Domestic Substances List

The Domestic Substances List (DSL) is an inventory of substances manufactured in, or imported into Canada on a commercial scale. It was originally published in the Canada Gazette Part II on May 4, 1994 and included approximately 23 000 substances deemed to have been in Canadian commerce between January 1984 and December 1986. The DSL is amended, on average, 12 times per year to add, update or delete substances.

In order to provide more information about substances on the DSL, they are grouped into 8 parts and may have one or more of 5 available flags applied to them, including the N flag to indicate that the substance was notified and assessed as a new substance, and subsequently added to the DSL.

New substances and the DSL

Substances not on the DSL are considered new to Canada. Prior to being imported or manufactured over certain threshold, they must be notified and assessed to determine if they are toxic or could become toxic.

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), any "person" (individual or corporation) manufacturing a new substance in or importing a new substance into Canada must provide a new substances notification containing the information prescribed by the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) or the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms). Substances on the DSL do not require notification unless they are subject to significant new activity (SNAc) requirements.

For more information on the assessment and management of new substances in Canada, please visit New substances: evaluating new substances.

Masked names

Under CEPA, any information provided to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change may be claimed as confidential. CEPA allows for the publication of masked names on the DSL when substance identity is considered to be confidential. Masked names are regulated under the Masked Name Regulations. Confidential substances on the DSL are identified by their masked name and their confidential substance identity number, also referred to as a confidential accession number (CAN), assigned by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Parts of the DSL

The DSL consists of 8 parts, in which substances are divided based on:

  • substance type (chemicals and polymers or inanimate products of biotechnology and living organisms)
  • confidentiality
  • whether the SNAc provisions of CEPA have been applied

Part 1

Sets out chemicals and polymers that are identified by their Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS) registry numberFootnote 1 , or their Substance Identity Number assigned by the Department of the Environment and the name of the substance

Part 2

Sets out chemicals and polymers subject to SNAc requirements that are identified by their CAS registry numbers

Part 3

Sets out chemicals and polymers that are identified by their masked names and CANs

Part 4

Sets out chemicals and polymers subject to SNAc requirements that are identified by their masked names and CANs

Part 5

Sets out inanimate products of biotechnology and living organisms that are identified by their American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) number, International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) number* or specific substance name

Part 6

Sets out inanimate products of biotechnology and living organisms subject to SNAc requirements that are identified by their ATCC number, IUBMB number* or specific substance name

Part 7

Sets out inanimate products of biotechnology and living organisms that are identified by their masked names and CANs

Part 8

Sets out inanimate products of biotechnology and living organisms subject to SNAc requirements that are identified by their masked names and CANs

* For example, a substance can be added to part 5 or 6 under its Enzyme Commission number, assigned by the IUBMB.

DSL flags

The DSL contains 5 different flags for substances; depending on different situations, more than one flag can apply.

The following 3 regulatory flags  indicate that, although the substance is listed on the DSL, additional notification requirements may apply prior to manufacture or import.

  • S flag: indicates that the substance is subject to SNAc requirements and is applied when the substance was subject to SNAc requirements prior to its addition to the DSL

  • S (S prime) flag: indicates that the substance is subject to SNAc requirements and is applied when the substance was not subject to SNAc requirements prior to its addition to the DSL

  • P flag: indicates that the substance was added to the DSL on the basis that it met the Reduced Regulatory Requirement (RRR) polymer criteria; any form of the substance that does not meet the RRR polymer criteria is subject to notification prior to import or manufacture

The following 2 administrative flags are used to identify substances added to the DSL under specific scenarios.

  • T flag: indicates that the substance was manufactured or imported during the transitional period (for example, between January 1, 1987, and July 1, 1994); these substances have been assessed by the New Substances program

  • N flag: indicates that the substance was notified and assessed as a new substance after July 1, 1994, and subsequently added to the DSL based on its manufacture in or import into Canada

Related links

Contact us

Program Development and Engagement Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 Saint-Joseph Blvd
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3

Telephone: 819-938-3232 or 1-800-567-1999 (Canada only)
Facsimile: 819-938-5212
E-mail: eccc.substances.eccc@Canada.ca

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