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.
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.
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:
- Industry needs to be consulted and involved as the health study moves forward;
- The study must be responsive to the needs and expectations of the Sarnia-Lambton and Aamjiwnaang communities;
- It must be scientifically credible and build on the work previously undertaken by the Sarnia-Lambton Health Study team; and
- 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.
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.
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.