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The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development releases Fall Reports

Press Release

Ottawa, 27 October 2020—In his Fall reports tabled today in Parliament, Interim Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Andrew Hayes, presents the results of a follow up audit on the transportation of dangerous goods; assesses whether 12 federal departments and agencies contributed to the goal of safe and healthy communities set out in the government’s 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS); and provides the yearly report to Parliament on environmental petitions.

The audit focused on the extent to which Transport Canada (TC) and the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) implemented the Commissioner’s 2011 and 2015 recommendations on their compliance and enforcement responsibilities, to ensure that dangerous goods are transported safely by rail, road, ship, air and pipeline.

The audit found that TC made improvements in some areas, but there is still important work to be done on a number of fronts, including follows-up on violations identified through inspections. The audit also found that the department had not finished its work to give final approval to many companies’ plans to respond to emergencies. The CER, who oversees federally regulated pipelines, largely implemented the Commissioner’s 2015 recommendations, including improving the tracking and documenting of its compliance oversight activities.

“We concluded that, despite making some progress on each of the findings from our 2011 audit of the transportation of dangerous products, Transport Canada did not complete all the actions needed to address key aspects of our 2011 recommendation,” stated Mr. Hayes.

The review of federal departments and agencies’ contribution to the goal of safe and healthy communities found that most reported activities that supported the federal actions set out for this goal in the government’s FSDS. However, it is difficult for parliamentarians and Canadians to gain a clear sense of the progress made because reporting was at times unclear or incomplete.

Finally, the Environmental Petitions Annual Report informs Parliament and Canadians about the number, nature, and status of petitions and responses from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. During this period, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada received 16 petitions addressing a wide variety of issues, including pollution from plastics and toxic substances.

The Interim Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Andrew Hayes, will be holding a news conference at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building (200-144 Wellington Street, Ottawa) at 1:00 pm (Eastern daylight timeEDT).

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The 2020 Fall Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development are available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site.

Please visit our Media Room for more information.

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