In response to evolving science and exposure scenarios to harmful chemicals and pollutants in 21st century society, the Government of Canada has released proposed amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to strengthen protection measures for Canadians and the environment. This is the first major reform of the Act in over 20 years.

The cornerstone amendment to the Act is the recognition that every individual in Canada has the right to a healthy environment. Further amendments seek to protect this right by:

  • Assessing cumulative exposure effects to substances, providing better protection of vulnerable populations, and modifying the use of animal testing.
  • Shifts to less harmful chemicals by use of a Watch List that identifies substances with potential for meeting the criteria under CEPA to be considered at risk or capable of becoming toxic.
  • Introducing a new Plan of Chemicals Management Priorities which will help support research, monitoring, information gathering, and risk communication related to substance assessment and management.
  • Amending the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) to develop a regulatory framework under the FDA for assessing and managing environmental risks posed by new drugs, which would streamline risk management efforts.
  • Implementing a new regime to prioritize the prohibition and release of toxic substances that pose the highest risk.

A detailed, plain language overview of the amendments can be found here.

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