Terms of reference of the Chemicals Management Plan Science Committee

Updated: March 14, 2019


The purpose of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) Science Committee, hereby referred to as the "committee", is to contribute expertise to Health Canada (HC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) pertaining to scientific considerations moving forward under the CMP.

The committee will include different levels of participants: core and ad hoc members, invited presenters, government staff and observers. The roles and responsibilities of these parties are outlined in section 4 of these terms of reference.

The committee was established according to these terms of reference, which were endorsed on Thursday, January 11, 2018. The terms of reference will be an evergreen document which will be subject to revision, as needed.

1.0 Mandate

The committee will contribute expertise to HC and ECCC pertaining to scientific considerations moving forward under the CMP. These departments have the responsibility and sole authority to make decisions informed by input provided by the committee.

2.0 Reporting structure/governance

The committee will operate under the Health Canada Policy on External Advisory Bodies.

The Assistant Deputy Ministers of the Science and Technology Branch and the Environmental Stewardship Branch, ECCC, and the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, HC, support the establishment of the committee and have designated the Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau, Safe Environments Directorate, within HC as the committee's secretariat (section 4.3).

3.0 Membership selection and nomination process

Core members of the committee are recruited through an open self-nomination process.

The goal of this process is to ensure that, together, the committee members have a range of expertise. Both HC and ECCC encourage diversity and inclusiveness in the composition of their committee memberships.

The co-chairs and committee members are appointed by the Executive Secretary, who is the Director General, Safe Environments Directorate, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, HC, in conjunction with the Director General, Science and Risk Assessment Directorate, ECCC. They are appointed at pleasure, and appointments may be ended without cause or consultation.

In considering whom to appoint, the directors general may consult with HC and/or ECCC program officials.

3.1 Membership considerations

The mandate of the committee defines its membership. The committee will have 9 core members, including 2 co-chairs. The committee co-chair positions may be rotational, and the co-chairs will be selected based on an expression of interest in the core member's application. The co-chair positions may also be staggered for the purposes of continuity, and efforts will be made by the Executive Secretary to consider balance when appointing the co-chairs (for example, gender, affiliation, etc.)

A review committee, comprised of both ECCC and HC program officials, will determine the composition of core and ad hoc committee members based on the desired areas of expertise with the goal of achieving a committee that can provide comprehensive expertise.

Core membership will include individuals who will provide comprehensive expertise in various scientific fields applicable to chemicals management. Elaboration of specific areas of expertise sought for core membership is provided in Appendix A. Core committee members shall be invited to serve an initial term of up to 3 years and may be re-appointed for a second term. The second 3-year term, originally ending in August 2020, was extended to March 2021.

As required, ad hoc members will be invited to participate in the committee when additional or specific expertise is required. These individuals may actively participate in the contribution of expertise to both HC and ECCC. Ad hoc members may be asked to serve on the committee for a specified period of time (for example, 1 meeting). Ad hoc members may have a narrower or more specialized area of expertise considered to be relevant to certain scientific deliberations moving forward in the CMP. Their participation and number in the committee will depend on the expertise required to address the science considerations being raised by the departments. Selection of ad hoc members for specific committee deliberations may be made by the Executive Secretary and/or the secretariat in consultation with other government officials, the co-chairs and/or the committee through various open mechanisms after a meeting topic is confirmed. To preserve the independence of the federal government as a decision-maker, an employee of the Government of Canada can neither chair nor be a member of the committee and cannot participate in the formulation of input to HC and ECCC.

3.2 Affiliations and interests

To be considered for appointment, potential members of the committee are required to complete and return the Affiliations and Interests Declaration Form (available upon request).

In keeping with the Privacy Act, a completed Affiliations and Interests Declaration Form is considered confidential. HC and ECCC will not make public any information in the form without the member's permission. However, as a condition of membership, members will allow HC and ECCC to publish on the Canada.ca (Chemical Substances) Website and in print, a summary of expertise, experience, and affiliations and interests, based on the completed declaration form.

In addition to publishing the summary, the co-chairs will also ask members to make a verbal statement of their relevant affiliations and interests at the initial committee meeting, to reflect any changes beyond what was originally submitted.

Committee members must update their declaration in writing whenever their situation changes. The committee's secretariat office will review declarations before making appointments and on an ongoing basis, at least on an annual basis, as well as any time the committee mandate is changed.

Committee members are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. They may not use their position on a committee for their private gain or for the gain of any other person, company, or organization.

3.3 Confidentiality and protected materials

To support their ability to provide well-informed expertise, the committee members may receive confidential information. At the discretion of the secretariat and in consultation with the co-chairs, meetings of the committee may be:

  • open only to committee members
  • open only to committee members and ad hoc members
  • open only to committee members, ad hoc members and government staff
  • open only to committee members, ad hoc members, government staff and invited presenters
  • open only to committee members, ad hoc members, government staff, invited presenters and observers
  • open

Confidential materials and/or topics will not be discussed during open meetings, or while invited presenters or observers are in attendance. If Protected A and/or Protected B materials are shared either in advance of or during the meeting, HC will inform the committee members, and the Health Canada Care and Custody of Information Policy for the disclosure and storage of protected materials will be followed. HC will mark information according to the level to which it is protected under the Policy on Government Security.

All core committee members must sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of core membership. Depending on the meeting topic and/or meeting materials shared, ad hoc members may be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. The confidentiality agreement prohibits the disclosure of any confidential information received through participation in the committee, including information received orally or in writing, through email correspondence, telephone calls, print materials, meeting discussions, etc.

The co-chairs will ensure that everyone participating in the meeting, telephone discussion, email exchange or in another form of communication has received clear instructions on the confidentiality of the proceedings.

3.4 Security clearance

All core committee members may be required to attain an appropriate security clearance as a condition of core membership. This may require the committee member to submit fingerprints to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). HC provides the required forms to candidates for appointment.

3.5 Indemnification

The Government of Canada undertakes to provide its volunteer committee members with protection against civil liability provided the volunteer member acts in good faith, within the scope of their volunteer duties; and does not act against the interests of the Crown.

HC may enter into a service contract with the co-chairs. If paid for participation on the committee, the co-chairs would not be considered a volunteer and, therefore, would not be eligible for indemnification. Obtaining appropriate insurance coverage under this circumstance is the responsibility of the contractor, if they wish to do so.

Members act collectively in the contribution of expertise to HC and ECCC but they are not final decision-makers. The departments have the ultimate responsibility and accountability for any decision resulting from the input received from the committee.

3.6 Travel and expenses

Committee members will be reimbursed for expenses incurred on approved travel for the committee, such as trip costs and accommodation, according to the Treasury Board's Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.

3.7 Tenure

Initially, committee members are appointed by the Executive Secretary, in consultation with ECCC, for a term of up to 3 years and may be re-appointed for a second term. In order to maintain expertise and experience, some membership appointments may be staggered and reviewed.

3.8 Resignation and/or replacement process

It is preferable for a committee member to provide one-month notice of the intent to resign. The resignation letter must be in writing and be addressed to the committee secretariat and to the co-chairs. The letter should state the effective date of the resignation.

If a committee member needs to be replaced, the secretariat will review the original submissions received when the nomination call was sent out to determine if there are any suitable replacements. Should no suitable replacement be found from the original submissions, another nomination call will be sent out, or the committee and secretariat will jointly identify a potential replacement and direct contact will be made via the secretariat.

3.9 Reasons for termination

On behalf of HC and/or ECCC, the Executive Secretary may end a member's appointment by writing to the member stating the reasons the appointment is being concluded and the effective date. Appointments may end for a variety of reasons; for example, without cause or consultation, the member's term is complete, the mandate of the committee has been completed, the committee's mandate has changed, the committee requires additional expertise thus requiring a different membership. An appointment may also be ended for cause when, for example, a member fails to act according to the terms of reference, breaks the confidentiality agreement or misses 3 consecutive meetings without a satisfactory reason.

4. Roles and responsibilities

4.1 Members

Both core and ad hoc members have a responsibility to HC and ECCC and, by extension, to Canadians, to participate fully and put forth their best effort in addressing science considerations raised by the departments. To do so, they must consider all input received that is related to the mandate of the committee.

Other responsibilities include to:

  • be available and prepared to participate in face-to-face committee meetings in person, including participate in internet meetings (for example, Webex®), email exchanges, conference calls and videoconferencing
  • participate in the discussions of the committee or report to HC and ECCC
  • notify the secretariat and the co-chairs of any changes in their affiliations and interests related to the committee's mandate during the time they are members of the committee
  • make an oral statement of affiliations and interests at the beginning of a meeting, if requested to do so by the co-chairs
  • direct any media inquiries pertaining to the committee to the secretariat and notify the secretariat about the inquiry

Remote (or via teleconference) participation in committee face-to-face meetings cannot be accommodated for committee members. If members wish to contribute to a discussion topic, they may submit scientific input and perspectives on the topic to the departments through direct communication with the lead directors via email to hc.esrabdirector-directeurberse.sc@canada.ca.

4.2 Co-chairs

The committee co-chairs will be selected amongst the assigned core members and appointed by the Executive Secretary. The co-chairs have additional responsibilities, including to:

  • provide input to HC and ECCC on the selection of committee members, including the selection of ad hoc members
  • co-chair committee meetings
  • invite committee members to make a presentation at a meeting, when relevant and appropriate
  • facilitate a full and frank discussion among committee members in fulfillment of the committee's mandate, including in formulating its input to charge questions
  • identify when information and discussions are considered confidential and clarify expectations regarding this protected information
  • determine, in consultation with the secretariat, whether the government is seeking a summary of input from the committee or consensus on a particular issue and co-chair the meetings accordingly. If consensus is sought and there is not agreement, ensure that this diversity of perspectives is noted in the committee report
  • coordinate the development of committee reports and any other report deliverables, as required, and ensure delivery of the committee's input to HC and ECCC
  • support the fulfillment of the committee's mandate in any other way

4.3 Secretariat

The committee secretariat is housed in the Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau, Safe Environments Directorate, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of HC. The secretariat is the administrative liaison between committee members and HC and ECCC.

The secretariat provides HC and ECCC with leadership and strategic advice in the management of the committee and works closely with the co-chairs. In addition, the responsibilities of the secretariat include to:

  • coordinate the committee member appointment process
  • coordinate the preparation of materials for committee members and meetings, observers, and others and coordinate the timing of their distribution
  • assist with the work of the committee, as required
  • provide administrative support to committee members
  • support public access to information about the committee, as appropriate
  • act as a liaison between HC and ECCC and the committee, including seeking input from HC and ECCC program officials
  • assist the co-chairs in carrying out their responsibilities, including determining confidentiality of materials and public participation in meetings
  • carry out any additional duties as appropriate to support the committee, including the drafting of meeting records
  • undertake any tasks related to the committee delegated to it by the assistant deputy ministers and/or directors general
  • report to the Executive Secretary on the activities of the committee
  • assist with a review or audit of the committee, as required

4.4 Executive Secretary

The Executive Secretary is the Director General, Safe Environments Directorate, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of HC. The Executive Secretary is the HC official with the lead responsibility for the committee; however, the Executive Secretary also works with his/her ECCC counterparts, the Director General, Science and Risk Assessment, Science and Technology Branch and the Director General, Chemicals Sector, Environmental Stewardship Branch.

The Executive Secretary provides guidance to the secretariat and reports back to the committee on how HC and ECCC used their input.

The committee's Executive Secretary makes decisions about the administration and operation of the committee. The Executive Secretary works closely with the co-chairs and secretariat.

4.5 Media and communications

All media requests related to the committee's statements or activities will be directed to Media Relations, HC and ECCC, who will coordinate responses with the Executive Secretary and the designated media spokesperson.

In accordance with the Directive on the Management of Communications, the Executive Secretary and the co-chairs, may decide to name someone other than, or in addition to, the co-chairs as a media spokesperson.

A committee member may only discuss issues pertaining to the committee and its activities with the media or at conferences or at other external events with prior permission from the Executive Secretary. A committee member will share any communication materials that have been prepared concerning the committee with the secretariat at least 2 weeks prior to the event.

5.0 Management and administration

5.1 Transparency

HC and ECCC are committed to transparency as an operating principle. Transparency of the committee is served by:

  • ensuring that meeting schedules are predictable, where possible
  • portions of meetings that may be open to observers
  • posting the following committee meeting materials on the Canada.ca (Chemical Substances) Website:
    • terms of reference
    • member names including membership term
    • summary of expertise, experience, and affiliations and interests
    • biographies of members
    • meeting records (excluding confidential information)
    • committee reports

5.2 Meeting agendas

The secretariat, in consultation with the co-chairs, sets the meeting agenda, including identifying scientific considerations for discussion.

5.3 Meeting notice and invitations

All meetings are scheduled at the call of the Executive Secretary or secretariat office in consultation with the co-chairs.

Dependent upon the confidential nature of the topics to be discussed, observers in committee meetings may be limited. Observer participation in meetings is at the discretion of the secretariat, in consultation with the co-chairs. Refer to section 3.3 of the terms of reference for further information.

The secretariat will be responsible for organizing, scheduling and circulating all meeting material.

Members generally receive the agenda and background materials at least 6 weeks in advance of the meeting. Presentations by committee members or others should be circulated in advance of the meeting where feasible.

5.4 Frequency, type and location of meetings

Meetings will be held, as required, up to 2 times a year in the National Capital Region. Members must make every effort to attend these meetings as attendance remotely (or via teleconference) cannot be accommodated. Additional meetings or teleconferences may be held on an as-needed basis at the discretion of the secretariat office in consultation with the co-chairs. The in-person meetings may require working lunches where hospitality will be provided as per section 3.6 of this document. Attempts will be made to standardize the meeting times (for example, May and November).

For teleconferences and other similar meetings, committee members must make every effort to ensure that a secure line is used and that no one else can listen to the proceedings unless the person has been previously approved by the co-chairs and secretariat.

5.5 Observers

The secretariat, or the co-chairs in consultation with the Executive Secretary, may permit individuals or organizations, such as members of the CMP Stakeholder Advisory Council, to observe the presentation portion of the meeting in person. The portions of the meeting whereby committee members deliberate on the charge question and prepare input to the committee report will typically be closed to observers.

Observers will be required to register with the committee's secretariat a minimum of 14 days before said meeting. Observers may not provide input on agenda items or participate in the discussions, unless specifically invited to do so by the co-chairs.

As part of the opening remarks at a committee meeting, the co-chair will:

  • identify, by name and organization, the individuals attending part of the meeting as observers
  • state the requirements and expectations regarding any confidential matters being discussed at the meeting, if applicable
  • clarify that observers may not participate in the discussions, either by speaking or by otherwise expressing their support for, or disagreement with, what is being said, unless specifically invited to do so by the co-chairs. The co-chairs may ask observers who do not respect these rules to leave the meeting.

5.6 Invited presenters

The co-chairs or the secretariat may invite individuals to provide input on a specific topic or agenda item. Invited presenters may participate in the discussions if the co-chairs specifically invite them to do so.

5.7 Requirements of presenters and observers

At the discretion of the Executive Secretary or secretariat, invited presenters or observers may be required to complete a:

  • Declaration of Affiliations and Interest Form
  • confidentiality agreement

5.8 Deliberations and reports

The secretariat will summarize the proceedings in a meeting record to effectively reflect the committee's discussions. Remarks are not attributed to individuals in the meeting. The meeting record will be circulated to the co-chairs and/or committee members for review and confirmation.

Committee expertise will be provided to HC and ECCC in the form of a committee report that is jointly developed by the co-chairs and/or designated member(s) (as per section 4.2). If consensus is sought and if there is not agreement, the committee report will reflect the diversity of perspectives. In some instances, the committee may request that the committee report or other documentation prepared for the meeting be posted side-by-side. In other instances, the committee report may be combined with other documents as one single document, but with the committee’s report clearly identified. The decision on what is posted and how will be made by the committee co-chairs with input from the committee secretariat, and will depend on the meeting topic.

Committee members who are unable to attend a meeting may submit scientific input and perspectives to the departments for consideration via email to: hc.esrabdirector-directeurberse.sc@canada.ca.

A minimum of 50% of the core members must attend in order for a meeting to proceed. The co-chairs do not need to be present in order for the meeting to proceed.

Both the final meeting record and committee report will be posted on the Canada.ca (Chemical Substances) Website subject to approval of the Executive Secretary.

5.9 Language of work

In accordance with the Official Languages Act, committee members will have the right to use either official language with regard to committee work.

5.10 Review and wrap-up

A review will be conducted every 3 years to determine whether administrative, management or other improvements are required to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the committee. A review may also be carried out to determine the ongoing relevance of the committee's mandate and to inform disbanding or renewal decisions.

During the review process, feedback may be sought from the committee's co-chairs, members, observers and others.

The review may be conducted by HC and ECCC officials or by consultants hired by the departments. The review report will be submitted to the Executive Secretary, who may then authorize its distribution to committee members.

HC, in consultation with ECCC, may end the mandate of the committee and disband it at any time for a variety of reasons, including:

  • a change in circumstances that causes the committee's expertise to no longer be required
  • a breach of confidentiality or ethics that has undermined the credibility of the committee
  • the completion of the committee's mandate

The committee's secretariat office will write to the committee members to notify them of this decision.

Appendix A

Areas of expertise for Chemicals Management Plan Science Committee

Significant and recent expertise (in other words, that which is acquired over a period of 10 years or more) in the following area is required for core membership:
Broad areas Elaboration

Environmental and/or biological sciences related to ecological or human health effects, exposure/fate and risk characterization

  • For organic chemicals, inorganics/metals and polymers, expertise in chemistry and/or toxicology with focus on
    • Hazard assessment
    • Exposure assessment
    • Persistence, bioaccumulation
    • Toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics
    • Risk characterization for:
      • Environmental endpoints
      • Human health
  • Regulatory toxicology
  • Cancer Risk Assessment methodology
  • Endocrinology
  • Risk assessment of chemical mixtures including substances that are unknown or variable compositions, complex reaction products and biological materials (UVCBs)
  • Predictive tools:
    • Toxicity (for example, QSAR, use of analogues)
    • Exposure (for example, modelling)
  • Aggregate and cumulative risk assessment, including moiety-based assessments
  • Emerging alternative approaches to toxicity testing and their application in risk assessment
  • Multimedia fate assessment
  • Biostatistics related to chemical risk assessment
  • Expertise in population health, from an epidemiology or clinical perspective
  • Epidemiology, from a chemicals management perspective
In addition, expertise in the following areas was sought:
Broad areas Elaboration

Chemicals management framework expertise, including in other jurisdictions

  • Knowledge of various chemicals management frameworks/legislation in Canada and internationally

Application of weight of evidence and precaution in science-based decision-making

  • Weight-of-evidence assessment frameworks
  • Precautionary Principle

Knowledge of the chemicals industry

  • Emerging technologies
  • Product development
  • Lifecycle of manufactured items/products
  • Monitoring and surveillance

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