Overview of the Chemicals Management Plan

What is the CMP

Chemical substances are a part of everyday life, essential to our economy, our communities and our homes. While they provide benefits, they may also have harmful effects on human health and the environment if not properly managed. The Government of Canada created the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) in 2006. The CMP helps protect human health and the environment by assessing and managing risks to human health and the environment posed by chemical substances that can be found in everyday items, such as food and food products, consumer products, cosmetics, drugs, drinking water and industrial releases. It does so by using the most appropriate management tools from a broad suite of federal laws, including the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Food and Drugs Act, the Pest Control Products Act, the Fisheries Act, and others.

The CMP will continue to help keep Canadians and the environment safe from harmful substances. Building on achievements to date, the CMP will assess additional chemical substances and manage identified risks to help protect Canadians and the environment, including populations who may experience greater susceptibility and exposure to harmful chemicals.

Figure 1. Canada's chemicals management cycle
Figure #. Text version below.
Figure 1 - Text description

The figure depicts Canada's chemicals management cycle made up of several-integrated components: a hub of information exchange through consultation, communication and cooperation in the middle (described as: Engage stakeholders and partners in program delivery. Inform the public and encourage the participation of Canadians in the CMP). This central component relates to the other 6 components, which are interconnected and link in a circle:

  • information gathering, including research and monitoring: collect and analyze information to inform scientific and regulatory decision-making, and conduct research, bio- and environmental monitoring, and surveillance
  • risk assessment: assess priority chemicals currently in commerce as well as new substances entering the Canadian market
  • risk management (instrument development): develop measures to prevent or manage the identified risks of toxic chemicals
  • compliance promotion: raise awareness and help regulated communities understand their obligations to comply with the law and its regulations, and encourage their voluntary compliance with risk management measures
  • enforcement: take enforcement actions to bring regulated parties back into compliance
  • performance measurement, evaluation and reporting: evaluate the effectiveness of risk management actions and systematically evaluate CMP objectives

Consultation, communication and cooperation

Engagement with a variety of stakeholders and partners, and outreach to the public are fundamental to delivering the core functions of the CMP. Under CEPA 1999, the Government of Canada is responsible for encouraging the participation of Canadians in all stages of the decision-making process, and for providing information to Canadians on human health and the state of the environment. The Government also works with other domestic and international governments to share information, avoid duplication, and work towards the sound management of chemicals globally. Outreach activities completed under the CMP aim to communicate health and environmental risk information to the public and to targeted audiences such as vulnerable populations. Outreach to Canadians is carried out through posting plain language information about specific substances and program activities on Canada.ca, and communicating this information directly to Canadians through a range of in-person and virtual activities.

Information gathering

Information gathering involves collecting information on a substance or group of substances from a variety of published and unpublished sources, stakeholders, and various databases. The collection and analysis of this information are essential for making science and regulatory-based decisions regarding the risk assessment and risk management of substances under the CMP in Canada. The Government of Canada invests in research, monitoring and surveillance, including biomonitoring, to provide essential information about chemical exposures and their effects on human health and the environment. This information can inform priority setting, as well as risk assessment and risk management activities.

For more information, visit the information gathering web page.

Risk assessment

CMP scientists assess whether substances, in commerce in Canada (existing substances) or proposed for introduction to the Canadian market (new substances), present or may present a risk to the environment or to human health. Decisions are based on a scientific evaluation of the risk posed by a substance, which considers both the hazardous properties of the substance (such as toxicity to aquatic organisms or cancer-causing properties) and the nature and extent of the exposure of Canadians or the environment to the substance. This allows the Government of Canada to identify whether any risk management actions are needed, and if so, what type of control is best suited for reducing or preventing the potential harm.

For more information, visit the risk assessment of chemical substances web page.

Risk management

Risks to the environment and/or human health are determined through the risk assessment process. Once it has been determined that a chemical substance poses a risk, risk managers identify how best to manage the risk to help protect Canadians and the environment. To do this, risk managers must understand how the chemical substance is created, used, who uses it and how it reaches the environment or people. Risk management instruments (mandatory or voluntary) are then identified, developed and put into action to help prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk. A suite of risk management measures under different federal statutes is available, including regulations, agreements, pollution prevention notices, labelling requirements, guidelines and codes of practice.
For more information, visit the risk management of chemical substances web page.

Compliance promotion

Compliance promotion focuses on raising awareness and educating regulated parties about their obligations to comply with the law and its regulatory and non-regulatory instruments through the following activities:

  • material for distribution such as factsheets, brochures, posters, guides, FAQs
  • presentations and attendance at industry and associations tradeshows, conferences and workshops
  • stakeholder meetings and site visits
  • publications, articles, social media messaging, videos, and advertising
  • communication and response to inquiries

Compliance promotion also includes providing information to Canadians with respect to health risks that may be posed by chemical substances in the environment.


The government conducts enforcement activities to verify compliance and to bring regulated parties back into compliance when necessary. Enforcement activities include inspections, investigations, and enforcement measures taken for contravention to provisions under an Act. Enforcement actions used to address or prevent a non-compliance may include: issuance of orders to comply, administrative monetary penalties, tickets, seizures, and prosecutions, as specified in various acts and regulations.
CEPA 1999 is enforced in accordance with the publicly available Canadian Environmental Protection Act: compliance and enforcement policy. In instances of non-compliance, consideration is given to the following factors, when deciding which enforcement measure to take: nature of the alleged violation, effectiveness in achieving compliance with CEPA 1999 and its regulations and consistency in enforcement.
For more information on compliance and enforcement, please visit:

Performance measurement, evaluation and reporting

Performance measurement evaluations provide Canadians with information on the effectiveness of risk management actions in place for substances found to be toxic under CEPA 1999. Performance measurement will help ensure that Canadians can have confidence that their health and the environment are being protected from harmful substances. Providing results to Canadians on how well risk management strategies and tools have performed will enable stakeholders and the public to better understand how effectively their health and the environment are protected from toxic substances.

For more information, visit the performance measurement for toxic substances web page.

How to get involved

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