Results at a Glance - Evaluation of the Chemicals Management Plan 2014-15 to 2018-19

Program Context

The Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is a jointly-managed initiative of Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), aimed at assessing environmental and human health risks posed by chemical substances and organisms, and managing toxic substances according to the risks they present to human and environmental health. The CMP has been funded in three phases since its inception in 2006, and will sunset in March 2021.

CMP B-base Budget: $393 M 2014-15 to 2017-18

Evaluation Approach

This evaluation examined the relevance and performance of the CMP and explored future and continuing needs beyond 2021. It focused on 2014-15 to 2018-19, while also examining achievements over the life of the program, as relevant.

What the Evaluation Found

Due to considerable health, environmental, and other societal costs associated with toxic chemicals, the risks posed by chemicals continues to be an important issue that will require a robust federal chemicals management program. Although the current program is due to sunset, there are existing and emerging concerns related to chemicals and growth in the global chemical industry is projected, meaning that it will be important for the Government of Canada to address the issue of chemicals management now and in the future. A federal chemicals management program is also critical to fulfill the Government of Canada's domestic statutory obligations and international commitments.

The CMP has made progress in all functional activity areas. Moving forward, it will be important to continue working on risk assessments and improving assessment approaches, while also strengthening other core CMP functions.

There is some evidence that Canadians and stakeholder groups are accessing and using CMP information to avoid or minimize risks posed by harmful substances, as well as some evidence demonstrating industry compliance with certain risk management measures. There is limited evidence to support conclusions about whether the CMP has reduced the potential for exposure to harmful substances, although biomonitoring and environmental monitoring trend data is beginning to emerge. The program does not yet have an approach to measuring reduced health and environmental threats from harmful substances. Furthermore, CMP partners are not able to produce and agree on basic program information, including activities and outputs, in a timely manner.

A recent review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development made a number recommendations, many of which were related to issues that were also identified as part of this evaluation, including health inequality and vulnerable populations, substitution and alternative assessments, as well as new and emerging issues, such as endocrine disruptors, aggregate exposure, biotechnology, and cumulative and synergistic effects of substances. The evaluation findings reinforce the need for the CMP to continue its efforts to address recommendations stemming from that report.

Other areas for attention include enhancing stakeholder engagement, improving information collection and management, and measuring and reporting results.

Recommendations

  1. Revitalize mechanisms for stakeholder engagement.
  2. Improve program performance measurement to facilitate program management, decision
    making, and meaningful reporting to the public.
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