Management of toxic substances: PFOS regulations fact sheet

Effective December 23, 2016, the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations (SOR/2008-178) were repealed. Please note that these substances are now controlled under the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012.

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Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and Its Impacts

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), its salts and its precursors all belong to the larger group of fluorochemicals called perfluorinated alkyl (PFA) compounds. PFOS may be entering into the environment under conditions that have a harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity. Furthermore, PFOS and its salts are persistent and present a risk of bioaccumulation (i.e. accumulating in individual organisms) and biomagnification (i.e. accumulating in the food chain) in wildlife.

Why Are Regulations Necessary?

The purpose of the PFOS Regulations is to protect Canada's environment from the risks associated with the use and release of PFOS.

Potential PFOS Use

  1. In some fume suppressants used in the metal plating sector.
  2. In some firefighting foams used for fighting fuel-related fires (aqueous film-forming foams [AFFF]).
  3. In other miscellaneous products, including some:
    • photographic films, papers and printing plates;
    • aviation hydraulic fluids;
    • photoresists or anti-reflective coatings for photolithography processes.

What Are Key Provisions of the Regulations?

The PFOS Regulations prohibit the manufacture, import, sale, offer for sale and use of PFOS or products containing PFOS, unless incidentally present, with certain exemptions.

1. Fume Suppressants

Activities permitted until May 29, 2013, and prohibited thereafter:

The use, sale and import of a PFOS-based fume suppressant if used in:

2. Aqueous Film-Forming Foams

Activities permitted at all times include:

Activity permitted until May 29, 2013, and prohibited thereafter:

3. Miscellaneous Products

Activities permitted at all times:

Who Should Report Under the Regulations and What Are the Timelines?

Every person importing a PFOS-based fume suppressant must submit an annual report to Environment Canada, no later than March 31st of the calendar year following the year during which the PFOS-based fume suppressant was imported. The report must contain the information set out in the Schedule of the PFOS Regulations.

For More Information

Please consult the Regulations on the CEPA Registry website, at Further information can also be obtained by contacting Environment Canada at 1-800-567-1999 or by email at


This document is issued for information purposes only, should not be considered legal advice, and does not include all legal requirements. If there is any inconsistency or conflict between the information contained in this document and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the Perfluorooctane Sulfonate and its Salts and Certain Other Compounds Regulations, the Act or Regulations take precedence.

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