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ARCHIVED - CEPA Annual Report for Period April 2000 to March 2001

5. Controlling Toxic Substances

CEPA 1999 is an "Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health in order to contribute to sustainable development." It provides the federal government with new tools to protect the environment and human health, and it establishes strict deadlines for controlling substances declared toxic under the Act.

CEPA 1999 now explicitly requires implementation of the precautionary principle. This principle states that "where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation." As a result, the weight of scientific evidence informs decisions under CEPA 1999 about when and how toxic substances should be controlled. This ensures that the protection of the environment and health and safety of Canadians are always first priorities.

Assessing Existing Substances

CEPA 1999 provides more efficient processes for identifying, screening, and assessing toxic substances. Two new measures are included in the Act -- the categorization and screening of the DSL, and the review of decisions of other jurisdictions.

The DSL is an inventory of approximately 23 000 substances manufactured in, imported into, or used in Canada on a commercial scale. Part 5 requires the Ministers to categorize and then, if required, to conduct a screening-level risk assessment on all substances listed on the DSL to determine whether they are toxic or capable of becoming toxic. CEPA 1999 also imposes tough deadlines -- all DSL substances must be categorized within seven years of Royal Assent, which occurred on September 14, 1999. Canada is the only country in the world taking such a comprehensive approach to examining all substances in commerce.

The PSL was initiated under CEPA 1988. In CEPA 1999, the Ministers must establish and amend the PSL from time to time to allow for additions to the list as a result of nominations from the public, screening-level risk assessments of substances on the DSL, reviews of decisions by other jurisdictions, consultations with other governments in Canada, or any other circumstance that calls for priority assessments.

Managing Toxic Substances

Part 5 imposes strict new deadlines for taking preventive or control action in relation to toxic substances. For substances that have been determined to be toxic under section 77 (i.e., assessed as a result of the PSL, screening of the DSL, or review of another jurisdiction's decision), two years are allowed to develop a proposed preventive or control instrument, such as pollution prevention plans, regulations, or certain guidelines.

Once the proposed instrument is published, interested parties have 60 days to comment on the proposal or file a notice of objection and request the establishment of a board of review. The final instrument must be chosen and published within 18 months after the publication of the proposed instrument.

CEPA 1999 also imposes new requirements for the virtual elimination of releases to the environment of substances that are persistent, bioaccumulative and inherently toxic and that result primarily from human activity. Section 65 further requires the Ministers of the Environment and Health to specify the level of quantification (LOQ) for each substance whose discharges to the environment are targeted for virtual elimination on a Virtual Elimination List. The LOQ is the lowest concentration of a substance that can be accurately measured using sensitive but routine sampling and analytical methods.

Assessing New Substances

Substances that are not on the DSL are considered to be new to Canada. These cannot be manufactured or imported until:

  • the Minister has been notified prior to manufacturing or importation of the substance;
  • relevant information needed for an assessment of its toxicity has been provided by the notifier; and
  • the period for assessing the information (as set out in regulations) has expired.

CEPA 1999 requirements will apply to all new substances unless other applicable Acts contain the same requirements for notice and assessment and are specifically identified on Schedule 2 of the Act. These new provisions mean that CEPA 1999 sets the standard and acts as a safety net for new substances that are not covered under other Acts of Parliament.

Export of Substances

Part 5 allows the Minister to establish an Export Control List containing substances whose export is controlled because their manufacture, import, and/or use in Canada are prohibited or severely restricted or because Canada has accepted, through an international agreement, to control their export.

5.1 Assessments

5.1.1 The First Priority Substances List

Under CEPA 1988, 44 substances were assessed under the first Priority Substances List (PSL1), which was published in 1989. Twenty-five substances were assessed as toxic under CEPA 1999 and added to the List of Toxic Substances. Five were assessed as not toxic.

There were 14 PSL1 substances for which there was insufficient information to conclude on "toxicity" to the environment or human health. Environment Canada and Health Canada conducted updates for all of these assessments in 2000-01. In addition, short-chain chlorinated paraffins are being updated. They were concluded to be toxic under PSL1 because they constitute a danger in Canada to human health; however, there was insufficient information to determine whether they are toxic to the environment. In conjunction with this evaluation, medium- and long-chain chlorinated paraffins are also being reevaluated. The updates will be released for public comment in 2001-02.

Priority Substances List Assessment Process for a Substance Added to the List of Toxic Substance

Priority Substances List Assessment Process for a Substance Added to the List of Toxic Substance

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Results of PSL1
  • Benzene
  • Benzidine
  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
  • Bis(chloromethyl) ether
  • Chlorinated wastewater effluents
  • Chloromethyl methyl ether
  • Creosote-contaminated sites
  • 3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine
  • 1,2-Dichloroethane
  • Dichloromethane
  • Effluents from pulp mills using bleaching
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Hexavalent chromium compounds
  • Inorganic arsenic compounds
  • Inorganic cadmium compounds
  • Inorganic fluorides
  • Oxidic, sulphidic, and soluble inorganic nickel compounds
  • Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins
  • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Refractory ceramic fibre
  • Short-chain chlorinated paraffins
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
  • Trichloroethylene
Not toxic
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Methyl tertiary-butyl ether
  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Toluene
  • Xylenes
Insufficient information to conclude (assessments updated)
  • Aniline
  • Bis(2-chloroethyl) ether
  • 1,2-Dichlorobenzene
  • 1,4-Dichlorobenzene
  • Chlorinated paraffins*
  • 3,5-Dimethylaniline
  • Di-n-octyl phthalate
  • Organotin compounds (non-pesticidal)
  • Pentachlorobenzene
  • Styrene
  • 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane
  • Trichlorobenzenes
  • Tetrachlorobenzenes
  • Waste crankcase oils

* Short-chain chlorinated paraffins were concluded to be toxic under PSL1 because they constitute a danger in Canada to human health; however, there was insufficient information to determine whether they are toxic to the environment.

5.1.2 The Second Priority Substances List

Of the 25 substances on the second Priority Substances List (PSL2), published in 1995, risk assessments on 23 were completed by December 2000 within the five-year time frame prescribed under CEPA 1999. As of March 31, 2001, final conclusions have been reached for nine of the 23 substances, and proposed conclusions have been reached for the remaining 14 substances. Executive summaries, the full reports, and brief summaries of public comments are available online.

Draft reports have been completed for two other substances on PSL2 (aluminum salts and ethylene glycol) and are available online. Because of the considerable limitations of the available data on effects of these substances, a definitive conclusion of toxic or not toxic with respect to human health could not be reached. Therefore, assessments of these substances have been suspended in order for Health Canada to collect data on toxicity to human health. State of the Science Reports for these substances have been completed and are available online.

The Second Priority Substances List
PSL2 SubstanceDraft Report for Public Comment PeriodFinal Assessment Report (Expected date)Conclusion (Proposed Conclusion)Proposed Order Adding to Schedule 1Final Order Adding to Schedule 1
1,3-ButadieneOctober 2, 1999May 27, 2000ToxicJune 10, 2000May 9, 2001
2-Methoxy ethanol,
   2-ethoxy ethanol,
   2-butoxy ethanol
August 19, 2000(Spring 2002)(Toxic)  
AcetaldehydeAugust 14, 1999May 27, 2000ToxicJune 10, 2000May 9, 2001
AcroleinMay 1, 1999May 27, 2000ToxicJune 10, 2000May 9, 2001
AcrylonitrileJune 26, 1999May 27, 2000ToxicJune 10, 2000May 9, 2001
Aluminum chloride,
   aluminum nitrate,
   aluminum sulphate
Assessment suspended for 6 years to collect necessary data to conclude on danger to human life or health. Draft report published in December 2000.
AmmoniaMay 13, 2000June 23, 2001ToxicJune 23, 2001 
ButylbenzylphthalateMay 1, 1999February 5, 2000Not toxicn/an/a
Carbon disulfideOctober 23, 1999May 27, 2000Not toxicn/an/a
ChloroformJune 3, 2000March 24, 2001Not toxicn/an/a
Ethylene glycolAssessment suspended for 5 years to collect necessary data to conclude on danger to human life or health. Draft report published in December 2000.
Ethylene oxideJanuary 22, 2000(Winter 2002)(Toxic)  
FormaldehydeJuly 22, 2000(Winter 2002)(Toxic)  
HexachlorobutadieneJuly 1, 2000(Spring 2002)(Toxic)  
Inorganic chloraminesJuly 8, 2000June 23, 2001ToxicJune 23, 2001 
N,N-DimethylformamideJune 3, 2000March 24, 2001Not toxicn/an/a
N-NitrosodimethylamineFebruary 19, 2000(Winter 2002)(Toxic)  
Nonylphenol and its ethoxylatesApril 1, 2000June 23, 2001ToxicJune 23, 2001 
PhenolMay 1, 1999February 5, 2000Not toxicn/an/a
Releases from primary and secondary copper smelters and copper refineries and Releases from primary and secondary zinc smelters and zinc refineries (one report)July 1, 2000(Spring 2002)(Toxic)  
Releases of radionuclides from nuclear facilities (impacts on non-human species)July 29, 2000Dec. 1, 2001(Toxic)  
PM10May 15, 1999May 27, 2000ToxicJune 10, 2000May 9, 2001
Road salts that contain inorganic chloride salts with or without ferrocyanide saltsAugust 12, 2000Dec. 1, 2001(Toxic)Dec. 1, 2001 
Textile mill effluentsJuly 1, 2000June 23, 2001ToxicJune 23, 2001 

5.1.3 Categorizing the Domestic Substances List

The DSL is a comprehensive compilation of approximately 23 000 substances that have been or continue to be in Canadian commerce. In 2000-01, there were 224 additions to the DSL and one deletion.

Domestic Substances List

In 1999-2000, Environment Canada initiated a pilot project for 123 organic substances that met the categorization criteria. Of the 123 substances, 93 were identified as persistent and/or bioaccumulative and inherently toxic to non-human organisms, while the other 30 were identified as having a high potential for exposure of Canadians. The list includes a range of organic chemical classes and uses of substances on the DSL and therefore represents a sampling of the types of substances the departments will encounter in the coming years. The pilot project will help to assess the performance and robustness of the categorization methodology and will help in developing the methodology for screening-level risk assessments.

Environment Canada and Health Canada will be carrying out screening-level risk assessments on these 123 substances using a risk-based approach. A consultation process involving interested parties is also being organized by Environment Canada to establish a process to collect current entry and exposure data on these substances to support the assessments.

For the environmental categorization, Environment Canada established a multistakeholder Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on identifying and resolving issues of a scientific, technical, and process nature that emerge from the pilot project. The advisory group includes representation from government, provinces, industry, environmental groups, and academia. Environment Canada's criteria for inherently toxic to non-human organisms have been drafted and discussed with the Advisory Group. The results of the pilot project will be used to finalize these criteria.

5.1.4 Other Assessments

Key activities in 2000-01 on other substances not on PSL1 or PSL2 are addressed in the following sections.

Categorization and Screening of Substances of the DSL

Categorization and Screening of Substances of the DSL

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Perfluoroalkyl Substances

Canadian and international attention has focused on perfluoroalkyl substances since a major manufacturer announced in May 2000 that it was voluntarily phasing out perfluorooctanyl sulphonate compounds. Since many of these substances are persistent, bioaccumulative, and inherently toxic, and as such satisfy criteria for categorization set out under CEPA 1999, reviews and screening-level risk assessments are being carried out by Environment Canada and Health Canada under the provisions relating to categorizing and screening of substances on the DSL. An information-gathering notice under section 71 was published on June 10, 2000, requiring any persons engaged in an activity involving the substances to notify the Minister.


Sodium Ferrocyanide

As a result of a public nomination to the PSL in May 2000, Environment Canada is performing a screening-level risk assessment of sodium ferrocyanide, a substance used as an anti-corrosive additive in certain forest fire-fighting chemicals that are dropped from aircraft. These fire retardants are widely used in Canada at very high volumes (millions of litres per year). Several reports of fish kills following the application of sodium ferrocyanide-containing chemicals were documented. Despite great care taken in battling fires, it is very difficult to avoid fish habitat (lakes and streams) when these substances are dropped from aircraft.

Precursors to Particulate Matter

A Notice of Intent to recommend that Precursors to PM10 (sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds) be added to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 was published on July 15, 2000, for a 60-day comment period. This action is a key component of the federal government's Clean Air Agenda. The Ministers based their intent on the PSL Assessment Report for PM10, which identifies the four principal precursors to fine particulate matter. While the precursors were not assessed for their direct effects on human health and the environment, they can transform in the environment into PM10, which is toxic. One-half to two-thirds of fine particulate matter, a major component of smog, can be attributed to contributions from precursor gases in Canada.


What Is Smog?

Smog consists primarily of ozone and particulate matter in ambient air. Ozone is a gas formed in sunlight and warm, stagnant air from the precursor gases of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

Particulate matter is tiny solids or liquid droplets either released directly into the air from a variety of sources, such as cars, trucks, factories, construction sites, agriculture, unpaved roads, stone crushing, and burning of wood, or formed in the air from the chemical change of gases. Particulate matter is indirectly formed when gases from burning fuels react with sunlight and water vapour. These gases can result from fuel combustion in motor vehicles, at power plants, and in other industrial processes.

Ground-level Ozone

The Science Assessment Document for Ground-Level Ozone was published on October 14, 2000. The report concludes that there is a significant association between ambient ozone and adverse health effects and that significant adverse effects on human health and vegetation are occurring at ozone levels currently experienced across Canada. It further specifies that ground-level ozone is formed in the atmosphere from precursors, namely nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. (The Ministers subsequently issued a Notice of Intent to declare ozone and its precursors toxic on June 9, 2001.)


5.2 Managing Toxic Substances

5.2.1 Toxics Management Process

In 2000-01, a review of Environment Canada's existing risk management processes was undertaken because of the strict new deadlines imposed by CEPA 1999. Building on the lessons learned from the Strategic Option Process, Environment Canada developed a process for the management of toxic substances that will fulfil the new requirements of CEPA 1999. This new process is initially being used to manage PSL2 toxic substances and is being further refined for other toxic substances.

Under this process, risk management strategies that identify a range of risk management tools, including preventive and control instruments, will be developed and will serve as the basis for consultations. Consultations will also be held during the development of specific risk management tools.

5.2.2 Actions on PSL1 Toxics

A report entitled Benzene in Canadian Gasoline was released in September 2000. Based on information provided under the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations, adopted in 1997, the report highlights the fact that levels of benzene in gasoline have been reduced significantly since the regulations came into effect.

Examples of Risk Management Tools

The following illustrates the suite of risk management tools that are considered when identifying options for managing a substance:

  • Instruments under CEPA 1999 -- regulations, pollution prevention plans, environmental emergency plans, administrative agreements, codes of practice, environmental quality objectives or guidelines, release guidelines
  • Voluntary approaches -- Environmental Performance Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding
  • Economic instruments -- deposit-refund systems, financial incentives and subsidies, trading systems, environmental charges and taxes
  • Joint federal/provincial/territorial initiatives -- Canada-wide Standards, guidelines, codes of practice
  • Provincial/territorial acts -- regulations, permits, or other processes
  • Other federal acts -- Fisheries Act, Pest Control Products Act, Hazardous Products Act

Recommendations for the Design and Operation of Wood Preservation Facilities, published in summer 2000, are being voluntarily implemented by industry. Steering committees and working groups, composed of government and industry representatives, are assessing the degree of its implementation by industry. For the purpose of assessing whether to control or the manner in which to control the substance, a section 71 notice was issued for dichloromethane to identify persons engaged in an activity involving the substance.


Toxics Management Process

Toxics Management Process

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During 2000-01, consultations were held on the development of:

  • proposed regulations for tetrachloroethylene from the dry cleaning sector (proposed regulations were published on August 18, 2001);
  • proposed regulations for benzidine and hexachlorobenzene;
  • proposed codes of practice for integrated steel mills and for non-integrated steel mills;
  • an Environmental Performance Agreement for 1,2-Dichloromethane; and
  • an Environmental Performance Agreement for Refractory Ceramic Fibres.

Public Consultations

5.2.3 Actions on PSL2 Toxics

During 2000-01, the departments have been gathering information related to the PSL2 toxic substances and initiating the development of risk management strategies. Actions on PSL2 substances will be addressed in a multipollutant approach where possible, targeting groups of substances or taking a sector-specific approach. The specific risk management strategies that will be released for consultation will present the approach undertaken, the proposed objectives, and the proposed risk management tools.

5.2.4 Ozone-depleting Substances

To meet international commitments under amendments to the 1987 Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Environment Canada published final revisions to the Ozone-depleting Substances Regulations on January 1, 2001. Canada was one of the first countries to implement the amendments to the Protocol, agreed to by all parties in December 1999. Internationally known as the Beijing Amendment, it contains the following commitments:

  • freeze production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons used in refrigeration and cooling equipment;
  • report data on the use of methyl bromide, used mainly as a pesticide; and
  • ban the production, consumption, and international trade of bromochloromethane, used mainly as a fire-extinguishing agent.


The Parties to the Montreal Protocol, including Canada, decided to ban the production of bromochloromethane beginning on January 1, 2002. The Parties also decided to continue research to determine if n-propyl bromide is hazardous to the ozone layer. To support these commitments, Environment Canada issued a section 71 notice on August 12, 2000, requiring any persons engaged in an activity involving the substances to notify the Minister. This information will be used for the purpose of assessing whether these substances are toxic or are capable of becoming toxic or for the purpose of assessing whether to control these substances.


Possible Preventive or Control Instruments under CEPA 1999

The following are instruments provided for by CEPA 1999 that, if they contain preventive or control actions to reduce or eliminate the risk posed to the environment or human health, will satisfy the requirements of sections 91 and 92 of CEPA 1999:

  • Regulations -- A regulation imposes restrictions on an activity related to a substance or sets limits on the concentrations of a substance that can be used, released to the environment, or present in a product. Regulations that could meet s.91 and s.92 requirements include:
    • respecting substances on the List of Toxic Substances (s.93)
    • prescribing limits to achieve virtual elimination of releases (s.92.1)
    • prescribing requirements for fuels (s.140)
    • respecting vehicle, engine, and fuel emissions (s.160)
    • respecting international air pollution (s.167)
    • respecting international water pollution (s.177)
    • prescribing a minimum quantity for substances that are currently on the List of Toxic Substances or substances that have been assessed as toxic and will be added to the list (s.200)
    • respecting substances that are imported, manufactured, used, processed, released, disposed of, or recycled in relation to government operations or federal and aboriginal lands (s.209(2))
    • respecting the protection of the environment in relation to government operations or federal and aboriginal lands, including regulations respecting the establishment of environmental management systems, pollution prevention and pollution prevention plans, and environmental emergencies (s.209)
    • respecting systems related to deposits and refunds (s.325) if combined with a regulation under s.93 (toxic substances), s.118 (nutrients), or s.209 (regulations respecting federal entities or federal and aboriginal land)
    • respecting systems related to tradable units (s.326) if combined with a regulation under s.93 (toxic substances), s.118 (nutrients), s.140 (fuels), s.167 (Canadian sources of international air pollution), s.177 (Canadian sources of international water pollution), or s.209 (regulations respecting federal entities or federal and aboriginal land).
  • Environmental objectives (s.54 and s.208) -- Environmental objectives recommend qualitative or quantitative goals or purposes for pollution prevention or environmental control.They often recommend ambient environmental quality targets or maximum acceptable limits.
  • Environmental guidelines (s.54, s. 196, and s.208) -- Environmental guidelines include qualitative or quantitative recommendations to support or maintain particular uses of the environment.They can be developed to recommend a numerical concentration for toxic substances in water, agricultural water, soil, sediment, and human and animal tissue. Guidelines may also be developed to prevent, prepare for, or respond to an environmental emergency or restore environmental damage.
  • Environmental release guidelines (s.54 and s.208) -- Environmental release guidelines include recommended limits expressed as concentrations or quantities for the release of substances into the environment from works, undertakings, or activities.
  • Codes of practice (s.54, s. 196, and s.208) -- Codes of practice recommend procedures, practices, or release limits for environmental control relating to works, undertakings, and activities during any phase of their development and operation, and any subsequent monitoring activities. Codes of practice may also be developed to give industries and regulators clear recommendations on how to reduce emissions, effluents, and wastes and to prevent, prepare for, or respond to an environmental emergency or restore environmental damage.
  • Pollution prevention plans (s.56) -- The Minister can require any person to prepare and implement a pollution prevention plan outlining actions to prevent or minimize the creation or release of pollutants and waste.
  • Environmental emergency plans (s.199) -- The Minister can require any person to prepare and implement an environmental emergency plan outlining measures for the prevention of, preparedness for, response to, or recovery from an environmental emergency involving a toxic substance.
  • Agreements respecting environmental data and research (s.44) -- These agreements are usually cooperative arrangements with other governments or any person respecting the creation, operation, and maintenance of a system for monitoring environmental quality.
  • Administrative agreements (s.9) -- Administrative agreements are usually work-sharing arrangements between the federal government and provincial, territorial, or aboriginal governments and peoples respecting the administration of CEPA 1999. Canada-wide Standards agreements with the CCME are also signed under this authority.

5.2.5 Greenhouse Gases

Hydrofluorocarbons are a class of compounds that have intrinsic global warming potential and are included as one of the six key greenhouse gases listed in the Kyoto Protocol. They are also on the List of Toxic Substances under CEPA 1999. A section 71 notice was published on March 17, 2001, requiring information on certain hydrofluorocarbons. This information will assist Environment Canada to understand the use of these substances and assess the need for control strategies.


5.2.6 Canada-wide Standards

Developed under the CCME Harmonization Accord, Canada-wide Standards represent political and accountable commitments by Ministers to address environmental protection and health risk issues. The Minister's authority to sign these agreements is found under section 9 of CEPA 1999; however, the agreements represent cooperation towards a common goal, rather than a delegation of authority under CEPA 1999. Many federal actions to achieve these commitments will be taken under CEPA 1999.

In June 2000, the CCME, with the exception of Quebec, agreed to the first-ever Canada-wide Standards on benzene (phase I), mercury emissions, fine particulate matter, and ground-level ozone. These standards, developed in consultation with stakeholders over a three-year period, set the stage for implementing concerted actions to ensure cleaner air for Canadians. Ministers also approved, in principle, new standards for dioxins and furans from waste incineration and the pulp and paper sector, mercury-containing lamps, mercury in dental amalgams, and petroleum hydrocarbons in soil. (All were signed in April 2001 except for mercury in dental amalgams, which was signed in September 2001.)

Additional standards are under development for dioxins and furans from other sectors, mercury emissions from electric power generation, and benzene (phase II). (Benzene, Phase II was approved-in-principle by Ministers in April 2001 and signed in September 2001.)

The next challenge is demonstrating results to Canadians. Ministers have committed to be accountable to the public and each other by agreeing to develop implementation plans that will outline the key actions they will take to achieve the standards. Environment Canada has developed and implemented its implementation plan for Benzene, Phase I, and continues its work on the others. (The federal government's Interim Plan 2001 on Particulate Matter and Ozone was released in April 2001.)

Under the Canada-wide Standards for particulate matter and ozone, the department is working with the provinces, territories, and stakeholders to develop multipollutant emissions reduction strategies for the following industrial sectors: electric power, iron and steel, base metals smelting, pulp and paper, concrete and asphalt, and lumber and allied wood products. These strategies will complement and support the development of emissions reduction programs and enable a national roll-up of contributions from all sectors towards achieving the emissions reductions required under the Canada-wide Standards for particulate matter and ozone.

5.2.7 Environmental Performance Agreements

In response to the recommendations in the 1999 audit of federal toxics management programs, Environment Canada developed a draft Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements for public consultations in 2000-01. The policy framework requires that non-regulatory initiatives respect four essential principles: credibility, accountability, results, and cost-effectiveness. It calls for eight required elements: clear objectives and measurable results; clearly defined roles and responsibilities; public participation; verification of results; incentives and consequences; continuous improvement; regulatory backstop; and public reporting. The policy, which provides clarity and predictability to industry, the environmental community, and the public, is being used throughout the department to guide negotiation of voluntary initiatives. (The final Policy was announced in June 2001.)

5.2.8 Virtual Elimination

Since CEPA 1999 came into force, there have been no final assessments of substances that would trigger its virtual elimination provisions; however, the department is preparing for this eventuality:

  • Regulations under section 67, which set out the criteria for persistence and bioaccumulation, were published in March 2000
  • A draft report on the LOQs for hexachlorobenzene and dioxins and furans in soil was published in February 2000
  • The LOQs for PCBs in stack emissions and ash samples were published in January 2001
  • A study on the LOQs for chlorobenzenes is ongoing.

5.2.9 Toxic Substances Management Policy

Canada continues to promote actions both domestically and internationally on the virtual elimination of substances under the federal Toxic Substances Management Policy, a leading-edge policy among industrialized countries. The Policy calls for the virtual elimination of toxic substances that are persistent and bioaccumulative and that are present in the environment primarily due to human activity (Track 1 substances) and life cycle management of other toxic substances and substances of concern (Track 2 substances).

Nine of the 12 Track 1 substances were active ingredients in pesticides that are now prohibited in Canada. Environment Canada continues to take action to severely limit the others under CEPA 1999 and other fora. For example, in cooperation with the CCME, Canada-wide Standards for dioxin and furan releases from boilers burning salt-laden wood and from waste incineration, which together account for 25% of national releases, will lead to a combined emissions reduction of at least 80% by 2006. Work is continuing on standards for other sectors that emit dioxins and furans, including conical waste combustors, iron and steel, and residential wood stoves.

Internationally, Canada has long been a key player in developing the science and demonstrating the need for international action on POPs. Canada was the first country to ratify a regional POPs Protocol in 1998 under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and a global Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants under the United Nations Environment Programme, adopted in Stockholm in May 2001 (see Section 7.6 for more details).

Plans and Policies

5.2.10 Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances

Amendments to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations were under development in 2000-01. The regulations feature a schedule listing toxic substances subjected to prohibition for manufacture, use, process, sale, offer for sale, or import. The proposed regulations will add two substances (benzidine and its salt) to the current schedule and set specific conditions on one substance (hexachlorobenzene). (The proposed Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations were published for consultations on September 29, 2001.)

Track 1 Substances

Twelve substances met the criteria for management under Track 1 of the Toxic Substances Management Policy when it was first published in Part I of the Canada Gazette on July 4, 1998. These substances are:

aldrin; DDT; endrin; mirex; PCBs; PCDFs; chlordane; dieldrin; HCB; heptachlor; PCDDs; toxaphene


5.3 Substances and Activities New to Canada

5.3.1 Assessments

During 2000-01, Environment Canada and Health Canada jointly assessed 852 new substance notifications and 154 notifications for transitional substances. Transitional substances were manufactured in or imported into Canada between January 1987 and July 1994 (when the New Substances Notification Regulations came into effect). These reviews resulted in the imposition of various kinds of controls on 11 new substances.

Evaluating New Substances

5.3.2 Regulations

Environment Canada and Health Canada made a commitment, at the time of the promulgation of the New Substances Notification Regulations, to review the regulations three years after their implementation. In response, the departments initiated consultations involving government, industry, public advocacy groups, and labour representatives, to identify possible amendments to the New Substances Notification Regulations and the related programs. Five meetings were held in 2000-01. A report is expected in early 2002.

Proposed amendments to two schedules of the regulations were published on August 5, 2000. Amendments to Schedule IX (type of polymers) enhanced its content readability and understanding. Amendments to Schedule X (list of reactants and their Chemical Abstracts Service registry numbers) updated the list of reactants. (Final amendments were published on June 30, 2001.)

5.3.3 Good Laboratory Practice

The CEPA 1999 Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) Compliance Monitoring Unit is responsible for advising scientific evaluators of New Substances Notifications on the quality of submitted test data and for performing inspections and audits in Canadian testing facilities. Highlights of the current year include the following:

  • served on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on GLP and the Steering Group for the GLP Mutual Joint Visit project; chaired a Steering Group on automated information exchange on GLP inspection activities;
  • developed a computerized system that identifies any laboratory that has produced data employed in new substances evaluations and assists in identifying false or unverified claims of compliance with GLP requirements; the existing database of all OECD GLP inspections was updated to include about 450 inspections carried out in 1999 and was distributed to member countries for their use;
  • participated with inspectors from Switzerland and South Korea in week-long visits to Australia and New Zealand in November 2000 to review programs, observe inspections, and report on findings; and
  • inspected two Canadian laboratories (one inspection was conducted together with experts from Australia, Finland, and the United Kingdom to build confidence among GLP programs; conducted a pre-inspection of a third Canadian laboratory to determine its readiness for entry into the monitoring program).

5.3.4 Scheduling of Other Acts

CEPA 1999 allows for the waiving of its notification and assessment requirements for new substances if they are met by another federal Act. This means that CEPA 1999 acts as a safety net -- unless new substances fall under other Acts that are specifically listed in Schedule 2 (chemicals or polymers) or Schedule 4 (products of biotechnology), CEPA 1999 requirements will apply to all new substances.

Proposed Orders proposing to add other applicable Acts and Regulations to Schedules 2 and 4 of CEPA 1999 were published on February 10, 2001. The listing of these Acts and Regulations in the CEPA Schedules makes it clear that they meet the exemption criteria laid out in sections 81(6) and 106(6) of CEPA 1999. These criteria require that, prior to their manufacture, import, or sale, new substances are notified and assessed to determine whether they are or may be toxic as set out in section 64 of the Act. Consequently, assessments conducted for uses covered under the listed Acts and Regulations will not be duplicated under CEPA 1999. (The final Orders were published on August 29, 2001. The legal provisions that authorize the Schedules came into force on September 13, 2001.)


CEPA 1999 requirements will apply to new substances subject to the Food and Drugs Act and Fisheries Act and in certain products under the Health of Animals Act, including genetically modified foods, drugs and vaccines, cosmetics, medical devices, and genetically modified (transgenic) fish and animals. Interdepartmental action plans have been initiated to develop regulations under these Acts that meet CEPA 1999 requirements.

5.3.5 International Actions

In an effort to streamline the new substances notification and assessment schemes in Canada and the United States, Environment Canada has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and industry in both countries in the 'Four Corners' pilot project. The pilot project, involving the exchange of technical data and assessment information, ran from July 1996 to July 1998 and was renewed for two more years. During 2000-01, 17 substances were submitted and reviewed under this program. Seven of these substances were added to the Non-Domestic Substances List, and waivers from specific data requirements were recommended for the remaining substances.

Schedule 2 (Chemicals and Polymers)Schedule 4 (Animate Products of Biotechnology)
Pest Control Products Act and Pest Control Products RegulationsPest Control Products Act and Pest Control Products Regulations
Feeds Act and Feeds RegulationsFeeds Act and Feeds Regulations
Fertilizers Act and Fertilizers RegulationsFertilizers Act and Fertilizers Regulations
Seeds Act
and Seeds Regulations
Health of Animals Act
and Health of Animals Regulations (veterinary biologics)

Canada chairs the OECD Task Force of New Industrial Chemicals established in 1999-2000. Environment Canada and Health Canada, in association with the Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, is part of a wider OECD effort aimed at learning from each other, enhancing information and work sharing, and harmonizing new chemical schemes. During 2000-01, Canada and Australia began developing an agreement between the two countries.

Environment Canada actively contributes as a member of the OECD Task Force on Environmental Exposure Assessment. In August 2000, the OECD published the Guidance Document on Emission Scenario Documents, which will help to improve the understanding of environmental exposure assessment methods on industrial chemicals and enhance international harmonization.

5.4 Export of Substances

The Export Control List (Schedule 3), mandated under section 100 of CEPA 1999, contains substances whose export is controlled because their manufacture, import, and/or use in Canada are prohibited or severely restricted or because Canada has accepted, through an international agreement, to control their export.

The list identifies substances that are:

  • prohibited from being exported;
  • subject to notification or consent; or
  • subject to certain restrictions.

The final Export Control List Notification Regulations were published on March 29, 2000. They require exporters to provide notice of the proposed exports of substances on the Export Control List and to submit annual reports. The Regulations are instrumental in the implementation of subsection 101(1) and section 103 of the Act. In 2000, there were 10 notifications of exports received and published on the CEPA Environmental Registry.

Lists of Substances

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