Standards for Environmental Assessments in Canada

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In Canada, there is a standard for Phase I assessments comparable to the ASTM E1527-05 or -13 that is used across the United States.  The objective of the Phase I assessment in Canada is to establish whether there exists evidence of actual or potential environmental contamination on the subject property.  This standard, issued by the Canadian Standards Association, is designated CSA Z768-01 and was last updated in 2001.   The province of Ontario has its own Phase I standard, Ontario Ministry of Environment, O. Reg. 153/04, that is applicable to redevelopment sites but is commonly applied to all kinds of real estate transactions.  The ASTM E1527 standard sets different search radii from the subject site for different kinds of environmental issues; for example, it requires a search within 1 mile of the subject site for CERCLA/Superfund sites but only the subject site and adjacent sites for hazardous waste generators.  In contrast, the CSA Z768-01 only requires review of properties adjacent to the subject site.  The O. Reg. 153/04 standard requires review of properties within 250 meters of the subject site.

For Phase II assessments, there is a CSA Z769-00 standard that is comparable to the ASTM E1903 standard implemented in the U.S.  In addition, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has issued technical guidance for completing Phase II assessments and for analytical methods used during Phase II activities.