Archived [2022-03-21] A summary of the Chemicals Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Council Meeting held in May 2019


The purpose of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) meeting is to provide council members the opportunity to offer advice and input to the Government on the implementation of the CMP, and to foster dialogue on issues pertaining to the CMP between stakeholders and government, and among different stakeholder groups.

Meeting objectives

The objectives of the May 2019 meeting were to seek stakeholder views on several elements of ongoing work related to the administration and implementation of the CMP, to provide stakeholders with information on related Government of Canada efforts, and to update stakeholders on ongoing work to renew and modernize the CMP.

Council members were updated on government initiatives related to chemicals management in Canada, with presentations and discussions on the following areas:

Day 1 – May 22, 2019

Welcome and introductions

The Co-Chairs, Jacqueline Gonçalves, Director General, Science and Risk Assessment Directorate [Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)], Christina Paradiso, Executive Director, Chemicals Management Division, Industrial Sectors, Chemicals and Waste Directorate (ECCC) and David Morin, Director General, Safe Environments Directorate [Health Canada (HC)], welcomed the members of the CMP SAC and observers. It was noted that Christina Paradiso was acting on behalf of Gwen Goodier, acting Director General.

The Co-Chairs welcomed Dorothy Wigmore, Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health as a member of the CMP SAC. With a background in occupational health and policy work, this new appointment will ensure continued consideration of the human health perspective through the SAC.

Opening remarks

The Co-Chairs provided an overview of the agenda, which was endorsed by members with no changes. Council members reviewed action items from the November 2018 SAC meeting, noting the agenda items related to plastics and nanomaterials for this meeting stemmed from the ongoing discussions and areas of interest previously identified.

In addition, Mr. Morin recognized the important contributions of Danie Dubé, who passed away in May 2019. As a Government of Canada employee, Danie’s involvement in chemicals management dated back to the 1990’s. She was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the CMP program and played a lead role in establishing the Domestic Substances List (DSL) and the New Substance Notification Regulations.

Program highlights

The Co-Chairs highlighted the importance of the SAC in terms of bringing stakeholder perspectives into the program and providing a forum for different stakeholder communities to contribute to the ongoing administration and implementation of the CMP. Council members were informed that a process to review the membership composition and an evaluation of the SAC as per the Terms of Reference will be taking place in the coming months.

Council members were provided with a brief update on international activities related to chemicals management by Co-Chair Christina Paradiso. The update highlighted actions coming out of meetings of the Stockholm, Basel, and Rotterdam Conventions (Triple COP), and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the United Nations Environment Assembly. Focused on advancing environmentally sound management of chemicals and waste, including plastic waste, these activities explored advancing a life-cycle approach to chemicals management and increasing international visibility and engagement around chemicals and waste management. A webinar was planned for June 5, 2019 to provide stakeholders with a debrief on the main outcomes of TripleCOP—including details regarding chemicals listed to the Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, Basel plastics amendments, and the establishment of the Rotterdam compliance mechanisms. In addition, an update was provided regarding Canada’s Presidency of the G7 in 2018, Canada’s zero plastic waste target, and the target to reduce plastic waste in federal government offices by 70%.

Presentation and discussion summaries

This section summarizes presentations and discussions of the SAC meeting on day 1. Presenters included representatives from ECCC and HC, who provided updates on various government initiatives. In advance of the meeting, charge questions were circulated to council members to foster dialogue and input around key points.

The following topics were discussed as a large group, in plenary:


Representatives from ECCC gave a presentation on the NPRI, a public resource used to identify and track sources of pollution in Canada. The presentation focused on how the NPRI and CMP work together, highlighting the linkages between NPRI data, various CMP activities, and exploring strategic ways to enhance the NPRI for Canadians and stakeholders.

The tracking of CMP substances tracked through the NPRI results in data on releases, disposals, and transfers, which is used to inform risk management activities and performance measurement. For example:

There are a number of decision factors for listing a substance on the NPRI. As a result, not all substances concluded toxic under the CMP have been added to the inventory. For example, a substance would not be considered for addition to the NPRI if the main source of exposure is from consumer products.

Consultations for further changes to the NPRI to support the CMP were underway until June 27, 2019. Specifically for the deletion of decaBDE and also for the addition of 3 substances: PREPOD, BENPAT and azo disperse dyes.

To improve knowledge and understanding of pollution issues across the Canadian public and to ensure the data is useful to all stakeholders, a strategy to improve the understandability of the data was developed and numerous engagement efforts have occurred. The next steps for this initiative include identifying priority linkages with other datasets, such as universities, healthcare, and chemicals properties, and exploring how best to engage and educate Canadians and stakeholders on how to use the NPRI data.

Council members were invited to discuss ways the NPRI could evolve and better support the CMP, to identify priority areas for dataset linkages and partnerships with other organizations, and to suggest ways to make the NPRI data more useful.

Discussion summary

Council members engaged in a discussion around the NPRI in relation to the CMP, post 2020. SAC members noted the NPRI would benefit from a full review of threshold limits for the substances in the database, as well as enhancements to capture smaller facilities and local level information. Capturing more temporal and detailed data through the NPRI could be used to support the VPs work under the CMP and provide strong data at the local level, allowing Canadians to make informed decisions about initiatives affecting their communities. The SAC encouraged NPRI to ensure programs are in place that promote the use of the NPRI by community or local organizations.

Council members also discussed ways to prioritize partnerships to enhance the value of the NPRI data. Council members stressed the importance of linking the NPRI data with geospatial and biomonitoring data, which could be used to identify hotspots and data gaps. To help identify priority linkages and partnerships, council members noted the value of publishing a literature review to better understand who is using the NPRI data and how often it is referenced in studies.

Lastly, council members discussed ways to make the NPRI data more useful for a wide group of users—Canadian public, researchers, as well as chemicals management stakeholders. There was strong consensus to develop enhanced data visualization and mapping tools, which would promote greater understanding and use of the data.

CESD 2018 toxics audit follow-up and performance measurement

Representatives from ECCC and HC provided an update on the CESD 2018 toxics audit. The presentation provided an overview of the audit and focused on the next steps for the performance measurement work aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of risk management for toxic substances under the CMP. Council members briefly discussed the merit of the audit, where the findings focused on enforcing regulations, evaluating progress (performance measurement) and informing the public.

As the discussion focused on performance measurement effectiveness of risk management, council members requested more detail regarding what is being done to ensure that enforcement activities are occurring at facilities and businesses that have a high impact on human health and the environment.

Action item

In regard to performance measurement, the Government has committed to completing 4 pilot projects in 2020. The pilot projects underway, which precede the 2018 audit, are evaluating substance-based performance measurements for lead, mercury, BPA and PBDEs. In addition, the CMP is also developing a long-term, systematic approach to measure and evaluate the program’s performance. This approach will look at the ongoing relevance, success, and effectiveness of the actions taken to manage risks from a Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999)-toxic substances. It will evaluate if the program’s environmental and human health objectives have been met, explore why or why not, and determine whether adjustments or additional actions are required. This systematic approach will monitor key performance indicators, gather qualitative and quantitative data across a variety of sources, and evaluate the current state over the baseline pre-action conditions, while also taking into consideration trends and potential emerging concerns. Through this performance measurement work, the CMP will identify when risks have been managed, when enforcement activities are effective, and when more or ongoing monitoring is required.

Council members were invited to discuss the CMPs performance measurement initiative, to identify key sources for information and partnerships to consider, and to share performance measurement and risk management practices that could be leveraged by the CMP. Council members noted the link between the performance management process and the Identification of Risk Assessment Priorities (IRAP) process and noted that the results from performance measurement evaluations could act as a feeder to the IRAP process.

Discussion summary

Council members engaged in a robust discussion of the different indicators used to measure success, as well as the importance of looking at comparable data from other jurisdictions and of asking the right questions when assessing performance. Council members stressed the importance of ensuring the performance measurement indicators address the full scope of what the CMP is trying to accomplish in the future—thinking about future needs and ensuring the appropriate indicators are in place as the CMP moves into a post 2020 regime. This would involve a process that clearly articulates short-, medium-, and long-term assessments of all goals and objects identified in the CMP. This also involves looking beyond a risk-based approach and exploring how a life-cycle-approach can be valuable to the CMP. Looking at performance measurement outcomes, it is important to define outcomes for each substance. Overall success can be indicated when environmental and human health objectives have been met. Council members were supportive of the performance measurement initiative and noted the value of this work in providing a clear view of where the CMP is going, post 2020.

Action item

In the discussion regarding indicators, council members stressed the need to develop a broad scope of indicators, so as to ensure that the data collected is meaningful. For example, including occupational health indicators would require biological monitoring or other reports from workplaces that may not currently have the infrastructure or staff to generate those reports. In addition, council members also noted the importance of leveraging various information sources (provincial, national, and individual groups) and looking to measure success against other jurisdictions. Some examples noted were environmental emergency regulation networks, Ontario Now, the national Air Quality Monitoring System, and university health networks that look at disease clusters.

Council members also discussed the importance of examining the role of stakeholders in the performance management process—how to consider this data in performance measurement evaluations. Council members encouraged the CMP to seek out opportunities with groups that conduct individual testing of chemicals and products, studies on informed substitutions, and gathering data from lessons learned. Given funding limitations for research, funding opportunities for data centres or networks such as the Canadian Association of Research on Work and Health (CARWH) that could lend value and expertise to the data-gathering phase should also be explored.

Nanomaterials: update and next steps

Representatives from HC gave a presentation on the Government of Canada’s (GoC) regulatory activities to address nanomaterials under CEPA 1999. The presentation included an overview of the CMP assessment process for nanomaterials, including the risk assessment framework, and the ongoing collaborative international efforts to establish harmonized regulations for nanomaterials—an emerging CEPA-toxics category.

The CMP is working to determine what nanomaterials are in commerce, in what format, and the risks or implications of these substances on human health and the environment. Following a two-year data gap analysis, the nanomaterials in commerce have been identified and work to fill remaining gaps is ongoing. The next step in this work is to develop a new risk assessment framework that clearly articulates to stakeholders how these substances will be assessed and managed from a regulatory perspective.

Given the unique properties of nanomaterials, the new risk assessment framework must support a cautious, tiered approach that accounts for both evidence- and risk-based assessment principles. The framework will also leverage the best available knowledge on nanomaterials, leading to a well informed and harmonized international approach to the regulatory management of nanomaterials. In the coming months, the draft nanomaterials risk assessment framework will be circulated for internal consultation, followed by external consultation prior to being published.

With these consultations in mind, the CMP staff noted the importance of continuing to fill data gaps through voluntary outreach, targeted information gathering on priority substances, and ongoing research into what data has been collected internationally and how that can inform the CMPs approach.

Discussion summary

Council members discussed the importance of the risk assessment framework for existing nanomaterials and explored how future or new nanomaterials listed for review will be managed. Options discussed for future management included adding a mechanism to require pre-market assessment of nano forms of DSL substances to prevent a growing list of substances for review under the CMP program or revising the New Substances Notification Regulations post 2020 to include a nano-specific schedule. The CMP staff noted the ideas for consideration and flagged that Significant New Activity (SNAc) procedures and precautionary principles are currently being used for many of these substances. Notably, the discussion around nanomaterials highlighted the need to approach the development of policies and processes with careful consideration of chemicals management ethics.

Action item

While council members supported the risk assessment framework and noted it is a logical approach, it was noted that, in many cases, there is a lack of information and data about how nanomaterials function. Recognizing there are many unknowns, the work being done to better understand nanomaterials is informed by the basic laws of chemistry widely used in science. Staff also highlighted the valuable experience and knowledge on nanomaterials being shared by experts within the community of international regulators and scientists. Council members had a good discussion regarding the various unknowns related to the use and production of nanomaterials as well as the many positive uses—for example, in areas such as medicine.

Council members noted that this work would benefit from broad input from the Science Committee or Council of Canadian Academies, as well as other experts in the field of nanomaterials.

Action item:

As the work to develop a nanomaterials risk assessment framework continues, council members noted the importance of ongoing stakeholder engagement. Council members noted the industry stakeholder support for this work and acknowledged the importance of working collaboratively on an international scale to address this emerging area. Council members briefly discussed the engagement strategy—distinguishing between public engagement, aimed at providing information to the public for use in making informed decisions, and industry engagement, aimed at ensuring regulatory decision-making is carried out in a clear, transparent, and balanced way.

Day 2 — May 23, 2019

Opening remarks

The Co-Chairs welcomed council members and observers back for the second day of the meeting and provided a brief recap of the discussions and action items stemming from day 1.

Presentation and discussion summaries

This section summarizes presentations and discussions of the SAC meeting on day 2. Presenters included representatives from ECCC, HC, and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). Updates on the following government initiatives were provided, and CIAC gave a presentation on green chemistry.

Progress towards CMP modernization

An ECCC representative presented an update on the CMP program evolution, addressing the history and accomplishments of the program, as well as themes for the future, post 2020 regime. The presentation highlighted the ongoing work to support modernization of the CMP, including stakeholder engagement, in-depth program review, and the completion of phase 3.

Global trends outlined in the United Nations (UN) Global Chemicals Outlook II, were presented as context for possible future approaches chemicals management in Canada. These trends include ongoing and significant growth in the number of new chemicals being identified year after year, the move towards a circular economy, etc. They provide important context for CMP modernization, and to some extent, are important considerations in identifying ways in which the CMP can remain an effective program and an agile regulator. While the current substance-by-substance based approach has been effective to date, the global trends in chemical innovation, production, and use also suggest a new approach. Going forward a prioritization model and assessment process that looks at cumulative effects and product-based exposures, enhanced data collection mechanisms, and adopting a more flexible, integrated, and responsive approach to assessing emerging issues may all be warranted.

Noting the upcoming federal election and the importance of a new government mandate in informing CMP renewal, the GoC representative emphasized that future stakeholder engagement opportunities will continue after the Federal election.

Discussion summary

Following the presentation, council members had a lively discussion on the future of the CMP, covering a wide range of topics ranging—from key priorities, to the ethical aspects of chemicals management, to supply chain transparency, and the need for new engagement strategies. Reflecting on what the CMP has achieved and how far chemicals management has advanced in Canada, council members noted that modernization is a valuable opportunity to re-imagine the vision and orientation of the future program without abandoning its solid foundation.

Council members discussed some opportunities and priorities to address post 2020, including updating the DSL, the need to continue to address remaining legacy chemicals on the list once the 4,300 identified through categorization have been addressed, the importance of breaking down silos between environmental and health programs, and the ever-present need to share knowledge with other countries, particularly those who are still developing their chemicals management regimes. Other points raised included the importance of modernizing the CMP in balanced manners, thereby ensuring that the CMP maintains its good reputation as a science- and risk-based program that protects human health and the environment effectively.

There was significant discussion on the notion of risk assessment that looks at the full range of effects of a substance/family of substances, as well as the effects of a product throughout its entire life cycle. Council members noted that such an approach would require enhanced data collection, a greater understanding of evolving science, and greater horizontal integration across other federal programs. On the matter of assessing risk across product life cycles, council members cautioned that this would require careful consideration of exactly what is meant by “life-cycle management”.

Throughout the discussion, council members highlighted the need to look at the ethics of chemicals management within in the context of CMP modernization. In particular, members emphasized that the GoC has a certain responsibility to maintain its strong global reputation of the CMP, and that this involves balancing the need for and benefit of new chemicals against the impact on human health and environment in the Canadian contexts. Further discussions revolved around the need for greater supply chains transparency, the need to ensure that the program responds to current consumer risk tolerance levels, and the fact that increasing numbers of Canadians are looking for information about what is in the products they use or have in their homes. Lastly, non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives on the SAC highlighted the essential role that stakeholders can play in addressing these issues by helping to inform and engage Canadians. This was echoed by other council members who commented that the SAC lacks any kind of a youth voice.

Council members encouraged the CMP to share the program’s success, noting the value in summarizing the process, costs, and perceived effectiveness of the CMP. Using a matrix to demonstrate what the CMP has learned and where it is going next would showcase the impact and leadership of the CMP and set the stage for future involvement with global stakeholders. In addition, council members also discussed the strategic value in establishing global partnerships that could help close data gaps and unpack supply chain transparency. Lastly, some council members expressed interest in further discussion as to how they could be more involved in the global chemicals management dialogue.

Action item

VPs – Development of a framework for addressing populations at increased risk from chemicals

A representative from HC delivered a presentation on the activities supporting the consideration of VPs in chemicals management, post 2020. The results of the consultation paper were presented and feedback on the proposed definition of VPs highlighted several areas of interest including occupational factors, level of income, and populations with multiple chemical sensitivities.

The presentation also focused on the ongoing work to develop a policy framework, an overarching objective, guiding principles, and an updated definition of VPs. Council members received a handout that summarized the draft policy framework, organized across various program levels, components, and activities. The next steps of this work include further refinement of the policy framework, ongoing enhanced consideration of VPs in the CMP, and outreach to targeted stakeholder groups.

Council members were invited to discuss the proposed guiding principles and potential factors that influence vulnerability as a large group, in plenary. Following a fulsome discussion, Council members were invited to share input regarding the resources and data required to complete this work, as well as on priority activities under the CMP to address from a VP lens. This feedback was collected and presented by the Co-Chairs and at the end of the discussion (summarized below).

Discussion summary

Council members engaged in a robust discussion regarding the updated policy framework, noting a few elements of the policy that could be strengthened. Council members suggested revising the objectives to ensure measurements, timeframes, and specific details that demonstrate accountability are included. They also suggested revising the vision to include prevention and protection for human health and the environment, and to ensure strong language across the entire document. Council members noted the need to explore how this policy framework will be used to strengthen the science and evidence that supports risk-based regulatory decisions under the CMP.

Council members discussed the complexity of factors that influence vulnerability. While pleased with the inclusion of sex and gender in the policy framework, the wording about gender-based analysis should be reviewed carefully to ensure it is clearly defined across various government initiatives. Noting a few areas for consideration, council members also suggested cultural factors, peer grouping, multiple exposures, and multiple chemical sensitivities be included across all stages of the framework. Council members noted the impact of government policies and legacy exposure as additional factors and suggested the framework include ecological determinants of health. Council members further explored the complexity of including employment and working conditions in the policy framework—from the vulnerability of new workers, to the potential power imbalance between workers and superiors, to exposure to multiple hazards. Noting the 11 factors included in the policy framework, council members suggested reviewing these against the social determinants of health published in another paper series and stressed the importance of ensuring the policy supported a holistic approach to all factors of vulnerability—making broad connections across the framework.

Council members also discussed the need to engage VPs on a regular and ongoing basis, with the goal of informing to empower and a focus on transparency. Recognizing the goals of the CMP may not be directly aligned with the issues and needs of the respective VPs this work must not lose sight of important issues. It is important to focus engagement activities on advocacy for broader issues—involving VPs is not the same as responding to their needs. Council members noted the complexity of engaging VPs in meaningful ways and understanding the needs of VPs as they relate to chemicals management. Building on the current strengths of the policy framework and the CMP program, work will continue to enhance communication with VPs through various communication activities and enhanced consideration.

Action item

Exploring additional resources and data to support this work, council members highlighted available occupation data and encouraged the CMP to work with other jurisdictions. In addition, council members noted available gender-based analysis research from previous government administrations that could be useful. With several specific data and research gaps, council members noted the benefits to conducting focused outreach to address these areas.

Action item

CAPSA: science to address plastic pollution

In this presentation, an ECCC representative provided an update on CaPSA and sought input from the SAC on priority science needs. Led by ECCC, CaPSA is a federal initiative involving input from various departments and stakeholders. As such, council members were asked to provide input on the draft science agenda, noting that the science needs are not exclusive to the GoC but involve the broad community involved in plastics.

In recent years governments and industry leaders have been looking to better manage plastic pollution. Following the global momentum, Canada released the Ocean Plastics Charter in June 2018, developed under Canada’s G7 presidency. The federal government worked in collaboration with provinces and territories, through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), to launch the CCME Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste in November 2018. Looking to support and enable these initiatives such as the CCME example, CaPSA aims to identify current and future research priorities for plastics science across a range of disciplines; building on work already underway in Canada and internationally. It also identifies existing knowledge gaps and areas knowledge mobilization is needed to address plastic pollution and keep all plastics in the economy and out of the environment—balancing the need for plastics with optimal use. Building on existing work and research across academic, industry, and government initiatives, the proposed science agenda was informed by research and monitoring work currently underway and by stakeholder meetings, including the Canadian Science Symposium on Plastics and the Best Brains Exchange on the Ecological and Human Health Fate and Effects of Microplastic Pollution. Organized by themes, key gaps and goals have been identified, and stakeholders have been invited to provide comments on those.

The science agenda was shared with stakeholder groups for input and discussion. As part of this work, council members were invited to discuss the draft CaPSA framework, further defining the topics as well as identifying any outstanding knowledge gaps or priority science issues. On June 28, 2019, CaPSA was released, and implementation is expected to start later in the year.

Discussion summary

Recognizing the ongoing need for plastics in the economy, council members discussed the need to address both the legacy of existing waste as well as the production of future plastics. Priority science needs identified included developing advanced sorting systems and recycling facilities to recover all plastics, understanding of the social and economic drivers of consumer use plastics, addressing food contact materials, looking at green chemistry, and conducting a thorough consultation on the life cycle of plastics and plastic alternatives.

Council members noted that the draft science agenda included good ideas but lacked granular details and definitions of key terms and concepts. For example, following the Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste ‘sustainable use of plastics’ should be defined as “ensuring all plastics remain in the economy and can be recycled as opposed to going to the landfill”. In addition, council members cautioned against presenting CaPSA as a formal framework and path forward—rather it is a high-level framework meant to mobilize science and research. The associated timelines also caused some anxiety amongst council members who noted that the release of ECCC’s state of science report is an essential component to advance this work.

Council members acknowledged the value in advancing the science agenda without a formal plan based on proper governance. Through this, links between CaPSA goals and other CEPA 1999 initiatives can be made early on allowing horizontal efforts and shared research. Council members also suggested engagement and outreach with global partners, and other promotional activities to further advance this work, such as communicating success stories and incentivising best practices at both the consumer and producer level.

Green chemistry – Industry lead

In this presentation, representatives from the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada led participants in a discussion about green chemistry. Green chemistry aims to address the complex life-cycle management of chemicals—aiming to make products easier to recycle, lowering emissions, mitigating waste, etc. The presentation provided an overview of the voluntary organization, Responsible Care Canada, and highlighted the innovative work of companies practicing green chemistry. The presentation also included an industry perspective, highlighting the work of Dow Chemicals to integrate sustainable chemistry across its products and to advance a circular economy through collaboration and sustainability. Notably, Dow Chemicals has developed an index to measure the success of their sustainable chemistry against its sustainability principles, responsible care principles, as well as against societal needs and drivers.

Discussion summary

Council members briefly discussed the merits of green chemistry and engaged in a brief discussion of good business practices and sustainability. Council members expressed interest in how product life-cycle assessments are conducted, noting that there is no single approach to weighing the benefits—especially when trying to establish the impact of a product based on societal values.

Wastewater monitoring

Representatives from ECCC gave a presentation on how wastewater monitoring data informs decision making under the CMP. Following the previous SAC discussion in November 2018, this presentation focused on showing the CMP data in action through risk assessment and risk management activities, and included an outline of the expanded Wastewater Research and Monitoring Strategy.

Established in 2008, after the CMP launched, the wastewater monitoring program uses representative sampling techniques to monitor 19 substance groups across Canada. Leveraging relationships with wastewater treatment plants across Canada, the program has published 25 scholarly articles and works to ensure availability of wastewater data to support risk assessments, risk management activities, and other collaborative efforts. Wastewater data from four substances (antimicrobial triclosan, various types of brominated flame retardants, different phthalates, and bisphenol A) was used to illustrate how it contributed to estimating exposure levels, informing model predictions, and establishing baseline levels to assess the efficacy of risk management actions. Recognizing that wastewater management is a shared jurisdiction, the wastewater monitoring program works collaboratively with all levels of government, including Indigenous communities and municipalities.

To improve wastewater research and data, recommendations from the Canadian Water Network Expert Panel Report serve as the basis for the ECCC Wastewater Research and Monitoring Strategy. As part of this report, the blueprint for federal action highlighted the need to establish a national system for wastewater treatment data collection and sharing, which involves an investment in science, research, and Indigenous knowledge. The proposed scope for the Wastewater Research and Monitoring Strategy includes a coordinated approach to chemicals management and wastewater treatment within ECCC as well as with other federal departments, provinces and municipalities, and academic and industry stakeholders.

Discussion summary

Following the presentation, council members discussed the importance of obtaining valid and strong scientific results from all labs—federal, municipal, analytic, and external labs alike. Using a combination of agencies, ECCC confirmed a rigorous approach is taken to ensure the results can be reproduced and validated. Council members were also provided with insight into how wastewater monitoring differs across the various levels of government. For example, individual municipalities work directly with industry through sewer use by-laws to control the release of compounds that will harm wastewater treatment plants. At the federal level, ECCC addresses issues that fall under the “deleterious substances” section of the Fisheries Act including wastewater effluent discharges, climate change, and extreme weather events.

Council members encouraged ECCC to engage international stakeholders, such as Europe, to learn how to optimize existing systems. In addition, council members suggested collaborations with citizen science groups that monitor rural septic system water and river keeper groups that monitor the Great Lakes basin may also be of benefit. Council members also noted the role the Canadian Water Network plays in coordinating the blueprints across science and regulatory groups in Canada.

As part of their discussion, SAC members noted new research priorities in the area of chemical by-products, the effectiveness of disinfection practices, and ongoing monitoring of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances using the expanded analytic approach. These areas noted by the SAC will be used to inform wastewater research priorities at ECCC.

Next steps and closing

Closing the day, the Co-Chairs commented that the input from the two-day meeting would be considered carefully in both ongoing program activities and in progressing work to stabilize and modernize the program.

Noting the upcoming federal election cycle, the Co-Chairs indicated that the next SAC meeting will not be taking place in November 2019. Further details regarding the date of the next meeting will follow once more details are available in late 2019.

To highlight the continued relevance of the CMP, the Co-Chairs shared that the program has now issued more than 20,000 New Substance Notifications.

Upcoming agenda items

In advance of the next meeting, Co-Chairs summarized ideas from council members for future presentations and meeting topics:

Presentation ideas


Discussion Topics

CMP SAC members

Visit the CMP SAC members' web page for biographical information.


Council members present

Council members absent


Government officials

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