Statement by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada on Canada Gazette II Order regarding “plastic manufactured items”

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) expressed disappointment with the Government of Canada’s move today to list all plastic manufactured items on Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). 

We remain concerned that today’s decision sends the wrong message to global chemistry investors, namely that Canada is ambivalent about the enormous investment prospects for the circular economy for plastics.   

“Let us be clear, one piece of plastic waste in the environment is one too many,” said Elena Mantagaris, VicePresident of Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s (CIAC) Plastics Division. “This is why Canada’s plastics industry is committed to solving the plastic waste problem and has set a goal to make 100 per cent of plastic packaging recyclable or recoverable by 2030 and embracing advanced recycling technologies to make plastics packaging 100 per cent recovered and recycled by 2040. 

“By making plastics completely recyclable and transforming waste into new plastic items and other products, we can help Canada realize its goal of zero plastic waste. 

While the government has exercised its authorities, CIAC is disappointed that safe inert plastic materials that play such important roles in Canadians lives are being labelled as toxic substances. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada heard clearly from the industry, and a broad cross-section of other industries where plastics play an important role, that such a move would do little to keep post-consumer plastics out of the environment.  

CIAC continues to believe that CEPA is not an appropriate legislative instrument for managing post-consumer plastics.This is why we are advocating instead for a national circular economy framework that includes six strategic areas of focus to build a circular economy for plastics in CanadaThese are: 

  • Product design  
  • Increase access to recycling and collection  
  • Improve sortation capabilities  
  • Strengthen mechanical and advanced recycling capabilities  
  • Grow and expand end-markets  
  • Engage and educate consumers  

We will continue to work with the federal government to understand the scope of impacts on businesses stemming from regulations expected later this year. Our attention remains firmly focused on working with the provinces to advance extended producer responsibility initiatives coast to coast and creating more enabling policy and investment environments to support a circular economy for plastics. 

CIAC welcomes federal government’s tabling of the new CEPA modernization legislation

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) welcomes the federal government’s tabling of legislation to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) today. We are pleased to see a legislative recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment in the preamble of the Act, in keeping with our U.N.recognized Responsible Care® initiative.   

CEPA 99 and the legislated risk-based approach to Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan represent the global gold standard for protecting the environment and ensuring public confidence in the chemistries essential for our everyday lives. This Bill offers a well-balanced approach to addressing identified shortcomings in the current legislation while preserving the essential, risk-based approach to the regulation of chemicals in the Canadian economy,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC. 

For more than 35 years, Canada’s chemistry sector has led the journey towards safe, responsible, and sustainable chemical manufacturing through its U.N.-recognized sustainability initiative, Responsible Care. Founded in Canada in 1985, Responsible Care is now practiced in 73 countries and by 96 of the 100 largest chemical producers in the world.  

Through Responsible Care, CIAC member-companies strive to “do the right thing and be seen to do the right thing.” They innovate for safer and greener products and processes, and work to continuously improve their environmental, health and safety performanceThis is why CIAC worked with leading environment NGOsin 2018 to deliver a joint statement of CEPA recommendations to the Minister. In this statement, the parties recognized the importance of environmental, societal and governance (ESG) initiatives like Responsible Care in safeguarding the right to a healthy environment. 

We share the government’s concerns about vulnerable populations; previous risk assessments have directly dealt with this issue,” said Mr. Masterson. “We support the need to maintain the science and risk-based framework for CEPA and CMP that relies on a weight-of-evidence approach to risk assessments and risk management, bolstered by precaution where appropriate. 

CIAC looks forward to continuing to work with the federal government to modernize CEPA and to ensure it preserves a science and riskbased approach. 

Regulation in serious need of modernization, CIAC tells INDU

Canada’s regulatory system often results in inefficiency, delays, administrative burdens and unnecessary costs to both government and business, CIAC President and CEO, Bob Masterson, told the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) February 7.

The comments were provided as part of a study on regulatory modernization in response to the Federal Fall Economic Statement in November.

Mr. Masterson targeted regulatory overlap and duplication, rushed regulation that does not take industry’s perspectives for achieving goals, uncertainty and timeliness in his speech to the Committee.

“Obtaining an approval in Canada takes an average of 249 days, about double the OECD average and triple the time required in the United States. Make no mistake, this reality is well-known globally and is a strong influencer on Canada’s foreign direct investment gap,” he said. “The study being undertaken by this committee is welcome and urgently overdue.”

He pointed to the implementation of the Chemicals Management Plan and Transport Canada’s multi-faceted approach to better managing risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods as great examples of regulatory initiatives working well in Canada. He also noted that the Ontario government had started important efforts in this area with its comprehensive Red Tape Challenge recommendations beginning to be implemented by the current government.

CIAC supportive of recommendations in Commissioner’s status report update on toxic substances

The Hill Times: CIAC responds to government’s CEPA review recommendations

Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC, was featured in the Hill Times July 9 in a story about the 87 recommendations that were put forward by the House Environment Committee in its 2017 review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

Saying he was “most happy” to see the risk-based regulatory approach maintained, Mr. Masterson said CIAC opposed a change in this approach because it would assume too many chemicals are unsafe without first conducting scientific studies.

CIAC and CFA advise Minister Ballard on proposed Sarnia-Lambton health study

On November 28 and 29, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) and the Canadian Fuels Association (CFA) met key officials at Queen’s Park to reinforce their support for the Ontario government’s recent decision to fund a health study to determine the impact of the local petrochemical industry on the health of Sarnia-Lambton residents and of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Meeting with Minister of Environment and Climate Change Chris Ballard and other officials, CIAC and CFA outlined four key points:

  1. Industry needs to be consulted and involved as the health study moves forward;
  2. The study must be responsive to the needs and expectations of the Sarnia-Lambton and Aamjiwnaang communities;
  3. It must be scientifically credible and build on the work previously undertaken by the Sarnia-Lambton Health Study team; and
  4. Efforts between the Ontario Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change must be coordinated, as well as efforts between the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada. 

CIAC will be meeting with relevant officials in Ottawa prior to year-end to reinforce these messages at the federal level.

CIAC reiterates support for objectives of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan

On November 16, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), including several of its members, took part in a government hosted session on the future of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan (CMP).

Representatives from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada provided an updated review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and solicited feedback from stakeholders on the future of the CMP post-2020. Participants were also invited to provide further comments and feedback in writing. 

CIAC supports the CMP’s objective of reducing risks to Canadians and the environment associated with the use of  chemicals. Post 2020, the program must maintain the current risk-based approach which serves as the foundation of the CMP. In addition, the CMP must continue to:

  • Support innovation with timely reviews of new substances and applications of existing substances;
  • Maintain the strong link between risk assessments and managing identified risks; 
  • Ensure the continued protection of confidential business information; and 
  • Maintain a well-documented, publicly accessible decision-making process which is based on sound science.

CIAC has been supportive of past government initiatives to improve the safety of chemicals, most recently the Minister of Environment and Climate Change’s response to the Healthy Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) report tabled by the House of Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. CIAC welcomed the Minister’s commitment to ensuring a science and risk-based approach to the continued implementation of CEPA and the CMP. 

Canadian approach to chemicals management highlighted at GlobalChem conference.

This year, Canada’s chemistry industry was an active participant in the Global Chemical Regulations Conference (GlobalChem) hosted by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in Washington D.C. February 22-24. 

Nova Chemicals’ Linda Santry, Product Regulatory Compliance, joined regulators from Environment & Climate Change Canada and Health Canada on a panel that gave a high-level overview of Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. The panel, moderated by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s Legal Counsel and Director of Chemicals Management Scott Thurlow, covered an array of topics including Canada’s approach to categorization, risk assessments, risk management, and new substances. The panel was extremely well received by attendees, who were very complimentary of the strong relationship between the regulators and industry.

The next day, Mr. Thurlow was part of a panel that included representatives from Dow Chemical, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Brazilian chemical industry which focused on identifying a path forward to developing a risk-based approach to chemicals for the Americas, and enhancing regulatory cooperation initiatives in the region. Mr. Thurlow’s presentation focused on Canada’s current regulatory cooperation initiatives and where opportunity for partnerships could lie. He also discussed how the Canadian model for chemicals regulation and management could be emulated with its trade partners. The panel identified the role that bilateral and multilateral trade agreements can play as potential launching pads for regulatory cooperation.

Changes to Canada’s Environmental Protection Act should ensure the Chemicals Management Plan remains a world leader

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