Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act (Bill S-5), the legislation amending the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) has been recently passed by the Senate. This bill was first introduced last year to modernize CEPA since its introduction in 1999.

The goal of this new legislation is to provide a well-balanced risk-based approach to regulation. The CEPA will require risk assessments to consider real life exposure to the cumulative effects of certain substances on the environment as well as the public. One such amendment is the creation of a Watch List that will be available to the public for Canadians and businesses to note which substances to avoid. Another objective of Bill S-5 is the right to a healthy environment. This is to ensure that Indigenous people and other groups of colour are not disproportionately impacted by toxic pollution and environmental damages.

The framework to implement the proposed changes plans to be developed and published within the next two years. This includes plans:

  • that specifies the substances to which the Ministers are satisfied priority should be given in assessing whether they are toxic or capable of becoming toxic;
  • that may specify the activities or initiatives in relation to assessing, controlling or otherwise managing the risks to the environment or to human health posed by substances that are or will be undertaken under an Act of Parliament for whose administration either Minister is responsible and which the Ministers are of the opinion should be prioritized; and
  • that specifies activities or initiatives to promote the development and implementation of methods not involving the use of vertebrate animals that would provide information sufficient for assessing risks to health or the environment posed by substances assessed.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the updates or would like our assistance determining if the modernization of CEPA could impact your products.