September 17/2003

CEC requests response from Canada to the Montreal Technoparc submission   by Commission for Environment Cooperation

Montreal:The Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has requested a response from Canada regarding allegations that the government of Canada is failing to effectively enforce the federal Fisheries Act in regard to the alleged discharge to the St. Lawrence River of toxic pollutants from the Technoparc site in Montreal.

The Secretariat received the submission (Montreal Technoparc, SEM 03-005) from three Canadian and two US environmental nongovernmental organizations on 14 August 2003. The submitters assert that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other pollutants are being discharged from the Technoparc, the site of an historic industrial and municipal waste landfill. The City of Montreal now owns the site. The submitters assert that the Technoparc discharges are an offense under section 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish or in any place under any conditions where a deleterious substance may enter such water.

In its determination of 15 September 2003, the CEC Secretariat concluded that the submission meets all of the criteria set out in Article 14(1) of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). Taking into account the factors listed in NAAEC Article 14(2), the Secretariat determined that the submission merits a response from Canada.

Canada has up to 60 days to provide its response. The CEC Secretariat will then review the submission in light of the response to determine whether a factual record is warranted.

The citizen submissions mechanism of the CEC enables the public to play a whistle-blower role on matters of environmental law enforcement. Under Article 14 of the NAAEC, any person or nongovernmental organization may submit a claim alleging that a NAFTA partner has failed to effectively enforce its environmental law. Following a review of the submission, the CEC may investigate the matter and pursue a factual record of its findings.

For further information, please consult:

Submissions on Enforcement Matters Unit Commission for Environmental Cooperation 393, rue St-Jacques Ouest, Bureau 200 Montreal (Quebec) Canada H2Y 1N9 Tel: (514) 350-4300; Fax: (514) 350-4314 E-mail: Web site: