Summary report of the Chemicals Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Council Meeting, May 29-30, 2018

Purpose

The purpose of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) meeting is to provide stakeholders the opportunity to offer advice and input to 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 objective of the May 2018 CMP SAC meeting was to:

  • seek views on how to better communicate a strategy on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), and
  • hear directly from a panel of Canadians about the impacts of chemicals exposure for vulnerable groups in order to learn from their perspectives, and to seek views on how the approach to vulnerable populations (VP) under the CMP going forward could be strengthened

Opening remarks

The Co-chairs welcomed the member of the CMP SAC and the observers. The Co-chairs provided an overview of the agenda and explained that this meeting would follow a special format, as there would be a VP Panel.

The Co-chairs welcomed Dave Saucier, Responsible Distribution Canada (RDC), as member of the CMP SAC, replacing Angie Clark formerly the RDC representative.

Day 1

Agenda item 1: Endocrine disrupting chemicals

Government officials provided an overview of Health Canada (HC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) activities in the areas of endocrine related effects from the perspective of risk assessment, research, monitoring and surveillance and international engagement with a focus on CMP.

Input from SAC members was sought on how to advance and communicate strategy on EDCs under the CMP; specifically, the type of information that would be of interest and how could or should it be communicated.

Members suggested the use of the precautionary principle and being transparent about when it is applied, noting that other legislation has codified its application. Furthermore, members noted that while more data and evidence is good, we need to avoid analysis paralysis and be more proactive in the application of the precautionary principle.

Members noted that if the Government considers EDCs to be significant from a public health impact perspective there is more that they can be doing.

Members noted that Canada is not only a contributor but also an international leader in chemicals and has an opportunity to lead on EDCs.

Members expressed that communications should be available in plain language, transparent and meaningful to address barriers to understanding. Plain language communication would increase public confidence and demonstrate to the public how the CMP is achieving its objective. Members acknowledged and appreciated the EDC fact sheet produced by Health Canada. Members also spoke about the importance of reducing barriers to understanding and accessing information on EDC for the general public.

The New Substance Notification Regulations were discussed in the context of how to apply an EDC lens to both the risk assessments and risk management under CMP, and also the regulatory process for new substances.Members suggested this is an area that could benefit from a review to consider how an EDC lens could be applied to the regulatory process.

Action Items

  • Provide a debrief from the July 2018 CMP Science Committee at the November SAC meeting
  • Complete a gap analysis on New Substances Regulations with respect to prescribed requirements for EDCs

Day 2

Agenda Items 2, 3, 4: Vulnerable populations panel

Anne Rochon-Ford, National Network on Environments and Women’s Health, provided an overview of the VP Panel, organized with SAC colleagues Shannon Coombs, Fe de Leon, Eric Loring, Barb MacKinnon, Sandra Madray, Muhannad Malas, Joshua McNeely, Elizabeth Nielsen, Curtis Scurr, and Don Spady. The key impetus behind the creation of the VP Panel was to inform SAC members about how chemical exposure may affect VP in order to strengthen protection going forward.

Panelists came from across Canada to share their lived experiences about the impacts of chemicals exposures. A wide variety of perspectives were represented on the panel including: indigenous at risk communities, occupations at elevated risk, pregnant women and newborns, youth, individuals living with chemical sensitivities, and low-income Canadians (see the list of panellists below).

Co-chairs welcomed the panellists and thanked them for sharing their stories.They noted a high level of interest within the SAC and across the CMP program in this special SAC meeting with staff in both HC and ECCC gathering to watch the live web cast.   The importance of better protection for VP was noted in the context of planning for the future of chemicals management in Canada (post 2020 planning) and the Parliamentary Review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Members Joshua McNeely and Fe de Leon introduced individual panellists and moderated the panel. During the discussion after the panel, members noted that having the opportunity to hear from the panellists and to focus on chemicals management through a vulnerability lens was very valuable.An important theme was the need to better engage communities and VP in the CMP and the conversation under way to plan the future of chemicals management in Canada post 2020. Panellists were invited to share their views. Co-chairs also noted an upcoming opportunity to provide input to a consultation paper by HC on a CMP approach to VP.

Guest Presenter: VP Research

Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Simon Fraser University, was invited to speak at the CMP SAC as a subject matter expert in VP research. Dr. Lanphear presented “The Impacts of Pollutants on Human Health: No Safe Levels?” to the CMP SAC.

Abstract

Over the past three decades, in a series of studies on some of the most extensively studied pollutants or toxic chemicals, scientists have found that the amount of pollutant linked with the development of a disease or death – which is central to determining "safe" or "hazardous" levels – is proportionately greater at the lowest dose or levels of exposure. These results, which are contrary to the way agencies assess the risk of toxic chemicals, indicate that we have underestimated their impact on death, disease and disability. If widely disseminated pollutants – like radon, lead, airborne particles, asbestos, tobacco and benzene – do not exhibit a threshold and are proportionately more toxic at the lowest levels of exposure, we will need to achieve near-zero exposures to protect public health.

Observations on VP panel and implications for CMP – SAC discussion

The Co-chairs and SAC members reflected on observations on the VP panel and the implications for the current CMP and the CMP post 2020. Members and the Co-Chairs indicated that the panel was successful in deepening understanding of issues and challenges facing vulnerable populations and where there may be opportunities to improve protection.  Points raised included the need for:

  • a broader definition of VP so that it reflects the full spectrum of vulnerabilities (biological but also important socio-economic factors)
  • broader engagement in the CMP across different population groups  
  • multidisciplinary approaches that include science but also lived experiences and other considerations
  • better risk assessment, risk management and the importance of government regulation in protecting the most vulnerable
  • more public outreach to Canadians (plain language information that is easy to find) to educate them on risks and how to reduce
  • targeting youth (in particular girls) as a key audience
  • improved communication to Canadians on what the CMP is currently doing to consider VP

Regarding occupational exposure, the discussion explored jurisdictional complexities. Members and Co-Chairs noted the CMP can play a role, however, and this needs to be collectively addressed moving forward. HC officials added that discussions on this topic were under way now with provinces and territories. Co-chairs noted that the day had given the program much to reflect on and that it had strengthened their resolve to move forward. They committed to short term deliverables, including follow-up with the panellists.

Action items
  • Use the lived experiences of the panellists to inform CMP planning post 2020
  • Provide an opportunity for panellists, SAC members and other interested parties to review and input to HC’s consultation paper on CMP approach to VPs (expected Fall 2018)

Closing remarks

The Co-chairs thanked SAC members for the valuable discussions and for their active participation. Members were also encouraged to reach out to the CMP SAC secretariat or staff at any time.

The next meeting is proposed for November 2018, with a webinar background information session scheduled four weeks in advance of the meeting.

Chemicals Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Council Members

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

Co-chairs

  • Jacqueline Gonçalves, Director General
    Science and Risk Assessment Directorate, ECCC
  • David Morin, Director General
    Safe Environments Directorate, HC
  • Marc D’Iorio, Director General
    Industrial Sectors, Chemicals and Waste Directorate, ECCC – Absent

Council members present

  • Aleksandra Pogoda, Director, Environment, Canadian Steel Producers Association
  • Amardeep Khosla, Executive Director, CEPA Industry Coordinating Group
  • Andy Dabydeen, Manager, Product Stewardship Strategy and Governance, Canadian Tire Corporation
  • Anne Rochon Ford, Co-Director, National Network on Environments and Women's Health
  • Barb MacKinnon, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Brunswick Lung Association
  • Beta Montemayor, Director, Environmental Science and Regulation, Canadian Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association
  • Curtis Scurr, Policy Analyst, Assembly of First Nations
  • Dave Saucier, Regional Director, Responsible Distribution Canada
  • Dr. Don Spady, Canadian Paediatric Society
  • Dr. Elaine MacDonald, Senior Scientist, Ecojustice
  • Eric Loring, Senior Researcher, Environment and Health, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
  • Fe de Leon, Researcher, Canadian Environmental Law Association
  • Gary LeRoux, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Paint and Coatings Association
  • Joshua McNeely, IKANAWTIKET Executive Director, Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council
  • Muhannad Malas, Toxic Program Manager, Environmental Defence
  • Sandra Madray, Research and Education, Chemical Sensitivities Manitoba – via Telephone
  • Scott Thurlow, Legal Counsel and Director, Environment and Health Policy, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
  • Shannon Coombs, President, Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association
  • Yasmin Tarmohamed, Vice President, Environment, Health and Safety, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association

Council members absent

  • Justyna Laurie-Lean, President, Environment and Regulatory Affairs, Mining Association of Canada
  • Philippe Cantin, Manager, Environment, Retail Council of Canada
  • Shelagh Kerr, President and Chief Executive Officer, Electronics Product Stewardship Canada

Members of the VP panel

  • Katsi Cook, Elder Mohawk grandmother and midwife from the Akwesasne First Nation
  • Michel Gaudet, Vice-President and Executive Director of the Environmental Health Association of Quebec (EHAQ) and President of the Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (CAP)  
  • Gavin Jacklyn, Acting Captain, Brantford Fire Department, Health and Safety Chair and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Representative for the Brantford International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Chair of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association Occupational Disease Committee
  • Jackie Liang, Nail technical and peer outreach worker with the Nail Salon Workers Project of the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
  • Asha Mior, Student/blogger recognized as one of Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 by the Starfish Canada
  • Rohini Peris,  President of the Environmental Health Association of Quebec (EHAQ)
  • Natasha Shankaruk,  Child & Youth Care Worker

Observers

  • Abbie Donnelly, New Brunswick Lung Association
  • Andrea Peart, National Health and Safety Officer, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Anne McConnell, Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association
  • Cassie Barker, Women’s Healthy Environment)
  • Geoff Granville, Granville Consulting
  • Liz Smith, New Brunswick Lung Association
  • Meg Sears, Prevent Cancer Now
  • Olga Speranskaya, International POPs Elimination Network
  • Sari Tudiver, Gender and Health Member, Sex/Gender Methods Group
  • Sonja Janousek, Canadian Coalition of Green Health Care Member – BC Lower Mainland Health Organizations

Government officials

  • Amanda Monforton,Head, Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach, ECCC
  • Andrew Beck, Director, Risk Management Bureau, HC
  • Ann Clarke, Policy Analyst, Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach, Risk Management Bureau, HC
  • Christine Norman, Director, Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau, HC
  • Jake Sanderson,Manager, Horizontal Policy and Planning, ECCC
  • Julie Thompson, Executive Director, Program Development and Engagement Division, ECCC
  • Louise Hayes, Manager, Chemicals and Environmental Health Management Bureau, HC
  • Margaret Moore, Head, Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach, Risk Management Bureau, HC
  • Maya Berci, Director, New Substances Assessment & Control Bureau, HC
  • Nicole Davidson, Director, Ecological Assessment Division, ECCC
  • Rosamund Dunkley, Manager, Program Policy, Program Development and Engagement Division, ECCC

Speakers

  • Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Simon Fraser University
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