Feds Introduce Bill to Modernize CEPA – Key Legislation Governing Ingredients

Posted Date: 21-April-2021

Tabled for First Reading - Bill C-28, Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act (CEPA Renewal)

Federal Environment Minister Ian Wilkinson introduced Bill – C28 on April 13th.  The Bill is intended to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) including making related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act (F&DA) and repealing the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Virtual Elimination Act.
Cosmetics Alliance has had the opportunity to review the Bill which maintains the risk-based approach which is a foundational underpinning of Canada’s chemicals and environmental management strategy. The proposed legislation reinforces principles that already exist in the current statute or incorporate into CEPA what are already existing practices. These include:
  • Protecting Vulnerable Populations
  • Recognizing Cumulative Effects
  • Adopting Alternative Assessments
  • And Utilizing the Precautionary Principle
On the surface, there are some potentially positive elements that are featured, including:
  • Enabling mechanism for legitimizing the Revised In-Commerce List (R-ICL)
  • Recognition of alternatives to animal testing methods and new assessment methods (for all substances and products and not just for cosmetics)
  • Enhancement of the recognition of the principles of ‘Best Placed Act’ (which would prevent product labelling requiement under both the Food & Drugs Act as well as CEPA)
  • Renaming of Schedule 1 (removing reference to ‘toxic’ from the Schedule)
Finally, there are a few new developments that CA will need to take time to better understand, including:
  • Introduction of a ‘Watch List’ for substances that are safe as currently used but for which new uses may pose an issue (how will it be implemented)
  • Integration of environmental risk assessment provisions for “drugs” (how will it work within the Self-Care Framework)
  • Consumer Information and Labelling (will it be risk-based and appropriately balanced)
CA is in the process of doing a thorough review of the Bill. Clearly there are many details that underpin the amendments that we will need to take the time to better understand. As we complete our analysis, we will be developing an appropriate Government Relations strategy and advocacy plan should it be required.  As the practical implementation of CEPA depends on its regulations and accompanying guidance documents – which must be amended or developed following passage of the Bill – there will still be significant work to be undertaken before any of the changes will be operative and affect industry.
Finally, given the wide-ranging scope of the amendments, CA will be reaching out to other industry sectors as well as collaborating with the CEPA ICG as we work through the technical elements of the Bill. We will also be working with our RAIS committee as we develop our regulatory objectives and strategic approach.
CA will continue to keep members informed of developments.
News Release – EN / FR
Backgrounder CEPA – EN / FR