Frequently asked questions – Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the 2016 Amendments)

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below are meant to provide Canadians and businesses with basic information about the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 as amended in 2016.

Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012

  1. What is the purpose of these regulations?
  2. What are the key elements of these regulations?
  3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?
  4. What is the timeline for implementation?
  5. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The Regulations Amending the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the 2016 Amendments) add five substances to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 (the Regulations).  The Regulations are a multi-substance risk management instrument used to prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of certain toxic substances and products containing these substances with a limited number of exemptions.  Substances prohibited by the Regulations have been found to be toxic to the environment and/or human health, are generally persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or inherently toxic as per the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), 1999.

The Regulations are amended from time to time to add substances for which prohibition was identified as the appropriate risk management measure or to amend existing controls when necessary.

The Regulations are Environment and Climate Change Canada’s main tool to implement Canada’s obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

The 2016 Amendments add five substances to the Regulations: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD); perfluorooctanoic acid, its salts, and its precursors (collectively referred to as PFOA); long-chain perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts, and their precursors (collectively referred to as LC-PFCAs); polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); and perfluorooctane sulfonate, its salts and its precursors (collectively referred to as PFOS).

The 2016 Amendments also repeal the Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations, 2008 and the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations, 2008 and include housekeeping changes identified by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR).

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

All businesses who manufacture, use, sell, offer for sale, or import certain prohibited toxic substances or products containing them must comply with the Regulations.

In addition, laboratories using more than 10 g per year of any prohibited toxic substances must submit a report and maintain records.

The prohibited toxic substances and products containing them have historically been used in a variety of industrial sectors and products.

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

The Regulations, made under the authority of CEPA came into force in April 2013. The 2016 amendments to the Regulations were published on October 5, 2016 and will come into force three months after the date on which they are registered.

Other milestones for implementation include:

  • The prohibitions on HBCD come into effect on January 1, 2017. 
  • The prohibitions on PFOA and LC-PFCAs in water-based inks and photo media coatings come into effect on January 1, 2017.

5. Where can I get more information?

More information on the Regulations can be found on the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 website.

Inquiries on the Regulations can be made by emailing ec.interdiction-prohibition.ec@canada.ca or by phoning the Environment and Climate Change Canada Inquiry Centre at 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-938-3860.

This document is intended to provide contextual information on the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012. It does not replace the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, or the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012. In the event of any inconsistencies, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 shall prevail.  

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

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