1. Introduction

The New Substances Notification (NSN) Regulations for Chemicals and Polymers have been in effect under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) since July 1, 1994. Prior to their promulgation, a commitment was made by Environment Canada and Health Canada to review them following three years of implementation. To fulfil this commitment, the departments established a multistakeholder consultative process in 1999, as depicted in Appendix 2.

As part of this process, an NSN Multistakeholder Table (hereafter referred to as "the Table") was established to identify and organize issues, examine these issues in more detail, make recommendations, document its deliberations and deliver the results to the Ministers of the Environment and of Health. The Table featured balanced representation from industry, public advocacy groups (PAGs) and government. Participants included representatives from Environment Canada, Health Canada, Industry Canada, a broad range of industries subject to the NSN Regulations and PAGs whose perspectives included the environment, consumers, public health and labour. The Table and associated consultation process were consistent with Environment Canada's policy to consult on all of its proposed initiatives in an open and transparent manner.

The Table, whose work concluded in August 2001 with 76 consensus recommendations, documented its deliberations in a report entitled Consultations on the CEPA New Substances Notification Regulations and New Substances Program: Final Report of the Multistakeholder Consultations (hereafter referred to as "the Final Report").

At the Table's final meeting in August 2001, Environment Canada and Health Canada made a commitment to respond to each recommendation of the consultation and to make both the results of the consultations and the Environment Canada/Health Canada responses to the recommendations public. This document fulfils this commitment by describing key considerations and directions that the government intends to pursue in the implementation of the recommendations. The report is organized along the same five-theme structure that was used during the Table's deliberations. The five themes are:

Section 2 of this document provides a background on the original objectives of the consultations and the resulting recommendations and explains the steps taken by Environment Canada and Health Canada to develop the response. The Environment Canada/Health Canada response to each recommendation is captured in Section 3.

This document, along with the Final Report, will be used to develop a detailed Action Plan and Accountability Framework. As well, this document, along with the Final Report, will help form the basis for preparing legal drafting instructions for amending the NSNRegulations. The amended NSN Regulations are anticipated to be in effect by the end of 2004-05. While every effort will be made to have regulations in place as soon as possible, the timeline identified for the revised regulations to be in place takes into consideration the level of priority that may be assigned to these regulations by the Department of Justice, in comparison with other departmental regulatory initiatives.

Environment Canada and Health Canada will put in place mechanisms for publicly reporting on the progress of the implementation of multistakeholder consensus recommendations, as outlined in this Environment Canada/Health Canada response.

Appendix 2 presents an overview of the consultative process from initiation to implementation of the recommendations.

Appendix 3 presents a table of the 76 consultation recommendations and the Environment Canada/Health Canada response to each recommendation.

Environment Canada and Health Canada NS Program staff would like to express their appreciation to the Table members for their informed and energetic participation in the NSN Multistakeholder Consultations.

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