Last update Tuesday, May 10, 2011
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  • Who belongs to CCME and how do they set priorities?
  • What's the purpose of CCME?
  • How are ministers accountable?
  • How does CCME do its work?
  • On what basis does CCME operate?
  • What are some examples of CCME's work? What is CCME working on now?
  • How can I learn more about CCME on an ongoing basis?

  • Who belongs to CCME and how do they set priorities?

    CCME is comprised of the environment ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments.  These 14 ministers normally meet at least once a year to discuss national environmental priorities and determine work to be carried out under the auspices of CCME.  The Council seeks to achieve positive environmental results, focusing on issues that are national in scope and that require collective attention by a number of governments.

    What's the purpose of CCME?

    CCME aims to assist its members to meet their mandate of protecting Canada's environment.  As with any association, each member can accomplish more by working together than by working alone.  CCME serves as a principal forum for members to develop national strategies, norms, and guidelines that each environment ministry across the country can use.  Since environment is constitutionally speaking an area of shared jurisdiction, it makes sense to work together to promote effective results.  CCME is not another level of government regulator, but a council of government ministers holding similar responsibilities.

    How are ministers accountable?

    Ministers lose neither autonomy, authority, nor responsibility by agreeing to work collaboratively with their colleagues through this Council.  Each minister is accountable to his or her government, according to the laws and statutes governing their jurisdiction.  And as a member of an elected government, each minister is directly accountable to the public whom they serve.

    How does CCME do its work?

    Ministers set the strategic direction for the Council, setting out the broad outcomes they seek to achieve.  In response, senior officials establish working groups of experts from the federal, provincial, and territorial environmental ministries to accomplish specific goals, with the support of a permanent secretariat.  In most cases, group membership may include experts from other relevant government departments (such as Health).  Depending on the nature of the work, expertise from the private sector, academia, environmental and health public interest groups, and aboriginal participation may be sought directly through creation of an advisory committee.  Working collaboratively, the working groups will develop recommendations for ministers' consideration.  Once approved, these products are used by CCME's member governments in their environmental management role.

    On what basis does CCME operate?

    The core operating principles of CCME include:

    ·        Ministerial direction: The organization functions under the direction of Ministers.

    ·        Issues of concern to CCME members: The agenda is made up of issues that are national, international and intergovernmental in nature, and of interest to a significant portion of CCME member governments/regions. 

    ·        Results based: CCME will focus on achieving environmental results through cooperative action. 

    ·        Consensus decision-making: The organization employs consensus decision-making. 

    ·        Accountability: Each Minister remains responsible to act and to be held accountable within his or her jurisdiction. The responsibility for implementing any decision of CCME rests with elected governments. 

    ·        Commitment to action: governments will work cooperatively and with a commitment to take action within their areas of jurisdiction on agreed-upon approaches to environmental matters. 

    ·        Openness and transparency: CCME will provide information to the public in a timely fashion and undertake appropriate consultations, providing for the meaningful participation in jurisdictions of stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples. Each Minister shall be responsible for public consultation within his or her own jurisdiction. 

    ·        Partnerships: CCME will use a partnership approach among jurisdictions, while recognizing their individual competence and diverse experience, to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. 

    ·        Sustainable Development: CCME decision-making and jurisdictional action plans will take into account environmental, economic and social considerations. 

    ·        Regular review and assessment.  CCME will regularly review the results and effectiveness of its work to ensure that it continues to meet Ministers' needs and priorities.

    What are some examples of CCME's work? What is CCME working on now?

    CCME develops national approaches at a very broad level (for example, the Canada-Wide Acid Rain Strategy) as well as more technical products targeting a specific challenge (for example, the Code of Practice for Petroleum Storage Tanks).  This website also lists a number of CCME's accomplishments through past work.  CCME's current strategic workplan is organized around desired outcomes to be achieved on national priorities for air, water, etc.  Examples include work to provide a harmonized regulatory framework and sustainable funding for the management of municipal wastewater effluents; adequate information on water quality and quantity; and common tools to assist in adaptation to climate change.

    How can I learn more about CCME on an ongoing basis?

    To receive regular notice of new developments at CCME, you can subscribe to our notification service.

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