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A Guide to Understanding the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

7. Animate Products of Biotechnology

Animate products of biotechnology (living organisms) are dealt with under a separate part of CEPA 1999, which mirrors the new substances requirements but with some differences to account for the special characteristics of living organisms. Important differences from the way chemicals and polymers are handled as new substances include recognition that:

  • quantity thresholds or limitations used for chemicals and polymers are not relevant for notification of new organisms because organisms are capable of reproduction; and

  • special regulation-making powers allow for implementing international agreements and respecting the safe and effective use of living organisms in pollution prevention.

Notification and assessment of new animate products of biotechnology. If the notification and assessment requirements are met by another federal Act, then the CEPA 1999 requirements do not apply. This means that CEPA 1999 in effect acts as a "safety net"--unless new substances fall under other Acts that are specifically listed in Schedule 4 regarding animate products of biotechnology, CEPA 1999 requirements will apply to all new animate products of biotechnology. Federal Acts and regulations currently listed on Schedule 4 are the Pest Control Products Act, the Fertilizers Act, the Feeds Act, the Seeds Act and the Health of Animals Act, as well as the Regulations under those Acts.

There are currently 35 living organisms listed on the Domestic Substances List.