Montreal, 7 August 2014—On 29 July 2014, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) issued a notification in regard to submission SEM-10-002 (Alberta Tailings Ponds), recommending to the Council of the CEC that a factual record is warranted. Specifically, the Secretariat recommends development of a factual record with regard to assertions that Canada is failing to effectively enforce subsection 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act, in relation to alleged leakage of deleterious substances from oil sands tailings ponds into fish-bearing waters in northern Alberta. The Secretariat is now authorized to make this notification public.
The submission was filed in 2010 by one nongovernmental organization in the United States, one in Canada, and three individuals in Canada. The Secretariat will develop a factual record if two or more members of the Council—the CEC’s governing body, composed of the highest-ranking environmental officials of Canada, Mexico, and the United States—so decide by 27 October 2014. Articles 14 and 15 of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) allow the CEC Secretariat to consider a submission from members of the public and non-governmental organizations concerning the effective enforcement of environmental law by a NAAEC Party (Canada, Mexico, or the US). The CEC has published Guidelines for Submissions on Enforcement Matters explaining the steps in the process. For further information, please visit the CEC Submissions on Enforcement Matters website atwww.cec.org/submissions, and the registry of submission SEM-10-002 (Alberta Tailings Ponds).
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations
The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.