Ambient Air Quality Criteria

Adverse Effect
The impairment to the quality of the natural environment - air, water or land, injury or damage to property or animal life, adverse health effects, safety risk, making property, plant or animal life unfit for use, loss of enjoyment of normal use of property and/or interference with the normal conduct of business.

Aspect (Environmental Aspect)
Element of an organization's activities, products or services that can interact with the environment.

Above-ground Storage Tanks


A minimum or starting point used for comparisons.

A standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.

Best practices
A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.

A biodegradable transportation fuel for use in diesel engines that is produced through the transfer of organically- derived oils or fats. It may be used either as a replacement for or as a component of diesel fuel.

A fuel made from renewable biological sources. Biofuels include ethanol, methanol, and biodiesel. Biofuel sources include, but are not limited to: corn, soybeans, flaxseed, rapeseed, sugarcane, palm oil, raw sewage, food scraps, animal parts, and rice.

A gas produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
• most widely used parameter of organic pollution applied to both wastewater and surface water; and
• measurement of the oxygen that would be required for biodegradation of the organic matter in the wastewater by a microorganisms.

Plant material such as wood, grains, agricultural waste, and vegetation that can be used as an energy source.

Any process that uses complete living cells or their components (e.g., bacteria, enzymes, chloroplasts) to obtain desired products.

Petroleum that exists in the semisolid or solid phase in natural deposits – it is the molasses-like substance which can compromise anywhere from 1 to 18 per cent of the oil sand.

A method of producing a gas/condensate reservoir by letting the reservoir depressure over time without re-injecting any gas.

Best Management Practices

Biological Oxygen Demand - a measure of the concentration of a pollutant in water.

TSSA's Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Program

British Thermal Unit per hour - a measure of the energy in a heating/fuel burning source.


Criteria Air Contaminants - seven substances with threshold limits that must be reported annually if exceeded - NOX, SO2, CO, VOC, TPM, PM10, PM2.5.

Canada Deuterium Uranium - It's a Canadian-designed power reactor of PHWR type (Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor) that uses heavy water (deuterium oxide) for moderator and coolant, and natural uranium for fuel.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
The removal and storage of carbon dioxide from high-emitting processes such as coal-fired power generation or cement manufacture before it enters the atmosphere.

Carbon Footprint
The amount of carbon dioxide emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.

Any process that removes carbon.

Carbon Neutral
Climate change science uses a measurement that is equates all atmospheric pollution to units of carbon dioxide(CO2) as it is considered the largest contributor to climate change. Most CO2 comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which releases stored CO2 back into the atmosphere. Manufacturers can become carbon neutral when they reduce their fossil fuel use and increase renewable energy use.

Chemical Abstract Service standard number for chemicals.

Cellulosic Ethanol
Ethanol derived from plant material such as switch grass, wood chips instead of food grade grains such as corn. Its production is much more energy efficient than that for conventional ethanol.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 Certificate of Approval (CofA)
Granted by Provincial environmental regulators allowing a facility to operate under specific conditions of environmental performance. Used to govern water, wastewater, waste and air emissions.

Chlorofluorocarbons, an ozone depleting substance (ODS).

Canadian Fertilizer Institute

Clean energy
Energy that is produced without burning fossil fuels. Examples include wind, solar, hydro-electricity, geothermal, nuclear power.

Carbon Monoxide

Any solid, liquid, gas, odour, heat, sound, vibration, radiation or combination thereof resulting directly or indirectly from human activity that causes or may cause an adverse effect.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model.

Controlled Products Regulation (Federal)


The retirement of a facility, including decontamination and/or dismantlement.

A term often used to refer to offshore projects located in water depths greater than around 600 feet where floating drilling vessels and floating oil platforms are used, and unmanned underwater vehicles are required as manned diving is not practical.

Deleterious Substance
• any substance that, if added to water, would degrade or alter the quality of that water so that it is rendered harmful to fish;
• any water that contains a substance in which quantity or concentration would, if added to water, degrade the quality of the water and therefore cause harm to fish;
• does not have to be toxic or hazardous material (grain, vegetable oil, bloods etc could degrade or alter water quality result); and
• any substance in which quantity or concentration would, if added to water, degrade the quality of the water and therefore cause harm to fish.

Disposal Costs
The amount of money incurred for the action of removing or getting rid of refuse or unwanted materials left over from a manufacturing process.

The refining process of crude oil into finished fuel products.

Domestic Substance List - a list of approximately 23,000 substances manufactured in, imported into or used commercially in Canada.

Due Diligence
Proof, on a balance of probability, that not at fault (exercise all reasonable care to prevent commission of the offence), the standard being Reasonable Care.


Environmental Assessment - An assessment of the possible impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment, consisting of the environmental, social and economic aspects.

Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR) administered by Provincial environmental regulators (Ministry of Environment (MOE)) allowing businesses to register specific equipment and system operations through an on-line registration process if operational parameters meet MOE specification. This registration process excludes this equipment/systems from the ECA process. The specific registrations are applicable to common systems and processes to which preset rules of operation can be applied.

Environmental Bill of Rights

Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) granted by Provincial environmental regulators (Ministry of Environment (MOE)) allowing a business to operate under specific conditions of environmental performance. Used to govern water, wastewater, waste and air emissions. A single ECA addresses all of a business's emissions, discharges and wastes; previously individual CofAs were required for each specific approval (i.e. air, noise, waste and sewage approvals).

EIA (Economic Impact Analysis)
Economic Impact Analysis examines the effect of a policy, program, project, activity or event on the economy in a given area.

An outflowing of water or gas from a natural body of water, or from a human-made structure.

Energy Management Information System

Energy consumption
The amount of energy consumed in a process or system, or by an organization or society.

Energy-Efficiency Ratio
A number representing the energy stored in a fuel as compared to the energy required to produce, process, transport, and distribute that fuel.

Energy Management Information System
EMIS can make utility performance visible across an organization, enabling individuals and departments to plan, make decisions and take effective action to manage utility use. This decision-support tool can lead to productivity improvement with the continuous monitoring of utility performance and the identification of savings opportunities that can be sustained beyond an initial two to three year post-implementation awareness period

Environmental Management System (EMS)
• Serves as a tool to improve environmental performance;
• Provides a systematic way of managing an organization's environmental affairs;
• The aspect of the organization's overall management structure that addresses immediate and long-term impacts of its products, services and processes on the environment;
• Gives order and consistency for organizations to address environmental concerns through the allocation of resources, assignment of responsibility and ongoing evaluation of practices, procedures and processes; and
• Focuses on continual improvement of the system.

Environmental Policy
A structure in which guiding principles around environment are used for decision making.

Environmental Protection Act

Emissions Summary and Dispersion Modeling Report

Evaporative Losses
Vapors or fumes not emitted by the exhaust system, but escaping from the fuel tank.

Engineering, procurement and construction

Engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance. EPCM also refers to engineering, procurement and construction management.


Food Waste
Any food or beverage that can no longer be used for its intended purpose for whatever reason. This material can be diverted to animal feed, anaerobic digestion, bio-based materials/bio-chemical processing and composting or disposed in landfills or energy from waste facilities.

Food Waste - avoidable

Material that was considered at one point considered for human consumption i.e. edible or potentially edible.

Food Waste - unavoidable
Material that was not considered for human consumption i.e. non-edible (bones, peels etc.)


A form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization's products, aims and/or policies are environmentally friendly.

Global Reporting Initiative - a non-profit organization that promotes economic sustainability and produces one of the world's most prevalent standards for sustainability reporting among organizations.

The water located beneath the earth's surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock.


Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point - a quality assurance and safety program.

Hydrobromofluorocarbons, an ozone depleting substance (ODS)

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, an ozone depleting substance (ODS)

Hurdle Rate
The minimum rate of return on a project or investment required by a manager or investor. In order to compensate for risk, the riskier the project, the higher the hurdle rate.

Hazardous Product Act (Federal)

Hazardous Waste Information Network


Impact (Environmental Impact)
Any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization's activities, products or services.

To supply (dry land) with water by means of ditches, pipes, or streams; water artificially.

Industry Standing Committee

International Organization for Standardization



Key Performance Indicator
A measure of performance use to ensure corporate goals and values get acted upon at an operations level.


Land Disposal Restrictions

LEED Certified Buildings
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.


To make or process (a raw material) into a finished product, especially by means of a large-scale industrial operation.

Utility Monitoring and Targeting

Ministry of the Environment (Ontario)

Manufacturing, Producing or otherwise using or producing contaminants

Material Safety Data Sheet


North American Industry Classification System

Nutrient Management Plan, required for farms that store or use, but do not generate manure.

Nutrient Management Strategy, required for farms that generate manure that requires removal.

Noise Pollution
Harmful or annoying levels of noise, as from airplanes, industry, etc.

Oxides of Nitrogen

Noise Pollution Control

National Pollutant Release Inventory


Ontario Building Code

Ozone Depleting Substance

Occupational Health and Safety Act

Operating Equipment Efficiency
A framework for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of a process, by breaking it down into three constituent components: Availability, Performance, and Quality.


Polychlorobiphenyl - A liquid at one time commonly used in electrical transformers, now a restricted substance.

Peak Demand
A period of simultaneous, strong consumer demand or a period of highest demand in a billing period.

Permit / Licence
Provincial environmental permission to operate under specific conditions of environmental performance. Used to govern water, wastewater, waste, and air emissions.

Plate Waste
The quantity of edible portions of food served that is uneaten and is a common reason for food loss at the consumer and food service levels.

Safe to drink; drinkable.

Any of several compounds containing potassium, especially soluble compounds such as potassium oxide, potassium chloride, and various potassium sulphates, used chiefly in fertilizers.

Power Factor
The ratio of the real power flowing to the load, to the apparent power in the circuit. It is often a dimensionless number between -1 and 1.

The presence in or introduction into the environment of a substance or thing that has harmful or poisonous effects.

Point(s) of Reception

Process Integration
A technique for designing a process to minimise energy consumption and maximise heat recovery, also known as heat integration, energy integration or pinch technology.

Processing Step
A step along the production chain, where food or beverage waste may be generated.

Programme Management
The process of managing multiple ongoing inter-dependent projects. Programme management provides a layer above project management focusing on selecting the best group of programs, defining them in terms of their constituent projects and providing an infrastructure where projects can be run successfully but leaving project management to the project management community.

Project Management (PM)
The application of modern management techniques and systems to the execution of a project from start to finish, to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, quality, time and cost, to the equal satisfaction of those involved.

Public Nuisance
Air, noise, dust, vibration, odour or illumination which has a detrimental effect on use or enjoyment of a property.

A unique process that chemically breaks down organic materials, literally cracking their molecules, by heating them up in an oxygen-starved chamber. It's a closed process that doesn't involve combustion, so emissions are strictly controlled, and three materials emerge at the end of it: a synthetic methane-like gas, a diesel-like oil and carbon-rich char.



Raw Materials
The basic material from which a product is made. Examples include timber, iron ore, coal, gold, silver, and grain.

Energy generation from natural resources such as sunlight (solar), wind, rain, tides (water), biomass and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished).

Root Cause
A root cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a causal chain that leads to an outcome or effect of interest. Commonly, root cause is used to describe the depth in the causal chain where an intervention could reasonably be implemented to improve performance or prevent an undesirable outcome.

Root Cause Analysis
(RCA) is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems.


Sustainable Agriculture Initiative


Source Classification Code a USEPA developed system for identifying types of industrial processes Sludge A thick, soft, wet mud or a similar viscous mixture of liquid and solid components, esp. the product of an industrial or refining process.

Scope 1
Direct GHG - emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the organization.

Scope 2
Energy Indirect GHG - emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, or other sources of energy generated upstream from the organization.

Scope 3
Other Indirect GHG - emissions that are a consequence of the operations of an organization, but are not directly owned or controlled by the organization. 

More information on Scope 1, 2 & 3

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Companies whose personnel numbers fall below certain limits.

Standard Operating Procedure

A release of pollutant(s) into the natural environment originating from a structure, vehicle or other container that is abnormal, in light of all circumstances, and causes or may cause an adverse effect.

When a property owner installs a separate meter to monitor the consumption of a utility such as water or gas.

Stand-alone Equipment
A machine capable of functioning independently of a master computer, either part of the time or all of the time.

Sustainable Farm and Food Initiative

Balancing the economic, social and environmental impacts of business decisions.
The ability to meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable Procurement Policy
A documented governing principle that guides purchasing decisions from ingredients to office supplies.

Surface Water
The water on the surface of the planet such as in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean. It can be contrasted with groundwater and atmospheric water.


Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (Federal)

Facilities for processing oil, water and gas; the upper processing section of an offshore oil or gas production platform.

Business jargon for any encounter where customers and business engage to exchange information, provide service, or handle transactions.

Total Particulate Matter

Triple Bottom Line
The financial, social, and environmental effects of a firm's policies and actions that determine its viability as a sustainable organization.

Technical Standards and Safety Authority


Unconventional Oil
Unconventional oil is petroleum produced or extracted using techniques other than the conventional (oil well) method. Oil industries and governments across the globe are investing in unconventional oil sources due to the increasing scarcity of conventional oil reserves. The oil sands are a type of unconventional oil deposit.

Underground Mining
Underground hard rock mining refers to various underground mining techniques used to excavate hard minerals, mainly those minerals containing metals such as ore containing gold, silver, iron, copper, zinc, nickel and lead but also involves using the same techniques for excavating ores of gems such as diamonds.

The exploration, production and transportation of oil and gas.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Under-ground Storage Tanks


Variable Cost
A predicable cost that will increase or decrease with the volume of output, such as labour, materials, energy and water.

Volatile Organic Compound


Waste Reduction
Minimization of waste at its source to minimize the quantity required to be treated and disposed of, achieved usually through better product design and/or process management.

Water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic (human) influence.

Water Conservation
Reducing the usage of water and recycling of waste water for different purposes such as cleaning, manufacturing and irrigation. Water conservation helps save energy, protect wild animals, and prevent people from using so much water that it cannot be replaced with rain.

Water Discharge
The volume rate of water flow.

Water Diversion Act (Ontario)

Water Diversion Ontario - an agency that develops, implements and operates waste diversion program WHMIS Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System.