OECD Review of Canada’s Environmental Performance: Good Progress, Much to Be Done


29/09/2004 - The OECD’s latest report on Canada’s environment notes that managing pollution, natural resources, and biodiversity is still a challenge. Overall, the report is positive about the country’s progress towards achieving its environmental domestic objectives and international commitments since 1995. It insists, however, that Canada steps up the efficiency of its environmental policies, the integration of environmental concerns in sectors such as chemicals, energy, transport, agriculture and forestry, and the implementation of international commitments.

Noting that priority environmental issues in Canada include climate change, protection of human health and of nature, air and water quality, waste water collection, and waste disposal, the report recommends that Canada improve its environmental management by:

  • using more economic instruments (e.g. water charges, air emission trading),
  • implementing the polluter pays & user pays principles,
  • strengthening compliance & enforcement of environmental regulations at both federal and provincial levels,
  • rationalising water governance as well as water supply & demand management,
  • strengthening nature protection (e.g. protected areas, marine and wetland ecosystems, sustainable forestry).

Although Canada has built sustainable development into its government structures, this has not yet resulted in practical policies and actions. The OECD suggests that Canada could progress towards sustainable development by:

  • reducing energy intensity,
  • implementing climate change policies,
  • cutting environmentally harmful subsidies (e.g. mining, fossil fuels),
  • reviewing environmentally related taxes,
  • implementing marine and aid commitments.

Over the past decade, Canada has made many significant improvements in its environmental polices, and the report praises numerous achievements:

  • active international co-operation (e.g. multilateral and bilateral co-operation),
  • institutional arrangements (e.g. model Commissioner institution),
  • decoupling of NOx and SOx emissions and water abstraction from economic growth
    several reductions in environmentally harmful subsidies (e.g. agriculture, fisheries, coal),
  • chemicals management.

This publication, the second OECD Review of Canada’s environmental performance, is part of the OECD regular series of Environmental Performance Reviews of OECD member countries and uses extensively environmental indicators. The report reviews Canada’s progress in the context of the OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century, and in relation to its own policy objectives, as stated in domestic legislation or international agreements.

To obtain a copy of the OECD Environmental Performance Review of Canada, journalists should contact the Media Relations Division. For further information about the OECD’s Environmental Performance Reviews,  please contact Helen Fisher in OECD Media Relations Division (tel. (33 1) 45 24 80 97).

Subscribers and readers at subscribing institutions can access the study via SourceOECD our online library. Non-subscribers will be able to purchase the study via our Online Bookshop.

For further information on Environment Performance Reviews


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