Coming Soon into Force: New Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2019

Webinars scheduled for May 7, June 4 and July 9 

By: Tanya Bryant, Director, Environmental Protection Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada

MAY 2, 2019 – Protecting Canadians and the environment from pollution to our air, water and land is a priority for Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and we want to make sure that industry is ready to respond to environmental emergencies. This is the reason for the new Environmental Emergency (E2) Regulations, 2019 (E2 regulations, 2019). The new regulations require industry to take steps to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the accidental release of harmful chemicals.

The E2 regulations, 2019 were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, on March 6, 2019 and will come into force on August 24, 2019. Until then, the previous regulations, i.e. the Environmental Emergency Regulations, are in force.

Does this apply to you?

The E2 regulations, 2019 apply to the owner or the person in charge, management or control of a substance listed in Schedule 1 of the regulations. When specific quantity or container capacity thresholds are met or exceeded, this person must notify ECCC and submit information on the installation and substance concerned. When both the quantity and container capacity reach or exceed the thresholds specified in Schedule 1 of the regulations, the responsible person must prepare, bring into force and periodically exercise an environmental emergency plan (E2 plan).

What substances are regulated?

Schedule 1 of the E2 regulations, 2019 include 249 substances that pose an acute hazard to the environment or human health should an accidental release occur. The E2 regulations, 2019 add 33 substances to the list of regulated substances. There are six categories covered under the final E2 regulations:

  • Aquatically toxic

  • Combustible

  • Explosion hazard

  • Pool fire hazard

  • Inhalation hazard

  • Oxidizer that may explode

What has changed?

The E2 regulations, 2019 replace and strengthen the existing regulations by:

  • Establishing new periodic reporting requirements;

  • Enhancing public notification requirements;

  • Outlining requirements for the exercising of environmental emergency plans;

  • Defining container and acceptable methods for quantifying maximum capacity; and

  • Adding substances to Schedule 1 of the regulations.

New Reporting System to support the final E2 Regulations

The new periodic reporting requirements in the E2 regulations, 2019 help maintain an up-to-date database on companies using hazardous substances. This is essential for first responders and government officials in preparing for and responding to environmental emergencies. The E2 reporting system, which has been integrated into the Department’s Single Window Information Management (SWIM) system, makes it easier for regulatees to comply with the reporting requirements of the regulations. Regulatees are able to provide the required Notices and reports in a timely, simple and interactive manner and the system sends reminders to responsible persons prior to reporting deadlines.

For regulatees that already use the SWIM system for other regulatory reporting requirements, e.g., National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), reporting on the E2 regulations should be a seamless experience. SWIM helps to reduce the administrative cost and paperwork burden of regulatory compliance with federal and provincial instruments.

Transition to final E2 Regulations – Guidance and Training

The E2 regulations, 2019 clarify and strengthen requirements for emergency planning and public notification before, during and after an environmental emergency. The combination of these updates will enhance our collective protection of Canadians and the environment. To assist with the transition and understanding of the E2 regulations, 2019, ECCC will publish guidance material, host a series of webinars, and participate in conferences and seminars to promote compliance with them. All material will be available in both official languages.

The English webinars will be held on May 7, June 4 and July 9 and the French webinars will be held on May 9, June 6 and July 11. The recording of the webinar and related material will be shared following the last scheduled webinar.

To learn about the E2 regulations, 2019, please visit

Please communicate with the following to request additional information:

Environmental Emergencies Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 Saint Joseph Boulevard, 17th floor
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0H3