Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:

While noting that pollution from pulp mills has dropped since adoption of the PPER in 1992, the Submitters have documented over 2,400 documented violations of the PPER at mills in central and eastern Canada from 1995 to 2000 and claim very few were prosecuted. They claim that low numbers of prosecutions correlate with continuing high numbers of violations in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces, and they cite ten mills of particular concern. In Ontario, the Submitters claim that there have been more prosecutions and fewer violations, but they list two mills where they claim Canada has failed to effectively enforce the PPER. The Submitters conclude that Canada is failing to meet its stated policy to seek to ensure compliance in the shortest possible time with no re-occurrence of violations, as well as its stated commitment to fair, predictable and consistent enforcement. They assert that for years, certain mills have been “free riders” at the expense of their competitors and the environment.

Summary of the response provided by the Party:

In its response, Canada provides clarifying information on the basis of enforcement decisions taken in respect of mills identified in the submission as of particular concern and describes enforcement decisions regarding specific cases included in the submission. Canada describes how federal Fisheries Act inspectors conduct inspections or investigations to determine if reasonable grounds exist for believing a Fisheries Act offence has been committed and explains that the response to a violation accounts for, among other things, the nature of the violation, the likelihood of achieving compliance in the shortest possible time with no further violations, and consistency in enforcement. Canada then provides detailed information regarding federal and provincial enforcement responses taken from 1995 to 2000 in regard to the four Atlantic Provinces mills, six Quebec mills and two Ontario mills for which the Submitters state they have particular concern.

Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:

Fisheries Act, sections 34, 36, 40, 78 and 78.1; Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations (the "PPER"), sections 5 and 6, and Schedules I and II

Submitter(s):

Friends of the Earth, Union Saint-Laurent, Grands Lacs, Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Ecology Action Centre, Environment North. Represented by the Sierra Legal Defence Fund (SLDF)

Submission Timeline

May 8, 2002

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 06/05/2002

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 08/05/2002

Annex - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 06/05/2002

Annex - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 06/05/2002

Annex - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 06/05/2002

Annex - Other document authored by Submitter(s) on 06/05/2002

June 7, 2002

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 07/06/2002

August 6, 2002

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Canada on 06/08/2002

Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 07/08/2002

October 8, 2003

The Secretariat informed Council that the Secretariat considers that the submission warrants development of a factual record.

Recommendation - Secretariat Notification to Council under Article 15(1) authored by Secretariat on 08/10/2003

December 11, 2003

The Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to develop a Factual Record.

Resolution - Council decision concerning the development of a Factual Record authored by Council on 11/12/2003

January 15, 2004

The Secretariat placed a work plan on its web site or otherwise made it available to the public and stakeholders.

Workplan - Overall workplan for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 15/01/2004

March 1, 2004

The Secretariat posted a request for information relevant to the factual record on its web site.

Secretariat Information Request - Secretariat request for information for Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 25/02/2004

March 28, 2006

The Secretariat submitted a draft factual record to Council, for a 45-day comment period on the accuracy of the draft.

May 11, 2006

The Secretariat received comments from Canada.

May 12, 2006

The Secretariat received comments from the United States.

June 28, 2006

The Secretariat submitted a final factual record to Council for Council's vote on whether to make the final factual record publicly available.

January 31, 2007

Council voted to instruct the Secretariat to make the final factual record publicly available.

Resolution - Council decision on whether the factual record will be made publicly available authored by Council on 31/01/2007

February 5, 2007

The final factual record was publicly released.

Final Factual Record - Final Factual Record authored by Secretariat on 28/06/2006