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2019 Spring Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to the Parliament of Canada – The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development releases Spring Reports
Ottawa, 2 April 2019—In her spring reports tabled today in Parliament, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand, presents the results of four audits, along with her Commissioner’s Perspective. The audits focused on aquatic invasive species, the protection of fish and their habitat from mining effluent and subsidies to the fossil fuels sector.
The first audit found that despite long-standing commitments to do so, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency had not taken the required steps to prevent invading species from becoming established in Canadian waters. They did not adequately enforce the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations, in part because they did not sufficiently support fishery and border services officers.
The second audit focused on the government’s role in protecting fish and their habitat from waste and effluent released into water at active mine sites. It found that for metal mines, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) monitored the environmental effects on fish, provided technical guidance, collected and verified the information, and introduced stricter effluent limits. The audit also found that non-metal mines such as potash, coal and oil sands were inspected less frequently. These mines are not authorized to release any effluent that may be harmful to fish or their habitat. The audit noted possible improvements, such as ensuring that public reporting about environmental effects provide the location of mines.
The last two audits considered ECCC and Finance Canada’s assessments of tax and non-tax subsidies to the fossil fuel sector. Canada and other countries, through the United Nations and the group of 20G20, have committed to phasing out inefficient fossil fuels subsidies. The audits found that both departments’ definition of “inefficient” was so broad that it could not guide their assessments of whether subsidies were inefficient.
“Finance Canada’s assessments did not include adequate consideration of social and environmental issues; and ECCC’s work to identify inefficient subsidies was incomplete, as it considered only 23 of over 200 federal organizations to compile an inventory of potential non-tax subsidies”, stated Ms. Gelfand.
The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development will be holding a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa at 11:00 am (eastern timeET), and available for interviews after 1:30 pm.
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The 2019 Spring Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development are available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site.
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