Nanotechnology is a rapidly emerging field with the potential for use in a wide variety of applications across a broad range of sectors. Nanomaterials are substances that are manufactured at or within the nanoscale (1 to 100 nanometres inclusive), or have internal or surface structures in the nanoscale.

As international consensus on a definition for the products of nanotechnology has not yet been reached, a working definition described in the Policy Statement on Health Canada's Working Definition for Nanomaterial, has been considered in the development of the approach to address certain nanomaterials under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999).

Presently, nanoscale forms of substances that are not listed on the Domestic Substances List (DSL) are subject to the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) under CEPA 1999. Nanoscale forms of substances listed on the DSL are considered to be existing nanomaterials and generally have not been explicitly considered in risk assessments of existing substances conducted under CEPA 1999. The Government of Canada wants to ensure that nanomaterials currently in commerce in Canada are addressed as some may require further action to determine if they pose any potential risks to the environment or to human health. The Government of Canada has also designed the NanoPortal to provide information about Canadian Federal Government nanotechnology programs and links to general information about nanotechnology.

Mandatory Survey - Section 71 Notice

On July 25, 2015, a Notice was issued in the Canada Gazette, Part I: Vol. 149, No. 30 – July 25, 2015 (PDF Version – 3,016 K) under section 71 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). The Notice applied to the nanoscale forms of 206 substances listed in the Notice. Every person to whom the Notice applied was required to comply no later than 5 p.m. EDT, February 23, 2016.

The purpose of the section 71 Notice is to determine the commercial status of these nanomaterials in Canada for the 2014 calendar year. The data collected is currently being analysed to help inform prioritization activities and decision making on any further actions.

Persons who did not meet the reporting requirements of the Notice, but who had an interest in the nanoscale forms of substances covered by the Notice were encouraged to identify themselves as a stakeholder for those substances by submitting a voluntary Declaration of Stakeholder Interest online via Environment Canada's Single Window. The Declaration of Stakeholder Interest also allowed persons to submit voluntary information on nanomaterials that would be beneficial to inform prioritization activities and to inform decisions on any further actions.

Persons who did not meet the requirements to respond to the Notice and had no commercial interest in the substances listed in the Notice had the option to complete a Declaration of Non-Engagement online via Environment Canada's Single Window.

Proposed Approach to Nanomaterials

The Government of Canada is undertaking a stepwise approach to address nanoscale forms of substances on the DSL. The proposed approach consists of three phases:

  • Establishment of a list of existing nanomaterials in Canada (this includes the section 71 Notice);
  • Prioritization of existing nanomaterials for action; and
  • Action on substances identified for further work.

The overall approach was first described in a consultation document entitled Proposed Approach to Address Nanoscale Forms of Substances on the Domestic Substances List, published on March 18, 2015. This consultation document was open for a 60-day public comment period to solicit feedback from stakeholders, particularly on the first phase of the approach.

A second consultation document entitled Proposed Prioritization Approach for Nanoscale Forms of Substances on the Domestic Substances List was published on July 27, 2016. In this document, the approach proposed for prioritization of existing nanomaterials on the DSL is described, taking into consideration the results of the section 71 Notice. Comments on this consultation document may be submitted prior to September 25, 2016 to one of the following addresses:

By Mail:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
351 St. Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau, Québec
K1A 0H3

By Email:
Please type "Consultation on Prioritization Approach for Nanomaterials" in the subject line of your message.

By Fax:
Comments received on these documents will be used to finalize the approach to further address the status of existing nanomaterials in Canada.

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