Persistent organic pollutants, commonly called POPs, are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances released into the environment primarily through a variety of human activities. POPs fell into three broad categories: pesticides such as aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, and hexachlorobenzene; industrial substance such as polychlorinated biphenyls; and chemical by-products and contaminants of various industrial processes such as dioxin, furans, and hexachlorobenzene. POPs transported across national boundaries through air and watersheds are widely recognized to be of global concern. In order to protect and improve the environment and to reduce risks to health, national and international actions have already been directed towards severe reduction, and in some cases elimination of the release of several POPs. This paper briefly describes, from a Canadian perspective, some national and international initiatives undertaken in the last 15 years that are designed to reduce levels of POPs. These initiatives include: (1) the Canadian Toxic Substances Management Policy, (2) the Canada-US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (1987), (3) the Canada-US Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, (4) the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, and (5) the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe POPs Protocol to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. Negotiations are underway for a global agreement to control POPs.