Frequently asked questions – New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers)

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below are meant to provide Canadians and businesses with basic information about Environment Canada’s regulations. The New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) are among Environment Canada’s most frequently accessed regulations on the Web.

New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers)

  1. What is the purpose of these regulations?
  2. What are the key elements of these regulations?
  3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?
  4. What is the timeline for implementation?
  5. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the purpose of these regulations?

The purpose of the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) (the Regulations) is to ensure that new substances (chemicals and polymers) are assessed for potential risks to human health and the environment and, if required, control measures are put in place before they are introduced into the Canadian marketplace.

2. What are the key elements of these regulations?

The Regulations require any person (individual or company) proposing to import or manufacture a substance that is new to Canada to submit prescribed information to the Government of Canada. The submitted information may include, but is not limited to:

  • substance identity;
  • the quantity that will be imported or manufactured;
  • the intended use of the substance; and
  • technical/scientific data about the substance.

The government assesses the information to determine whether there is a potential risk to human health and to the environment. When the assessment identifies a risk, various mechanisms exist under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to manage that risk.

A substance is new to Canada if it is not listed on the Domestic Substances List (DSL). Substances on the DSL do not require notification unless they are subject to a requirement to submit information related to a Significant New Activity (SNAc).

3. How do these regulations affect Canadian businesses?

Any person wishing to import or manufacture a substance that is new to Canada must provide the government with specific information 5–120 days before that substance is imported or manufactured. The information and timelines depend on the substance and quantity.

If the assessment of the new substance finds a suspicion of a risk to human health or the environment, the person may have to comply with risk management measures.

There are fees associated with submitting most information packages to the Government of Canada under the Regulations. The fees are in accordance with the New Substances Fees Regulations.

4. What is the timeline for implementation?

The New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers), made under the authority of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, came into force on October 30, 2005.

5. Where can I get more information?

More information on the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) can be found on Environment Canada’s New Substances website, or by contacting:

The Substances Management Information Line at substances@ec.gc.ca (email), 1-800-567-1999 (toll free in Canada), or 819-938-3232 (outside of Canada).

To verify if your substance is listed on the DSL, please visit the Search Engine for Chemicals and Polymers.

To verify if your substance is subject to the SNAc provisions, please visit the Comprehensive Listing of Substances that Are Subject to a Significant New Activity Notice.

Additional guidance documents on preparing a New Substances Notification can be found at Guidance Documents – Chemicals, Polymers, Biochemicals and Biopolymers on the New Substances website.

This document is intended to provide contextual information on the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers). It does not replace the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 or the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers). In the event of any inconsistencies, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the New Substances Notification Regulations (Chemicals and Polymers) shall prevail.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.

Date modified: