Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012: overview

These regulations prohibit the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale and import of certain toxic substances, and products containing them, with a limited number of exemptions.


This information has been prepared for convenience of reference only and is not to be understood as a legal document. For interpreting and applying these regulations, please read the regulations.

Scope of these regulations

The substances prohibited by these regulations are some of the most harmful. They were declared toxic to the environment and/or human health under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), and are generally persistent and bioaccumulative.  

Since their creation in 1996, these regulations have been amended or republished multiple times to add or remove substances, or to remove exemptions. They include:

Planned changes to these regulations are currently being proposed.

On May 14, 2022, the proposed Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2022 were published in Canada Gazette, Part I. These proposed regulations would repeal and replace the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 on the day the final regulations come into force.

These regulations are also the main tool to implement Canada’s obligations for industrial chemicals under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Substances subject to these regulations

These regulations only apply to certain toxic substances that are included on the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1 of CEPA).

These substances are listed to the substances search tool and are associated with a non-exhaustive number of Chemical Abstracts Service registry numbers (CAS RNs) that are known to represent them. For the official non-exhaustive list of CAS RNs, contact us at the email address listed below.


These regulations include a limited number of general and substance-specific exemptions. In a few cases, these exemptions include reporting requirements.

Exemptions that apply to all prohibited substances

These regulations do not apply to certain products or activities, regardless of the substance involved.

Exemptions that apply only to specific prohibited substances

There are also a limited number of substance-specific exemptions that allow the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of substances and/or products containing them.   

Manufactured items (sections 4 and 6)

This exemption applies to:

  • PFOA and LC-PFCAs, their salts and precursors
  • PBDEs

A manufactured item is defined in the regulations as a product that is “formed into a specific physical shape or design during its manufacture and that has, for its final use, a function or functions dependent in whole or in part on its shape or design”.

Allowed activities for specific end uses (section 6)

This exemption applies to:

  • PFOS, PFOA and LC-PFCAs, their salts and precursors
  • 2-ME
  • benzidine and benzidine dihydro-chloride
Substances or products manufactured or imported before a specific date (sections 4, 5 and 7)

This exemption applies to:

  • PFOS, PFOA and LC-PFCAs, their salts and precursors
  • short-chain chlorinated alkanes
  • decabromodiphenyl ether (a PBDE)
  • TBTs
  • PCNs
  • HBCD
Concentration limits (paragraph 6(2)(c))

This exemption applies to:

  • 2-ME
  • TBTs
Personal use (subsection 6(4))

This exemption applies to:

  • PFOA and LC-PFCAs, their salts and precursors

Personal use is generally understood to refer to something that was legally acquired, and is personally owned or possessed for non-commercial purposes. This excludes use for commercial gain, sale or offer for sale.

For more details about the exemptions, please read the regulations.

Compliance with the regulations

You are responsible to comply with all aspects of these regulations. Each person is best placed to determine how these regulations may affect their activities. The measures you take to ensure compliance will vary according to your activities.

Some measures you may take include:

These actions are not requirements of the regulations; they are provided as examples for guidance purposes only.

CEPA and its regulations, including the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012, are enforced in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for CEPA.

Information for importers

Importers must comply with all relevant requirements of the regulations. Depending on the substance, prohibited items can include:

Substances and/or products containing them that are prohibited in Canada may still be legally manufactured or used in other countries. Importers must therefore take the necessary precautions to avoid imports that may lead to accidental regulatory violations.

Below are some examples of imported products that may be more likely to contain prohibited substances, due to their ongoing use in other countries. However, these are only examples and other substances that are prohibited by the regulations may also be found in imported products. As an importer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your products comply with the regulations.

Examples of prohibited products that may be at higher risk of being imported due to the ongoing use in other countries

  • polymer resin
  • coatings used in textile, electronic equipment and marine applications
  • recycled plastic pellets
  • polystyrene foam used in construction
Short-chain chlorinated alkanes, which are also known as short-chain chlorinated paraffins
  • plastics (including in toys like jump ropes or balls, or in extension cords)
  • vinyls
  • adhesives
  • sealants
  • paints and coatings
  • cutting fluids
  • high pressure lubricating oils used in metalworking
  • nail polish removers
  • whiteboard cleaners
  • all-purpose cleaners
  • decontamination agents
  • industrial coatings
  • anti-icing agents for jet fuel
PFOS, its salts and precursors
  • dirt, water and grease repellent coatings and items treated with them, such as paper and packaging, carpets and fabrics
  • fire-fighting foams
PFOA and LC-PFCAs, their salts and precursors
  • dirt, water and grease repellent coatings for use in textiles, carpets, hoses, cables, gaskets and non-stick cookware
  • paints
  • personal care products

In addition, note that certain substances subject to these regulations are also listed on the Export Control List (Schedule 3 of CEPA) and their export is controlled by the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations, whether or not they are contained in a product.

Information for laboratories and their suppliers

These regulations do not apply to toxic substances or to any products containing them that are to be used:

However, all exempted laboratory users have reporting requirements if they are using more than 10 g of any toxic substances in a calendar year. The report(s) must clearly provide the information required, including:

Aqueous film-forming foam used in fire-fighting

Aqueous film-forming foam, better known as AFFF, is a synthetic fire-fighting foam containing hydrocarbon-based surfactants and fluorinated surfactants that rapidly extinguish hydrocarbon fuel fires. It is mainly used in civil and military aviation, and oil industries. In Canada, AFFF containing the following PFAS is prohibited under these regulations, with a few exemptions that are outlined below:

These regulations allow:

These exemptions accommodate:

To find out if your AFFF contains prohibited PFAS, you should refer to the safety data sheet for the product or contact your AFFF supplier/manufacturer.

Since PFOS, PFOA and LC-PFCAs and their salts and precursors pose a risk to the environment, best environmental practices and available technologies should be used during all life cycle stages. AFFF that contains these toxic substances should be used and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Be sure to use appropriate procedures to avoid any release to the environment during routine use such as training activities and equipment testing.

Dispose of AFFF that contains these toxic substances at an authorized hazardous waste management facility. In Canada, provinces and territories have jurisdiction over the licensing and permitting of disposal facilities. Contact your provincial/territorial authorities to find the appropriate hazardous waste management facility for safe disposal.

Laboratory testing requirements

Any laboratory testing performed for the purposes of these regulations, such as for compliance with the regulations, must be carried out by a laboratory accredited under the standard ISO/IEC 17025 or under the Environment Quality Act, CQLR, c. Q-2. The laboratory must meet the following conditions at the time that the analysis to determine the concentration of the toxic substance is performed:

For more detail, refer to section 13 of these regulations.

Reporting requirements

Depending on the substance and activity, you may be subject to reporting requirements if:

A separate report must be submitted for every calendar year for each toxic substance. Complete your report using the PDF version of the appropriate form below. Ensure that you have signed it and submit it to the email address listed below.

Schedule 3

Use this form to provide information related to the current or anticipated use of any toxic substance listed to these regulations for use in a laboratory for analysis, in scientific research or as a laboratory analytical standard.

Schedule 5

Use this form to report on short-chain chlorinated alkanes or benzidine and benzidine dihydro-chloride, if the reporting requirements identified in section 12 of these regulations are met.

For more details, refer to section 3 or 12 of these regulations, respectively.

Record keeping

It is mandatory to keep records of all information submitted under these regulations in Canada for a minimum of five years. For more details, refer to section 15 of these regulations.


There are currently no permits available. Permits were only available when a prohibition first came into effect, or when a temporary permitted use expired. When available, permits temporarily allow the manufacture or import of certain substances or products containing them (Schedule 4 of these regulations). For more details, refer to sections 9, 10 and 11 of these regulations.

Related links

Contact us

Chemicals Management Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Blvd, 10th floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3


Environment and Climate Change Canada Inquiry Centre:
Telephone: 819-997-2800 or 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)

Write to us at the email above if you would like to be added to the regulations distribution list.

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