Canada's fast changing regulatory landscape

Find out more about Canada’s changing regulatory landscape in this summary from the 2024 Global Outlook webinar on the Americas.

For the last webinar in our Global Outlook series, we focused on chemicals and chemical products in the Americas. Among the jurisdictions discussed was Canada, where the regulatory landscape for chemicals management is evolving quickly.  

During the webinar, Chemical Watch News & Insight senior editor Terry Hyland highlighted the key changes to watch out for.

CEPA overhaul

The legislation (S-5) was approved last June, the first major overhaul of CEPA in almost 20 years. 

This predominantly addressed incorporating the right to a healthy environment, and changes in the way toxic substances are managed under the law. A two-year timeline has been implemented to develop the frameworks for these; final deliberation is expected in June 2025.  

Meanwhile, throughout the duration of 2024, the Canadian government will be consulting on these changes to assess progress. Firstly, we are expecting a discussion document on incorporating the right to a healthy environment into CEPA, outlining how the government envisions the scope of this right, how to incorporate environmental justice and indigenous rights, and possible mechanisms for individuals to protect the right. Once this document is released, there will be a 60-day consultation period. Following that, a draft framework to implement the right to a healthy environment will be published in the summer/autumn.  

A new regulatory framework for managing chemicals is as follows: 

  • Devising a new plan of chemicals management priorities 
  • Defining the criteria for highest risk substances 
  • Changing regulations for prohibiting substances 
  • Outlining a ‘watch list’ approach for identifying potential problematic substances 

Canada is currently in the final stages of assessing approximately 4,300 substances under the original chemicals management plan from 2006.

PFAS action in Canada

A final ‘State of PFAS’ report is expected to be issued in the spring of 2024. A draft report published by the government last May proposed that PFAS as a class be added to CEPA Schedule 1, which would establish regulatory action on 4,700 PFAS substances. Also included in the draft document were further regulations to inflict regulatory controls on PFAS in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), and the recommendation that more information be gathered on PFAS. Additionally, other products like cosmetics and packaging may also be impacted by regulatory action in the future.  

After the above report has been published, Canada has announced a mandatory data column for PFAS using its CEPA section 71 survey, which will call on manufacturers to provide information on around 200 types of PFAS on Canada’s Domestic Substances List. Reporting will then be due by the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025.

Prohibition of certain toxic substances regulations

This summer, we are expecting to see a finalized update to the 2012 prohibition proposal.  

A proposed update released nearly two years ago recommended closing current loopholes that still permitted the use of certain PFAS. The proposal also envisioned restrictions on two additional flame retardants, DP, and DBDPE, which would take effect within three years. If these were finalized as proposed, Canada would become the first country to restrict DBDPE, which is used in various sectors across America. 

2024 Global Outlook

Canada was just one of the topics covered in the 2024 Global Outlook webinar on chemicals and chemical products in the Americas. Watch the webcast now. You can find out more about the full Global Outlook series here, including links to more on-demand webinars and how to access Global Outlook articles.  

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