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Canada Reforms CEPA

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) was introduced in 1999 and came into force on March 31, 2000. The main purpose of this Act is to protect the environment and human health and contribute to sustainable development through pollution prevention.

In March 2016, a comprehensive review of CEPA was initiated by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development of the House of Commons (Committee). The group have made a total of 87 recommendations, each of which were evaluated by the Government, who either provided their support or objection to the recommendation.

On June 29, 2018 these findings were released in the following publication: the “Follow-Up Report to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” (CEPA) [Link: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/documents/pdf/cepa/FollowUpCepaReport-eng.pdf].

Below is a brief summarization regarding some of these recommendations:

Resetting the Chemical Substances Inventory

Recommendation: Remove substances from the Domestic Substances List (DSL) that are no longer in commerce. Business interested in placing these substances back into commerce would need to comply with new substance pre-market notification and the appropriate assessment requirements. This would need to be completed prior to manufacturing or importation of the substance.

Response: Government supports this recommendation.

 

Automatic Addition of Toxic Substances to Schedule 1 of CEPA

Recommendation: Any substances meeting the toxicity criteria set out in section 64 of CEPA should automatically be placed on the “List of Toxic Substances” (i.e. schedule 1) of the Act.

Response: Government does not support this recommendation due to lack of transparency and public participation in the decision-making process.

 

Other proposals include:

  • Solidify commitment to develop and publish a policy on vulnerable populations (i.e. children, pregnant women, elderly populations) as part of risk assessments
  • Proposal to expand the Parliamentary review period of CEPA from a 5-year timeframe to 10 years
  • Revise definition of “toxic” to address endocrine disruptors and substances that are dangerous at low-level quantity thresholds
  • Lower the threshold for the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) reporting
  • Introduce mandatory labelling for all products containing toxic substances
  • Update the Persistent and Bioaccumulative Regulations
  • Consider reliable data from other jurisdictions such as EU REACH when conducing assessments

 

Any legislative amendment resulting from recommendations supported by the Government will be notified in the Canada Gazette.

If your business is subjected to CEPA or if you are unsure if you are required to follow this regulation, please contact Nexreg for more information!

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