ARCHIVED - Northern Contaminated Sites Program Performance Report 2011-2012

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Catalogue : R71-67/2012E-PDF
ISSN: 2291-8086

PDF Version (5.48 Mb, 24 Pages)

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


As part of its commitment to public reporting, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) Northern Contaminated Sites Program (NCSP) issues an annual performance report on its progress in managing northern federal contaminated sites.

This is the eleventh annual performance report published by the program. It reports on the NCSP's performance from April 2011 to March 2012 against the objectives established in its 2010‑2015 Performance Measurement Strategy.

Further information on the NCSP, its activities and previous annual performance reports can be found at Northern Contaminated Sites Program.

pump station
Pump station on Canol Trail, NWT. The most visible areas of contamination are located at pump stations and vehicle/road maintenance camps, which currently represent the greatest risk to the environment and human health and safety.


Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Aboveground Storage Tank
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
Canada's Economic Action Plan
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Act
Canada – Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement
Detailed Work Plan
Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan
Freeze Optimization Study
Government of the Northwest Territories
Government of Canada
Human Resources
Integrated Environmental Management System
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (the previous name for AANDC)
Northern Affairs Organization
National Classification System for Contaminated Sites
Northern Contaminated Sites Program
Northwest Territories
Program Activity Architecture
Petroleum Hydrocarbon
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Results-Based Management Accountability Framework
Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act
Yukon Government

Executive Summary

Through its Northern Contaminated Sites Program (NCSP), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) manages contaminated sites across the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Liabilities associated with these sites, which include some of the largest and most complex contaminated sites in the country, are currently estimated at $2.1 billion, the largest liability of any federal department. 

Faro Mine
Pit at Faro Mine, YK

The purpose of the program is to reduce and eliminate risks to human and environmental health as well as federal financial liabilities associated with these sites. This report presents NCSP's performance against the objectives of the Program's 2010-15 Performance Measurement Strategy.

The program has also moved an unprecedented number of sites beyond site assessment and remediation planning to the active remediation stage. Nine sites were under active remediation and four sites completed remediation in 2011‑2012.

The program liability estimate as of March 2012 was $2.1 billion, which represents an increase of $360 million. The increase in liability is mainly due to inflation, changes in cost estimates for the larger sites and the addition of newly-identified liabilities. Even though the overall program liability has increased, many sites have seen a significant decrease in their individual liability, as remediation plans are being implemented. Remediation activities conducted in 2011‑2012 by the NCSP contributed to a relative decrease in liability of $97 million.

The NCSP continues to promote social and economic opportunities in the North by engaging Aboriginal people and other Northerners in all aspects of the site management and remediation process. To that end, the program has established an overall target of ensuring that 60% of all project employment, training and contracts (by value) are provided to Northerners and Aboriginal people. The program has made steady progress in reaching this objective; however, additional work is required to meet the targets for Aboriginal employment.

Program expenditures in 2011‑2012 exceeded $107 million, with $95 million coming from the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) and the remainder coming from AANDC funding.

1.0  Program Overview

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is the principal federal department responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's constitutional, political and legal responsibilities in the North. In order to achieve the mandate of AANDC with respect to management of the North, the Department has developed a strategic outcome to ensure that the people of the North are self-reliant, healthy, skilled, and live in prosperous communities. To meet the challenges and opportunities of a changing North, and ensure that our strategic outcome is achieved, the Government has established a comprehensive Northern Strategy and is taking concrete action in four priority areas:

Protecting our environmental heritage involves taking a comprehensive approach to the protection of environmentally-sensitive lands and water in our North, as well as ensuring conservation keeps pace with development, and development decisions are based on sound science and careful assessment. As part of this effort, the Government has enhanced pollution prevention legislation in Arctic waters and is taking steps to remediate abandoned mine and military sites across the North.

Within AANDC, the Northern Affairs Organization (NAO) is mandated with the majority of the Department's activities related to the Northern Strategy, a complete version of which can be located at Canada's Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future. In addition, pursuant to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) Act, AANDC is responsible for the management of contaminated sites in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In the Yukon, the responsibility for contaminated sites is outlined in Chapter 6 of the Devolution Transfer Agreement (DTA).

Contaminated sites in the North have not typically resulted from departmental operations. Rather, AANDC's portfolio of northern contaminated sites originate primarily from mining, petroleum and military activities dating back over half a century, long before the environmental impacts of these activities were adequately understood.

The Northern Contaminated Sites Program (NCSP) was created within NAO in 1991. However, the scale and complexity of AANDC's liability grew rapidly in the late 1990's as a result of a sudden increase in private sector bankruptcies associated with falling mineral prices. The Department has since developed and implemented a mine reclamation policy which limits its liability in current and future mining projects.

The NCSP's goal is to 'reduce and eliminate, where possible, risk to human and environmental health and liability associated with contaminated sites'. Priority is placed on sites that have been classified according to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) National Contaminated Sites Classification System (NCSCS) as Class 1 (high priority for action) or Class 2 (medium priority for action).

Implementation of the program is guided by the 2002 AANDC Contaminated Sites Management Policy, which outlines the following six objectives:

In 2009, a Performance Measurement Strategy covering 2010 through 2015 was developed for the program based on the above-outlined objectives as well as the guidance provided by the Treasury Board Secretariat. This progress report is designed to report on our progress against this strategy.

2.0  Program Scope

2.1  Program Liability

Liability is defined as the monetary obligation the Crown has to remediate and/or risk-manage these contaminated sites. The determination of the liability for the Crown is governed by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Guidance on Remediation Liabilities Related to Contaminated Sites - Dec. 2010

AANDC has the largest liability of all federal departments. Liabilities associated with AANDC Northern Affairs' sites are found in Table 1 and are currently estimated (March 31, 2012) at $2.1 billion, which represents an increase of $360 million over the previous fiscal year. These liabilities include some of the largest and most complex contaminated sites in the country. For example, the Faro Mine, in the south-central Yukon, and the Giant Mine, within Yellowknife City limits in the NWT, together represent liabilities of approximately $1.4 billion. The increase in liability is mainly a result of inflation, changes in cost estimates for the larger sites and the addition of newly-identified liabilities. In the case of the Giant Mine, the increase is mainly due to the extension of the project definition phase that is required in order to complete the regulatory process. Costs have increased as a result of the need to provide site care and maintenance over an extended period as well as the requirement to address urgent health and safety risks under the Site Stabilization Plan.

The increase in the Faro Mine site liability estimate is the result of inflation and lower discount rates applied on future year cash flows. The additional liability of $154 million is attributed to newly-identified liabilities at 22 contaminated sites in Nunavut. These new liabilities were recognized following the environmental site assessments conducted in 2011‑2012. Even though the overall environmental liability for the program has increased, many sites have seen a significant decrease in their individual liability, as remediation plans are being implemented. Remediation activities conducted in 2011‑2012 by the NCSP contributed to a relative decrease in liability of $97 million.

The NCSP completed the initial assessment of all known contaminated sites located in Nunavut and is close to completing the initial assessment of all suspected sites in the Northwest Territories. These are anticipated to be complete in 2012‑2013. More detailed assessment is required at some sites, however, it is not anticipated that any major new liabilities will emerge.

Table 1 – Northern Contaminated Sites Program Liability Estimates by Region
Yukon $98.7 M $85.0 M $82.9 M $82.2 M $111.6 M $151.6 M
NWT $13.0 M $159.6 M $163.0 M $237.3 M $187.6 M $216.6 M
Nunavut $139.3 M $163.9 M $192.3 M $212.9 M $191.1 M $341.7 M
Giant & Faro $856.0 M $990.7 M $990.5 M $1.057 B $1.251 B $1.395 B
Total Liability $1.23 B $1.4 B $1.43 B $1.59 B $1.74 B $2.11 B

2.2  Contaminated Sites Inventory

The NCSP maintains a comprehensive, regularly-updated, electronic inventory of contaminated sites in the North. Following an initial assessment, each site is classified using the National Classification System for Contaminated Sites (NCSCS). This system is designed to rank the sites according to the risk to human health and the environment. As a result of a large amount of work being done assessing suspected sites, particularly in 2009‑2010 and 2010‑2011 when the program received $1.2M for acceleration of assessments from the Canadian Economic Action Plan (CEAP), 140 of our sites are now classified as Class 1 (a high priority for action) or Class 2 (a medium priority for action). As indicated below, the number of priority NCSP sites has increased in the last year as a result of assessment activities in Nunavut and the NWT. This number may go up slightly since it is anticipated that all suspected sites in our inventory will have undergone an assessment by the end of 2012‑2013. However, it is not anticipated that any major (i.e. large and/or complex) new sites will be added to our inventory as a result of these activities.

Table 2 – Number of sites based on NCS Classifications, 2006 to 2012
1 49 50 45 47 54 66
2 22 26 33 32 55 74
3 0 0 7 7 5 13
Total 71 76 85 86 114 153
Note: Sites under risk management and monitoring maintain their NCS designation and are included in this table.

In 2011‑2012, the NCSP made progress towards the overall goal of addressing contaminated sites (Figure 1), with more sites moving from remediation into long-term monitoring. Although there are fewer sites that were in active remediation in 2011‑2012, it is anticipated that more sites will be addressed in future years as additional projects work through assessment and into remediation.

Figure 1 – Number of projects Undergoing Assessment, Remediation and Ongoing Risk Management
2006-2012 Projects

2.3  Program Funding

The majority of funding for the NCSP comes from the Federal Contaminated Site Action Plan (FCSAP). FCSAP was created in 2005 and is administered jointly by Environment Canada and the TBS. With a commitment of $3.5 billion over 15 years, FCSAP's overall goals are to protect the environment and human health from the impacts of federal contaminated sites and to effectively eliminate federal financial liability associated with these sites. 

FCSAP provides resources on a cost-shared basis for remediation of most federal sites classified as Class 1 (high priority for action) or for certain Class 2 (medium priority for action) according to the NCSCS. FCSAP covers 100% of the costs associated with the largest and most complex sites in the federal inventory, such as the Faro (Yukon) and Giant Mines (NWT). The NCSP participates actively in all aspects of the FCSAP program, including program oversight and the development of relevant procedures and tools. 

When compared to the previous two fiscal years, the NCSP 2011‑2012 funding was reduced. This is due to the fact that in 2009‑2010 and 2010‑2011, the program had received a short term increase in funds due to Canada's Economic Action Plan (CEAP).  Additionally, there was a drop in the number of sites in active remediation this year, however, because of the significant increase in the number of sites in the remediation planning stage this year, the Program expects these will likely begin remediation in the next few years.

Table 3 – NCSP Funding, 2006 to 2012
Source of Funds2006-20072007-20082008-20092009‑20102010‑20112011‑2012
AANDC $18.5 M $13.5 M $12.4 M $12.7 M $7.4 M $11.8 M
FCSAP $92.4 M $101.7 M $99.9 M $131.8 M $136.9 M $93.5 M
Total $110.9 M $115.2 M $112.3 M $144.5 M $144.3 M $105.3 M

2.4  Human Resources

The program has increased staff in the past year in order to fulfill the additional unique needs of the major projects, Giant and Faro mines. In the last four years, the program has continued to grow its employee base both in the regions and at Headquarters (HQ). This coincides with the increases in activity at contaminated sites and the increase in funding and policy requirements required to deliver the program and the major projects. Table 4 outlines trends in total program employment since 2006-2007. The staff that delivers the program is made up of scientists, engineers, project managers, financial officers, communication officers and support staff.

Table 4 – Total NCSP Employment
Headquarters 7.5 10.5 9.5 12 19.5 22
Nunavut 4.75 4.75 8 9 8.5 9
NWT 29 42.5 37 40 34.5 36
Yukon 7.5 7.5 11 11 10 11
Total 48.75 65.25 65.5 72 72.5 78

3.0  Changing Environment

3.1  Devolution

In 2003, AANDC completed the devolution of NAO's roles and responsibilities in the Yukon region. Due to commitments outlined in the DTA, AANDC continues to be financially-responsible for a total of seven contaminated sites in the Yukon while the Government of Yukon is responsible for managing these projects. The Department is currently in the process of negotiating a DTA with the Government of Northwest Territories.

4.0  Challenges in 2011‑2012

Working on these extensive, labour-intensive and expensive projects means the Program faces significant challenges, including the continuity of staff and developing or finding the level of talent and experience required to manage these large scale projects. Working in the North adds its own unique set of challenges that affect the manner and speed with which these sites can be assessed and remediated. The short field season of two to four months limits the amount of work that can be completed in a given year. The remoteness of these sites means that people and resources need to get to the site often either by air, winter roads or sealift.

In addition, there are challenges related to the management of these sites. Often the sites are located in overlapping regulatory regimes/jurisdictions and in settled or unsettled land claim areas. Obtaining permits to complete remediation work are part of the process. Often these permits need to be obtained annually, as is the case with quarry permits. These permits are critical to the start of the field season and any delays in obtaining the permits can result in the work not being completed or put the entire field season in jeopardy. Delays are always a possibility since approvals and permits are received throughout multiple levels of government.

5.0  Performance Measurement Results

In 2009‑2010, a new Performance Measurement Strategy (PM Strategy) was developed for the program in conjunction with the policy and guidance provided by the Treasury Board Secretariat and the requirements outlined in the INAC Guidance on Performance Measurement Strategies. The purpose of these strategies is to support program planning, monitoring and reporting through the identification of a suite of performance indicators that can inform decision making and support evaluation activities over time. The list of indicators developed for the PM Strategy reflects a mix of quantitative and qualitative indicators, and includes both indicators currently in use by the program as well as new indicators that reflect emerging priorities and needs.

The progress towards each indicator outlined in the PM Strategy can be  found in subsequent sections. The indicators are grouped together as they are found on the logic model, an overall dashboard is present indicating where the targets were met in terms of, "achieved", "partially achieved" and "not achieved".

Several Tier 2 indicators were also identified and will be refined in future years in order to measure trends in environmental risks associated with sites managed by the program. Tier 2 indicators require further refinement and/or analysis and will be phased in over the life of this PM Strategy. The suite of indicators also includes several sub-indicators pertaining only to the Faro and Giant mine sites. These sub-indicators have been included because of the significance of these two sites to the program as a whole, as well as the overall proportion of program responsibility and risk they represent.

5.1  Outputs

The Logic Model contains activities, which represent stages that are conducted on all federal contaminated sites; as such, they correspond with the broad categories of work outlined in the FCSAP program. These indicators are designed to show our progress towards the various outputs.

Table 5 – Performance Measurement Results for the Indicators Reporting on Outputs in 2011‑2012
OutputIndicatorTargetOverall ResultStatus
5.1.1  Classification of Sites Percentage of suspected sites that have been assessed 33% 67% Achieved
5.1.2  Consultation Reports Number of consultation/engagement activities 30/year 45 Achieved
5.1.3  Training Program  Percentage of person-hours of training provided to Northern & Aboriginal people 60% 95.5% Achieved Percentage of person-hours of training provided to women (sub-indicator) 5% n/a (Tier II)  

5.1.1  Classification of Sites - Percentage of suspected sites that have been assessed

The assessment refers to Phase I, or Historical Review, and is a useful indicator because it determines if sites have possible contamination. In 2011‑2012, 65 sites underwent a Phase I assessment, achieving our target. In the Northwest Territories, some sites undergo a reconnaissance/brief site visit before a Phase I is completed. This is due to the fact that the information relating to these sites is anecdotal or more information is needed on the size/scope of the site prior to the assessment being undertaken.

It is anticipated that all suspected sites will have undergone at least an initial assessment to determine if contamination is present by the end of 2012‑2013. A more detailed assessment may be required in some cases, depending on the findings of the initial assessment.

5.1.2  Consultation Reports - Number of Consultation/engagement activities

Consultation and community engagement activities (community meetings, site visits, workshops) are important and an opportunity to invite the participation of Aboriginal people and other Northerners in program activities. These typically take place at the beginning of the project, once the remediation plan is developed and once the project is complete. However, some of the program's larger sites, such as Giant Mine, have ongoing community involvement throughout the year. The target of 30 consultation activities per year was exceeded with 45 Consultation activities taking place with an audience of 644 people attending.

Table 6 – Consultation Performance Measures 2006 to 2012
Consultation Performance Measures2006‑20072007‑20082008‑20092009‑20102010‑20112011‑2012
Community tours & meetings, Workshops and Site Tours Number 81 87 86 130 122 140
Audience (number of persons) 741 1,488 1,238 1,612 2,505 1,238
Media (TV, radio) events and Press reports Number 43 26 39 23 40 9

5.1.3  Training Program - Percentage of person-hours of training provided to Northerner, Aboriginal people, and women

Training is an important prerequisite for Northerners and Aboriginal people to benefit from program activities. As such, the NCSP continues to place priority on developing and delivering workforce training programs across the North.  Percentage of person-hours of training provided to Northern & Aboriginal people

The training efforts in 2011‑2012 exceeded the target of ensuring 60% of all person-hours of training being provided to Northerners and Aboriginal people. Northerners (including Aboriginal people) received 95.5% and Aboriginal people receiving 89.6% of all the training provided. This represents a 57.6% increase in training provided to aboriginal people from last year. The training program that was in place at Tundra Mine, NWT, largely accounts for the significant increase in training provided to Aboriginal people.

Figure 2 – Training Implemented by the Northern Contaminated Sites Program
2006-2012 Training  Percentage of person-hours of training provided to women

This indicator is currently not being tracked by our contractors; as a result it cannot be reported on in 2011‑2012. The data will be tracked in future fiscal years, and will be reported on in 2012‑2013.

5.2  Immediate Outcomes

Four immediate outcomes underpin the intermediate outcomes. It is anticipated that most of these immediate outcomes will be achieved over the next two to three years.

Table 7 – Performance Measurement Results for the Indicators Reporting on Immediate Outcome
Immediate OutcomeIndicatorTargetOverall ResultStatus
5.2.1  Immediate environmental risks are contained  Number of high and very high risks to the environment for sites under care and maintenance No net increase Delayed Not achieved  Number of non-compliant releases 0 0 Achieved
5.2.2  Priority sites for remediation are identified  Number of Phase III assessments completed 4/year 1 Not achieved  Regulatory approvals secured (Sub-indicator for Giant and Faro Mines) Giant 2012‑2013
Faro 2013‑2014
n/a (Tier II)  
5.2.3  Plans for priority sites are developed and implemented  Number of sites under active remediation or risk management 10/year 10 Achieved  Number of remediation contracts established 3/year 1 Partially achieved  Number of sites for which further action is required 0 1 Partially achieved
5.2.4  Employment opportunities are created for Northerners and Aboriginal people  Percentage of Aboriginal people and Northerners employed 60% 54% Not achieved  Percentage of women employed 5% n/a (Tier II)  

5.2.1  Immediate environmental risks are contained

Care and maintenance refers to efforts to control, stabilize or avoid any potential risks or contaminant releases that could arise from sites under care and maintenance activities. Only two sites are under care and maintenance: the Giant and Faro Mines. Two indicators were developed for this outcome.  Number of high and very high risks to the environment for sites under care and maintenance

All contaminated sites under care and maintenance or remediation have a risk register developed for them. Site risk registers are based on extensive analysis of the types and level of risks at individual sites and as such, provide the best measure of whether this outcome is being achieved. NCSP had originally anticipated being able to report on this target in 2011‑2012; however, the NCSP's current system needs updating in order to track this target. Work is underway to ensure that this target is reported on in 2012‑2013.  Number of non-compliant releases

This refers to efforts to control, stabilize or avoid any potential risks or contaminant releases that could arise from sites under care and maintenance activities. This objective is only for sites currently under care and maintenance; as a result, it only reflects non-compliant releases that occurred at Giant and Faro Mines. In 2011‑2012 no releases occurred at Faro Mine or Giant Mine, achieving the target.

5.2.2  Priority sites for remediation are identified

This outcome refers to the process by which sites are assessed and then classified under the CCME NCSCS. At the end of this process, project managers have enough relevant information upon which to base decisions on appropriate remediation and/or risk management actions. Two indicators were developed for this immediate outcome.

Hwy 1
Aerial Photo of Highway #1 KM site, NWT Number of Phase III assessments completed

A Phase III or detailed site assessment needs to be conducted at each site in order to fully understand the level and extent of contamination present at the site and important site characteristics that are required in order to develop a comprehensive and successful remediation action plan. This year, one Phase III site assessment was undertaken at the Copper Pass Mine, located as part of the Great Slave Lake Project, NWT. NCSP did not achieve the target, mainly because the bulk of assessment work was focusing on the assessment of suspected sites in order to ensure that the program had a complete list of all of our contaminated sites. It is anticipated that the number of sites in Phase III will increase in 2012‑2013.  Regulatory approvals secured (Sub-indicator for Giant and Faro Mines)

Regulatory approvals (i.e. environmental assessments, water licences and TB submission approvals) for remediation/risk management activities at Faro and Giant mine sites are needed prior to starting remediation at these sites. Approvals are not expected until at the earliest in 2012-13 for Giant Mine and 2013‑2014 for Faro Mine; as a result this indicator will not be reported on until at least 2012‑2013.

5.2.3  Plans for priority sites are developed and implemented

Following site assessment and prioritization, the program works to plan and then conduct specific remediation and/or risk management activities for individual sites. Three indicators were developed for this outcome.  Number of sites under active remediation or risk management
Tundra Mine
Tundra Mine, NWT

Due to the limited field season and the difficulty mobilizing and demobilizing to each of the NCSP's sites, remediation can take anywhere from a couple of months to a number of years. In 2011‑2012, the majority of the Program's effort was on assessing all of our remaining suspected sites and planning for remediation in 2012‑2013. As a result only 10 sites were under active remediation in 2011‑2012. These sites were:

Remediation of four of the sites listed above was completed; further details can be found in Section 6.5.  Number of remediation contracts established

The establishment of a remediation contract is normally one of the last steps before active remediation takes place on the ground. There can be a considerable amount of time between when the site undergoes its detailed assessment and when remediation starts. During this time, important steps are achieved such as the development of the remediation action plan, applying for and receiving approvals, permits and licences and the tendering of contracts. In 2011‑2012 one remediation contract was established (for Hope Lake, NWT). A significant amount of work was undertaken to establish contracts for FOX‑E and Padloping Island in Nunavut. The bids were evaluated during 2011‑2012 and the contract was signed in April 2012.  Number of sites for which further action is required

Once a site undergoes remediation, a long-term monitoring plan is often developed. These plans typically outline when, what and where monitoring must take place to ensure that the remediation was successful and any tailings caps or landfills are performing as designed. This target was designed to give AANDC an indication of the long-term success of our program. In 2011‑2012, Rankin Inlet Mine in Nunavut was revisited.Footnote 1 Assessments in 2009 and 2010 identified the presence of tailings-related contaminants in intertidal sediments collected along the shoreline adjacent to the site. A screening level ecological risk assessment was initiated in 2009 and a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment (HHERA) was completed in 2011. In response to the above findings, and recommendations that arose following monitoring that was completed in 2010, additional terrestrial remediation was completed in the summer of 2011, including:

5.2.4  Employment opportunities are created for Northerners and Aboriginal people

This immediate outcome reflects the fact that for economic benefits to accrue in the longer term, particular efforts may be required to ensure that northern and Aboriginal communities have the knowledge, capacity and opportunity to participate effectively in program activities and employment opportunities that emerge as a result of those activities.  Percentage of Aboriginal people and Northerners employed

Direct employment is a key direct measure of the socio-economic benefits provided by the program. This target is measured by the number of people employed by the program. In 2011‑2012 the NCSP provided 985 individuals with employment. Of these, 529 were Northerners (54%) and 296 were northern Aboriginal people (30%). Figure 3 demonstrates employment on northern contaminated sites through time. It should be noted that although the Program didn't achieve the target number of Northerners/Aboriginal people employed, the number of person-hours accrued by these groups exceeded 70% of the NCSP's total.  Percentage of women employed

This indicator is currently not being tracked by our contractors; as a result it cannot be reported on for 2010‑2011 or 2011‑2012. The data will be tracked in upcoming years, and the target of 5% may be refined based on this data. This indicator will be reported on in 2012‑2013.

5.3  Intermediate Outcome

This long-term outcome is supported by two intermediate outcomes, each of which contributes to its achievement. The anticipated timeline for achieving these outcomes for the program as a whole is 5-10 years, although specific sites will progress towards these outcomes at different places throughout the life of the logic model.  

Table 8 – Performance Measurement Results for the Indicators Reporting on Intermediate Outcome
Intermediate OutcomeIndicatorTargetOverall ResultStatus
5.3.1  Priority Sites are remediated and/or risk managed Percentage of Class 1 & 2 Sites not yet addressed TBD n/a (Tier II)  
5.3.2  Economic Benefits accrue for Northerners and Aboriginal people Percentage of contract value for northern/Aboriginal suppliers  60% 67% Achieved

5.3.1  Priority sites are remediated and/or risk-managed

This outcome refers to completion of all required remediation and/or risk management activities at a given Class 1 or 2 site, recognizing that for larger sites (such as Faro Mine), the emphasis over the next five years will be on remediating or risk-managing the highest risks associated with these sites. The indicator of percentage of Class 1 and 2 sites not yet addressed will be reported on in 2013-14 following confirmation of baseline and establishment of the target in 2012‑2013.

5.3.2  Economic Benefits accrue for Northerners and Aboriginal people - Percentage of contract value for northern /Aboriginal suppliers

This outcome reflects the program's desire to ensure that Northerners and Aboriginal people are both involved in and benefit from NCSP activities and resources throughout the contaminated sites management process. In particular, it seeks to ensure that northern and Aboriginal companies and individuals derive tangible economic benefits, one of which is the total value of program business with northern/Aboriginal suppliers. The program spent $38,367,165 on suppliers in 2011‑2012, with 67% or $25,584,444 going to Northern suppliers and 53% or $20,542,770 going to Aboriginal suppliers.

Figure 3 – Overall Employment for the Northern Contaminated Sites Program
2006-2012 Employment

5.4  Ultimate Outcome

Consistent with the program goal articulated in the Contaminated Sites Management Policy, the ultimate outcome of the program is to ensure that human health and environmental risks, as well as associated federal liabilities, are reduced at contaminated sites under program management, while bringing economic benefits to the North to the extent possible.

Accomplishing this goal will help the Department achieve its Strategic Outcome for the North, by contributing to the Program Activity Architecture Program Activity for Northern Land and Resources.

Table 9 – Performance Measurement Results for the Indicators Reporting on the Ultimate Outcome
Ultimate OutcomeIndicatorTargetOverall ResultStatus
Human health/environmental risks and associated federal liabilities are reduced while bringing economic benefits to the North 5.4.1  Liability Reduction n/a (Tier II)  
5.4.2  Liability (Sub-Indicator) Reduction n/a (Tier II)  
5.4.3  Number of high and very high risks to the environment Downgrading of risks Delayed Not achieved
5.4.4  Number of Class 1 and 2 sites fully remediated or risk-managed  2 sites/year 4 Achieved

5.4.1  Liability

This indicator refers to the total financial liability for the program (including adjustments related to existing sites) with the exception of Faro and Giant Mines. Due to the size and long-term management required for Giant Mine and Faro Mine they will be reported on under another indicator. This will enable the program to measure meaningful changes in total liability and progress towards our ultimate outcome. The goal is to reduce overall liability; the target will be refined further, likely in 2012‑2013 once all assessments are completed and a baseline can be established. Reporting will begin in 2013‑2014.

5.4.2  Liability (Sub-Indicator)

The Giant and Faro Mines are the two largest contaminated sites in the country and represent a disproportionate amount of the program's financial liability. Even minor annual fluctuations in liability estimates for these sites can overshadow liability reductions achieved in the rest of the program. As such, liability for these sites will be reported separately. Reporting against this indicator will commence once the sites have undergone regulatory approvals and the final remediation option for each has been confirmed and fully designed, as these stages must be complete in order for the baseline to be confirmed. It is currently anticipated that reporting will begin in 2013‑2014 for Giant Mine and 2014‑2015 for Faro Mine, although this depends on the strict schedules being met.

5.4.3  Number of high and very high risks to the environment

Risks to the environment are regularly identified and prioritized in site risk registers, which are completed every fall and included in the Detailed Work Plan (DWP) for the site. Measuring trends in this information will provide an accurate indication of the extent to which the program is reducing environmental risks. The completion of risk registers has been ongoing since 2004-2005; however, this type of analysis has not been done to date. Program staff will refine this indicator during the course of 2011‑2012 and will commence reporting in 2012‑2013.

5.4.4  Number of Class 1 and 2 sites fully remediated or risk-managed

Class 1 and 2 sites are those sites representing highest priority for action according to the NCSCS. This represents the best indicator of whether the program's long-term outcome is being achieved. Annex A contains all of the sites to date that have been remediated by the Program. In 2011‑2012 the program completed remediation at four sites; the details can be found in Section 6.5. The four sites that completed remediation in 2011‑2012 are:

  1. Frobisher Sour Gas Wells, NWT
  2. Jean Marie River, NWTNote *
  3. Bear Island, Nunavut
  4. CAM‑D – Simpson Lake, Nunavut
Note *

Note that only the AANDC portion of this site has been remediated. See Section 6.4.1 for more details

Return to note * referrer

6.0  Major Accomplishments in 2011‑2012

6.1  Giant Mine, NWT

Giant Mine
Water Treatment Plant and Settling Pond at the Giant Mine, NWT

Giant Mine covers 949 hectares within the city limits of the City of Yellowknife, NWT. The site lies along the western shore of Yellowknife Bay, an arm of Great Slave Lake. This gold mine operated nearly continuously from 1948 until its closure in July 1999. This operation left 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide stored underground, as well as various buildings and surface areas contaminated with arsenic.

A remediation plan for the site was completed following extensive site characterization and community consultations. The plan has now entered the environmental assessment process. The remediation plan focuses on the mimicking of permafrost conditions and creating frozen chambers underground to prevent water from entering the chambers and mixing with the arsenic trioxide.

In 2011‑2012, significant progress was made on the Giant Mine Remediation Project. The Project Team developed and began the implementation of a Site Stabilization Plan that was designed to address the most urgent health, safety and environmental risks at the site. In addition, significant progress has been made on the Freeze Optimization Study. Preliminary findings have been positive and the study has already identified a number of efficiencies and cost-saving measures that are expected to be incorporated into the final design. The Giant Mine Remediation Project is currently undergoing an Environmental Assessment. In 2011‑2012, several of the final steps of the assessment process were completed including two rounds of information requests as well as the Technical Sessions.

6.2  Faro Mine, Yukon

Faro Mine
Facing West over Faro Mine Tailings Pond, YK

Located in south-central Yukon close to the Town of Faro, the Faro Mine was an open-pit lead-zinc mine from 1969 until it went into interim receivership in 1998. The site covers approximately 2,500 hectares and includes 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rock. Both the tailings and waste rock contain high levels of heavy metals that could leach into the environment in the absence of remediation. As such, there are significant long-term environmental risks associated with the site. A care and maintenance regime, including collection and treatment of contaminated water and general maintenance and site security, is currently in place.

The Faro Mine is one of seven Type II sites identified under the 2003 Canada – Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement. As such, the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon, along with the Ross River Dena Council (on behalf of the Kaska Dena Council) and Selkirk First Nation have worked cooperatively through a joint Oversight Committee to develop a site closure and remediation plan. Development of this plan was led by a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, scientists and First Nations, and informed by hundreds of technical studies, as well as consultations with community members of affected First Nations and the Town of Faro. An Independent Peer Review Panel also performed a comprehensive review of remediation options. The project reached a major milestone in early 2009 when the closure plan was agreed upon by the Oversight Committee. In 2011‑2012, the project design team was contracted through a competitive process and will start the detailed design work. 

6.3  Merc International Minerals (now Nighthawk Gold Corp.)

In January 2012, AANDC entered into an agreement with Merc International Minerals Inc. (Merc), now called Nighthawk Gold Corp., whereby AANDC conveyed the mineral claims and leases in the area of the Colomac Mine to Merc in exchange for Merc undertaking the remediation of three contaminated sites in the area for which AANDC was responsible. AANDC had received these mineral claims and leases from the Receiver for Royal Oak Mines Inc. when the Colomac Mine was abandoned to the Crown as part of the insolvency of the company in 1999.

Under the agreement, Merc will reclaim the Diversified, Spider Lake and Chalco Lake sites based upon a remediation plan approved by the Department. Merc agreed to post a $5 million letter of credit with AANDC to secure its performance of the reclamation work. This security will be returned to Merc once the company has completed the planned remediation work to the satisfaction of an independent third-party engineer.

6.4  Remediation Projects Completed

This past year, the program made significant progress in the remediation of contaminated sites, with four sites being remediated. A detailed explanation of each of the remediation projects is found below.

6.4.1  Jean Marie River, Northwest Territories

Jean Marie River
Jean Marie River, Highway 1 and 7 junction, NWT

The Checkpoint Highway site is located adjacent to the Jean Marie River. It is accessible by road and by river boat. The Checkpoint site was used for a variety of uses from the 1970's to the early 1990's. In 1970, the site was first developed as a highway maintenance camp for the construction of the Liard Highway (Highway #1). In the early 1980's the GNWT took over the highway maintenance camp and continued the use of the site until 1996. From 1996 to 2000 the site was operated by Mackenzie Wood Products Ltd. as a Logging and Milling Operation.

Remediation work started in 2008, and remediation activities completed to date include the design and construction of a landfarm, excavation of approximately 6,200  of petroleum-impacted soils and transportation to the landfarm for treatment, excavation and sorting of approximately 500  of buried waste debris from the former waste dump and consolidation and disposal of hazardous waste debris recovered from the site. AANDC's portion of the remediation activities at this site is now complete; however the GNWT continues to be responsible for completing the remaining activities. Approximately $2 million has been spent on this project.

6.4.2  Frobisher Sour Gas Wells, Northwest Territories

Sour gas well
A well at Frobisher Sour Gas Wells, NWT

Between 1922 and the 1940's, seven test wells were drilled in the Hay River area by the Frobisher Exploration Company Ltd of Yellowknife, which was exploring for oil. 

Although some gas was initially discovered, the quantities proved to be uneconomic. The gas wells were abandoned in the late 1940s when the abandonment procedures were not well developed and inadequate compared to today's standards.

Since 2006, AANDC has completed testing of all the wells to better understand the scope of the work. Three wells were found to have the potential to flow low concentrations of sour gas (H2S) a poisonous and explosive gas. The three wells were found to be in a state of deterioration in which they could leak at any time. Following this assessment work, the NCSP mobilized a drill rig to the site and completed the capping of the three wells that were emitting sour gas. A total of $5.1 million has been spent on this project.

6.4.3  CAM‑D – Simpson Lake, Nunavut

supply barrels
Discarded Supply Barrels CAM‑D – Simpson Lake, NU

CAM‑D is a former Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line site located between Sheppard Bay and Pelly Bay, 120 km southeast of the community of Taloyoak (Spence Bay). The DEW Line station was constructed in 1957, and operated until 1963, at which point it was abandoned. In 1965, responsibility for the site was assumed by AANDC.

The site consisted of a Main Station infrastructure (module train, warehouse, garage, Inuit house, Quonset huts, POL tanks, felled radar tower, storage pads); Airstrip; Freshwater Lakes Area; Simpson Lake Area; and a Borrow Source Area. The Main Station Area was located on Ross Hills at an elevation of 370 m above sea level and it is where the majority of the infrastructure at the CAM‑D site was located.

A site assessment of the CAM‑D DEW Line site was first initiated in 1985 when DND and Environment Canada visited the site to remove contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and petroleum, oils and lubricants (POLs), and to identify areas of buried materials that could pose environmental risks in the future. Various pieces of PCB-containing equipment were removed from electrical cabinets at the site. The site was revisited in 1994 by the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) of Royal Roads Military College, at which time a detailed surface soil sampling program was completed. A Phase III Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was later completed by AANDC during the summer of 2005. The contaminants on site were found to be PCBs and heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC), and building material. Remediation of the site started in 2009‑2010 and was completed in 2011‑2012. Equipment was left on site and will be demobilized in the spring and summer of 2012. In total, AANDC spent $16.7 million on the remediation of the site.

6.4.4  Bear Island, Nunavut

collapsed antenna
Collapsed Antenna - Bear Island, NU

Two Doppler Radar Stations operated on Bear Island from the 1950s to 1965 as part of the former Mid-Canada Early Warning Line. They were abandoned in 1965 without any cleanup operations, although the majority of the buildings were removed to their foundations.

A preliminary site assessment of Bear Island was conducted in 1995 by the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) of Royal Roads Military College. An environmental site delineation and material inventory was completed over two days in 2001 by Earth Tech Canada and AANDC augmented the work carried out in previous years with a Phase III Environmental Site Assessment, Materials Audit and Geotechnical Evaluation during the summer of 2007.

The environmental issues at Bear Island included former landfills and site buildings, as well as abandoned hazardous materials (lead acid batteries, petroleum products, asbestos), barrels and scrap metal and soil contaminated with PCBs, heavy metal and hydrocarbons. Remediation work commenced in 2010‑2011 and was completed in 2011‑2012. In total, $9.4 million was spent on the site.

Annex A – AANDC Remediated Contaminated Sites

Pre 2006‑2007








Footnote 1

See page 24  of report Nunavut: The Big Picture for more details on the work that was previously performed at Rankin Inlet.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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