Purpose of Atlantic PIRI

The Atlantic Partnership In Risk-Based Corrective Action Implementation (Atlantic PIRI) was established in 1997 to facilitate the adoption of a risk-based regulatory approach for the management of contaminated sites in the Atlantic region. It is a multi-stakeholder consultation group that creates a forum for identification and discussion of issues, development of standards and processes, and provision of recommendations on policies and programs.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Deputy Ministers of the four environmental regulatory agencies of the Atlantic Provinces gave Atlantic PIRI a mandate to develop and implement ann Atlantic Risk-Based Corrective Action (Atlantic RBCA) process throughout Atlantic Canada.

The MOU is periodically renewed to establish Atlantic PIRI’s continuing mandate and role in ensuring that the Atlantic RBCA process and related regulatory programs are effective and serve the needs of Atlantic Canadians. Atlantic PIRI delivers upon the objectives stated in the MOU to the greatest extent possible, in accordance with its core strengths and areas of expertise, which are principally related to scientific and technical fields, and related regulatory issues with respect to contaminated sites management.


Atlantic PIRI functions with core values of respect, cooperation, collaboration, consensus, and transparency.

Partnership Representation

Atlantic PIRI is comprised of representatives from three groups of partner organizations.

  1. Atlantic Provincial Environment Regulators
    The New Brunswick Department of Environment, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, the Prince Edward Island Department of Environment, Labour and Justice, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation all participate in Atlantic PIRI. These organizations are also referred to as “Regulators”.
  2. Industry Representatives
    This group is currently comprised of the Canadian Fuels Association, Irving Oil Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd., Imperial Oil Ltd., and Suncor. These are referred to as “Industry” representatives. The organizations within the Industry group may change, at the discretion of Atlantic PIRI and the partner organizations, and must have exposure in all Atlantic jurisdictions.
  3. Regional Consulting Professionals
    This group is currently comprised of representatives of the following consulting companies: Dillon Consulting Ltd., Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, and Stantec Inc. These partners are also referred to as “Consultants”. The organizations within the Consultant group may change, at the discretion of Atlantic PIRI and the member organizations, and must have exposure in all Atlantic jurisdictions.

Each of the partner organizations is represented by at least one individual. Additional representation from any partner organization is at the discretion of Atlantic PIRI.

Atlantic PIRI can include members who serve as liaison with Federal departments. Additional organizations may be invited to participate, on an ongoing or short-term basis, at the discretion of Atlantic PIRI.

Member Profile

To ensure that Atlantic PIRI can function in an efficient, effective, and timely manner, partner organizations are expected to provide representatives who will participate as members and who have the following characteristics and capabilities.

Each member should:

  • be able to make decisions related to Atlantic PIRI’s purpose and core functions on behalf of their partner organization;
  • be able to provide a meaningful conduit and liaison between their partner organization and Atlantic PIRI;
  • have a relevant and useful skill set as deemed necessary by Atlantic PIRI, and in accordance with the Atlantic PIRI’s core functions (i.e. technical, policy, etc.), being recognized as an authority in their area of expertise within the partner organization;
  • be willing and able to allocate a regular and non-trivial amount of time to Atlantic PIRI meetings and related work;
  • as Regulator member, be willing to dedicate a greater amount of time than the members from other partner organizations, in recognition of the importance and contribution of Atlantic PIRI to the feasibility of regulatory programs in each jurisdiction;
  • be a passionate and enthusiastic volunteer and a champion of Atlantic RBCA;
  • be willing and able to proactively participate in discussions and respond to requests for input and information from other members in a timely manner;
  • be diligent in the carrying-out of Atlantic PIRI work and in providing updates at monthly meetings;
  • be willing and able to participate, on a rotational basis, in a variety of Atlantic PIRI’s activities;
  • be willing to participate in one of the Atlantic PIRI Working Groups;
  • be willing and able to mentor new members; and
  • when they are leaving Atlantic PIRI, endeavour to identify and propose suitable candidates from within their partner organization to take their place at the Atlantic PIRI table.

At the discretion of Atlantic PIRI, liaison members need not meet all of the listed criteria.

Core Functions

Atlantic PIRI has identified the following core functions that it will focus on in support of the mandate and objectives set out by the MOU:

  1. Ongoing maintenance of the Atlantic RBCA model such that it can continue to provide a sound scientific basis for contaminated site management in the Atlantic Region, for the contaminants that it has been designed for, and for the enhancement of the model to accommodate additional
    contaminants where appropriate.
  2. Establishing an organizational structure and process to facilitate dialogue and discussion between all members that will contribute to the improvement and harmonization of contaminated sites regulation and brownfield redevelopment policy in the Atlantic region.
  3. Providing an ongoing forum for Atlantic PIRI members to discuss technical issues affecting contaminated sites management in the Atlantic region, and an established technical capacity to analyse these issues and develop potential solutions.

Atlantic PIRI Structure

The work of Atlantic PIRI will be facilitated through an organized structure (Figure 1.).

“Committee of the whole”

The term “Atlantic PIRI” refers to a “committee of the whole », comprised of all member representatives from all partner, liaison, and other organizations. Atlantic PIRI is responsible for fulfilling the mandate and objectives set out in the MOU.

The Atlantic PIRI committee of the whole is Co-Chaired by a Regulator and an Industry member.

Structure of Atlantic PIRI

Figure 1. Structure of Atlantic PIRI

Working Groups

Atlantic PIRI will maintain three Working Groups that focus on priorities of, are accountable to, Atlantic PIRI. Each Working Group will be overseen by co-chairs who manage the general administration of the Working Group, including identification of priorities and required resources, scheduling and conducting meetings, overseeing the Working Group budget, and related activities.

Working Group co-chairs are accountable to Atlantic PIRI and are expected to report at each quarterly meeting and participate in monthly conference calls.

The Working Groups have mandates and membership as follows:

  1. Harmonization Working GroupThe Harmonization Working Group focuses on the harmonization of non-technical matters affecting contaminated site management and brownfield redevelopment in the Atlantic region. The Harmonization Working Group is comprised of members representing each of the Atlantic environmental regulatory organizations, at least one Industry member, and at least one Consultant member.
  2. Technical Working GroupThe Technical Working Group focuses on the resolution of technical issues pertaining to Atlantic RBCA and the risk assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. The Technical Working Group is comprised of all members who represent regional environmental Consultants, at least one Regulator and at least one Industry member.
  3. Stakeholder Working GroupThe Stakeholder Working Group is responsible for management of the internal affairs of Atlantic PIRI, its reporting, promotion of Atlantic RBCA, and partnership and public liaison issues.The Stakeholder Working Group is comprised of the two Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs and at least one environmental consulting company.

Task Groups

Ad hoc Task Groups are a way for Atlantic PIRI to engage the support of additional experts, on a volunteer basis, to address clearly defined issues. Atlantic PIRI will define the Terms of Reference for each Task Group, which may be established to help address one or more priorities of a Working Group, or independent of the Working Groups. Each Task Group will have a one-year timeframe that will be re-evaluated annually and possibly renewed.

The structure and process of each Task Group will be determined on a case-by-base basis. However, each Task Group must include, as its leader, a member of Atlantic PIRI, who is accountable to Atlantic PIRI for the Task Group’s progress.

Requests for expressions of interest to participate in specific Task Groups can be published on the public web site, along with the Task Group Terms of Reference, or volunteer participation can be recruited directly by Atlantic PIRI.


By mutual agreement, secretariat services through a Coordinator position, including general administration, accounting, and annual auditing for Atlantic PIRI are provided by the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute.

Atlantic PIRI may contract additional services related to the operations of Atlantic PIRI or its work, from members, partner organizations, or externally.

Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs

Roles and Responsibilities

The Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs are responsible for the general administration of Atlantic PIRI. This includes scheduling, development of agendas, arranging and facilitating meetings, overseeing the budget, and related activities. Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs are expected to represent Atlantic PIRI as the administrative head of the organization (public speaking, correspondence, etc).

As representatives of Atlantic PIRI, the Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs will informally make contact with each partner organization on an annual basis to update them on the group’s progress, and to create opportunities to support their representative member’s participation in and continuing value to the group.

The Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs are also responsible to manage membership issues that may arise.


One Co-Chair position will be occupied by a Regulator, one by an Industry member of Atlantic PIRI.


Candidates are identified through an informal expression of interest. Selection will proceed through consensus agreement.


Each Atlantic PIRI Co-Chair has a staggered term of a minimum of 3 years, with a one-year overlap between an incumbent Co-Chair and a new Co-Chair, and may continue at the mutual pleasure of Atlantic PIRI and the incumbent. Regulators are expected to rotate as an Atlantic PIRI Co-Chair.


Accountability within Atlantic PIRI uses a “RASCI” model¹, as follows:

  • Responsible – Atlantic PIRI is responsible, through its Co-Chairs, for fulfilling its mandate and objectives.
  • Accountable – Atlantic PIRI is accountable, through its Co-Chairs and Working Group co-chairs, to the signatories of the MOU and to its’ partner organizations.
  • Supportive – each Atlantic PIRI member is expected to support the Atlantic PIRI mandate and objectives through participation in plenary meetings and Working Groups. Volunteer Task Group members support Atlantic PIRI by volunteering their expertise; the secretariat provides administrative support and CPPI provides support in the form of financial management and reporting.
  • Consulted – Atlantic PIRI is a consultative forum for its partners, and consultation occurs through the discussion forum of its meetings. Members may consult with experts within their partner organizations, and Atlantic PIRI may consult with external stakeholders on specific issues.
  • Informed – the people whom Atlantic PIRI needs to inform about its work and Atlantic RBCA are the signatories of the MOU, its partner organizations and the public.

Meetings and Committee Work

Atlantic PIRI will meet face-to-face at least once each quarter, rotating between locations in each of the partner Provinces, and through teleconference (or other electronic medium) at least once a month.

Working Groups and Task Groups will arrange face-to-face meetings and teleconference discussions on an as-needed basis, and at the discretion of the co-chairs of each Working Group.

Atlantic PIRI, Working Groups, and Task Groups will also conduct work through electronic distribution of documents. Decisions may be reached through such a written commenting process in the absence of a realtime face-to-face or teleconference discussion at the discretion of the Working Group co-chairs or Task Group leader(s).

Planning and Priorities

The fourth quarter face-to-face meeting of Atlantic PIRI each year will be planning session. Each Working Group will identify priority issues they will focus on in the coming year, the deliverables for the year and the resources required (expertise, budget, and timeframe). The priorities of each Working Group will be discussed by Atlantic PIRI, and relationships between Working Group priorities identified, prior to the coming year’s work plan being finalized.

Harmonization with CWS

Atlantic PIRI and the four Atlantic Provinces, have each committed to harmonizing the level of protection of human health and the environment with that provided by the Canada-Wide Standards (CWS) developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). Every 5 years, following the release of CCME revisions or updates to the Canada-Wide Standards for substances assessed by the Atlantic RBCA software, Atlantic PIRI will review its’ software model to determine if updates or revisions are required to ensure continuing harmonization.

5-Year Plan

Atlantic PIRI will also engage in a longer-term planning exercise, to develop a 5-year plan to identify and discuss trends, issues on the horizon and opportunities for Atlantic PIRI. The 5-year planning will be coordinated with reporting of Atlantic PIRI’s 5-year review of the Atlantic RBCA software.


The agenda for each Atlantic PIRI meeting (face-to-face and teleconference) will be developed by the Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs, with topics and timeframes proposed by them and by the co-chairs of each Working Group.

Each agenda item will indicate which of the priorities in the Priority Matrix is addressed. The Working Group co-chairs, or their designate, presents to the other members of Atlantic PIRI.

Quorum and Participation

Participation in meetings is at the core of Atlantic PIRI responding to its mandate and meeting its objectives. Because Atlantic PIRI largely delivers its work through the participating Provinces, a minimum of three Regulators, from three different Provinces, is required to open a meeting of Atlantic PIRI, whether by teleconference or face-to-face.

In extraordinary circumstances, where a decision must be taken and a Regulator is unable to participate in the meeting, that Regulator may ask one of the other Regulators to act as proxy in the consensus process.

Working Groups and Task Groups will determine their own member participation requirements for effective meetings. A Working Group co-chair or Task Group leader can request intervention of the Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs if a member of Atlantic PIRI is not participating effectively in meetings.


Working Group co-chairs and Task Group leaders will report on their progress with their work plans at each meeting of Atlantic PIRI. Any decisions made during discussions will be clearly stated by the Working Group co-chairs and Task Group leaders at the end of their report.

The co-chairs of each Working Group will be accountable to Atlantic PIRI for the implementation of the Working Group’s annual plan. Task Group leaders are similarly accountable to Atlantic PIRI. Progress in the implementation of the work plan, intermediate timeframes, and decisions taken will be documented in the Priority Matrix for each quarterly meeting.


Atlantic PIRI recognizes three distinct types of decisions:

  1. Decisions that set standards for the technical tool affect the application of the Atlantic RBCA software tool.
  2. Decisions related to implementation of policies and/or programs are communicated as
    recommendations, for consideration by each of the participating Provinces.
  3. Decisions relating to the management of Atlantic PIRI

Decisions and recommendations of Atlantic PIRI are made based upon a consensus agreement approach, which respects the multi-sector membership of the group (Figure 2). There is no quorum for decisions, apart from the quorum required to hold a meeting.
Members who have concern with a decision can choose to

  • declare their reservations, which may trigger
    • further discussion,
    • a modification in the decision or
    • be recorded and addressed in the future;
  • stand aside and not participate in the decision (usually due to lack of information or expertise);
  • or, if a member feels the decision is contrary to the purpose or mandate of Atlantic PIRI, he or she can block the consensus, and require further discussion and /or information. (see the attached Proposed Consensus Process)

In keeping with the MOU, members are responsible for ensuring that the positions of their respective organizations are accurately represented¹.

Figure 2. Consensus Process

Figure 2. Consensus Process

Working Groups and Task Groups will have no decision-making authority, except as delegated under Terms of Reference for a particular task by Atlantic PIRI, and will bring recommendations to Atlantic PIRI for decisions.

Following discussion, the Working Group co-chair, or Task Group leader who has brought an issue to the table will ensure that any decision taken on the issue they proposed is clearly and accurately stated. The Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs will be responsible for ensuring that all decisions made at each meeting are accurately recorded in the Priority Matrix and in a Record of Decision.


Priority Matrix

There are no official minutes for Atlantic PIRI. A “Priority Matrix” is an internal tool used by Atlantic PIRI to track progress with the priority issues each Working Group is addressing, to record decisions, and to maintain a list of issues that are not currently priorities. The Priority Matrix will be made available to all Atlantic PIRI members within a reasonable period following each quarterly meeting. All members will be requested to indicate their agreement with, or comments on the records of decisions in the Priority Matrix at the start of the subsequent meeting of Atlantic PIRI.

Record of Decision

Records of Decision will be posted on the public web-site, www.atlanticrbca.com.

Other Documents

A secure, web-based data management and scheduling system will be maintained as a repository of Atlantic PIRI documents, relevant references, provincial documents, meeting and member information, and notices. Password access will be provided to all Atlantic PIRI members by theCoordinator.

Atlantic PIRI will also maintain a web presence, www.atlanticrbca.com, in support of the adoption and implementation of Atlantic Risk-Based Corrective Action in the Atlantic region and abroad, and to communicate the existence of Atlantic PIRI, its purpose, and achievements to stakeholders and the general public. The web site also serves as a library of public documentation relating to Atlantic PIRI, Atlantic RBCA, provincial policies and programs and related issues.


Atlantic PIRI will produce an annual report for the Ministers of participating Provinces and other partner organizations. The annual report will outline the progress of the partnership and identify appropriate actions for the coming year.


The financial requirements of Atlantic PIRI are met by annual contributions from the Regulator and Industry partner organizations. Individual Consultant members provide in-kind services to achieve the mandate of Atlantic PIRI. Travel and other associated expenses that enable members to participate in regular meetings of Atlantic PIRI, Working groups and Task Groups will be the responsibility of the individual partners. Any additional costs will be by mutual agreement of the partners.

In accordance with this direction, by mutual agreement, the Atlantic PIRI has implemented the following practices:

  1. Regulators provide annual financial contributions toward the overall administration and work of Atlantic PIRI. Amounts may vary in any given year, but overall contributions from each jurisdiction should be approximately equal.
  2. Irving Oil Ltd. similarly provides an annual financial contribution, as does the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute on behalf of its Industry members.
  3. Consultant partner organizations group contribute to Atlantic PIRI through the in-kind contributions of their representative members. This is principally through their provision of technical expertise and professional staff time sufficient to contribute in a meaningful way to Atlantic PIRI work.
  4. All partner organizations contribute sufficient in-kind resources to cover travel and related expenses for their representative members to attend regular meetings and otherwise fully participate in Atlantic PIRI. At the discretion of the Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs, additional time or efforts by Consultants may be considered “above and beyond” regular participation, and reimbursement from Atlantic PIRI funds may be arranged. This may include participation in conferences, seminars, public forums to make presentations on Atlantic PIRI’s work.
  5. Atlantic PIRI may elect to cover travel and other expenses related to the conduct of Atlantic PIRI business by members, at the discretion of the Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs.
  6. Atlantic PIRI is not incorporated as a legal entity. The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute will provide accounting financial management services and an annual audit for Atlantic PIRI.
  7. Atlantic PIRI will create an annual budget based on administrative requirements and resource information brought forward from Working Groups and Task Groups at the annual planning session.
  8. Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs are responsible for signing off on all budget expenditures.
  9. Working Group co-chairs will manage the budgets for their working group, and submit invoices within their budgets to the Atlantic PIRI Co-Chairs for sign-off.
  10. Surplus funds are rolled over to the next fiscal year on a pro-rated basis.
  11. When additional effort, expertise, and perspective is required for Atlantic PIRI to meet its objectives, Atlantic PIRI Consultants, and external consultants, may be retained to provide services or products to Atlantic PIRI.
  12. The budget is reviewed by Atlantic PIRI at each quarterly face-to-face meeting.
  13. The fiscal and operating year for Atlantic PIRI is a calendar year.


A budget will be developed each year at the fourth quarter planning meeting. Each Working Group and Task Group will develop their own budget for financial resources, expertise and timeframes, and present it to Atlantic PRI at the fourth-quarter planning session.

The Atlantic PIRI and Working Group co-chairs, and Task Group leaders, will report on the budget at each quarterly meeting


The partnership is established in accordance with the current MOU between the environmental regulatory agencies of the Atlantic Provinces. Each partner organization is responsible for ensuring that their respective activities on, through, and on behalf of Atlantic PIRI, are undertaken in accordance with governing policy and legislation.

  1. The RASCI model is a responsibility assignment methodology for identifying roles and responsibilities during the project implementation or the change management. RASCI is an abbreviation for: R = Responsible – owns the problem / project; A = to whom « R » is Accountable – who must sign off (Approve) on work before it is effective; S = can be Supportive – can provide resources or can play a supporting role in implementation; C = to be Consulted – has information and/or capability necessary to complete the work; I = to be Informed – must be notified of results, but need not be consulted.
  2. Member organizations have not wholly delegated Atlantic PIRI to act on their behalf. Although it is the intent that each member organization will act in good faith within a consensus agreement approach, each member organization nevertheless retains the ability to act unilaterally on matters within its authority. Failure to achieve consensus does not prevent a member from taking any such lawful action.