Contaminated Sites

Health Canada recognizes that a clean environment is key to maintaining and improving the health of Canadians.  However, a history of commercial, industrial, residential, and military activity has resulted in contaminated sites across Canada. 

A contaminated site is "one at which substances occur at concentrations:

  1. above background (normally occurring) levels and pose or are likely to pose an immediate or long-term hazard to human health or the environment; or
  2. exceeding levels specified in policies and regulations" ( Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

What is Health Canada's Role?

Under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, Health Canada is an Expert Support Department which means that it provides guidance, training and advice on human health risk assessment and public involvement to other federal departments. 

Other Expert Support Departments include: Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

As an expert support department, Health Canada's Contaminated Sites Division is responsible for:

  • reviewing human health risk assessment and related reports from contractors, custodial departments and provincial regulatory authorities;
  • collaborating for the integration of health issues in environmental assessments conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act ; and
  • providing custodial departments with expert advice, guidance, training and tools on best practices and innovative methods for human health risk assessment and incorporating stakeholders into contaminated site management.

What information is available?

Please contact Health Canada's Contaminated Sites Division with any questions regarding human health risk assessment or public involvement related to federal contaminated sites.

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