issues

Argentina Environmental Issues