Transparency in Chemicals Management Plan risk assessment activities

Transparency is important to build and maintain public confidence, and the Government of Canada also has an obligation to protect confidential business information. Under section 313 of the Canadian Environment Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), any person who provides information to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change may request that this information be treated as confidential. This protects commercial interests by ensuring that confidential information is protected from public disclosure. The degree of protection given to such information is subject to sections 314-321 of CEPA 1999 and some provisions of the Access to Information Act (ATIA).

In 2017, the Government of Canada published the Proposed Approach to Promote Transparency in Chemicals Management Risk Assessment Activities. This approach seeks to balance transparency to support decisions in risk assessments with the right of stakeholders to protect confidential information. Of particular relevance is the aim to publish a robust rationale for supporting decisions in risk assessments while protecting confidential information. An updated version of this approach is now available. 

Best practices on transparency in other agencies and jurisdictions were examined to draft this approach. The Government of Canada also considered all comments received from the public and stakeholders.

Opportunities to align the process for reviewing confidentiality claims are currently being explored with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Confidential substance identity claims

Publication of an acceptable masked name is required under section 88 of CEPA 1999, after a confidentiality request is made under section 313, if publication of the actual identity of a substance would result in the release of confidential information. The approach specifies which additional information needs to be provided when claiming confidentiality for substance identity and in the event the Government of Canada wishes to release certain confidential information publicly. Confidentiality claims for substance identity will be reviewed after a period of 10 years.

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