Archived [2022-03-21] Summary report May 7, 2015 - Chemicals Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Council

Chemicals Management Plan Stakeholder Advisory Council Meeting

  • Co-Chairs:
    • David Morin (Director General, Science and Risk Assessment, Environment Canada [EC])
    • Amanda Jane (AJ) Preece (Director General, Safe Environments Directorate, Health Canada [HC])
  • Council members present:
    • Susan Abel
    • Philippe Cantin replacing Jason McLinton
    • Fe de Leon
    • Rob Hoffman replacing John Skowronski
    • Amardeep Khosla
    • Gary Leroux
    • Eric Loring
    • Sandra Madray
    • Mary Richardson
    • Curtis Scurr replacing Soha Kneen
  • Delegated representatives:
    • Cheryl Fougère for Shannon Coombs
    • Dave Shortt for Gordon Lloyd
  • Government officials present:
    • Greg Carreau (Executive Director, Program Development and Engagement Division, EC)
    • Robert Chénier (Director, Ecological Assessment Division, EC)
    • Mathias Kouassi (Head, Programs Integration, EC)
    • Suzanne Leppinen (Director, Chemicals Policy Bureau, HC)
    • Christine Norman (Director, Existing Substances Risk Assessment Bureau, HC)
    • Jake Sanderson (Manager, Horizontal Policy and Planning, EC)
  • Regrets:
    • Dr. Joseph Byers
    • Bruce Cran
    • Shelagh Kerr
    • Maggie MacDonald
    • Keith Mussar
    • Dr. Don Spady
    • Lee Wilson
  • Observer:
    • Soha Kneen (Assembly of First Nations)
    • Dave Saucier (Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors)
    • Liz Smith (New Brunswick Lung Association)
  • Consultant Reporting on Stakeholder Advisory Council Evaluation:
    • Mechthild Meyer (Gentium Consulting)

Opening remarks

Participants were welcomed and observers and delegated representatives were introduced. John Skowronski has retired and is replaced by Rob Hoffman for the Canadian Fuels Association. Jason McLinton introduced his substitute Philippe Cantin, who will be the new member for the Retail Council of Canada. Soha Kneen introduced Curtis Scurr who will now represent the Assembly of First Nations on the Council. The chairs gave an overview of the agenda and mentioned stakeholder engagement activities that have taken place since the last meeting.

Recap of the May 6th, 2015, multi-stakeholder workshop on the Chemicals Management Plan moving forward

Three key areas requiring additional work highlighted at the May 6th, 2015, multi-stakeholder workshop on the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) moving forward were shared with Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) members. These are:

  • The need for additional analysis on the chemicals and sectors involved in the upcoming 3rd phase of the CMP.
  • The need to enhance public outreach and communications on the CMP and its outcomes. Government officials are asking SAC members to reach out to their constituents and provide feedback on this particular item. It was suggested that the SAC could be used as a sounding board for public outreach products and strategies.
  • The need for communication on risk management approaches for the next phase of the CMP.

A discussion on the need to improve public outreach and communications took place. SAC members acknowledged the importance of improved communications to the public. Some members raised the importance of their responsibility in communicating back to constituents as they are well placed to engage in that dialogue. Others highlighted the limited resources at their disposal, the need to find ways to support increased engagement for Non-Governmental Organizations and the need to reach out beyond the current engaged stakeholders. The need to have better balance between technical information and more plain language products for the general public was also raised. One member suggested that a communications subcommittee be put in place to discuss these issues and products. Government officials shared information on the current products that exist: for example, the Chemicals Awareness Learning Modules (CALM), which are specifically designed to support outreach on the CMP. These modules are presently being delivered by HC regional staff across Canada to groups such as nurses, nursing students, and early childhood educators.

Action items

  • EC and HC to provide May 6th multi-stakeholder workshop meeting notes to SAC members.
  • HC to share with SAC members a generic CALM module.
  • EC, HC and the SAC to develop ideas to enhance public outreach and communications.

Government officials also reported out on a few action items from previous SAC meetings, viewership of the previous CMP Progress Reports, and the New Substances Assessment Summaries.

CMP Progress Report

  • 1th issue, 4200 views
  • 2nd issue, 267 views
  • 3rd issue, 900 views

New Substances Assessments Summaries have generated over 2000 views.

Agenda item 1 - Program updates

Government officials gave a quick overview of the upcoming CMP Progress Report. The fourth issue of the CMP Progress Report is planned to be published in June.

SAC members reiterated the usefulness of the CMP Progress Report.

Government officials provided preliminary findings from the CMP 2 evaluation. The evaluation underscored the relevance of the CMP. A need to enhance efficiency and effectiveness was identified and will be looked at internally. Communications and outreach were also raised as important areas to further develop, which is in line with comments heard at the May 6th multi-stakeholder workshop on the CMP Moving Forward and at the Council meeting. The results of the evaluation are planned to be released online in September 2015. Government officials expressed their gratitude to SAC members who participated in the evaluation.

Agenda item 2 - Update on the CMP Science Committee

The CMP Science Committee is intended to support a strong science foundation of the program. The Committee is proving very useful with substantial comments being provided by members. Final terms of reference were adopted by the Committee in November 2014 and will be posted on the Chemicals Substances Web site later in May 2015. The terms of reference specify that Government must provide feedback to members on how their suggestions/input is being used. Government officials are looking into the best approach to implement this feedback style. Meetings take place twice a year and there have been three meetings to date. The next meeting will take place on June 2-3, 2015 in Ottawa. The Committee is tasked with drafting a report for each meeting, and meeting minutes are also made available on the Chemicals Substances Web site. The first CMP Science Committee held on February 19-20, 2014 focused on capturing and communicating uncertainty. Committee members provided suggestions to Government to more systematically capture and communicate uncertainty in screening assessments. Government officials will report on work accomplished in the last year to address the committee s suggestions at the June 2015 CMP Science Committee Meeting. The second CMP Science Committee meeting was held on November 4-5, 2015 and focused on best practices for deriving a sufficient rationale for read across in the context of risk assessment. Government officials are currently working on options to address the Science Committee's suggestions. Finally, comments received at the May 6th multi-stakeholder workshop on the CMP Moving Forward on the assessment framework (for example, level of complexity) will feed into discussions on this item at the June 2015 CMP Science Committee meeting.

Agenda item 3 - Capturing and Communicating Uncertainty in Screening Assessments Proposed Approaches for Input

"Capturing and communicating uncertainty in the context of risk assessment" was the first topic brought forth to the CMP Science Committee. One of the suggestions offered by the Committee was to include a standardized summary table in assessments. Government officials have worked on addressing the Committee's suggestions and have selected three table formats (options A, B and C) which were presented to SAC members for feedback. The purpose of the summary table would be to complement the presentation and discussion of uncertainties in the context of the assessments. The summary table would capture the most substantial sources of uncertainty for a particular assessment. Option A was based on the European Food Safety Authority's format, Option B was based on the European Chemicals Agency's format and Option C was developed by officials at EC to include the concepts of "relevance of evidence" and "weight assigned to evidence".

In general, SAC members preferred Option C. They indicated that this option was the easiest to understand based on feedback from both technical and non-technical constituents. However, SAC members recommended supplementing it with a caption as in Option A. SAC members also requested that assumptions be clearly presented when rating "relevance of evidence". Officials from HC indicated that additional analysis would be needed to determine how to use Option C to communicate uncertainty related to health data.

Action item

  • SAC members to seek input from their constituents on their preferred summary table option and communicate back to government officials.

Agenda item 4 - The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management Outcomes of the Second Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group and Preparations for the Fourth International Conference on Chemicals Management

Government officials reported on outcomes of the Second Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG2) held December 14 to 17, 2014 and presented an update on preparations for the Fourth International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-4) scheduled for September 2015, where priorities for global action towards the 2020 goal will be discussed. Key issues discussed at OEWG2 included the Draft Overarching Orientation and Guidance towards 2020 (OOG), the link between the Strategic Approach to the International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond 2020, current Emerging Policy Issues (EPIs) and Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs), a proposed new EPI on Environmentally Persistent Pharmaceutical Pollutants, and Highly Hazardous Pesticides. One of the key outcomes of the OEWG2 is the broad support for SAICM and the need for it to continue beyond 2020. In response to suggestions from the last SAC meeting, HC, as SAICM National Focal Point, held a webinar to present an overview of SAICM to stakeholders on April 22, 2015.

SAC members inquired about priorities for Canada to focus on within the core activity areas identified in the OOG. Government officials indicated that strengthening national chemicals legislative and regulatory frameworks was the main priority. SAC members also asked whether the proper stakeholders were being consulted and Government officials confirmed there was appropriate representation from pertinent stakeholders on these various fora. Questions about the involvement of developing countries also surfaced. Government officials indicated that mechanisms have been put in place to build capacity but given limited resources, capacity building is focused on where the greater needs are. Finally, a SAC member asked whether flame retardants were included as a priority. Government officials indicated that, to date, flame retardants have not been nominated as a specific EPI under SAICM. An EPI is defined as an issue involving any phase in the life cycle of chemicals and that has not yet been generally recognized, is insufficiently addressed or arises from the current level of scientific information and which may have significant adverse effects on human health or the environment. An open and transparent procedure is in place for SAICM members to nominate EPIs for consideration at the International Conference on Chemicals Management which are held every three years.

Agenda item 5 - Implementing Section 75 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Jurisdictions

Government officials presented the proposed approach to the identification of decisions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) jurisdictions for the implementation of subsection 75(2) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). Section 75 of CEPA 1999 calls for cooperating and developing procedures with non-federal governments in Canada and with the governments of member states of the OECD for the exchange of information on substances that are prohibited or substantially restricted by their legislation(s) for environmental or health reasons. The CEPA National Advisory Committee is currently used to communicate decisions on substances between the federal and provincial/territorial/aboriginal governments in Canada. The procedures outlined under the Rotterdam Convention and its definitions were selected as the most appropriate means to formally exchange information amongst OECD member states.

Article 5 of the Rotterdam Convention obligates Parties to notify the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat when they prohibit or severely restrict a pesticide or industrial chemical for environmental or health reasons. Reviews of decisions of other jurisdictions under subsection 75(3) of CEPA 1999 will not be undertaken for all notifications reported under the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure of the Rotterdam Convention. Before such a review is performed, certain criteria will need to be met.

The proposed approach is not meant to cover all international collaboration activities or new information on chemicals, as the government regularly exchanges information on chemicals through participation in the OECD chemical program and other international programs. Furthermore, the Government has recently published information on how new information from various feeders is acquired, evaluated and incorporated into forward work planning in the Approach for identification of chemicals and polymers as risk assessment priorities.

A discussion on the criteria needed to be met for a review under section 75 to be performed took place. Questions about the need for reviews for substances not on the Domestic Substances List, for substances already "assessed or managed" by the government of Canada, and for substances identified as pesticides under the PIC procedure but that may have other industrial uses in Canada were raised. Government officials indicated that in each of these cases an analysis would be carried out to determine the appropriateness of using the section 75 procedures. SAC members also inquired about substances not captured by the PIC procedure. Government officials indicated that the Approach for identification of chemicals and polymers as risk assessment priorities was specifically developed as a means to capture all relevant available information to help prioritize substances for assessment beyond the limited scope of the section 75 procedures.

Action items

  • Government officials will clarify the language for criteria to be met for a review under section 75 to be performed based on input provided by SAC members.
  • SAC members to provide feedback on section 75 implementation approach.

Agenda item 6 - Preliminary Results for the Evaluation of the CMP SAC

Mechthild Meyer of Gentium Consulting presented SAC members with the preliminary findings and recommendations from the SAC evaluation. Strengths and limitations of the evaluation were also briefly discussed. This evaluation is focused on assessing implementation of the previous evaluation recommendations, assessing how the SAC is functioning, identifying successes and lessons learned and developing recommendations.

  • The preliminary findings include:
    • recommendations from the previous evaluation have been implemented,
    • dissemination of information has improved,
    • a positive meeting culture has been created,
    • stakeholder composition was reviewed according to CMP2 implementation needs
    • information is being presented in a more user-friendly format (for example, bi-annual publication of the CMP Progress Reports),
    • chairs are responding to members' needs by putting items on the agenda, and
    • members are taking their role of informing constituents seriously, and have been bringing suggestions (from constituents) to the SAC, demonstrating two-way knowledge exchange.
  • Preliminary recommendations include:
    • ensuring that the mandate, terms of reference and membership of the SAC are reviewed periodically to maintain accuracy, relevance, and efficacy,
    • reviewing membership to ensure it reflects current needs as the CMP moves forward,and
    • developing methods to track and communicate how members' input has been taken into account or influenced decisions and encouraging members to clearly identify their priorities for items to be discussed for upcoming/future meetings (agenda items).

SAC members requested a few points of clarification on some of the findings. Feedback on the actual questionnaire was also provided, indicating that some questions could perhaps have been more precise. Finally, SAC members sought clarification on how the SAC evaluation ties in to the broader CMP 2 evaluation. Government officials indicated that the two initiatives were separate but that implementing recommendations from the SAC evaluation would benefit CMP overall.

Action items

  • Government officials to share a copy of the presentation with SAC members.
  • Government officials to share copy of the evaluation report with SAC members in the coming month and to present final results at the next SAC meeting in the fall of 2015.

Proposed Agenda Items and Closing Remarks

The co-chairs thanked SAC members for the valuable discussions and for their active participation. SAC members were asked to bring forth any topic they would like to discuss as forward agenda items.

Members were also encouraged to reach out to staff at any time.

The next meeting is proposed for November, 2015, with a multi-stakeholder workshop scheduled for the preceding day.

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