Archived [2022-03-21] Summary report October 30, 2014 - 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:
    • Shannon Coombs
    • William David
    • Fe de Leon
    • Roger Keefe for John Skowronski
    • Shelagh Kerr
    • Amardeep Khosla
    • Gordon Lloyd
    • Eric Loring
    • Sandra Madray
    • Maggie MacDonald
    • Keith Mussar
    • Mary Richardson
    • Dr. Don Spady
  • Government officials present:
    • José Audet-Lecouffe (Program Liaison Section, EC)
    • Christine Brown (Program Development and Engagement Division, HC)
    • Greg Carreau (Executive Director, Program Development and Engagement Division, EC)
    • Robert Chénier (Director, Ecological Assessment Division, EC)
    • Vincenza Galatone (Executive Director, Chemicals Management Division, EC)
    • Melanie Peris (Manager, Program Liaison, EC)
    • Virginia Poter (Director General, Chemicals Sector, EC)
    • John Worgan (Director, Risk Management Bureau, HC)
    • Lorraine Tétreault (A/Director, New Substances Assessment and Control Bureau, HC)
    • Suzanne Leppinen (Director, Chemicals Policy Bureau, HC)
    • Victoria Tunstall (Head, International Section, Chemicals Policy Bureau, HC)
    • Susan Fraser (Program Development and Engagement Division, EC)
    • Jake Sanderson (Manager, Horizontal Policy and Planning, EC)
    • Maya Berci (Manager, Program Coordination and Regulatory Measures Section, EC)
    • Alexandra Halkett (Manager, Program Development and Engagement, HC)
  • Regrets:
    • Susan Abel
    • Dr. Joseph Byers
    • Bruce Cran
    • Jason McLinton
    • Gary Leroux
    • Lee Wilson
  • Observer:
    • Liz Smith (New Brunswick Lung Association)

Opening remarks

Participants were welcomed and observers and alternates were introduced. The chairs gave an overview of the agenda and mentioned stakeholder engagement activities that have taken place since the last meeting.

Agenda item 1 - Program updates

Government officials gave a quick overview of the upcoming Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) Progress Report. The third issue of the CMP Progress Report is planned to be published in December. The upcoming issue will provide a snapshot of the work done under CMP as it nears the 10-year anniversary of the Program. The next issue of the report will include such topics as:

  • the future of the CMP,
  • international engagements and activities,
  • changes to the nanomaterial program,
  • the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) study,
  • triggers for risk assessment under CMP,
  • inventory update of the Domestic Substances List,
  • the polymers approach,
  • changes to the National Pollutant Release Inventory, and,
  • the Substance Groupings Initiative.

Positive feedback was received on the summer issue. It was noted that the Report language may be challenging for an audience from the general public and was more targeted towards a stakeholder audience familiar with the CMP. In particular, the linkage between the report and Inuit communities' interests is not explicit. It was discussed that other material such as the Fact Sheets could be better suited to reach the general public. There was also a discussion on the need to put metrics of the Progress Report in perspective to provide a better indication of its usefulness.

A discussion on the CMP Science Committee took place. The Committee will hold its second meeting next week and will focus on read-across methodologies and developing analog approaches. It was mentioned that Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) members could benefit from more direct reporting on Science Committee deliberations.

Action items

  • EC and HC to follow-up with stakeholders to discuss and present information material that could be suited for Inuit communities and the general public.
  • EC to look into tracking the number of downloads of the CMP Progress Report.

Agenda item 2 - Future of CMP Engagement Workshop

In preparation for the next phase of the CMP, a number of information and engagement sessions were held with stakeholders in 2014, in which the Government's early thinking on the next phase of the CMP was shared and consulted on. These included:

  • Multi-stakeholder Workshop in June in Toronto
  • Industry Coordinating Group (ICG) Conference
  • Webinar with non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Multi-stakeholder Workshop on October 29, 2014

An overview of the October 29, 2014 workshop was provided. The workshop was attended by SAC members, in addition to a number of other stakeholders from industry, NGOs, and academic institutions. Feedback from SAC members was generally positive, especially regarding the breakout sessions, which were described as very informative and provided an opportunity to hear the views of other stakeholders. The diversity of stakeholders at the workshop was also appreciated. However, the consensus was that there was too much material presented for a one-day session. It was suggested to have more of these types of sessions and allow more time to discuss all topics.

Action items

  • SAC members to provide any additional comments/feedback on the multi-stakeholder workshop.
  • EC and HC to look into the possibility of a follow-up multi-stakeholder workshop in advance of the May SAC meeting to reach a broader audience.

Agenda item 3A - New Substances Program: Transparency in the New Substances Program

The New Substances (NS) Program ensures that no new substance is introduced into the Canadian marketplace before an assessment is performed of potential risks to the Canadian public and the environment, along with mandatory information and an assessment of its potential risks has been completed. The NS Program aims to identify opportunities for making decision-making more transparent, while maintaining confidential business information and respecting stringent timelines for conducting the risk assessment and implementing risk management. To date, the NS Program has made publications and resources available online to ensure that interested parties are aware of the program's processes and policies, including advisory notes, policy and guidance documents, and has held a series of information webinars. Resources on NS Program decisions are also made available to the public though online publications such as new substances risk assessment summaries, waiver decisions, and substances lists. The NS Program is working to identify options to further increase transparency while weighing confidential business information and timing constraints as well as program capacity. Some proposed options were presented, including an expansion of the scope of risk assessment summaries published and producing a publicly available database and search tools of chemical information.

Government officials presented an overview of the program's past and current transparency initiatives and discussed the issues around promoting transparency. The risk assessment process was also discussed, including scenarios where information received is incomplete, triggering extensions to gather additional information. The assessment timelines only begin once all information received is confirmed as complete by government officials. Program officials also provided clarification on how mixtures were addressed by the Program. The NS Program is designed around individual substances as defined by the New Substances Notification Regulations. As such, individual substances within a mixture (prepared formulations) are subject to notification, not mixtures per se.

Action item

  • EC to investigate the possibility of tracking the number of downloads of risk assessment summaries.

Agenda item 3B - New Substances Program: Confidential Business Information

Government officials presented proposed refinements to the treatment of confidential information for new and existing substances risk assessment activities to seek stakeholder feedback. The proposal included: improved clarity on criteria to support confidential business information (CBI) claims and on what information is generally not considered CBI; procedures for following-up on claims for CBI for information for which the Government would like to consider making public without violating CBI; and confirming whether older CBI claims for substance identity are still valid.

The objectives of the proposed refinements are to increase public access to data used to support risk assessments by increasing transparency of the NS Program under the CMP. This is also expected to enhance the government's ability to provide a rationale to support risk assessment conclusions while requiring the need to protect CBI.

The proposed refinements aim to maximize transparency by balancing public access to information with industry's right to protect confidential business information.

In general, SAC members supported the proposed refinements. They were interested in knowing how or if CBI is shared across Federal Departments or jurisdictions. Government officials responded that an official consent is obtained from Notifiers before sharing assessments containing CBI and that information is not shared broadly but rather on a case-by-case basis. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), there are provisions prescribing when CBI can be shared such as when it is a matter of public safety or public health. In terms of other jurisdictions, there is an agreement in place with the Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) in which assessments can be shared upon receipt of consent from Notifiers. Similar collaboration has been achieved under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) international Program with the industry consortia or the Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs).

A draft CBI consultation document is expected in early 2015.

Agenda item 4 - The Regulatory Co-operation Council 2

Government officials presented an overview of the second phase of the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), its goal, areas of work, launch of the Forward Plan (in August 2014) and the elements of the Proposed Work Plans. EC, HC and the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency have been working to develop two work plans in the Chemicals Management sector. One of these work plans will focus on risk assessment methodology and will work towards an increased level of predictability and understanding of risk assessment approaches across the two jurisdictions. The anticipated outcome of this work is an Assessment Collaboration Framework, which will support increased collaboration and longer term increased alignment on risk assessments. The second work plan will work towards increased predictability and understanding of considerations leading to the development and design of regulatory notification requirements for new uses of chemical substances (Significant New Activity provisions (SNAcs) in Canada and Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) in the U.S.). An additional element of this work plan seeks to identify compliance challenges and best practices for compliance promotion and sharing of information on SNAcs and SNURs throughout the supply chain. For both the risk assessment and SNAc/SNUR work plans, work will involve significant stakeholder involvement and is anticipated to take place over an approximate two-year timeframe, starting in early 2015.

A web conference will take place in early December to provide stakeholders an opportunity to review the draft RCC Chemicals Management Work Plans. Final work plans will be published at the end of February 2015.

There was a discussion on nanomaterials under the RCC. It was mentioned that nanomaterials were part of phase 1 of the RCC and that the work plan was completed. Thus no project on nanomaterials is on the table for RCC2 but discussions are taking place. For now, although Canada and the U.S. agree on principles defining a nanomaterial, there is no formal agreed upon definition between both jurisdictions nor internationally. Under the CMP, information on nanomaterials will come through the NS Program. In developing new approaches to emerging technologies, pooling the resources for the work was found beneficial and has resulted in Canada sharing information with OECD countries.

Agenda item 5 - The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

Government officials presented an overview of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) with a focus on issues to be discussed and expected outcomes from the upcoming meeting of the second SAICM Open Ended Working Group (OEWG2) in December 2014. The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the fourth international Conference on Chemicals Management in September 2015 where priorities for global action towards the 2020 goal will be discussed. In this context, SAC members were asked to consider what more they can do to contribute towards the 2020 goal.

Questions were raised around the definition of “sound management” under the SAICM umbrella and whether or not it takes into account climate change and/or deteriorating ecosystems. It was explained that the definition is purposely vague because the approach covers countries with varying levels of development and subsequent management of chemicals within their regulatory systems. A SAC member who is familiar with SAICM also suggested reviewing the “Dubai Declaration” which lays out the high level principles that have been agreed to by government and stakeholders on the issue of the sound management of chemicals. With respect to climate change, there are other international agreements that look at this in the context of chemicals management (for example, the Stockholm Convention).

It was emphasized that due to the international nature of this framework, there is a need to ensure basic building blocks in the developing countries (for example, material safety data sheets, national legislative and regulatory frameworks), recognizing that these basic elements are essential to the sound management of chemicals.

SAC members endorsed showcasing the CMP model as one that is attainable for other countries and noting that it has a proven track record in Canada. They also inquired about how to become more involved as some indicated that NGO participation was strong in early days of SAICM but has since dwindled.

There is an upcoming SAICM meeting in mid-December 2014. Government officials will share links with SAC members and will be developing position papers. Government officials welcome comments from SAC members and will look into potential outreach/webinars on SAICM so as to enable additional SAC members and other stakeholder participation in future SAICM activities.

Agenda item 6 - SAC Evaluation

Government officials presented the plan for the upcoming SAC Evaluation. The goal of this presentation was to inform Council Members of the upcoming SAC Evaluation and get the Council's early thoughts on the following questions:

  • Is SAC meeting its objectives?
  • Are the topics for discussion the right ones?
  • Have discussions been at an appropriate level?
  • Is the frequency of meetings appropriate?
  • Should we invite new members?

It was mentioned that all responses will be kept confidential. The question of membership was discussed and some members mentioned that integrating more external expert speakers would be beneficial. Bringing to the table the CMP Science Committee was also suggested for communicating the progress of the CMP Science Committee to SAC members would be valuable. Chairs responded that they welcome suggestions for speakers and will look into these suggestions. The Council will have a chance to share their comments in early 2015 when the evaluation begins. The draft SAC Evaluation results are planned to be shared at the May 2015 SAC meeting.

Proposed Agenda Items and Closing Remarks

The co-chairs thanked Council members for the valuable discussions and for their active participation. SAC members were asked to put forward names of potential external expert speakers (for example, ecologist, population health expert) for future meetings and 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 May 7, 2015, with a multi-stakeholder workshop scheduled for the preceding day.

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