Summary of public comments received on the proposed Order adding “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

Theme 1: Inconsistencies with previous Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) processes

Summarized commentResponse

The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution is not a screening assessment as required by s.74 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA).

The Science Assessment provides a thorough review of the current state of science regarding plastic pollution, including its sources, occurrence, and fate, as well as on the potential effects of plastics on the environment and human health. The assessment presents a comprehensive summary of the science available in the peer-reviewed literature at the time it was written. Scientific studies discussed in the report were validated against a set of qualitative criteria, and where study limitations were identified, this is clearly indicated in the text. The report clearly acknowledges that uncertainties exist and that future research is needed. It has been peer‑reviewed and provides a science-based recommendation that action is needed, in accordance with the precautionary principle, to reduce macroplastics and microplastics that end up in the environment.

The Science Assessment is not a screening assessment conducted under s.74 of CEPA; rather, it is a scientific review of information available conducted under s.68 of CEPA. The Science Assessment shows that macroplastics can cause physical harm to environmental receptors and have the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity. This provides the scientific basis to proceed with action to address and prevent the harm caused by plastic pollution.

The proposed Order was not offered for public comment.

The proposed Order was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 60-day public comment period. All comments received were considered in the development of the final Order.  

The risk to the environment from plastic manufactured items is from their improper disposal rather than their intended use.

Plastic manufactured items that enter the environment outside of a managed waste stream, or that enter a managed waste stream but are accidently released into the environment, constitute plastic pollution. Current scientific evidence confirms that plastic pollution is ubiquitous in the environment, and that macroplastics can cause physical harm to environmental receptors and have the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity.

Adding “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA will allow the Government to enact regulations that target sources of plastic pollution and change behaviour at key stages in the lifecycle of plastic manufactured items, such as design, manufacture, use, disposal and recovery in order to reduce pollution and create the conditions for achieving a circular plastics economy.

Plastic manufactured items should not be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA because they are not chemically distinct substances. 

CEPA provides the authority to list plastic manufactured items to Schedule 1 to CEPA (list of toxic substances). The broad definition of “substance” under the Act covers not only chemically distinct substances, but also mixtures and manufactured items.

The chemical components of greatest concern in plastic have been extensively risk assessed under the Chemicals Management Plan, and risk managed, as required.

The Science Assessment shows that plastic, not its individual components, can become plastic pollution and that macroplastics can cause physical harm to environmental receptors and have the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity. Adding “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA will allow the Government to enact regulations that target sources of plastic pollution.

Theme 2: Rationale for broad listing based on findings of science assessment

Summarized commentResponse

There is insufficient basis for adding the broad category of “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA.

Plastic manufactured items that are released into the environment outside of a managed waste stream, or that enter a managed waste stream but are accidently released into the environment, constitute plastic pollution. The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution confirms that macroplastics can cause physical harm to environmental receptors and have the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity.

This provides the scientific basis to add “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1. This listing will allow the Government to enact regulations, in accordance with the precautionary principle, that target sources of plastic pollution and change behaviour at key stages in the lifecycle of plastic products, such as design, manufacture, use, disposal and recovery in order to reduce pollution and create the conditions for achieving a circular plastics economy.

“Plastic manufactured items” do not all have the potential to cause ecological harm. The proposed Order should be narrowed to target the individual items or specific substances of concern, where supported by science.

The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution indicates that a variety of sources contribute to plastic pollution. All plastic manufactured items have the potential to become plastic pollution. To address plastic pollution, the Government of Canada has initiated a comprehensive agenda to achieve zero plastic waste and eliminate plastic pollution by 2030, including a range of risk management measures, from potentially banning or restricting six problematic single-use plastics, to setting performance requirements that would establish recycled content requirements, and working with the provinces and territories to expand extended producer responsibility (EPR) in Canada.

The figure of 1% of plastic waste entering the Canadian environment as pollution, indicated in “The Economic Study of the Canadian Plastic Industry, Markets, and Waste” (2019), does not justify the proposed Order.

The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution indicates that a variety of sources contribute to plastic pollution. The Order, as worded, will enable the Government to propose risk management measures under CEPA for those plastic manufactured items that are sources of plastic pollution.

The term “plastic manufactured items” is ambiguous and not defined in the proposed Order.

The Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement that accompanied the proposed Order defines “plastic manufactured items” as any items made of plastic formed into a specific physical shape or design during manufacture, and have, for their intended use, a function or functions dependent in whole or in part on their shape or design. They can include final products, as well as components of products.

The term “plastic” is not defined.

The dictionary definition of plastic applies.

The proposal to add “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 is justified by the findings of the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution and is urgently needed.

The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution provides the science-based evidence to recommend the addition of “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA.

Theme 3: Need to strengthen science in decision-making

Summarized commentsResponse

Establishing a Board of Review would be consistent with the commitment to strengthen science in government decision-making found in the Minister of Environment and Climate Change’s mandate letter. A Board of Review could fill the scientific gaps in the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution that prevented a quantitative risk assessment from being conducted, and could determine whether “plastic manufactured items” are toxic substances under CEPA.

The mandate of a Board of Review, as set out in subsection 333(1) CEPA, would be to inquire into the nature and extent of the danger posed by plastic manufactured items.

As the scientific information and additional references provided in the Notices of Objection and requests for the establishment of a Board of Review received on the proposed Order did not raise sufficient uncertainty or doubt in the scientific considerations underlying the proposed Order, the Minister of Environment denied the requests for the establishment of a Board of Review. The scientific considerations that underlay the proposed Order are related to the ability of macroplastics to have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity as set out in section 64 of CEPA.

Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda, which aims to align current and future research investments across a range of disciplines, is one way that the Government has committed to strengthen science in government decision-making.  

Many Objectors offered to provide names of experts who could be members of a Board of Review. Objectors also stressed the importance of ensuring Board of Review members had no vested political interest in the outcome.

Noted.

Several comments were received regarding the lack of information on the peer review process for the Science Assessment.

All references cited in the Science Assessment were validated against a set of qualitative criteria, and where study limitations were identified, this is clearly indicated in the text. In addition, the Science Assessment was peer-reviewed, both internally within the Government of Canada and externally by leading experts in the field. The internal review component involved a sequential process beginning with experts internal to Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada and expanding to other government departments (Natural Resources Canada, National Research Council, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada). The external review component involved six peer reviewers who provided comments and input into the report. These external reviewers were chosen because of their known expertise in plastic pollution.

Data on the occurrence of plastic pollution in Canada are limited. 

The Science Assessment recognizes the need for Canadian occurrence data. It included a thorough review of all data on the occurrence of plastic pollution in Canada available at the time.

Several comments were received regarding the lack of consultation with industry and the public and requested that the Government provide additional opportunities for consultation with stakeholders on how to address the issue of plastic waste.

Since 2018, the Government of Canada has undertaken broad stakeholder engagement on achieving zero plastic waste. In January 2020, the draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution was published for a 90-day public comment period. In October 2020, following the publication of the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, the proposed Order and the Discussion paper: A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution were published for a 60-day public comment period. The Government has continued to hold public webinars and meetings with stakeholders and partners.

There will also be future opportunities for consultation with stakeholders, Indigenous Peoples, and partners during the development of proposed risk management measures.

The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement suggests a link between the amount of plastic used in the automotive sector and plastic pollution.

The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement does not make a link between the uses of plastics by sector and the sources of pollution. 

The Science Assessment contains limited data on the environmental impacts of microplastics, as well as from compostable products and packaging. 

The purpose of the Science Assessment is to summarize the current state of the science regarding the potential impacts of plastic pollution on the environment and human health, and it did not evaluate concerns due to individual applications. Section 6 of the Science Assessment reviews data on the effects of both macroplastics and microplastics on environmental receptors.

The Science Assessment finds that there is a lack of significant evidence that compostable plastics will fully degrade in natural environments and therefore, they can contribute to plastic pollution. The Science Assessment acknowledges that further studies would assist in understanding their environmental impact.

Theme 4: Legal authorities

Summarized commentsResponse

The purpose of Schedule 1 to CEPA is to manage substances that are of urgent, acute, or long-term concern to human health. 

CEPA is designed to manage risks to both human health and the environment.

Broad classes of substances or consumer products, such as “plastic manufactured items”, are not a substance under CEPA, since the definition in section 3(1) is singular. 

CEPA provides the authority to list plastic manufactured items as a toxic substance to Schedule 1 to CEPA. According to sub-section 33(2) of the Interpretation Act, “Words in the singular include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular.”

A substance proposed for addition to Schedule 1 must be specifically identified in order to assess it individually.

The Science Assessment shows that macroplastics can cause physical harm to environmental receptors and have the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity. Based on the information provided in the Science Assessment, the Ministers are satisfied that plastic manufactured items meet the criteria set out in paragraph 64(a) of CEPA.

The Government of Canada does not have the authority to enact the proposed Order because it seeks to regulate waste management and resource recovery, which are under provincial jurisdiction.

CEPA provides the authority to list plastic manufactured items as a toxic substance to Schedule 1 to CEPA. The Order, as worded, will enable the Government to propose risk management measures under CEPA for those plastic manufactured items that are sources of plastic pollution.

The Government of Canada recognizes the central role played by provinces and territories in reducing plastic waste, eliminating plastic pollution and managing waste more generally. This is why the Government of Canada worked with its provincial and territorial counterparts in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) to develop the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste in 2019 and continues to work with them to implement the strategy. Ministers, responding to industry concerns, also recognized the need for national guidance to facilitate consistent, comprehensive and transparent extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies for plastics. All jurisdictions must work together to drive the change necessary to move to a more circular economy for plastics across Canada.

The precautionary principle should not be used to support taking action on plastic. The Science Assessment does not identify “threats of serious or irreversible damage” and neither does the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement accompanying the proposed Order.      

Measures developed under CEPA will be guided by the precautionary principle, which in the Act states that "where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation." This mirrors the language of Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration, to which Canada is a signatory. The Government is satisfied that the Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution confirms that macroplastic pollution is having an immediate and long-term harmful effect on the environment, in particular to wildlife and its habitat. Consequently, actions to address plastic waste and eliminate plastic pollution would be in accordance with the precautionary principle.

CEPA is not the right tool for taking action on plastic pollution, and other options should be considered. Plastic pollution is fundamentally a waste management issue, not a chemicals management issue. It results from a lack of consumer awareness, infrastructure and markets to drive the reuse of plastics.

CEPA is one of the federal government’s key pieces of legislation for protecting the environment and preventing pollution. Any measures developed using CEPA would be in furtherance of these goals. The Act provides a broad suite of tools that allow the Government flexibility to tailor measures to the issue needing to be addressed. The Government will work with partners and stakeholders to ensure that any measures developed are appropriate, fit‑for‑purpose, and avoid unintended consequences.

Plastics are inert materials; it is inaccurate to label them as a toxic substance.

The Science Assessment shows that macroplastics can cause physical harm to environmental receptors and have the potential to adversely affect habitat integrity. Based on the information provided in the Science Assessment, the Ministers are satisfied that plastic manufactured items meet the criteria set out in paragraph 64(a) of CEPA.

The word “toxic” should be removed from the name of Schedule 1 to CEPA.

This comment is beyond the scope of the proposed Order. 

CEPA is preferable to alternatives (namely, a separate independent piece of legislation) for the political expedience it provides, coupled with a wide range of robust regulatory options.

CEPA is one of the federal government’s key pieces of legislation for protecting the environment and preventing pollution.

Theme 5: Use of plastic manufactured items for health and safety purposes

Summarized commentResponse

Listing “plastic manufactured items” as a toxic substance to Schedule 1 to CEPA will confuse and mislead the public. The Government should develop a comprehensive communications plan to ensure that the public understands the issue completely.

The Government will support Canadians and continue to ensure proper messaging regarding the safety of plastics and their role in protecting human health.

Canadians understand and strongly support action to reduce plastic waste. They understand that products such as food packaging and medical devices can be safe and protective for human health, but harmful to the environment when they become plastic pollution. Since October 7, 2020, the Government of Canada received over 23 000 emails from Canadians in favour of federal action on plastic pollution, as well as a petition with the signatures of over 100 000 Canadians calling for urgent action to reduce plastic waste.

Alternatives to plastic packaging may not as effectively meet health and safety standards.

The Government of Canada recognizes that plastic packaging plays a vital role in keeping Canadians safe and healthy and preserving food.  The Order itself does not ban or restrict any items, and it does not mean that the Government intends to ban or restrict all plastic manufactured items. Future work to manage the environmental risks of plastic manufactured items will take into account the need to ensure health and safety.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) should consult with other government departments responsible for the regulation of plastic manufactured items critical to health and safety.

The Government of Canada recognizes that plastic plays many crucial roles in society. The Order itself does not ban or restrict any items, and it does not mean that the Government intends to ban or restrict all plastic manufactured items. ECCC has worked with Health Canada and consulted with other departments during the development of the proposed Order, and will continue to do so for any risk management measures for plastic manufactured items.

Theme 6: Role of plastic manufactured items in health care and during COVID-19

Summarized commentResponse

Plastics and plastic manufactured items are playing an essential role in protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., Plexiglas shields, personal protective equipment), and in health care in general. The Government of Canada should not move forward with the proposed Order during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Government of Canada recognizes that many plastic items are playing an essential role in protecting public health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order itself does not ban or restrict any items, and it does not mean that the Government intends to ban or restrict all plastic manufactured items. The health and safety protections needed to ensure public health throughout the pandemic will remain the priority as risk management measures for plastic manufactured items are developed. In addition, plastic manufactured items have not been identified as posing a human health concern.

Theme 7: Trade obligations, international agreements, and domestic agreements and regulatory regimes

Summarized commentResponse

The Science Assessment and the proposed Order are in violation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) under which the parties agreed to a risk-based approach to the assessment of specific chemical substances.

Canada must also respect Article 24.12 of CUSMA on Marine Litter.

The Government of Canada is aware of its international trade commitments and will continue to respect them. It also recognizes the importance of regulatory cooperation. A central pillar of the Government’s commitments to regulatory cooperation in trade agreements is the maintenance or enhancement of standards for environmental protection and public health and safety. A risk-based approach to managing chemicals is reflected in the Chemicals Management Plan and relevant trade agreements. However, the Government is not limited to chemical risk assessments in order to better understand threats to environmental quality and determine whether action is necessary to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

The proposed Order could implicate the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Chapter of CUSMA and World Trade Organization TBT Agreement articles 2.2 and 2.9. The proposed listing would be much broader in scope than the approach taken in the U.S. and by other international regulators. Industry is concerned that the proposed Order would result in unnecessary obstacles to international trade due to increased transport costs and the need for more extensive compliance documentation for plastic manufactured items. They request that any regulations provide exemptions for domestic manufacturing of plastic manufactured items intended for export. 

The Government of Canada is aware of its international trade commitments and will continue to respect them. It also recognizes the importance of regulatory cooperation. A central pillar of the Government’s commitments to regulatory cooperation in trade agreements is the maintenance or enhancement of standards for environmental protection and public health and safety. A risk-based approach to managing chemicals is reflected in the Chemicals Management Plan and relevant trade agreements. However, the Government is not limited to chemical risk assessments in order to better understand threats to environmental quality and determine whether action is necessary to prevent pollution and protect the environment. The Government of Canada will work to ensure that foreign and domestic industry understand that a listing on Schedule 1 to CEPA does not on its own imply the need for additional transportation measures or compliance documentation.

Issues surrounding regulatory design would be addressed during the development of regulations. Stakeholders and partners would be given opportunities to participate meaningfully in informing any proposed risk management measures.

The proposed Order is inconsistent with Canada’s global commitments under the Ocean Plastics Charter to collaborate on a global, science-based approach and to develop a circular economy for plastics.

Canada spearheaded the Ocean Plastics Charter, under its 2018 G7 presidency, to move toward a more resource-efficient and circular approach to produce, use and manage plastic, and reduce plastic pollution. As of March 2021, 26 governments and over 70 businesses and organizations had endorsed the Charter worldwide. The proposed actions under CEPA, including the Order, demonstrate Canada’s continued commitment to reduce plastic pollution.

The proposed Order disregards the federal-provincial process on plastics that is underway through the CCME.

The Government of Canada recognizes the central role played by provinces and territories in reducing plastic waste, eliminating plastic pollution and managing waste more generally. This is why the Government of Canada worked with its provincial and territorial counterparts in the CCME to develop the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. Through the CCME Action Plan all jurisdictions are working together to drive the change necessary to move to a more circular economy for plastics across Canada.

Listing “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA would compromise the integrity of other Canadian regulatory regimes, under which plastics are considered safe.

Different legislative and regulatory regimes can work together to address different aspects of an issue or product. ECCC will continue to work with Health Canada and consult with other government departments on any risk management measures for plastic manufactured items, to ensure they complement existing measures. It should be noted that plastic manufactured items have not been identified as posing a human health concern.

The proposed listing may restrict exports to other countries under the Basel Convention. 

Canada’s commitments under the Basel Convention are implemented via the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRM Regulations). Listing plastic manufactured items on Schedule 1 to CEPA would not add additional export or import requirements under these regulations. The EIHWHRM Regulations will be replaced by the Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations when they come into force on October 31, 2021.

Theme 8: Investment chill and other potential negative effects of applying the term ‘toxic’ to plastics

Summarized commentResponse

The proposed Order will negatively impact Canadian manufacturers and recyclers in the plastics industry and other related sectors. The availability of these manufacturing inputs would be jeopardized. Future domestic and international investments could also be affected. Increased costs could be passed on to consumers. 

The Government of Canada recognizes that plastics play a major role in our economy, are a valuable material and resource and provide functionality, durability and low cost. However, plastic pollution is an issue that requires immediate action in Canada and globally. In addition, Canada’s low recycling rate needs to be increased, which will strengthen the recycling industry. The transition to a more circular economy aims to not only reduce pressure on the environment, but also increase competitiveness, stimulate innovation, and boost economic growth by creating new green jobs. The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with industry in the development of any risk management actions.

The proposed Order could lead to higher tipping fees at landfills, which could increase the illegal dumping of plastic waste in the environment and reduce the recycling of plastics.

Municipal governments are responsible for collection and diversion such as composting and recycling, as well as the disposal of solid waste within their jurisdiction. Tipping fees can be used as a lever to increase waste diversion. However, the Order does not place any restrictions on the disposal of plastic manufactured items at landfill. Landfill tipping fees are set by the landfill owners, which could be municipal authorities or the private sector, and are generally based on weight. 

The proposed Order would undermine the work by industry, provincial governments and municipalities to implement solutions to increase the collection and recycling of plastics within a circular economy. The Government should continue to work with stakeholders on this issue.

The Order does not specify or preclude any particular management approach to address plastic waste. The Discussion paper: A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution includes a proposal to establish recycled content requirements for plastic products and packaging, which will support and strengthen plastics recycling systems in Canada. The Government of Canada has also committed to working with provincial and territorial governments to develop national guidance that will facilitate consistent, comprehensive and transparent extended producer responsibility policies for plastics.

In some jurisdictions, the release of any quantity of a toxic substance must be reported to provincial authorities. Accidental releases of plastics, which occur daily through the improper sorting of plastics in regular garbage and landfills, would have to be reported. This could have consequences for violators, as well as enforcement resources at Environment and Climate Change Canada, and provincial and territorial authorities.

Schedule 1 to CEPA is not incorporated by reference in any other federal acts or regulations. To the Government's knowledge, Schedule 1 to CEPA is not incorporated by reference in any provincial/territorial acts or regulations. Therefore, adding “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 will not itself lead to any additional regulatory requirements pertaining to plastics.

A cost-benefit analysis on the economic impacts of the proposed Order should be performed.

The addition of “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1 to CEPA does not on its own impose any regulatory requirements on businesses or other entities, and would therefore not result in any incremental compliance costs for stakeholders or enforcement costs for the Government of Canada. The Order grants the Ministers the authority to develop risk management measures under CEPA for plastic manufactured items. When pursued, these measures could result in incremental costs for stakeholders and the Government of Canada. Once the Ministers propose risk management measures for plastic manufactured items, the Departments will assess their benefits and costs, and will conduct consultations with stakeholders and partners during the development of such measures.

Theme 9: Concern about future regulations and regulatory uncertainty that would be created by the listing

Summarized commentResponse

The proposed Order, and any subsequent bans on plastic manufactured items, will remove Canadians’ ability to choose the products they want and need in their daily lives.

The Order does not ban or restrict any items. Any ban or restriction that may be developed by the Government of Canada would be subject to a full cost-benefit analysis and be subject to a public comment period, during which stakeholders would have an opportunity to comment directly on proposed measures.

The Government should focus on positive approaches such as taxation of certain plastics, or the institution of eco-fees, to manage the plastic waste issue. The Government should collaborate with industry, who has already been working hard to develop new recycling and disposal technologies.

The Order does not specify or preclude any particular management approach to address plastic waste. The Discussion paper: A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution includes a proposal to establish recycled content requirements for plastic products and packaging, which would support and strengthen plastics recycling systems in Canada. The Government of Canada is also working with provincial and territorial governments to develop national guidance that would facilitate consistent, comprehensive and transparent extended producer responsibility policies for plastics. The CCME recognized the problem of plastic pollution and waste, as well as Canada’s low recycling rate (9% in 2016) when it developed the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. CEPA does not provide authorities for taxation.

As part of the Federal Leadership towards Zero Plastic Waste initiative, funding is provided to support targeted measures to drive sustainable design, production and after-use markets across industry sectors that use plastics. The objectives of the funding activity are to develop strategic partnerships with key sectors to pilot or implement solutions, develop sector plans and strategies, address knowledge needs, examine technological and infrastructure gaps, and support the development of standards. Knowledge derived from these projects will inform federal policies and measures as well as provide guidance and solutions to strategic sectors for the plastics agenda.

The proposed Order will create regulatory uncertainty regarding whether the Government will ban other plastic manufactured items in the future, in addition to the six categories of single use plastics announced.  

The Discussion paper: A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution provides an overview of the process the Government of Canada will apply to address single use plastic manufactured items.

The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution introduces regulatory ambiguity, which could hinder effective decision making towards more sustainable packaging options. Plastics include many materials with a diversity of properties. Considerations such as the intrinsic toxicity of a resin versus the toxicity of non-resin-specific plastics offers the option to adapt regulations. 

When choosing, designing and implementing risk management measures, the Instrument Choice Framework for Risk Management under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, is applied and a number of factors are taken into account such as best-placed jurisdiction, the potential for voluntary agreements and other industry-led actions. Proposed measures are also subject to consultation and in-depth socio-economic analysis. If regulations are chosen, a comprehensive Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement which includes a cost-benefit analysis, when warranted, is published with the regulations in the Canada Gazette.

The Government should take a life cycle approach to avoid regrettable substitutions. 

Issues surrounding risk management measures would be addressed during their design and development. Stakeholders and partners would be given opportunities to participate meaningfully in informing any proposed risk management measures.

Theme 10: Alternative options to the listing

Summarized commentResponse

The Government should consider the approach taken for road salts.

When choosing, designing and implementing risk management measures, the Instrument Choice Framework for Risk Management under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 is applied and a number of factors are taken into account such as best-placed jurisdiction, the potential for voluntary agreements and other industry-led actions. The Government of Canada has initiated a comprehensive agenda to achieve zero plastic waste and eliminate plastic pollution by 2030, which will require implementing a range of risk management measures. The Order, as worded, will enable the Government to propose risk management measures under CEPA for those plastic manufactured items that are sources of plastic pollution.

There is a need for a discussion on whether Part 7 of CEPA, or other parts of the Act, may be better than Part 5 for addressing the overall management objectives presented in the discussion paper on the proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution.

Part 7 Division 8 of CEPA provides the authority to regulate the movement of hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste. However, in order to take action as recommended in the Science Assessment, the authorities under Part 5 are more appropriate. Using Part 5 of CEPA would allow the Government to enact regulations or other risk management actions that target sources of plastic pollution and change behaviour at key stages in the lifecycle of plastic products, such as design, manufacture, use, disposal and recovery in order to reduce pollution and create the conditions for achieving a circular plastics economy.

The Government should consider stand-alone legislation or listing specific single-use plastic items.

CEPA is one of the federal government’s key pieces of legislation for protecting the environment and preventing pollution. Any measures developed using CEPA would be in furtherance of these goals.

The Government of Canada has initiated a comprehensive agenda to achieve zero plastic waste and eliminate plastic pollution by 2030, which will require implementing a range of risk management measures. The Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution indicates that there are a multitude of sources that contribute to plastic pollution. The Order, as worded, will enable the Government to propose risk management measures under CEPA for those plastic manufactured items that are sources of plastic pollution.

The Government should focus on improving plastic recycling to prevent plastic waste and pollution. This could be done through established extended producer responsibility programs, and collaboration with industry, consumers and the provinces.

The Order does not specify or preclude any particular management approach to address plastic waste. The Discussion paper: A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution includes a proposal to establish recycled content requirements for plastic products and packaging, which would support and strengthen plastics recycling systems in Canada. The Government of Canada is also working with provincial and territorial governments to develop national guidance that would facilitate consistent, comprehensive and transparent extended producer responsibility policies for plastics. The CCME recognized the problem of plastic pollution and waste, as well as Canada’s low recycling rate (9% in 2016) when it developed the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste.  

The Government should do more work internationally to address plastic pollution in international waters.

Canada plays an active leadership role in international fora in addressing plastic waste and pollution. Notably, Canada spearheaded the Ocean Plastics Charter, under its 2018 G7 presidency, to move toward a more resource-efficient and circular approach to produce, use and manage plastic and reduce plastic pollution. As of March 2021, 26 governments and over 70 businesses and organizations have endorsed the Charter worldwide.

Canada invested $100 million in funding for developing countries to prevent plastic waste from entering the oceans, address plastic waste on shorelines, and better manage plastic resources. This includes: $65M through the World Bank PROBLUE fund; $20M for an International Plastics Innovation Challenge; $9M to an incubator network to prevent plastic waste from entering the world’s oceans; and $6M for the World Economic Forum Global Plastics Action Partnership (GPAP).

Canada implements its obligations under several binding international agreements that help prevent waste and litter (e.g., Basel Convention, MARPOL, London Convention/Protocol) and participates in a number of global initiatives (e.g. Global Partnership on Marine Litter, Clean Seas Campaign, and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative).

Canada works with international partners (e.g., the G7, G20, Arctic Council, Commission for Environmental Cooperation and various bodies under the United Nations such as the Environment Assembly, World Health Organization, International Maritime Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization) to strengthen policy and coordination, advance research and exchange information and best practices.

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