CEC Secretariat requests a response from Canada to the Alberta Tailings Ponds submission

Montreal, 17 August 2017—Yesterday, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) issued a determination requesting a response from Canada to SEM-17-001 (Alberta Tailings Ponds II), a submission from two nongovernmental organizations and one individual (the Submitters). The Submitters assert that Canada is failing to effectively enforce subsection 36(3) of its Fisheries Act by allowing leakage from tailings ponds associated with northern Alberta oil sands operations, resulting in the alleged deposit of deleterious substances into groundwater and surface waters.

The Secretariat’s determination is based on a finding that the submission meets the criteria in Articles 14(1) and (2) of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (the NAAEC), which allows private parties to make submissions to the CEC Secretariat asserting “that a Party [to the NAAEC] is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law.”

Canada has 30 working days to provide its response, or up to 60 days upon specific notice to the Secretariat. The Secretariat will then review the submission in light of the response to determine whether to request that the CEC Council authorize the development of a factual record.

For more information, please visit the CEC’s submission registry for the Alberta Tailings Ponds II submission.