With a modernized Environmental Protection Act, Canada continues to lead the way in chemicals management 

After over two decades, years of study by Parliamentary Committees, and input from countless stakeholders across industry, civil society organizations, government, and academia, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) is pleased to welcome the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 2023 into law.  

“This update to the original CEPA 1999 represents a comprehensive modernization of Canada’s cornerstone environmental Act.  We are glad to see that the new CEPA preserves the risk- and science- based approach at the heart of the Act, which has earned Canada a reputation of having a world-class chemicals management program,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC. 

Importantly, Bill S-5 introduces a legislative recognition of the right to a healthy environment in the preamble of the Act, in keeping with CIAC’s own U.N.–recognized Responsible Care® sustainability initiative.  

“Through Responsible Care, CIAC members are committed to being accountable and responsive to the public, especially our local communities who have the right to understand the risks and benefits of what we do. With leading environmental groups having previously recognized the importance of sustainability initiatives like Responsible Care in safeguarding the right to a healthy environment, we believe that Responsible Care can and should serve as a model for implementation of this right within the Act,” said Mr. Masterson. 

The new CEPA also strengthens our chemicals management regime and sets the stage for the next wave of chemicals management in Canada. CEPA 2023 enables the most cutting-edge science and commits to developing a new plan of chemicals management priorities. With over 4,000 substances addressed through the Chemicals Management Plan to date, Canada has completed more risk assessments and introduced more risk management instruments than any other jurisdiction in the world, delivering tangible environmental and human health benefits. With this new plan of priorities, we will remain at the forefront.  

Looking into the future, this Act will enable our industry to continue introducing innovative solutions to some of the most complex societal issues. CIAC will remain a strong partner to the Chemicals Management Plan, ensuring Canadians can remain confident that health, safety, and protection of the environment are always top of mind in the products they use.   

CIAC wishes to thank the countless Parliamentarians who worked with stakeholders and each other to understand this complex legislation and make CEPA 2023 a reality. We look forward to working with the departments and other expert stakeholders on implementing these updates.