Safe Environments Directorate (SED)

The Safe Environments Directorate (SED) in the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of Health Canada promotes healthy living, working and recreational environments by identifying and assessing health risks posed by environmental factors (specifically chemicals, microbes, emerging technologies and development projects).

What We Do

SED develops national risk management strategies that:

  • help reduce risks to human health from the environment;
  • are supported by scientific research; and
  • directly align with Health Canada's Sustainable Development Strategy.

The Safe Environments Directorate's mandate is governed by the following legislation:

How We Do It

Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau (ESRAB)

The Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau helps to protect the health of Canadians by assessing and providing expert advice on the health risks and impacts posed by chemical substances in commerce and in federal contaminated sites in Canada, as well as on impacts posed by development projects. The Bureau also works at the international level, with representatives of other countries, sharing knowledge to assist in development of regulations, environmental health assessments, and risk assessment processes.

Chemicals Policy Bureau

The Chemicals Policy Bureau provides leadership and direction in connection with environmental contaminants, and cooperates on related horizontal and international health policy strategies, issues and initiatives. Key activity areas include: providing policy advice at the directorate, branch, departmental, interdepartmental and international levels; acting as the Secretariat for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee on Health and the Environment; and liaising with international partners on health and environment activities.

New Substances Assessment and Control Bureau (NSACB)

The New Substances Assessment and Control Bureau ensures that new substances are assessed for potential risk and adequately managed before being introduced to the Canadian environment. (When Health Canada suspects a substance may be toxic, it may impose conditions or prohibit its manufacture or import.) The Bureau also establishes legislative regulations and policies that support risk assessment and risk management activities.

Business Services Unit

The Business Services Unit is the secretariat to the Director General's Office.  MSB provides a centre of expertise for resource management and business infrastructure for the Directorate--including finance, human resources, workplace health, organizational development, material management, IM/IT and Business Continuity Planning.

Risk Management Bureau (RMB)

The Risk Management Bureau promotes and protects the health of Canadians by developing and implementing strategies to manage risks to human health which are associated with environmental exposure to chemical substances.

Water and Air Quality Bureau

The Water and Air Quality Bureau leads the development of regulations, standards and health risk assessments related to protecting Canadians from contaminants in drinking and recreational waters and outdoor and indoor air. The Bureau provides advice on adaptation strategies and participates in the development of broad federal and national water, air and climate change policies.

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